February 18, 2018

Average Medical School Debt May Surprise You

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3/4 of medical students graduate with debt. More than 80% of those students have a debt burden higher than $100,000. Read on to learn more shocking statistics about medical school debt.

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Facing Medical School Debt

  • How much is the average medical school debt?
    The average medical graduate has $192,000 in medical school debt at graduation. This includes medical school debt from both public and private medical schools.

  • How many students graduate medical school with student loans?
    75% of students graduate medical school with student loans. This is 5% more than students with a general 4-year degree graduating with student loans.

  • How many students graduate medical school with more than $100,000 in student loans?
    Of the students graduating with medical school debt, 83% of them have debts that exceed $100,000.

  • How many students graduate medical school with more than $200,000 in student loans?
    As many as 48% of students with medical school debt have total debt of more than $200,000. Just 14% have debt that exceeds $300,000. Of the total debt, on average $25,000 of it is for pre-med education.

Attending Medical School

  • How much does it cost to go to med school?
    The average cost for one year at medical school costs $35,932 for an in-state public college. It costs an average of $60,543 for an out-of-state public school. Students who prefer private schools pay an average of $57,492 per year. This accounts for just tuition, fees, and health insurance. It does not include room and board.

  • On average, how many medical students graduate from medical school?
    In the United States for the school year 2016-2017, there were 19,254 graduates from medical school. This is 300 more graduates than the 2015-2016 school year.

  • How many graduates of medical school are female?
    In the 2016-2017 school year, there was an average of 9,119 female students graduating from medical school.

  • How many graduates of medical school are male?
    In the 2016-2017 school year, there was an average of 10,135 male students graduating from medical school.

The Education Requirements

  • How many years of medical school does it take to be a doctor?
    After a standard four-year degree from an accredited school, students must attend medical school for 4 years. If they plan to enter a specialized field that may require further study, this may be higher. During the first two years of their education, students focus on book study and lab work. As students enter their 3rd and 4th years, they do more clinical and hands-on work.

  • How many years of residency does it take to be a doctor?
    A general practitioner needs a 3-year residency in an approved residency program. Students wishing to enter any type of specialty practice could need as much as 7 years as a resident. Some students will also go on to a fellowship where they will study in their sub-specialty for a year or two.

  • How many years of school does it take to be a surgeon?
    The average student attends 5 years of residency before becoming a general surgeon.

  • How many years of school does it take to be a brain surgeon?
    A neurosurgeon student undergoes six years of residency before becoming a surgeon. The first year is for general surgery, followed by five years of neurological training.

  • How many years of medical school does it take to be a heart surgeon?
    A heart surgeon or thoracic surgeon undergoes five years of general surgery residency plus 2 years of thoracic residency.

Average Salaries for Doctors and Surgeons

  • What is the average salary for doctors in residency?
    Some students in residency receive a stipend for their work. The amount they receive varies by the year of residency. On average, a first-year resident receives a stipend of $53,580. By the 3rd year of residency, students receive an average $57,532 stipend. Students who have a very specialized field and are still in residency after 8 years receive an average of $70,390 per year.

  • What is the average salary for doctors out of residency?
    Primary care physicians make an average of $251,578 per year, or $120 an hour. Specialty doctors make an average of $425,509, or $204 per hour.

  • What is the average surgeon's salary?
    On average, general surgeons make $409,665 per year.

Taking Care of the Medical School Debt

  • What is the average payment for medical school debt?
    The standard payment for a graduate is estimated to be $2,098. Graduates would pay this amount monthly for 10 years.

  • What is the average interest rate on medical school loans?
    The average graduate pays 6% interest on Direct Unsubsidized loans for medical school and 7% on Direct PLUS loans.

  • What loan forgiveness options are available to doctors?
    Doctors have several forgiveness options after graduation:

    • National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program: Doctors committing to 2 years of their career in a Health Profession Shortage Area may receive up to $50,000 in student loan repayment aid.
    • Public Service Loan Forgiveness: Doctors working at a government or non-profit organization and who make 120 payments on a qualified repayment plan may have the remaining balance of their student loans forgiven after 10 years

Other Student Loan Debts

  • What is the average student loan debt for a Bachelor's degree?
    The average Bachelor's degree graduate has $35,000 in student loans to pay off after graduation.

  • What is the average student loan debt for a Master's degree?
    Graduates leaving college with a Master's Degree have an average of $59,000 in student loans.

  • What is the average debt for veterinary school?
    Veterinary school graduates have an average debt of $167,534 when they leave school. More than 20% of those graduates with veterinary school debt owe more than $200,000 in student loans. Aspiring veterinarians go through eight years of education (4 years at an undergraduate school and 4 years at a veterinary school).

  • How much does the average veterinarian make per year?
    The average veterinarian makes $88,770 per year.

Bottom Line

Deciding to attend medical school affects not only your future employment, but your finances too. Consider all of your options. Also exhaust your options for financial aid and/or student loan forgiveness to make it easier on yourself.

Sources and References:

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