Students Don’t Get Paid in Medical School, But Get Paid in Residency

Students Don’t Get Paid in Medical School, But Get Paid in Residency

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Many aspiring doctors ask me this question: “Do students get paid in medical school?”

Here’s the hard truth: students do not get paid in medical school! Even worse, you’ll likely borrow up to $25,000 a year. Medical students who receive money during medical school have either part-time jobs or a Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP).

However, graduates can earn from $51,000 to $66,000 a year during medical residency!

The Difference Between Med School And Residency

There’s a lot of misinformation about medical school and postgraduate training.

Let me get this straight: medical residency is the in-hospital or in-clinic training that begins after completing medical school.

In many programs, it is only after a year of internship that interns enter residency. After three years of junior residency, the resident can become a senior resident doctor.

Graduates Get Paid During Medical Residency

During medical residency, students get paid because they work as a doctor, but only a little.

  • Medical residents earn an average of $63,400 a year. Those in their sixth through eighth years of medical residency earn more. During the years of training, salary increases at about 3 to 5k per year.
  • This translates to an average hourly pay of $20 per hour for those in the 10th percentile, while those in the 90th percentile get the highest rate of $31 per hour. 

While trainees in specializations such as allergy, hematology, rheumatology, and immunology average an annual salary of $69,500, those who train in family medicine earn $58,500 per annum. Surgical specialties typically pay more.

While this is about one-fourth of what a practicing physician earns, it is enough to rent a house or an apartment and pay for an acceptable standard of living during the training years. In addition, some internships and residencies provide meals during on-call hours.

The low pay for resident doctors in the United States is mainly because Medicare funds most residency programs, and the Medicare funds for training residents have been frozen since 1997

In addition, during their first year in residency, doctors do not generate revenue independently because they cannot bill for services independent of the attending physician supervising their practice.

The Bottom Line

Unless medical students find a job, they don’t get paid in medical school.

However, graduates get paid during residency (they are paid less than their peers).

One year of residency is required to get a license to practice medicine. Residency to specialize in a particular field of medicine can last from three to eight years.

About The Author

Nathan Brunner
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Nathan Brunner is a labor market expert. He is a mathematician who graduated from EPFL.

He is the owner of Salarship, a job board where less-skilled candidates can find accessible employment opportunities.