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How Much Does Medical School Cost?
Congratulations, you’re considering becoming a doctor! It’s a very rewarding and lucrative career, but you’re probably wondering “how much does medical school cost?” Well, medical school can run you anywhere between $260,000 and $350,000, including living expenses and fees.
The final cost depends on whether you choose a public or private educational option. However, don’t let money completely dictate your decision on continuing your education. There are a number of ways to help decrease expenses as shown in this article. Keep reading for a glimpse at the possible price tag for medical school and the requirements to attend.
Estimated total cost of medical school
Since medical school can last for about four years, it can be easy to begin to accumulate debt. Yearly tuition already averages at about $53,000 and living expenses can easily add up to $20,000. Attending a medical school in your state can also help cut down costs and majorly decrease your expenses.
Public vs. Private
Medical school prices can vary depending on the type of school you decide to go to. Private schools tend to be on the higher side with over $65,000 being the average annual tuition while public tuition is about $40,500.
That’s about a $25,000 difference, most likely due to the fact that public universities receive more government funding. Private schooling can still be worth the increase since they might offer more scholarships, have smaller classes, and often carry more prestige.
Average earning potential for medical school graduates
After you graduate medical school, you’ve officially become a doctor! However, graduates don’t just jump right into practicing medicine on their own after they graduate. They will have to participate in a residency program which can last for three years or more. Residents don’t usually make the same salary as their mentors and teachers when they first start.
Once your residency is over, you’ll be working as a doctor without any supervision and thus, your pay is likely to increase. On average, doctors make $208,000 a year, which should allow you to pay back any loans you might’ve taken out to fund your education.
For students worried about living expenses, finding a good employment option to work with your schedule can really help out. Here are a few
Work study or residential advisor
Universities usually offer on-campus or work study jobs that are flexible around your classes. Becoming a resident assistant or a graduate residence coordinator can completely reduce any of your housing costs.
There’s also the option of pursuing fellowships. They give you the opportunity to work with professionals in your desired field and gain valuable experience. Be advised that fellowships are very competitive and usually last a certain period of time.
Tuition reimbursement jobs
Also, be on the lookout for tuition reimbursement jobs. These positions offer part-time and full-time employees the chance to earn thousands of dollars to put toward their education. Some companies may require you to work there for a certain time period before you qualify or might require a certain degree criteria. So, don’t be afraid to check their policies before applying for a job to make sure it’s the right fit for you.
Related: How to receive student loan forgiveness as a healthcare worker
Medical school requirements
Saving lives isn’t an easy job, so it’s expected that medical school requires rigorous academics. The best way to get ready for that challenging curriculum is by preparing during your undergraduate years. Your major, GPA, and outside activities all play a part in your application and make it stand out.
Often, students that are interested in earning a doctorate in medicine choose a science-related degree path. Some schools might even offer a pre-medicine track, but biology, chemistry, or physical science are all common choices. Your advisor can also be helpful for deciding on the best major for you. Either way, it’s not about the journey, it’s about the destination.
The typical GPA recommendation for medical school applicants is at or above a 3.5. More selective schools, such as those in the Ivy League, usually look for GPAs closer to 4.0, so be aware when you apply. However, emphasizing your skills or experience relating to the medical field can help if you’re worried about your GPA.
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is an exam that should be submitted with your medical school application. Think of it as your medical school SAT/ACT. The MCAT has four different sections and the highest you can score for each section is 132 for a total of 528 points. Acing your MCAT can significantly increase your chances of acceptance, even if you have a slightly lower GPA.
Also see: How to pay for medical school
Financial aid options
Continuing education can be expensive no matter what you choose. A doctorate requires more time, which in turn equates to more money. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to cut down costs that make earning your degree much more affordable.
Scholarships and grants
Scholarships and grants are the top choice for decreasing the cost of medical school. After all, scholarships and grants don’t need to be paid back. Unfortunately, medical schools aren’t likely to offer many merit-based scholarships, but they usually offer need-based ones. However, you should still fill out applications for outside scholarships to help supplement any financial aid you’ve been awarded. Fortunately, Scholarships360 offers a scholarship directory to give students an extra hand.
Since you might be pursuing a doctorate in medicine, this is a great opportunity to apply for research grants. You should also try to apply for student loan grants that can help you pay back any loans you might take out. Check out our guide for winning grants to increase your chances of being awarded one.
FAFSA and student loans
Financial aid is a key tool, and usually the first step when people apply to medical school. Applications like FAFSA can now be dependent on the applicant’s finances rather than their parent or guardian’s information. This can be beneficial because you’ll qualify for more aid, but there’s also a possibility that you’ll qualify for more student loans.
Try to be as cautious as possible when accepting student loans. Over 70% of medical school students reported student loan debt in 2021, and it’s important to set up a repayment plan as soon as possible to avoid your balance increasing from interest.
Related: Top medical school scholarships
The United States Military
The Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) is offered by the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force. These military scholarships cover civilian medical school tuition, fees, and housing. A monthly living stipend is also included. For most, a generous signing bonus is awarded as well. Scholarship length varies by the service branch the student joins.
Medical students must commit to practice medicine in the military for a certain number of years after graduating. Each branch of the Military has different requirements, so do your research before applying.
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