Medical School Costs
Choosing to pursue a medical profession is a life-changing decision. It’s a commitment to improving the lives of others and contributing to the greater good. But it doesn’t come without sacrifice. If you’re interested in becoming a physician, surgeon, or any of the dozens of other medical professions, you’ve probably already considered how much medical school costsand what that means for your future. And you’re not alone! Many students start their research early so they’re prepared for all of the associated costs of med school. Resources and requirements vary among institutions, so explore the list below to get a better understanding of what to expect.
Medical School Requirements
In order to be accepted into most medical school programs, you must complete a bachelor’s degree in a related subject like biology, medicine, or physical science. Some undergraduate programs also offer pre-medical advising to make sure students are on the right track for med school. This includes preparation for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), which accompanies transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation for the application.
Once you’re accepted, you can pursue one of two types of medical degrees in the U.S.: Medical Doctor (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.), both of which typically require four years of medical school. The first year includes a combination of classroom and preclinical mentoring and lab time. Second-year students begin rotations in medicine, surgery, anesthesiology, and more to explore different areas of interest. Third- and fourth-year medical students begin taking their licensing exams that are required to graduate. After earning a license, med school graduates enter a residency program at a hospital or clinic under physician supervision and work there for an additional three to seven years. More specialized areas typically require longer training in residency. (BLS)
Do you get paid during residency? As a matter of fact, residents do get paid a salary. Residents can then apply for an unrestricted medical license to practice without supervision or complete a one or two-year fellowship in a specialty area. Board certifications are also available for physicians and surgeons in their specialty, earned by passing another exam. With so many requirements, the ultimate med school cost can change depending on the school, programs, and specialty you choose.
Private and Public Medical School Tuition
The cost of medical school will vary depending on whether you go to an in-state or out-of-state school and if the institution is private or public. And as many students already know, attending college includes more costs than just tuition. That means your budget must also include fees, books, food, housing, and supplies, plus a cost-of-living adjustment in your city of choice.
So, how much does medical school cost? Here is a breakdown of average tuition and fees by institution type in the 2022-2023school year, as reported by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
AVERAGE PRIVATE SCHOOL COSTS
+$3,741 Health Insurance
= $62,570 Total
Four Year Total = $250,280
+$3,758 Health Insurance
= $64,103 Total
Four Year Total = $256,412
AVERAGE PUBLIC SCHOOL COSTS
+$3,017 Health Insurance
= $39,905 Total
Four Year Total = $159,620
+$3,102 Health Insurance
= $63,718 Total
Four Year Total = $254,872
You’ll notice that attending an in-state public school has a more than $24,000 price difference compared to out-of-state private school costs, which over 4 years adds up to about $97,000 in savings! It’s a difference that partially explains why it’s so difficult to generalize about the cost of medical school. On the other hand, average non-resident costs are nearly the same across public and private institutions, so don’t limit your options to public if you’re looking out-of-state. Overall, the cost of med school adds up quickly and requires smart planning and budgeting along the way.
Changes in Medical School Costs Over the Years
According to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), annual medical school costs have increased between 17% to 24% from the 2013-2014 school year to the 2022-2023 school year. In-state, public medical school costs have grown from $31,619 in 2013-2014 to $39,905 in 2022-2023. And out-of-state, private medical school costs have grown from $52,207 in 2013-2014 to $64,103 in 2022-2023. Annual increases in tuition and overall costs generally grow between 1% to 3% every year. With these rising costs in mind, it’s more important than ever for medical school students to plan and budget ahead of time. There are many ways to pay for medical school costs including scholarships, grants, and student loans.
Total Cost of Medical School
Over four years, a medical student can expect to pay anywhere from $159,620 (in-state, public school) to $256,412 (out-of-state, private school) and up. These can be daunting numbers, especially when moving from undergrad directly to medical school. Thankfully, medical professions have some of the highest salaries in the country, with a median salary of at least $208,000. Be sure to explore the many options for paying for med school including specialized loans, grants, scholarships, and exchange programs.
Now that you know how much medical school costs, you can move on to your next step in the process in securing financial aid and getting through medical school. Understanding the cost of medical school is just one step in a long career path. Make sure you use the right tools and available research to make smart choices and set yourself up for the future.