It’s the question no one wants to ask, but every aspiring doctor must: How much does it cost to go to medical school? No matter how you slice it, med school is expensive. Subsidized public medical schools may offer preferential pricing to in-state students, but even so, it’s a big bill.
However, the cost of medical school doesn’t need to keep you from pursuing your dream. There are many ways to pay for your degrees, such as scholarships, financial aid, and even loan forgiveness. The idea is to have a well-structured plan that considers tuition costs when choosing the right school for you.
In this article, we’ll explain how much getting your degree will cost and what to expect when paying it off. Remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and we’re sure you’ll make a great physician.
What are the requirements for attending medical school?
Before you even start calculating the cost of medical school, you’ll have to navigate getting in. So, what does the process entail? Here are the basic requirements you’ll need to meet and the steps you’ll have to take.
- Earn your high school diploma
- Earn an undergraduate degree in the sciences (with a good GPA)
- Obtain letters of recommendation
- Earn the MCAT score required by the institutions to which you plan to apply
- Apply to schools
Your first expense will be the program application fee, so how much does it cost to apply to medical school? Many institutions use the centralized American Medical College Application Service, which charges $170 for the first and $39 for each after that.
How much does medical school cost?
Let’s explore the most important question: How much does four years of medical school cost? Here we’ve broken down the different categories that make up the total cost of your education.
- Tuition: Think of medical school tuition as how much you pay for classes. This part of your expenses covers the instruction you receive.
- Fees: This category of charges is a bit less defined and is an “umbrella” term for any other cost of attendance.
- Books and materials: Books get expensive, as do the materials you need to succeed in your medical education, like a new laptop or a well-stocked supply of notebooks, flashcards, and highlighters.
- Living expenses: Don’t forget to consider rent, food, and transportation in your budget. Think about how you’ll cover them, whether by using your savings, working a part-time job, or taking out a loan that offers a living stipend.
So, given these cost categories, how much does medical school cost per year? And how much does medical school cost for four years?
The average cost of one year of medical school is around $55,000. If you attend a private medical school, this number may be approximately $5,000 higher, and if you attend a public institution, roughly $5,000 lower.
That means four years of medical school should cost you approximately $200,000 before books, supplies, and living expenses.
How can you pay for medical school?
First things first: Take a deep breath. You’re about to start a rewarding career path, and when we say “rewarding,” we’re not just talking about the satisfying nature of the work. We’re talking about earning potential. However, even if you’ll soon be making enough to pay off medical school debt, it’s best to have a financial strategy. You can learn more about financial planning for physicians here.
There are several subsidized and unsubsidized loans available to medical school students. Depending on the loan, you may be later eligible for loan forgiveness if you work in certain areas, specialties and organizations. In many cases, you could also qualify for income-based repayment plans, so your contributions will be proportional to what you earn.
Many loans are technically a part of a financial aid plan. Once you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you’ll learn whether you’re eligible for federal unsubsidized loans. Financial aid packages may also include school loans from the institution you attend and need-based scholarships.
Regardless of whether you qualify for a need-based scholarship, you can apply for merit-based scholarships offered by your educational institution or other organizations. If you earn one, it could dramatically reduce your expenses or even cover them entirely. There’s no better way to graduate from a school of medicine and start your career than debt-free.
How much can first-year doctors earn?
As you consider going into debt to earn your degree, it may comfort you to learn how much you stand to earn as an entry-level doctor. This number ranges anywhere from $175,000 to approximately $250,000 in the United States.
Another wise idea is to work with a financial planner specializing in physicians to make the most of your money: generating savings, paying down your loans, managing risk, and event planning for your retirement. Your golden years may seem far off, but they’re something to look forward to nonetheless.
We can’t help you pay for school tuition, but we can lend a hand with our student discount to ensure you get the best, high-quality scrubs at an affordable price. We’re also dedicated to researching ways to help medical professionals live their best lives—in terms of finances, personal wellness, and career satisfaction.