The cost of going to medical school is a big one, but it’s not necessarily as bad as you think.
First of all, school choice matters. Medical school tuition for in-state public schools can be a real bargain while private medical schools cost a premium.
Secondly, student loan repayment can be very flexible. Technically, the average cost of medical school doesn’t matter for federal loan borrowers who plan on working as a physician at a nonprofit employer. Programs, like Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) for doctors can mean big savings on federal student debt.
Careers in medicine can also be very rewarding if you enjoy science and helping people. A physician’s salary ranks near the top salaries by profession, too, so that’s a huge benefit.
All of this, however, doesn’t come without sacrifice but it can be well worth it.
Average cost of medical school
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the average annual medical school tuition, fees and health insurance for the 2020-2021 school year from most expensive to least expensive are as follows:
- Public medical school (resident): $41,438
- Public medical school (non-resident): $58,246
- Private medical school: $61,490
You can see that the medical school tuition gap is about $20,000 from most expensive (private school) to least expensive (in-state students).
Medical school tuition ranking
Let’s break down the cost of attendance a little further. Here are the top five most expensive and least expensive medical schools by category, according to the AAMC. The following list includes one year of tuition, fees and health insurance:
Public resident (in-state) medical school tuition
- Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine – $56,522
- Carle Illinois College of Medicine – $54,425
- Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine – $52,565
- Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University – $51,716
- University of Illinois College of Medicine – $51,582
- University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine – $17,786
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine – $20,633
- Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine – $20,770
- University of New Mexico School of Medicine – $21,477
- University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School – $22,613
Public non-resident (out-of-state) medical school tuition
- University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville – $91,557
- University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia – $91,307
- Northeast Ohio Medical University – $86,164
- University of Illinois College of Medicine – $84,759
- University of Colorado School of Medicine – $80,974
- McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston – $33,067
- University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine – $33,786
- University of Nebraska College of Medicine – $33,844
- Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine – $33,870
- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine – $35,505
Private medical school tuition
- Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth: $73,659
- Tufts University School of Medicine: $71,752
- Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California: $71,353
- Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons: $71,107
- Harvard Medical School: $70,709
- New York University* Long Island School of Medicine: $10,170
- New York University* Grossman School of Medicine: $10,200
- Baylor College of Medicine: $27,843
- San Juan Bautista School of Medicine: $37,780
- Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine: $41,062
*NYU is very inexpensive thanks, in part, to a major benefactor (Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone) whose endowment is paying for the medical students’ tuition.
How much does it cost to become a doctor?
As the numbers above show, it varies. If you live in Texas, for example, and are considering becoming a doctor, you’re fortunate to have three medical schools that rank as the least-expensive institutions in the country. Illinois? Not so much.
Over a four-year period, med students can pay anywhere between $150,000 to $350,000. That doesn’t factor in the added expense for the cost of living nor does it deduct from any financial aid received.
Here at Student Loan Planner, the average physician’s student loan debt is $336,000. That includes med school debt and any undergrad student loans.
The good news is that the average physician salary, according to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report for 2020, is above $300,000 with primary care physicians earning $243,000 and specialists earning $346,000 on average.
Plus, medical professionals have some of the greatest opportunities to take advantage of, like PSLF.
How to pay back medical school student debt
The best way to pay back med school loans will depend mostly on the cost of medical school and whether a physician ends up working in private practice or for a PSLF-qualifying employer.
The good news is that federal student loans offer incredibly flexible student loan repayment options (especially in residency), and the monthly payments can be managed on a physician salary fairly easily.
If you’re not in medical school yet, you’ll want to know your loan options and what repayment could look like before jumping in. Schedule a pre-debt consultation with us to learn more.
If you’re a med student, resident or full fledged attending physician, we can help make sure you have the optimal plan in repayment strategy with a student loan consultation.
The cost of medical school doesn’t have to be a burden. There’s a student loan plan that will fit around your career and life goals no matter what type of medical school you attended or plan to attend.