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How Much Will It Pay to Study Medicine in the US?


If your child is interested in becoming a doctor in the United States, or has already started planning to study medicine, you may be wondering: what is a medical career likd in the US?


Physicians are professionals who have received years of strenuous medical education that pay off their work, however, salaries in the medical field can vary a lot depending on specialty and other factors like location, experience, etc.


Based on Medscape's 2022 Physician Earnings Report, we have compiled the average annual earnings (in U.S. dollars) for the following physician types:

(Source: Medscape Official Website)


As we can see, there is a huge income gap between doctors in different medical fields. The average income of orthopedics and plastic surgery far surpasses those of other fields.


According to this report, the average income of doctors in the United States has risen again. Although the overall income trend is on the rise, the largest increases are seen in Otolaryngology, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Pediatrics, Plastic Surgery, and Ophthalmology. The average income has increased by more than 10%.



Gender Pay Gap


According to Medscape's report, the income gap between male and female doctors remains a large gap, but this gap has decreased year by year, with 36% in 2018, 33% in 2019, and 31% in 2022. One of the reasons for this decline is that more and more women are entering this high-paying field.


(Source: Medscape)



Regional Difference


The following are the 10 states with the highest doctor salaries in the United States. No significant increase from the past year are seen.


Many southern states put a lot of effort into attracting doctors. These areas tend to have higher demand for health and medical care, but there are fewer health professionals who want to work there. Higher salaries and bonuses are used to attract more health professionals.

(Source: Medscape)



Individual Physician vs Full-Time Physician


There are currently about 50,000 physicians in the U.S. working as temporary physicians, and the number is rising. More than 50% of U.S. physicians are employees of medical groups or hospitals, and while they benefit from regular, stable salaries and job security, individual physicians earn more on average in the U.S.

(Source: Medscape)


According to the Medscape's 2022 report, the average annual salary of self-employed physicians in the United States exceeds $380,000. That compares with an annual salary of $320,000 for doctors employed by medical groups or hospitals.



Cost of US Medical Education


Behind the glamorous income, we must also see that the path to practicing medicine is strenuous, especially in terms of the financial investment.


According to US News, medical education can be extremely expensive. The average annual cost of undergraduate education in 2020 ranged from $9,687 (at an in-state, public institution) to $35,087 (at a private institution). In-state annual tuition at public medical schools averaged $36,735 in the 2019-2020 academic year.


Applicants to medical school are usually required to obtain a four-year undergraduate degree. Although there are no formal requirements for majors, successful applicants have excellent academic backgrounds in biological and physical sciences, mathematics, and English. Undergraduate total tuition range from $40,000 to $140,000 or even higher, depending on the university attended.


Medical school can cost $145,000 or more, also depending on where students decide to attend.


As of 2020, the average debt for a medical school graduate was $215,900 to $241,600.

Medical school and residency application fees, medical school tuition, travel costs for interviews, and living on a residency salary for several years can be overwhelming for a medical student from a modest household.


Whether a student should pursue a career in medicine largely depends on their major, their industry of interest, and their long term career planning. At Enlighteens, we believe that education help students become the best version of their individual selves. We are here to help students and families pursue the education that suits their unique needs, with the bigger picture in mind.


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