To become a doctor, you need to secure not only an undergraduate degree from a four-year program but also a medical degree from a medical school. It can be a costly undertaking to become a doctor, but it is well worth it if you desire to help others.
You’ll need to learn how to diagnose patients accurately and use medical equipment properly, and acquiring the skills you need comes at a hefty price tag. Plus, finding a medical school is not easy. You may have limited choices, so shopping around for the cheapest school may not be an option.
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What’s the Average Cost of Medical School?
The average cost of medical school in the United States ranges from $37,000 to $60,000 for a first-year student, depending on school choice. Private medical schools can cost twice as much as public ones. Also, residency is important as non-residents pay more than residents.
The Real Costs of Medical School
When determining how much medical school costs, you have to understand the many expenses that go into the overall price. You not only have to pay for tuition and books but also fees, housing, and insurance.
Figuring the cost is comparable to how you determined the answer to the question, “how much does 4 years of college cost on average” when you were looking to earn your undergraduate degree. All the same considerations come into play, making the average cost of medical school much higher than just tuition.
Private and Public Medical School Tuition
As you now know, in answering the question “what is the average cost of 4 years of medical school,” it often depends on whether you are attending a private or public school. Private schools are more exclusive and accept fewer students than public schools, which will impact costs. Also, the state subsidizes a portion of the medical school tuition and fees at a public school.
Due to these differences, the costs can range from around $150,000 to almost $400,000 for four years of medical school. Expect to pay on the lower end of the range for public schools and the higher end for private schools.
Calculating the True Costs of Medical School
You may ask, “why is medical school so expensive?” It is a valid question that has many answers. Some may say it is because medical school is highly competitive or in high demand, with only about one out of every 16 applicants accepted into a school. It follows the general rule of supply and demand.
The other part of the equation is it is a requirement. To practice medicine, you must complete medical school. You have no other option, so the schools know they have a service that people must have and can charge accordingly.
However, tuition is not the only factor in the price tag. The average cost of medical school also includes paying for books, room and board, and fees. Most medical schools have locations in high-end communities and areas where the cost of living is high, which means you pay more for general expenses.
Finding More Affordable Tuition and Fees
The good news is that you can find a more affordable option if you take the time to investigate. You can start by asking, “what is the cheapest medical school?” However, do not let price alone influence your decision. You want to find a high-quality, cost-conscious medical education .
To do this, you need to understand all aspects of the total cost and learn about things you can do to lower your expenses.
Factor in the Cost of Living
The cost of living plays a huge role in the overall average cost of medical school. The cost of living includes everything from housing to food, and the prices of things can vary widely from one area to the next.
You may have options to lower your expenses, such as living in student housing . However, in an area with a high cost of living, even options that are usually lower costing are pricey.
The top medical schools are in New Haven, Connecticut, Boston, Massachusetts, and Atlanta, Georgia. All three areas have an average cost of living that is much higher than the national average. To maintain a standard of life that is comfortable, you will need a lot more money.
How to Pay for Med School
Before you can figure out how to pay for medical school, you should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is your key to many forms of financial assistance. It can also help you to secure loans, find grants, and get scholarships.
Student loans are a standard option for paying schooling expenses. However, they should be one of your last choices for financing because you must pay them back.
If you do secure a loan, it is best to choose a subsidized loan, which means you will not have to pay interest while attending school or during deferment. If you have a higher income, you may not qualify because they are income-based.
HPSP and Military Scholarships
The Health Professions Scholarship Program is an aid program for medical students who are members of the U.S. Army, Air Force, or Navy. It covers 100% of your tuition, but it has a lengthy application process.
The NHSC Scholarship
The National Health Service Corps scholarship options are for anyone wanting to become a doctor, physician assistant, dentist, nurse practitioner, or Doctor of Nursing Practice. These scholarships will pay tuition, fees, and other costs, along with offering a living stipend.
The Professional Student Exchange Program
The PSEP provides financial aid to students who wish to study outside their home states due to state schools not offering their chosen program. It is limited to applicants who line in ten western states.
Medical School Requirements
Getting into medical school requires at least a bachelor’s degree. Most often, medical schools would like your undergraduate degree to be in an area of science. You may also find schools offering pre-med degrees.
As mentioned, medical school is competitive, so to get in, you need excellent grades. You must also complete the Medical College Admission Test.
Making Your Medical School Choice
After all this talk about the costs of getting an education, you may wonder, “is it worth it to go to medical school?” The answer is up to you, but if you want to work in the healthcare field and wish to be a leader, then medical school is the only path.
Remember, you have financing options. You will find a way to afford it and reach your career goals.