It costs more than $1.1 million to train a doctor in the United States. The societal investment in creating physicians is enormous and has widespread implications for American health care in everything from acceptance of international medical graduates to the future use of non-physician health care providers.
Breaking down the costs
Depending on the specialty, tt takes 11 to 15 years to train a physician when you count college, medical school, residency, and fellowship. At each of these steps there are direct costs and indirect costs. Some of these costs are paid by the physician in training and some of these costs are paid for by society in general (usually through state or federal taxes). Here is a breakdown of the direct and indirect costs at each step along the way:
Undergraduate education. Colleges essentially have 3 sources of income: tuition, endowment, and government funds. For this reason, the total cost to educate an undergraduate is considerably more than what the student actually pays in tuition. It becomes complicated because most colleges not only have to finance the education of students but also have to finance the research activities that professors must perform in order to keep their jobs. Thus, it is hard to separate the costs of education from the costs of research. Public colleges receive state government funds to subsidize their education and research activities and this results in lower tuition for in-state residents than for out-of-state residents. The out-of-state tuition and fees best reflects the cost to teach an undergraduate without the state governmental subsidy. Private colleges and universities generally do not receive state governmental subsidies and have considerably higher tuition costs. For the purpose of this analysis, I used the current cost of attendance for out-of-state freshman at the Ohio State University that includes tuition, fees, books, room, board, and miscellaneous expenses if living on-campus which is $49,556. For four years of college, this would be a total cost of $198,224.
Medical school. Colleges of medicine have the same 3 sources of income as undergraduate colleges so for this analysis, I used the current cost of attendance for an out-of-state medical student at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. Once again, this estimate is for tuition and fees as well as estimated living expenses. Unlike undergraduate college, the cost of medical school varies considerably for each of the four years of training: year one = $80,019, year two = $76,026, year three = $114,442, and year four = $114,542. Totaling all four years, the cost to go to medical school is $385,029.
Residency. There are both direct and indirect costs of resident education. The direct costs are the resident’s salary and benefits. At the Ohio State University Medical Center, these costs are $51,510 for a first year resident (intern) and increases each year so that a fourth year resident cost is $56,636. However, the direct costs are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the total cost to train a resident. There is the cost of everything from hospital call rooms, to residency program administrator salaries, to part of the salaries of chairmen and faculty to cover otherwise non-compensated teaching time. Most of these indirect costs are ultimately paid from federal tax dollars- either by Medicare payments to teaching hospitals for graduate medical education or by the higher Medicare payments for clinical services that teaching hospitals get paid (as opposed to non-teaching hospitals). In 2014, the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine estimated that the total direct and indirect costs to train a resident is $183,416 per year. For the 3 years of residency it takes to become a general internist, pediatrician, family physician, or hospitalist, the cost is $550,248. It takes longer to train other specialists, for example, an obstetrician is 4 years ($733,664), a gastroenterologist is 6 years ($1,100,496), and an interventional cardiologist is 7 years ($1,283,912).
Total costs. Adding all of these together, the total costs to train physicians is astounding. This demonstrates that society has an enormous investment in each physician in the United States.
- $1,133,501 – general internist, family physician, pediatrician
- $1,316,917 – obstetrician, psychiatrist
- $1,500,333 – general surgeon, endocrinologist
- $1,683,749 – gastroenterologist, pulmonary/critical care, general cardiologist
- $1,867,165 – interventional cardiologist, neurosurgeon
Implications for U.S. healthcare
International medical graduates. One of the best ways to reduce the cost of training doctors is to get someone else to pay for it. If you can get another country to cover the costs of college and medical school, then the cost to American society drops. Therefore, the U.S. cost to train a family physician who is an international medical graduate is $583,253 less than a family physician who is a U.S. medical graduate. In other words, the cost to American society of an international medical graduate is about half that of a U.S. medical graduate.
Non-physician providers. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are far less expensive to train than physicians. The typical NP or PA training consists of 4 years of undergraduate training plus 2 years of NP/PA training. The costs to become an NP or PA is approximately $84,598 after college (tuition and living expenses) and the total cost including college is $282,822. In other words, the cost to train a family practice NP/PA is only one-fourth of the cost of training a family practice physician. Given that NPs and PAs increasingly have a similar scope of practice as physicians, from a societal standpoint, it will be a lot less expensive to train an NP or PA than it is to train a physician to do the same job. The implication is that NPs and PAs will replace many physician jobs in the future.
Repairing broken physicians. In a meeting I was recently attending, a question was asked whether we have different standards for terminating physicians with behavioral problems or substance abuse than we do for terminating other health care workers for the same problems. The reality is that I think we probably do and part of this is because of the enormous societal investment in those physicians. To create an analogy, if you have a broken handle on a screw driver that cost $2, you buy a new screw driver and don’t pay the cost of repairing it. On the other hand, if you have a broken handle on an airplane that costs $1.2 million, you repair the handle rather than throwing out the entire plane. If society invests $1.2 million to create a physician who then develops alcoholism, one can make the argument that hospitals have a societal obligation to first attempt to cure the physician and return him or her to practice when/if safe to do so rather than permanently end that physician’s career. Like it or not, hospitals will often put broken physicians on leave and attempt to rehabilitate them for infractions that would result in an unskilled employee being terminated – it is not necessarily fair but it is an economic reality. On the other hand, if an airplane has a critical mechanical flaw that puts it in continuous danger of crashing, you decommission that airplane – physicians with critical flaws should similarly be decommissioned.
Discussions about the cost of training physicians usually center around the cost to the individual physician and often stop at the average debt of a graduating medical student. But beyond medical student debt, there is a much larger cost that is not paid directly by the doctor but is paid more broadly by the institutions that provide scholarships, by the citizens who pay state and federal taxes, by direct salary costs of residents who cannot bill for their services, and by the indirect costs to hospitals to train residents.
July 11, 2019
How much does it cost to train to be a doctor? ›
It partly depends on the qualifications you have before going to medical school, and the type of doctor you want to be. For example as a guide, it'll take around 10 years to train as a GP (including medical school) and 14 years to train as a surgeon. Find out more about the different roles for doctors.How much does it cost to train a doctor in USA? ›
Today, in-state US medical students spend an average of $37,556 to attend public school, while out-of-state residents pay an average of $62,000. Private medical schools cost an average of $60,000 annually.
How Much Does It Cost to Study Medicine in the UK? UK students pay up to £9,250 (€11,070) per year in tuition fees for medical universities. Living costs may vary by another £1000 to £2000 per month (€1200 - €2400), depending on the city and type of accommodation.How many years does it take to train a doctor? ›
It can take up to six years to be a qualified doctor, depending on the medical specialty you choose. We have mapped out the medical training pathway to give you a step-by-step guide of what to expect.Do you have to pay to train to be a doctor? ›
Most of the training is paid for by the government but some tuition fees - plus rent and living costs - are paid for by the student.How much does it cost to run a medical school? ›
The Coordinating Board staff estimates that the amount of general revenue needed to cover six-year start-up costs for a new medical school would be $92 million for administration, faculty, and staff.How much do doctors make a year? ›
|How Much Money Can I Earn as a Doctor?|
As of Nov 7, 2022, the average monthly pay for a Doctor in the United States is $14,432 a month. While ZipRecruiter is seeing monthly salaries as high as $30,458 and as low as $1,583, the majority of Doctor salaries currently range between $6,666 (25th percentile) to $21,666 (75th percentile) across the United States.Do doctors get paid a lot in the US? ›
According to a 2018 study, generalist physicians earned an average of $218,713 in the United States, compared with an average of $133,723 across OECD nations. The disparity was even wider for specialists, who earned an average of $316,000 in the U.S. and an OECD average of $182,657.How much is a Dr paid in UK? ›
|NHS Doctor salaries - 60 salaries reported||London, United Kingdom Area||£51,621/yr|
|NHS Doctor salaries - 13 salaries reported||London, United Kingdom Area||£40,000/yr|
|NHS Doctor salaries - 12 salaries reported||London, United Kingdom Area||£73,323/yr|
How much do UK pay their doctors? ›
An experienced doctor in the UK can earn up to 121,300 GBP per year. Doctors with experience of about 20 years or more can earn up to 143,200 GBP. An MBBS doctor's salary in the UK per month can range from 2,560 GBP, being the lowest salary to 9,750, being the highest.How much does it cost to train a surgeon UK? ›
It costs £230,000 to train a doctor in England and proposals set out in a consultation launched today (14 March 2017) include plans to obtain a return on this investment.Does it take 7 years to become a doctor? ›
This usually consists of part theoretical and part clinical studies. In the US, you will spend four years in an undergraduate degree and then another four years in medical school. So, eight years total. You will be exposed to the scientific foundations of medicine, laboratory work and clinical practice.What is the shortest time to become a doctor? ›
In the U.S., the fastest way to becoming a doctor is to choose a short residency after completing your eight combined years of medical school and an undergraduate degree. Read on to find out the shortest residency programs that take only three to four years.Can I become a doctor at 30? ›
There is no age limit for medical school. You can become a doctor in your 30s, 40s, 50s, and even 60s. In the end, medical schools want students who will make good physicians.Do doctors get paid during training? ›
In Foundation training, you will earn a basic salary of £29,384 to £34,012 (from 1 April 2022). If you're a doctor starting your specialist training in 2022 your basic salary will be £40,257 to £53,398.How do I train myself to be a doctor? ›
- Complete your senior secondary education. ...
- Appear for an MBBS entrance exam. ...
- Complete your MBBS. ...
- Complete an internship. ...
- Register with the Indian Medical Register. ...
- Practice as a doctor.
Medicine is a super competitive and rigorous field: doctors have a lot of responsibility and must spend tons of time and money on their training. Healthcare is also a growing field, which means that the demand for doctors will continue to increase in the coming years.How do medical schools make money? ›
3 | Where Medical Schools Get All of Their Money
The answer is that they receive income primarily from four sources: tuition, endowments, government funds, and medical services. The one you are probably most familiar with is tuition – the money that medical schools receive from their students.
- Get Some Medical Experience on Your Résumé ...
- Do Research Projects. ...
- Put in Time Serving Others. ...
- Choose a Major You Will Excel In. ...
- Apply to Multiple Schools. ...
- Study Early and Often for the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT. ...
- Learn Another Language. ...
- Don't Skimp on Extracurricular Activities.
What is the cheapest medical school? ›
|Florida State University College of Medicine||$32,905.90|
|Marshall University (Edwards) (WV)||$54,772|
|McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston||$26,125|
- Cardiology physician.
2. CEOs. It all starts from the top, of course - most of the world's richest people are helming global corporations with thousands of employees. In the case of India and the United States, things already seem severely tilted, with both nations topping the ranks for CEO to the average worker ratio.Who are the lowest paid doctors? ›
- 10 | Psychiatry. ...
- 9 | Neurology. ...
- 8 | Allergy & Immunology. ...
- 7 | Preventive Medicine. ...
- 6 | Rheumatology. ...
- 5 | Endocrinology. ...
- 4 | Pediatrics. ...
- 3 | Infectious Disease.
Das Paradies for doctors; Germany!
Medical doctors are highly paid in this country, a general physician may earn about 7000 EUR on average per month, while it may exceed 10000 EUR depending on the working time or the working place like clinics or hospitals.
|OCCUPATION||2021 MEDIAN PAY|
|General internal medicine physicians||This wage is equal to or greater than $208,000 per year|
|Family medicine physicians||This wage is equal to or greater than $208,000 per year|
|Emergency medicine physicians||This wage is equal to or greater than $208,000 per year|
As of Nov 9, 2022, the average hourly pay for a Doctor in the United States is $83.26 an hour. While ZipRecruiter is seeing hourly wages as high as $175.72 and as low as $9.13, the majority of Doctor wages currently range between $38.46 (25th percentile) to $125.00 (75th percentile) across the United States.Are most doctors millionaires? ›
Across the board according to the 2021 physician wealth report, 56% of physicians reported a net worth of over a million. Out of family physicians, the majority become millionaires by the age of 55, with only 11% having a net worth of a million before 45.
|2018 Average Physician Hours Worked Per Week|
|Physician Type||Average Physician Workweek|
|Employed physicians||53.73 hours|
|Primary care physicians||50.64 hours|
|Physician specialists||51.76 hours|
This is because it is an extremely competitive and challenging path to complete, and the kind of work you do is often considered noble. For that reason, being a doctor is considered very prestigious.
Which doctor is highest paid in UK? ›
- Medical director.
- Plastic surgeon.
- Director of nursing.
- Clinical director.
- Study in UK.
- Top 6 Highest-Paying Careers and Jobs in the UK. Aeronautical & Aerospace Engineering. Medicine. Law. IT, Computer Science, Big Data & Analytics. Finance, Investment Banking & Risk Management. Sales and Marketing.
As an NHS employee, you will pay Income Tax and National Insurance on your wages through the PAYE system. Overseas doctors will have tax and national insurance automatically deducted from their monthly salary.How much does an F1 doctor earn? ›
How does the salary as a F1 Doctor at NHS compare with the base salary range for this job? The average salary for a F1 Doctor is £36,272 per year in United Kingdom, which is 14% higher than the average NHS salary of £31,632 per year for this job.Does physician mean doctor? ›
A physician is a medical doctor who usually focuses on the non-surgical treatment of patients' conditions.Is a surgeon higher than a doctor? ›
All surgeons must first qualify as doctors, so they will have a basic medical degree which includes the principles of medicine and surgery. The title of this degree varies according to the university attended.Do surgeons get paid more than doctors UK? ›
— Surgeons rank at the top of the payscale —
If you're working as a speciality doctor you earn a basic salary of between £40,037 and £74,661.
Courses normally last five years, or four years for a graduate entry programme. They involve basic medical sciences as well as clinical training on the wards. After graduation, you'll enter the two-year Foundation Programme.Whats the fastest way to become a doctor? ›
Several BS/MD programs can be completed in three years, one year faster than most undergraduate programs. Some programs, like Penn State's Accelerated Premedical-Medical Program, enable you to complete your bachelor's in three years and dive into four years at med school.How many times become a doctor? ›
It will take 7.5 years to become a doctor especially if you want to do MBBS. Two years will be required for class11 and 12 and 4.5 years for pursuing MBBS degree and 1 year for doing medical internship.
Do doctors get paid during residency? ›
The average first-year resident physician makes about $60,000, and there's not much wiggle room. Resident salaries are determined by an institution and correlate with training year rather than specialty.Which doctor is the hardest to become? ›
Apart from the top 5 specialties mentioned above, Interventional Radiology, Radiation Oncology, Vascular Surgery, General Surgery and Med/Peds are among the most difficult domains to become a doctor.Which doctor has the easiest job? ›
- Here is our list of the top 10 happiest doctor specialties according to work-life balance:
- Family Medicine.
Balamurali Krishna "Bala" Ambati (born July 29, 1977) is an Indian-American ophthalmologist, educator, and researcher. On May 19, 1995, he entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's youngest doctor, at the age of 17 years, 294 days.What is the best age to become a doctor? ›
At what age should I expect to become a doctor? The average starting age of a medical student is 24, which means they become licensed doctors in their mid to late 30s.What is the last age to become a doctor? ›
Yes, you can become a doctor even if you are 30 years old.How much will it cost to study medicine in UK? ›
The annual tuition fees of universities offering MBBS in UK ranges between 21,00,000 INR to 50,00,000 INR. The average cost of living for an Indian student in UK is approximately 12,00,000 INR per annum.How much do GP's earn? ›
Average £82,900 per year.How much are doctors paid in UK? ›
Specialty doctors and specialist payscale
If you're working as a specialty doctor you'll earn a basic salary of £50,373 to £78,759. If you are a specialist grade doctor you'll earn a basic salary of £80,693 to £91,584.
You can get an annual payment from the NHS to help with your study and living costs (known as a 'bursary') if you're studying a dental, medical or healthcare course in England.
What is the cheapest university to study medicine in UK? ›
- University of Aberdeen.
- University of Birmingham.
- University of Bristol.
- University of Manchester.
- King's College London.
- University of Dundee.
- Swansea University Medical College.
Where can one study medicine abroad for free? Most Nordic countries like Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden offer students the opportunity to study medicine abroad for free. Studying at a university is free of charge for students of any study level or nationality in these nations.Which field is best in doctor? ›
- Cardiology physician.
Several BS/MD programs can be completed in three years, one year faster than most undergraduate programs. Some programs, like Penn State's Accelerated Premedical-Medical Program, enable you to complete your bachelor's in three years and dive into four years at med school.Who is the highest paid GP? ›
doctor is today facing questions about how he was given £270,000 a year from a new government contract. Dr Satya Gupta, from Hackney, was today called "Britain's highest earning GP", amid growing calls for an inquiry by the local health trust.Are GPs paid too much? ›
Many less experienced GPs earn just over £60,000 a year, while a handful of the most experienced can earn more than £200,000 by managing several practices and thousands of patients. This wide variance is primarily to do with how GPs operate – and whether they are salaried GPs, or effectively small business owners.Where are doctors paid the most? ›
Top 10 highest paying states for physicians in 2022
- Tennessee. ...
- Alabama. ...
- Missouri. ...
- Oregon. ...
- Indiana. ...
- North Carolina. ...
- Connecticut. ...