How Much Do Residents Make?

Once medical students graduate and become doctors, they enter the dreadful phase of RESIDENCY. Residency is mandatory in order to become a licensed physician and the shortest residency is 2-3 years. The good news is that residents receive a yearly salary. The bad news is that because residents are no longer considered students, they have to begin making student loan payments – at times up $1000 per month!

On average, residents make approximately $55,000 a year. However, the salaries can vary from $50,000 to $70,000 a year. Most students do not work during their medical school, although there are very determined students who have worked and attended medical school together. Despite the great income, the yearly salary is misleading due to the number of hours you have to work.

Most residents work 90 hours a week.  That is more than double the work week of an average employee.

 Residents typically work 80-100 hours a week, and although the ACGME capped resident hours to 80 hours a week, that does not include the number of patient charts and notes that have to be completed out of the hospital.

Let’s take a typical entry level salary of $55,000 in the workforce. If the individual is working 40 hours a week, who is living on the East Coast, they would be making approximately $3200 per month. That is roughly around $20 an hour, after taxes. Residents who are making $55,000 per year, work at minimum 80 hours a week, or $10 an hour.

Although those numbers are glum, residency is not forever.  Although different specialties have varying salaries for residents, they are typically within the 50k-62k range. After the first year of residency, residents receive a small increase in salary, from $1,000 to $2,000 per year. Most residents also receive paid time off, sick and annual leave, as well as health insurance.

Although residents in the USA make close to an entry-level salary, many are happy considering that they are receiving benefits and a salary for their training. Approximately 37% of residents have over 200k in debt, and finally earning a salary after 8 years of school is encouraging.


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  1. This is crazy how underpaid residents are. Considering the number of hours you work in residency they are totally underpaid.
    Next time someone asks "how much do residents make?" the easiest answer would be: penuts.