How Much Do You Make in Medical Residency?

Medical resident salaries

Once you finish medical school, it’s time to embark on the next phase of your career: medical residency. This hands-on experience is a graduate-level step towards becoming a full medical professional with a license to practice.

The length of your residency depends on your specialization, and you can expect to earn a bit more each year. While some specializations earn less than others once you’re a fully licensed practitioner, in residency your salary only varies with what year of your post-graduate training you’re in. 

Learn more about how much you can expect to earn for your medical resident salary, plus how to understand the true costs involved with relocating and other factors.

Residency Salaries by State

According to 2022 data from the AAMC, the average first year medical resident earns $60,942. But there are a number of factors that impact how much you’ll actually earn during your residency. 

Start by understanding the average resident salary by state to get an idea of how geography affects earnings. This data from Zippia ranks each state by average annual salary.

State

Average Resident Annual Salary

Rank for Highest Pay

Alabama

$52,331

42

Alaska

$55,237

29

Arizona

$55,511

27

Arkansas

$53,411

38

California

$53,562

36

Colorado

$55,731

25

Connecticut

$57,688

11

Delaware

$58,382

8

District of Columbia

$56,892

15

Florida

$54,392

33

Georgia

$57,132

13

Hawaii

$55,832

23

Idaho

$52,365

41

Illinois

$57,726

10

Indiana

$57,054

14

Iowa

$55,840

22

Kansas

$51,319

45

Kentucky

$54,977

30

Louisiana

$51,806

44

Maine

$65,889

1

Maryland

$56,638

16

Massachusetts

$61,991

2

Michigan

$55,974

21

Minnesota

$55,500

28

Mississippi

$47,570

49

Missouri

$52,763

40

Montana

$50,434

47

Nebraska

$52,798

39

Nevada

$59,599

5

New Hampshire

$54,398

32

New Jersey

$60,577

4

New Mexico

$46,323

50

New York

$61,242

3

North Carolina

$56,233

19 (tie)

North Dakota

$49,242

48

Ohio

$58,313

9

Oklahoma

$52,236

43

Oregon

$55,778

24

Pennsylvania

$56,549

17

Rhode Island

$58,675

7

South Carolina

$57,234

12

South Dakota

$56,223

19 (tie)

Tennessee

$53,458

37

Texas

$51,261

46

Utah

$58,817

6

Vermont

$54,361

34

Virginia

$56,360

18

Washington

$55,652

26

West Virginia

$54,212

35

Wisconsin

$54,430

31

Wyoming

$56,008

20

See Also: Practical Financial Planning Tips For Residents & Fellows

Residency Salaries by Region

Residency salaries not only vary by region, but by how far along in the program you are. Here is an overview of the regional mean stipends (weighted by the number of residents and fellows) by year, according to the 2022 AAMC Survey of Resident/Fellow Stipends.

Regions defined by the AAMC
Regions list by the AAMC

Northeast Region

  • Year 1: $66,154
  • Year 4: $75,541
  • Year 8: $93,829

South Region

  • Year 1: $58,216
  • Year 4: $65,827
  • Year 8: $79,435

Central Region

  • Year 1: $60,658
  • Year 4: $68,636
  • Year 8: $81,926

West Region

  • Year 1: $64,796
  • Year 4: $74,784
  • Year 8: $90,421

How Medical Residency Salaries Are Determined

Medicare covers Direct Graduate Medical Education (DGME) to pay resident salaries, as well as teaching stipends and building maintenance. Each hospital decides how to portion the funds between medical resident salaries and those other eligible expenses. 

These salaries don’t match cost-of-living adjustments in many areas of the country, especially in areas with real estate markets that are disproportionately high. When researching residency programs, it’s important to consider the full scope of benefits package compared to realistic living expenses. 

Some hospitals may offer an average resident salary compared to national levels, but are actually located in above average housing markets. Consider the costs involved and some drawbacks you may encounter, like living with a roommate or farther away that requires a longer commute. 

Some larger healthcare organizations offer competitive residency programs with supplemental compensation networks in addition to a base salary. Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California residency program, for instance, provides benefits such as a housing stipend and meal allowance. 

Of course, health systems with larger budgets are able to offer better incentives to attract talent. The bottom line is that you need to create a sound budget based on each area you’re considering for your residency. Don’t assume the largest benefits package automatically gives you the most financial security.

See Also: What Happens Between Match Day and Residency? We’ve Got Your To-Do List

Is Residency Pay Enough?

Many states pay medical residents less than $60,000. That’s on par with the average 2022 college graduate entering the workforce with an undergraduate degree, which is just over $55,000. Hospitals typically receive more than $100,000 in federal funding for each medical resident, but must use some of the funds for other costs. 

Research reveals growing dissatisfaction among medical residents about the amount they earn, particularly compared to the hours they put in. For instance, a resident who works 80 hours in a week could end up earning less than $15 an hour. A recent survey by Medscape revealed that 83% of residents don’t believe their pay fairly reflects their hours worked. 

And low salaries can put medical residents on precarious financial footing. The average med school student graduates with student loans totaling between $200,000 and $250,000 — and that can often go much higher. Many residents may opt to enter into a forbearance period to avoid making payments on their student loans. While this option provides temporary relief, interest continues to accrue, causing the loan balance to go even higher than when you finished your degree program.

Plus, 26% of physicians carry credit card debt, revealing that living expenses can also be hard to keep up with. All of these financial pressure points explain why over 90% of medical residents respond that future earnings directly influence their choice of specialization.

See Also: 10 Tips for New Residents

Key Takeaways for Medical Residents

In most cases, your medical resident salary will not play a major part in your decision on where to train. But you can make sure you know the financial implications of the decisions you are making as you choose which residency programs to apply for. 

Consider the whole benefits package, along with what type of living expenses you can expect in each geographic area, and practice setting up a budget.

Panacea Financial, a division of Primis. Member FDIC.

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