Learning about the Residency Application process can be quite overwhelming. There are so many entities involved, multiple governing bodies, and even more requirements and eligibility rules. So what is the difference between NRMP and ERAS anyway?
What is the difference between ERAS and NRMP?
The Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) is the residency application system run by The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). You’ll be completing and submitting your application to residency programs through ERAS. Program directors have their own access to ERAS, where they’ll see those applications on the application opening date. Once you’ve submitted your application and program directors review applications, they will start interviewing candidates.
After interviews, both candidates and programs will have to decide who they like. Most will then register for the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) or “The Match”, which takes place in March. This is where applicants and programs both create “rank order lists” based on who’d they like to accept (for programs) and where they’d like to do residency (for applicants). After putting that information through the Match algorithm, candidates are either Matched to a program, or they go unmatched.
There are several things to note:
- Most programs participating in the NRMP Match will also be participating in ERAS as well, but not every program will, since it is not a requirement to participate in both.
- Not all specialties and residency programs use the ERAS application. If a program is not participating with ERAS, then you should contact that program to determine how to apply.
- You can see what programs do not participate in the NRMP Match, and or do not participate in the ERAS application at the FREIDA website. You can search programs and apply the “application type” filters to see these programs.
Again, not all programs participate in the Match. Some programs may give offers at the time of interview or right after and offer you a contract. These are often called “Pre-Match” positions.
There are many reasons why a program may not participate in the Match. Ultimately, It’s completely up to each program to decide how they fill residency positions, and if a program wants to secure a position before the Match, they can. Applicants can also decide to pre-match for the same reason; if they receive an offer and don’t want to risk going through the Match algorithm. Keep in mind, if you accept a pre-match offer as a candidate, you have to withdraw from the Main Match and cannot consider any other programs.
So remember, ERAS and NRMP are completely separate parts of the residency application process. You have to register separately for each, and each organization has its own deadlines throughout the application cycle. Make sure you check which programs you’re applying to are participating in the ERAS application and the NRMP Match.