Throughout the month of May, organizations across the United States – including Michigan Language Assessment – celebrated nurses and the nursing profession. This year’s theme of “Nurses Make the Difference” is relevant in light of the growing shortage of nurses working in the U.S. Nurses and other healthcare professionals will make all the difference in the country’s ability to manage an aging population.

As we reported in previous articles, including a February post about our expansion into The Philippines and a January analysis of the healthcare job market, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics continues to project 6 percent growth in the field through at least 2032, which is about 1.8 million jobs per year. 

The U.S. nursing shortage continues

One key contributor to the shortage was reported in the 2020 National Nursing Workforce Survey. In the 2020-21 academic year, U.S. nursing schools turned away more than 91,000 qualified applicants due to a lack of faculty, education space, and resources.

This barrier to hiring U.S.-trained nurses has led to hospitals and other health care providers turning to foreign-trained nurses to meet their critical needs. According to CGFNS, a nonprofit that verifies credentials for immigration authorities and state licensing boards, in 2023 it issued “its highest-ever number of occupational visa certifications to nurses and other skilled health workers seeking to migrate to the U.S. … nearly 27,000.” This is double the number of certificates it issued in 2022.

Closing the Gap

With our launch in the Philippines, Michigan Language Assessment is committed to helping close this gap. 

International nurses who wish to work in the U.S. must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and an English proficiency test. For these applicants, the ability to pass and receive results quickly is their highest concern. The speaking portion of an English proficiency test  typically poses the greatest challenge for test takers. Cost also plays a large role; for nurses migrating from lower-income countries, the price of a single exam might equate to a month’s wages. Most nurses want an economical and accessible English proficiency test they can pass on their first try. 

The Michigan English Test (MET) addresses these concerns. It allows test takers to record answers for the speaking portion of the exam rather than scheduling a separate face-to-face interview. MET questions are based on relevant, everyday English language contexts. It is also shorter in duration and the most cost-effective test in the Philippines.

Filipino nurses recognize the MET difference

Michigan Language Assessment has leveraged our understanding of the international healthcare professional market to partner with 9.0 Niner, an English preparatory school, and IPASS Processing, a processing agency, both in the Philippines. To date, 93 percent of test takers have achieved the score they need for licensing in the U.S., a significant win for the test takers and the U.S. healthcare system.

A recent MET test-taker in the Philippines commented that she prepared for MET just one week before taking the exam. This means in less than a month she was able to complete the English requirement for employment, streamlining her journey to the U.S. MET not only benefits agencies that are on a timeline but also their applicants who are working hard to start their U.S. healthcare careers.

Learn more about MET for healthcare professionals.