10 FOCUS ON EDUCATION | 2018 | www.advanceweb.com F or decades, the medical profession has been vaunted as having some of the most desirable career choices. Doctors and other medical professionals have enjoyed an elevated social standing, and these lucra- tive positions have been sufficient to carry an entire family through the child-raising years to a comfortable retirement. However, the costs associated with going to medical school have risen sharply in recent years. New medical school graduates find themselves deeper in debt than medical pro- fessionals of previous generations, which has effectively put a stopper on the dream that used to be a sure thing: getting a job in the medical field. With the cost of medical school skyrocketing, many prospective students are starting to wonder whether or not it’s worth it to pursue their ambitions to enter the med- ical community. This overview will provide you with detailed information that will help you answer this question: Is medical school worth it financially? HOW MUCH DOES MEDICAL SCHOOL COST? It’s always been the case that medical school costs more than other forms of education. A single year of medical school has always cost more than a year’s tuition as an undergradu- ate, and it usually costs more to go to medi- cal school than it does to attend law school or pursue a master’s degree. In the past, this increased cost was offset by the increased income that doctors and other medical professionals enjoyed after attain- ing their degrees. Depending on the specific medical profession that graduates went into, they could expect to pay off their loans within one to three years of work. However, factors have arisen that now make it so that even the best doctors and surgeons may still be crip- pled by debt burdens a decade or more into their careers. No matter which way you look at it, the cost of medical school is simply higher these days. Medical schooling costs have increased dis- proportionately with inflation, which means that the dollar cost to become educated as a physician is now larger in comparison to the average physician’s salary. This also means that medical professions are actually less lucrative than they were in years past. For instance, a single year of medical school cost between $32,495 and $52,215 in 2017. Private medical colleges cost more than pub- lic colleges, but attending a prestigious private school can drastically increase your chances of finding a well-paying job once you graduate. A year’s tuition at some of the best pri- vate medical schools in the country can cost upward of $60,000 per year. Since medical degrees generally take four years to attain, a degree at the prestigious Tufts University, for instance, could end up costing you more than $240,000. Unlike some higher educational programs, medical degrees are incredibly intensive, which means that most aspiring physicians have no chance of offsetting these costs with a side job. Therefore, unless you have a limitless educational fund, it’s likely that you’ll be at least $200,000 in debt at the end of your four years of medical school. Is Medical School Worth It Financially? Making a choice that makes sense By Julian Callahan ISTOCK MEDICAL SCHOOL  |  FOCUS ON EDUCATION