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Association of American Medical Colleges Tomorrow's Doctors, Tomorrow's Cures®

FIRST for Pre-health Advisors

Pre-health Advisors

Resources for staff who advise aspiring medical students

You Can Afford Medical School

If you want to be a doctor or physician scientist – they are good career choices, both socially and financially. Although medical school is expensive, there are options when it comes to financing your education. The key to affording medical school is educating yourself about the available financial options for funding your medical education program.  

Things to Think About

The truth of the matter is: medical school is expensive. There are many different ways you might choose to pay for your education but student loans are a reality for most students. The keys to successful repayment are careful planning and budgeting, learning how to effectively manage your debt, and educating yourself on the various repayment options.

Have a Plan

One of your first stops on the road to creating a sound financial plan should be the AAMC’s FIRST for Medical Education Web site. It contains extensive information on the cost of applying to medical school,  information about various loan types, repayment information, and other related topics. But even with these resources, the process can be overwhelming, so your next step is to identify a financial aid advisor to assist you.

Get Good Advice

The importance of getting sound, accurate, and timely advice cannot be overstated. Whether it’s your pre-health advisor, a current medical student or resident, or the admissions or financial aid officer where you are planning to apply, there are people who can help you navigate this often complex topic. Look at the financial aid office Web sites at the schools you’re applying to and see what information is available. Then, be certain to bring your questions about financial aid with you when visiting and interviewing at the schools.

Learn About Repayment Options

There are many ways to fund and repay your medical school loans. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in primary care, you can borrow the current average amount, and under current conditions, repay your loans with the average primary care salary. Another opportunity for repayment can be found in service repayment programs, where you can repay your loans while practicing in a medically underserved area, or through public or military service. For more information on repayment options, visit the FIRST Web site at:

Final Thoughts

Stay true to your passion. Explore your options. Find a good advisor and/or mentor. If you can, enter medical school with little or no credit card debt, and be aware of the status of your undergraduate loans. The less debt you begin school with, the less debt you’ll have at the end. Do your best to not put application and interviewing costs (fees, travel, hotels, etc.) on credit cards. Most likely there will be no room in your medical school budget to pay off that debt. Lastly, remember the financial aid office staff will be essential to you throughout your years in school. They’re there to help you, so take advantage of their assistance.

In 2012, debt and cost of attendance at a public medical school was:

Median Debt: $170,000

For the same year the average starting salary for Internal Medicine first year post residency: $180,000.

These data show that although debt and cost are high, so is the starting salary for the average primary care physician.

* Debt data is derived from AAMC surveys. Salary data from Medical Group Management Association.

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Medloans® Organizer and Calculator

Medloans Organizer and Calculator

Organize and track your loans, then view sample repayment scenarios with the Medloans® Organizer & Calculator, the only Web tool of its kind developed for medical students.