Specialist Language Courses

Healthcare professionals overseas: The main 2 English-language tests you need 


Are you a healthcare professional?

Would you like to work abroad, for example as a doctor in the UK, Canada, or Australia?

Or as a nurse in Ireland or the USA?

Is English not your first language?

If your answer is ‘yes’, then to get a visa you need to prove your English language skills. To do that, you must pass an English test.

There are two exams you can take – either IELTS or OET. Most English-speaking countries accept both.

But what are the differences between IELTS and OET?

Which test should you take?

Here’s our short guide to help you.

OET logo

What kind of test is OET?

OET stands for Occupational English Test.

It’s owned by Cambridge English and Box Hill Institute.

It’s an English language test for medical professionals who want to work abroad.

The English-language situations OET tests you on are the same as you would find in your working life.

You must pass OET with a Grade B.

For example, you might have to listen to a patient consultation.

You may have to write a referral letter, or read a text on a health-related subject.

IELTS logo

Which IELTS exam should I take?

There are two IELTS exams – General and Academic.

It’s run by the British Council, Cambridge English, and IDP Australia.

Medical professionals must pass the Academic IELTS exam, usually with minimum Band 7.

IELTS is not specifically for healthcare workers.

It tests your English language skill in all areas.

It’s also often a requirement if you want to study at an English-speaking university.

Which is better, OET or IELTS?

OET is specifically for healthcare professionals.

If you want to study situations that will help you in your working life, then OET is better for you.

But if you prefer to study on a broad range of topics, then IELTS may be more interesting for you.

Where can I study for OET or IELTS?

Here at Specialist Language Courses you can take our Reach IELTS course to score between 6 and 7.5 in the test. Or you can take an OET course for nurses or doctors that will get to you Grade B.

You can also study for individual parts of the OET.

Take a look at our courses to find out more.

Preparation courses for IELTS and OET

OET Preparation Courses
IELTS Preparation Courses
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