Cost of Studying Medicine in USA

Studying Medicine in USA (United States of America) has its advantages – more practical program, abundant research openings, international experience and exposure, develops your self-confidence and diverse career options.

But have you thought about the cost of funding your education from scratch? Don’t worry, we are here to help you analyze every possible situation and put together how much it will cost for you to pursue your education in the field of medicine in the US.

Let’s divide costing into the following categories and details for each follow:

  1. Application charges
  2. Student Visa Application
  3. Tuition fees
  4. Living expenditure
  5. Other Expenses

Application charges

  • Taking the MCAT: $305 (This covers the cost of the exam and delivery of your scores.)
  • Application Fees: $50 to $100 per Medical University or School
  • Courier Charges: Rs.1200 to Rs.1500 per Medical University or School (Universities in the US require copies of your transcripts which are authenticated, recommendation letters, etc.)
  • Other Academic Tests (if required): $100 to $200 per test + $20 per test for score reporting by testing agency

Student Visa Application for USA

Once admissions are done, you are required to apply for a student visa in order for you to enter the United States.

  • Visa fee: $160
  • SEVIS fee: $200

Tuition fees for mbbs in usa:

In the United States, tuition fee depends on the institution you choose to attend – Public or Private Institution. The estimated tuition fee (per year) is as follows:

  • Private Institution: $15000 to $40000 per year
  • Public Institution: $10000 to $30000 per year

Note: The tuition fee is different for different universities. The above costing is an average per year calculation.

Living Expenditure in USA

Average cost of living in USA for students : $10000 to $15000 per year approximately (This cost includes your accommodation, travel, food, some books, some clothing and may be some personal expense too.)

Given below is a range of costs that have been considered while making the above estimates:

  • Books and study materials: $500 to $1000 approximately per year
  • Travel costs within the US: $300 and $700 approximately
  • Room and Board: $3000 and $7500 approximately per year.
  • Food: $2500 per year (for a basic healthy meal)
  • Clothing: $ 500 or more per year
  • Personal expenses: $2000 approximately per year

Other Expenses

  • Air tickets: $500 to $2000 (depending on when you book your tickets)
  • Health and Medical Insurance: $300 to $500 per year per person
  • Car (If required): $4000 a year approximately

What experiences do you need before entering the medical field?

Work or volunteer experience – why is it beneficial for me?

Vacation time usually brings in the feel of being lazy, catching up on movies and TV shows, chilling by the pool, traveling and lots more fun activities. But it can also be used in a productive manner by gaining valuable experience in the field of medicine (if getting an MD degree is your ambition).

Work or volunteer experience boats your understanding of what really happened in the medical work, what the realities are of involving yourself in the profession of caring for others and also gives you an understanding of the challenges and demands of the medical profession.

Experience in the medical field gives you the opportunity to understand and inculcate the needed attitudes, skills and behaviors that are required of a doctor. Communication skills, empathy, social skills, people centric, organizational skills, detail oriented, to name a few.

This experience will not only look good in your personal statement but give you the added advantage of combining studies with experience showing that you are willing to do what it takes to earn your MD degree.

How much work experience do I need?

As much experience as you can get. There is no specific limit or number of hours. But it is beneficial for you to work in a variety of different places that will give you exposure to various elements and components involved in the medical field. Don’t worry too much about the quality of work, length of time or how prominent a work experience is. Instead engage in these volunteer or work activities in order to learn from every experience and take in the insights and awareness that these experiences can provide.

Start looking at your options as early as you can. Send polite request letters in advance. Be persistent in your attempts at getting a spot in the healthcare facilities you have asked to work at.  Ask friends and family if they can get you in touch with any medical professionals who will guide you in this endeavor. Ask your family doctor if you can shadow him or her for a set amount of time to gain an insight into what he or she does. Take up jobs as a receptionist at a clinic, giving meals for patients, or go on community visits. The highest profile experiences aren’t always the best teachers about the reality of medicine, so try to be flexible and open-minded and opt for a variety of jobs. Any experience is good experience. All this will help you get before all the competition arrives and enable you acquire the required experience faster than anyone else.

Are there any other relevant experiences I can try out?

Many non-clinical experiences too will help you develop valuable skills that are necessary for the field of medicine. Take up tutoring students – builds communication, patience, social skills, organizational skills, etc. Organize any event like a fund raiser – teaches you organizational skills, interpersonal skills, coordination skills, etc. Take up culinary lessons– dexterity is an important skill to be optimized in the field of medicine, confidence, being meticulous and through, etc.

Use these jobs and training to teach you valuable skills you need as a physician. You can mention these in your personal statements which will add depth to your experience.

What questions will my interviewer ask about my work or volunteer experience?

These are few questions you can prepare for before heading into the interview about your work or volunteer experiences:

  1. What key things did your work experience teach you?
  2. What did you observe at your workplaces – any skills or abilities people need to be physicians?
  3. What skills do you think you have acquired that make you eligible to study medicine?
  4. What impressed you most about the staff and healthcare professionals?
  5. What did you learn about teamwork during your experiences?
  6. What do you feel about the demands and challenges that are brought about by the profession of medicine?
  7. Give us an example of an event that was most memorable to you while you worked.
  8. What was most challenging according to you in your work or volunteering experiences?
  9. Give us an example of an incident that you considered challenging and how you handle that situation.
  10. How has your non-clinical experience helped?
  11. What have you done until now to gain an appreciation for the study of medicine?
  12. How does communication affect a physician? Give us an example of good and an example of bad communication while you were working.
  13. Who are the important people who provide care for patients?
  14. What are some of the major advantages and disadvantages of the place where you worked?
  15. Are there any differences that you observed between primary and secondary care?

What’s the Difference Between MBBS and MD

We all associate these two terms MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) and MD (Doctor of Medicine) with the field of medicine and as a degree in education in the medical field. But do we  really know what the difference is? Let us clear your pestering doubts!

In India and the United Kingdom

In India and the United Kingdom, MBBS is an undergraduate course while MD is a postgraduate course.

The MBBS course is a basic qualification course which covers these key topics: areas such as Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Human Pathology, Human Microbiology, Applied Medical Biochemistry, Applied Pharmacology, Otolaryngology, Dermatology, Pediatrics and even General Surgery. This usually is the basic qualification required in order to practice as a doctor after the completion of an MBBS course. This is usually a 4 year course designed to enable students equip themselves with various aspects of medicine and training in more or less all branches of medicine.

The MD course is a higher qualification degree and helps students specialize is specific areas that they want to practice in. Students can choose the area they want to specialize such as pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, ophthalmology, dentistry, etc. where an extremely applied and practical training will be provided specifically in that area of expertise they opt for. This is usually a 2 year course and a student becomes eligible for MD only after completing the required MBBS degree.

In the United Stated of America

In the United Stated of America the term MBBS is not relevant. The degree a student is entitled to in and MD in the field of medicine. But there is a catch, before you get your Medical Degree, you are required to complete 4 years of Undergraduate degree. Post that, you will have to take MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). You can have an MD degree in another 4 years. It is time consuming but students will be prepared to take on real world situations with much more confidence and be able to handle situations better.



Is A Career In Medicine Right For You?

A career decision is one of great importance. It sets the foundation for you to build up towards success. It is critical to identify what makes you happy and what skills you possess.

Ask yourself:

  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my weaknesses?
  • What drives me as an individual?
  • What are my abilities?
  • What are my interests?
  • What are my values?
  • What are my goals?
  • What constitutes my personality?
  • How committed am I when I take up a job or responsibility?
  • How self-motivated am I?

Rate yourself on these abilities and skills:

  • Communication – listening
  • Communication – speaking
  • Observation
  • Confidence
  • Empathy
  • Trustworthiness
  • Gross and fine motor skills
  • Learning capability
  • Passion for learning
  • Honesty
  • Ability to focus on one task/person
  • Being unbiased
  • Handling difficult or stressful situations
  • Service driven
  • Motivation
  • Consistency
  • Commitment
  • Problem solving
  • Intellectual curiosity

Begin with these and answer them truthfully, to the best of your knowledge about yourself. Understanding yourself better can be done by using online tools based on personal insight. This enables you to get a clearer perspective of who you are and what you want to achieve in life.

Self-knowledge tools like the Myers Briggs Personality Inventory, Strong Interest Inventory or the Rokeach Values Survey can help you identify your strengths and abilities which will guide you to make the right choice in your career.

An idea of what it will be like if you do choose to study medicine:


  • Long hours of studying for many years
  • Handling stress


  • Long hours of grueling, intense training
  • Sleepless nights revolved around studies


  • Putting others ahead of you no matter who they are and where they come from
  • Sacrificing your social and family life in order to pursuer your career


  • Cost of education is high
  • Taking up a loan; be prepared to work hard and pay it back


  • Good grades in undergraduate degree to get you into medical school
  • Ability to maintain your academic accomplishments

So what actually goes into achieving a career in the field medicine? And is it the right choice for you?

Being a Doctor goes beyond just a respected title and a good salary. It takes years of studies, practice, taking exams, and continuous learning to be a good doctor. Medical school takes a toll on you physically, psychologically and emotionally. So what do you need to consider before taking on the task of getting into a medical school?

A career in the field of medicine involves:

  • Being service oriented
  • Acquiring knowledge constantly
  • Being able to work as a team
  • Wanting to contribute to society
  • Helping other people
  • Communicating wisely
  • Showing empathy towards others
  • Inculcating a caring nature
  • Being socially adept
  • Handling difficult  and challenging situations
  • Showing concern for individuals

Take time and reflect on the abilities, talents, preferences and passions you possess as an individual. Compare those with the demanding nature of medical school, the time and effort involved in the process of learning and the benefits of completing your studies in the field of medicine. As you weigh out your career options, you will be able to make a firm decision based on yourself and what is required of you.  Here are some tips to help you get thinking.

Be Realistic about the Challenges and Rewards

There is a lot of work and effort that goes into progressing through medical school, residency and taking exams in between all that.  Many people join a medical school with the goal of becoming good and respectable physicians but not many have the in-depth knowledge of what is required of them and what constitutes being a part of the practice of medicine.

Do Your Homework

  • Explore the life a doctor.
  • Meet with doctors and talk to them about their profession.
  • Read reviews on today’s doctor’s world.
  • Be aware of what will be required of you in order to become a doctor – time, effort, cost, etc.
  • Get to know the basics about medical school – how to apply, what types of programs are there, which medical schools are the best, where residency happens, etc.

Consider Educational Costs

Medical education is expensive – the cost of applying for admission into a medical school, the cost of tuition, the cost of living and traveling (if you’re studying away from home) is bound to put you in a challenging financial situation. Are you prepared for it? Do you have the funding? Are you willing to take a loan? Will you be able to pay off the loan after medical school?

Most students, about 90%, take up a loan in order to finance their studies in the medical field.

Expect Medical School To Be A Rollercoaster Ride

Medical schools show you that the field of medicine is a career option that is focused on service and the need to put others before yourself. It is demanding, time consuming and requires continuous learning. There will be a number of challenges involved while pursuing this goal. With the basic sciences course, the workload and material to be studied is exponentially greater than what you have ever been through till now. The clinical course demands you to be physically and psychologically fit as it will involve long arduous hours, immense hard work, and to top it all off a cool head while dealing with patients, their families and other members of the faculty and staff.

The field of medicine is for a highly self-motivated, service driven, personally accountable and committed person.

But despite the difficulties, pursuing your goal in the field of medicine has its rewards. You are able to help others, develop meaningful professional relationships with patients and their families, use your problem solving skills on daily basis as each case will be unique, and in the end make a difference in people’s lives.