Pursuing a medical profession is a life-changing decision to make. It involves the commitment to help people, the dedication to improve scientific research, and the willingness to always put others before yourself. However, the journey doesn’t come easy, and one of the most important questions you’ll have to think about is this: How much is medical school?
Many begin their research early so they can prepare for the expenses and learn more about their options. Actual costs vary among institutions or programs, so some of the numbers below are only approximated.
How Much is Medical School?
Most schools use the American Medical College Application Service to process the primary application. This allows you to submit your entry requirements and send these directly to your intended school. In 2020, this costs $170 for the first school and $40 for each additional school. Typically, students apply to 15 to 20 schools.
The secondary application entails students to explain why they want to attend such school. Some also require the transcripts and recommendation letters to be transmitted from your college registrar to the medical school. Prices for these vary by institution.
The MCAT Exam costs $320 for the test and distribution of scores. There are additional fees for retakes, late or changes in the registration, and international testing. Some also spend about $2,500 for exam preparation.
You spend for travel, accommodation, and appropriate attire during interviews, which can range from $2,500 to $3,000. You may also purchase application guidebooks at about $20 each.
The recommended budget for the application process is about $5,000 to $10,000.
These depend on whether you go to an in-state or out-of-state school and if it’s private or public. Here’s a breakdown of the average tuition and fees by institution type for the schoolyear 2019-2020, as reported by the AAMC:
Other school expenses include the following (per academic year):
- Books: $250-$1,000
- Study materials: $750-$1,400
- Instruments and supplies: $100-$150
Over four years, you can spend around $153,000 to $252,000 in school fees. Note that some institutions implement a tuition increase of 5% to 10% annually.
The cost of living depends on your city of choice and lifestyle. To plan this out, you can use an online budget calculator, consult with the city government, or ask the school’s financial aid office.
The University of Michigan shares guidelines of estimated monthly living expenses for medical students:
The USMLE allows you to practice medicine in the US. There are separate costs for each step, plus travel costs for Step 2 Clinical Skills which are administered only in selected sites. Likewise, you can buy study resources to help you prepare for these tests.
The fees below apply to students from LCME- or AOA-accredited medical schools in the US and Canada:
The biggest expense of the residency process comes from the interview costs, which depend on your specialty choice and the location of your desired program.
Students regularly pay around $1,000 to $7,500 for the residency process, including application fees, travel, and other personal costs.
Conferences and Meetings
While these aren’t mandatory, conferences help you explore specialties, grow your network, and learn about residency programs. Though these may entail additional costs, you can travel to such events to present your research, attend workshops, and build up your CV. Some conferences and medical schools offer scholarships or stipends for those who wish to attend.
Knowing the cost of medical school is a small but vital step in your career path. Though there are ways to make your education more affordable, be sure to use the right tools, do adequate research, and budget ahead, so you’re better prepared for your medical career.Back to All Articles