Before you decide between PLAB or USMLE, you should know the differences between them.
- USMLE: licencing exam for doctors wishing to work in the USA.
- PLAB: licencing exam for doctors wishing to work in the UK.
I have summarized the differences in the table below:
You can also view a video of my lecture explaining these differences.
If all of the above is a bit confusing, I’ll try to make it a bit simple.
There is a small difference in the job map, though. When you get a match after USMLE, you can immediately start a training job in the USA. When you pass PLAB 2, you can find a training job immediately. But for most people, it takes them a year or two before they find a training job in the UK. Until then, they work as doctors at non-training posts.
My post Training in the UK might help you in understanding the training structure.
Make a well-informed decision, based on all the information that you have. Do not make a decision under peer pressure.
- PLAB vs USMLE – Video
- Working in the UK vs Working in the USA
- Pay Scales in the UK
- Taxation in the UK
- PLAB vs MRCP
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Should I go for PLAB or the USMLE?
This is a personal choice based on individual circumstances. However, the above-mentioned information might help you in making your decision.
2. If PLAB is so easy, then why do most doctors choose the USMLE over PLAB?
Choosing which exam you want to take is a personal decision. However, most people choose the USMLE over PLAB for the following reasons:
- Lack of awareness about the UK pathway
- The USA looks more attractive
- Better pay for consultants in the USA
- Arguably better training in the USA
- Direct entry into training in the USA
- Shorter training duration in the USA
3. Where can I get more information from about PLAB?
Kindly scroll down and you will find all the information that you need.
4. What is the difference between the pay scales in the UK and the USA?
Starting salary in the UK and the USA is almost the same for junior doctors.
- The UK: £2,700 ($3,500)
- The USA: $3,200 (£2,500)
(this is the take-home pay, after tax-deduction)
5. How much pay is enough in the UK?
It depends on your lifestyle, location, number of dependents and a few other factors. But the following might give you a general idea:
£1,900/month can be more than enough for a single person and just enough for a couple.
£2,700/month can be more than enough for a couple.
6. Would I be able to save money in the UK?
Again, it depends on the factors mentioned above. So savings can be different for every individual.
I have seen people save £1,000/month for a whole year and I have seen people not save anything even after a couple of years. So it depends on each individual and how they live.
7. How much tax would I have to pay in the UK?
The numbers mentioned in this article are exclusive of tax. These are the take-home salaries, after tax deduction. However, to learn more about pay scales and taxation in the UK, you can click here.
8. What is the difference between a training and a non-training job?
A training job is one in which there is career progression. In a non-training job, there is no career progression. Our internship (also known as House Job in Pakistan) and specialty training jobs (also knows as Residency in Pakistan) are training jobs.