Getting a degree, no matter the field is no easy task. As much as we all think education should be cheaper, some degrees can not be subsidized to the level we want — An example is Medicine.
Attending a medical school, irrespective of your geographic location, requires a lot of financial sacrifices. Getting a medical degree is far more expensive than other fields, and you might wonder why this is the case.
Several reasons explain why medical school is costly, and I will discuss the most relevant ones in this article. Let’s dive right in!
As I mentioned earlier, there are several reasons why medical school is so expensive; here are some of the most relevant reasons:
1. High Cost of Education
Training a medical doctor to be world-class is not an easy job, and one of the ways to achieve this is by ensuring the trainees get access to the best training facilities. As a result, medical schools invest heavily in expensive facilities and equipment, such as clinical simulation centers, cadaver labs, and research labs.
When you have access to state-of-the-art facilities during your medical program, you cannot pay whatever the medical school charges.
Also, medical schools charge very high fees to be able to compensate professors well for their time. The professors’ salaries must be competitive to encourage them to deliver their best to the doctors in training.
2. Limited Spots
Medical schools worldwide are well-known for admitting a limited number of students to the medical program. These limited spots drive up the competition in getting into medical schools, and the institutions take advantage of this to charge higher tuition fees.
Of course, when there are more qualified applicants than spots available, you would not mind paying more to secure your spot. If your spot isn’t occupied on time, another eligible applicant will get in by simply paying the required amount.
Although many students believe this factor isn’t fair enough for all students, it has become a norm in many medical schools, except those funded by the government. This explains why government-funded medical schools are usually less expensive than private ones.
3. Prestige of the School
Often, this factor is overlooked, even if it has a considerable effect on the high cost of medical schools. The tuition fees of medical schools usually range depending on how equipped they are, the funding source, and how prestigious the school is. This is why many schools cost way more.
The advantage of attending prestigious medical schools is that they are well-recognized for producing the best medical practitioners in the market. This way, most graduates get better job offers and faster salaries.
Prestigious schools often receive more research funding than less prestigious schools, which usually directly impacts the high tuition costs. You should know this tip if you are particular about attending such schools.
4. The Lucrativity of the Profession
This is common knowledge; almost everyone planning to attend a medical school already knows this. The demand for medical doctors is on an elevated slope and isn’t even coming down anytime soon. Medical doctors are always needed, making it relatively easy for medical school graduates to get jobs.
Aside from getting a job faster, medical doctors also make one of the highest salaries than other professionals. Medical practitioners can make hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, proving it to be profitable.
Medical schools take advantage of this knowledge while charging applicants who may not have a choice. Of course, you may take a loan to sponsor your education in medical school, which would eventually be paid off in a little while after you start practicing.
Overall, medical school is expensive because, someday, doctors can pay off these loans and still make a great living.
5. The Importance of the Profession
The medical profession is indispensable and contributes significantly to the high cost of its tuition. For a society to thrive, there must be a good supply of medical doctors. Typically, one would expect that the supply of medical doctors in the market would reduce the number of working slots, but this is not the case.
Medical schools have mitigated this possible effect by limiting the number of applicants admitted in each academic session. This way, the number of medical graduates is regulated.
How much does Medical School cost in the US?
The tuition cost to get a medical degree would always depend on the medical school you plan to attend. If you attend a prestigious institution, you should be ready to pay more.
Also, private institutions tend to charge more than government-owned schools due to limited funding. Unlike private medical schools, government schools are well-funded, so the tuition cost for students is subsidized.
Generally, attending a medical school in the United States costs an average of $50,000 annually. You can significantly reduce the cost by applying for scholarship programs and grants. If you are qualified and lucky, you may get one.
Also, attending a medical school might cost more if you are an out-of-state student. For this reason, I advise interested students to only apply to medical schools in areas where they reside.
However, you may go for an out-of-state school if you have some reliable source of scholarship or sponsorship to mitigate the overly expensive tuition fees.
I’ve explained this in the previous section, and the exciting thing is that it works almost every time.
Firstly, you should attend medical schools in the same state that you live in. I understand you may want to pursue your degree in a school away from home, but you must also consider your finances.
Also, you can apply for scholarship programs. As an interested applicant in any medical school, you will find a bunch of scholarship programs for you. The only thing is that these offers come with heavy requirements.
If you meet the criteria for the scholarship, apply and see if you will receive the grant. If you do, you can now consider studying at an out-of-state university. Another way to save money on medical school is by applying for student loans. You can get several thousands of dollars on loans to pursue a degree in medical school.
However, you must start your repayment plan as soon as you practice. The good part is that student loans for medical schools are the easiest to pay off since medical doctors receive high salaries, too.
Some hospitals you may work at may offer you flexible repayment plans for your student loans and help you pay them off in a shorter time while you continue working with them.
Is Medical School worth it Financially?
There are several answers to this question; it just depends on your perception. You can make a lot of money by practicing as a medical doctor, but if that’s your only inspiration, you might be making a mistake.
There are many other ways to make money. You will find hundreds of ways to make more money than a medical doctor. The medical profession is only for those passionate about the career and not just after the money.
If you are not enjoying the career, you might fail as a doctor. Before going into medical school, you need to be sure you are interested in the profession so you don’t get tired of it later.
This article already answers your questions on why medical schools are so expensive. Trust me, there are many other reasons why medical schools are costly, and you will only understand this when you get into medical school.
However, if you don’t have a reliable funding source through medical school, I advise you to pursue a less expensive career. As I mentioned, there are many other ways to make money than being a medical doctor; you will find out most of these as time passes.
Alternatively, you can try out other professions in medical school that are less expensive than becoming a medical doctor. This way, you can still pursue your passion without breaking the bank.
Sam is a brilliant young Nigerian biochemistry student and an aspiring entrepreneur. Despite facing many challenges, he has never lost his passion for learning and drive to make a difference in the world. Read more about him here.