Turkey is a transcontinental country that serves as a natural bridge between Europe and Asia. Istanbul is one of the world’s most historic and important cities, while Ankara is the capital of the country. Some of the oldest traces of human existence in Eurasia can be found on the territory of Turkey. It is an early member of the UN, NATO, and a close associate to the European Union.
Turkey is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and an increasing number of foreigners are also moving there long-term. In this article, we will go over the process to become a medical doctor in Turkey.
1. Turkish Language Requirements
According to many people who have studied it, Turkish is one of the most beautiful and pleasant to learn languages out there, which is great news for anyone who wishes to move to the country. Like many languages, though, it has its quirks and unique characteristics that will take some time to master, but considering that it uses the Latin alphabet, the transition for English people shouldn’t be too difficult, even though it is considered tougher than French or even German. Dedicated learners can expect to master the language in less than one year.
Until late 2011, foreign doctors were not allowed to work in Turkey. From 2012 onwards, foreign doctors are allowed to work but are also required to take a language proficiency test, that they will need to pass with a minimum score of “B” if they wish to become a doctor in Turkey.
2. Study in Turkish medical schools
Medicine programs are highly sought after in Turkish universities, for both Turkish and foreign students, so the competition to get into them is fairly stiff, but the admission rates are still very high at around 90%, depending on the field of study and university. Some universities require pre-admission exams that test the student’s logic and common sense, while there are also some pre-admission exams in which the student will have to prove his proficiency in the language he will study in, whether it’s English or Turkish. In addition, all international students, including medical students, have to take the YÖS Exam.
The general medicine programs at Turkish universities typically last for 6 years. The first 2 years are spent learning theory and basic science, the third year is spent on a theoretical and practical introduction to various topics and diseases, while the 4th and 5th year are reserved for clinical internships. The final year of study is spent as a practicing physician at the university hospital, where the study will take on the duties of a regular doctor.
3. Pass the required medical exams
Before you are allowed to work in Turkey as a GP or residency, you will need to go through a series of tests. You will need to pass these tests to become a medical doctor in Turkey. After you submit the necessary documents to the Ministry of Higher Education, you have 8 to 12 months until the process is complete to learn the Turkish language and prepare for the equivalency exam which is called STS, that must be taken in Turkish, and will test your knowledge in medicine. Passing this exam isn’t too hard as you only need to score 35 of 100 points, but the language barrier can prove to be a challenge for some students.
4. Complete the Residency
After you pass the exam, you will have to spend 6 to 9 months of training at a governmental educational hospital in Turkey. Once that is finished, you are allowed to work as a medical doctor in Turkey. If you wish to specialize further, for example as a surgeon, there is an additional exam relating to your specialty that you will need to pass. If you fail to pass it, you will have to work 3 months under supervision at a teaching hospital, and if you show yourself in good light, you can start practicing as a specialist.
5. Getting Medical License to Become a Doctor in Turkey
The process that allows you to practice medicine in Turkey doesn’t come in the form of a single license, but a series of documents, permits, and other things you will need to provide and obtain. It is also very worth noting that working at state hospitals in Turkey is forbidden for foreign nationals, and while working at public hospitals is very much possible, the process is quite complicated. You will need to obtain a residence permit, work visa, equivalency (your foreign degree needs to be approved by YÖK), at least a “B” level knowledge of Turkish, and a few other documents and requirements. With these permissions, you are allowed to start working at a private hospital in Turkey. Please note that most of the permissions will only last you for 2 years, after which you will have to renew them.
6. Turkish Work Visa for Doctors
To start working as a medicl doctor in Turkey, you will first need to acquire a work permit/visa. This visa is given by the Ministry of Family, Labor, and Social Services. You can apply for this visa at the Republic of Turkey consulate in your home country. In order to apply, you will already need to have a job contract from a private hospital in Turkey. The hospital will also need to file an online application to the before-mentioned ministry, providing them with additional information and documents. Once the work visa is issued, candidates are required to enter Turkish territory within 180 days.
The initial work permit is for a period of one year. Upon the expiry of the permit, workers will need to apply for an extension, which once approved, will be valid for 2 more years, given that the candidate is still with the same hospital and doing the same type of work. Extensions should be applied for online at least 2 months before the initial permit expires.
7. Getting a Job as a Doctor in Turkey
As mentioned earlier, the only hospitals you can work in as a foreigner in Turkey are private hospitals. Job opportunities at these hospitals can be limited, but far from impossible to find. You can find plenty of job postings online, including famous international platforms like Indeed or Linkedin, as well as a few Turkish sites for which you will need to know the language. With a little effort, and of course knowledge and skills, finding a job as a doctor in Turkey in the private sector shouldn’t be too difficult.
8. Procedure for foreign doctors to become a doctor in Turkey
To sum it all up, here we will quickly go over the steps you need to take as a foreign-trained doctor to start working in Turkey. First, and foremost, you need a diploma from a foreign university. After that, you need to take and pass the equivalence exam or STS exam. You then need to prove proficiency in the Turkish language. After that, you need to apply for a residence and work permit at your local Turkish consulate. This process can only be completed if you have already found a hospital to work for in Turkey. Once all of this is finished, you can start working as a medical doctor in Turkey.
I hope that this article on how to become a doctor in Turkey was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Medical School Category!