Many of our country’s most ambitious students pursue careers in the medical field. They may be dedicated to helping people or infatuated with scientific research. Many students seek the financial stability a medical career can offer. No matter what the driving factor behind your decision to attend medical school, there’s one thing you’re going to have to tackle, first: the cost. If you’re considering a medical academic career, first consider the average cost of medical school to make sure you’re ready to take on the burden.
Average Cost of Medical School in 2018
In 2017, the average cost of medical school was $32,495 for a single year of study at public medical colleges and $52,515 for a single year at a private medical college.
The average cost of medical school, like the average cost of college in general, has continuously increased over the years. Since the cost of medical school tuition has been rising reliably over the past two decades, you can expect the average cost of medical school tuition in 2018-19 to be around the same, if not higher than the last school year.
Average Cost of Medical School Through the Years
According to these numbers from American Medical Student Association (AMSA), medical school since the 1980s has seen a particularly dramatic hike in cost:
These skyrocketing averages represent only tuition costs and do not factor in other college expenses like room and board, transportation, or books.
Average Cost of Pre-Med School
While medical school itself will likely be the costliest part of earning your degree in medicine, pre-med can’t be omitted from your budget. Before you can even consider applying to your dream med school, you’ll need to obtain an undergraduate degree.
According to CollegeCalc, the average pre-med program in the 2016-17 school year cost about $41,770 (out of state) per year. Add four years of undergraduate school to four years of med school, and you come to a total of over $300,000 to earn your medical degree at a public college, out-of-state, on average. This is a very large number, but not completely dissimilar to the cost of a masters degree.
Financial Aid for Medical School
Luckily, you’re not faced with the challenge of paying for medical school entirely on your own. If you don’t mind taking on a good amount of debt, financial aid loans from the federal government, as well as loans from private institutions can help get you through your years of school. Just make sure you’re not taking on more debt than you need, and that you know how you’re going to pay off that debt when the time comes.
If you’re applying for medical school, you’re probably already familiar with the FAFSA (free application for federal student aid). Like with undergraduate school, the first step to receiving financial aid for med school is completing these forms. Be sure to contact the financial aid office at the school to which you’re applying to verify their requirements, and don’t miss the deadline for applying for your FAFSA.
Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
The Association of American Medical Colleges is one of your most important resources when it comes to applying to medical school—from making the decision to apply and finding the right school, to applying for financial aid. The AAMC will even help you all the way through med school and into your career, with essential information on managing your finances during medical school and finding your community.
Medical School Scholarships
The best way to make sure you’re prepared to pay for medical school is by being proactive. As soon as you know which school you want to attend, and you’re ready to apply for financial aid, it’s time to seek out additional sources of aid, such as scholarships. Your college financial aid office, as well as the AAMC Scholarship Supplement, can help you discover scholarships you might not know about.
Choosing the Right Med School
Most medical school applicants have one thing in mind when they’re first searching for the best medical school: reputation. You want to find the most prestigious school with the most well-respected name in the medical field. But a good reputation doesn’t always equal a good education or experience.
The Princeton Review recommends asking yourself a set of questions to help evaluate which schools are and are not the right match for you. This includes determining the academic focus of the school and ensuring that the school you’re applying to has a strong focus and dedication to the field of study you’re interested in. For example, if you’re most interested in research and lab work, you’ll want to avoid med schools that focus exclusively or nearly exclusively on patient care.
Another question you’ll want to ask yourself is about the culture of the campus. How rigorous are the academics? Can you see yourself living there? Make sure you know all the ins and outs of the school—and not just its name–before committing.
Is Medical School Worth It?
When you’re considering med school, the biggest hurdle you might (rightly) anticipate is that of paying for school. However, yet another consideration must be taken before you take the leap into a medical degree program: the investment of time. It takes about 10 years (including pre-med, med-school, and residency), on average, to earn a degree and begin practicing medicine full-time at full salary. Even then, many doctors find themselves working double-time just to repay their debts and keep up with investments.
If you’re considering medical school, take into account the average cost of medical school dollar-wise, but don’t forget to also tally up the time you’ll spend earning your degree and repaying that investment.
What’s Right for You
Ultimately, the decision about whether or not to go to medical school depends on your goals and disposition as a person. Medical school, along with law school, is one of the single most expensive things you can choose to study, and that investment doesn’t always pay off entirely—financially, at least. The best thing you can do before taking out any loans or paying any tuition is to make sure medical school is right for you, as a person and as a student.
Compare the Best Student Loan Refinance Rates
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College Ave: College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply. (1)The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as the borrower or cosigner, if applicable, enrolls in auto-pay and authorizes our loan servicer to automatically deduct your monthly payments from a valid bank account via Automated Clearing House (“ACH”). The rate reduction applies for as long as the monthly payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account and is suspended during periods of forbearance and certain deferments. Variable rates may increase after consummation. (2)$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees. (3)This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. Information advertised valid as of 1/27/2021. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
ELFI: Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. To qualify for refinancing or student loans consolidation through ELFI, you must have at least $15,000 in student loan debt and must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved post-secondary institution.
LendKey: Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
CommonBond: Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate.
Splash Financial: Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval.com
Earnest: To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest’s fixed-rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with autopay) to 7.89% APR (with autopay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with autopay) to 7.27% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms of 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 0.26% and 5.03% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 23, 2019 and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay Discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/23/19. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice.
Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 303 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, e-mail us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
Ascent: Ascent’s undergraduate and graduate student are funded by Bank of Lake Mills or DR Bank, each Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: www.AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 11/1/2023 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest APRs require interest-only payments, the shortest loan term, and a cosigner, and are only available to our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores.
*The minimum amount is $2,001 except for the state of Massachusetts. Minimum loan amount for borrowers with a Massachusetts permanent address is $6,001.