Home to ca. 10 million people, the Central European country and EU Member State since 2004 has been a popular destination for thousands of international medical students. Immigrating doctors face a major hurdle: the Hungarian language. The capital Budapest with its close to 2 million inhabitants is the undisputed centre of attraction not only for tourists, but also professionals pursuing a career in Hungary. Many hospitals and medical practices are nowadays in need of medics, especially outside the metropolitan area.
Medical schools and postgraduate training
Studies of medicine resulting in an M.D. degree (duration normally 6 years) can be completed in English and in some cases also in German at the universities in Budapest, Debrecen, Pécs and Szeged. The four medical schools are listed in the International Medical Education Directory and attract students from all over the world.
During the subsequent postgraduate training medical graduates – then residents (Hungarian: rezidens) – work under supervision in universities and teaching hospitals. Upon successful completion the resident receives a specialist certificate (Szakorvosi bizonyítvány) from the National Board of Examination (Nemzeti Vizsgabizottság).
Hurdles for foreign doctors
The Office of Health Authorization and Administrative Procedures (Department of Migration and Monitoring) at the Hungarian Ministry of Health is the national medical regulatory authority. The office is responsible for recognition of foreign qualifications. EU/EEA/Swiss doctors benefit from automatic recognition according to Directive 2005/36/EC and its implementing acts. Non-EU doctors may need to complete an adaptation period under supervision in a healthcare institution or pass an aptitude test consisting of a theoretical and practical part; the first recognition of their diploma falls within the competence of the Educational Authority – Hungarian Equivalence and Information Centre.
In addition to recognition of qualifications, there are requirements of registration (Basic Register and Operational Registry of the Hungarian healthcare professionals), membership with the competent professional chamber and obtaining a license to practice from the National Public Health and Medical Officer Service (ÁNTSZ). Most accurate and up-to-date information can be obtained from the Office of Health Authorization and Administrative Procedures.
Proficiency of Hungarian language is probably the highest barrier for foreign doctors, as it has no significant connections with other European languages. Studies should therefore be started well in advance before intended commencement of work, e.g. during medical studies in Hungary.
- Office of Health Authorization and Administrative Procedures
- Hungarian Medical Chamber (Magyar Orvosi Kamara)
- New York Times article of 11 August 2013 ”Medical Students Head to Eastern Europe”
- Contact bleedle
Last update: 22 March 2014