When entering a residency program, a resident is counted as a 1.0 full-time
equivalent (FTE) for his/her initial residency period. The initial residency
period is defined as the number of years required to become eligible to take
the board certification examination in that specialty. For example, a resident
in general surgery is recognized as 1.0 FTE for 5 years, but a resident in
internal medicine is only recognized as 1.0 FTE for 3 years. For any training
occurring after the initial period, the resident is counted as a 0.5 FTE.
In some combined primary care residencies such as internal medicine/pediatrics,
medicare will allow for an additional year as a 1.0 FTE. The FTE figure is
permanently set when a physician enters residency; it does not change if a
physician takes time off, leaves a program early, switches specialties, or
switches residency programs.