Going through medical school costs a lot of time and money. Understandably, you might be wondering, considering the grueling effort it takes to become a doctor, do medical students get paid? In this blog, let's talk about what compensation, if any, you can receive as a medical student.
Wait... Do Medical Students Get Paid? Here's What to Know
No, medical students do not get paid while they're still in school. This includes rotations/clerkships. The reason is mostly that you're still not fully trained to provide medical care. You might be shadowing or assisting physicians, but if you're doing any actual hands-on work, it's going to be minimal/minor. Plus, your schedule won't be as intense as licensed doctors.
We know this might seem strange because it feels like you're showing up for work (which, to a degree, you are). However, medical students must remember that they are not employed by the hospital or clinic where they're training at.
At most, in some countries, medical students are given something called "bursaries," which can help cover tuition and living expenses. Scholarships can also help provide some financial cushioning.
Once you become a resident, however, you do earn a salary — about $60,000 a year, on average. The pay depends largely on the institution you're working at and what year you're in, although your specialty and location can also play a role. Residents can expect their salaries to increase over time.
You'll also get paid during your internship since this happens during your first year of residency. The pay will be lower than residents in their second year of training and beyond.
How Do Medical Students Support Themselves, Then?
Great question! Medical school certainly isn't cheap, so many students rely on loans. This can include both federal and private loans, although federal loans offer more benefits. For example, the interest rates are lower, the repayment options are more flexible, and you can even qualify for forgiveness. (Always do your due diligence before applying for loans. The long-term impact can be quite overwhelming, if you're not prepared.)
There are additional ways you can earn money — some of which might also look good on your resume. For example, you might consider tutoring, becoming a research assistant, participating in focus groups, or working as a phlebotomist (someone who draws blood), which is a specially trained professional but doesn't need to be a nurse or doctor. Many medical students in need of additional financing opt for these routes instead of a "normal" job since they get the added benefit of experience, exposure, and networking.
So, do medical students get paid? No. They must rely on loans, scholarships, bursaries, and outside work in order to support themselves. Remember, though, that once you hit residency, you can expect to start earning a paycheck alongside your colleagues.
Need help securing a clinical clerkship and positioning yourself as a competitive candidate for residency? CHHA can help! Apply now and learn more about how we can guide you on your journey toward becoming a doctor.