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The Road to Residency Match in $$$

Many students aim to do their residency in the US. They get excited and start reading materials and get encouraged by their peers who are doing the same. Once the real deal gets close, i.e scheduling the USMLE exams; students are heart broken from the cost of this journey.

Long time ago, the career of medicine used to be only achievable by students who come from rich families. Nevertheless, with time, this has changed in multiple cultures and countries. Some countries offer scholarships, others have university fees covered. The ugly truth is that the journey to being a doctor in the US is very expensive. Apart from the amount of loans that students have to take on their shoulder to get their MD degree by paying tuition fees, they have to pay an extra pile of money on licensing examinations (USMLEs).

This post is to alert students who are thinking about the US, not to discourage them, but to be prepared before you hit the road. I bet you would feel bad if you have paid some money for one of the exams and then discovered than you have 3000 dollars coming up for the next examinations. If you don't want to be surprised with those expenses, I have made a summary of the basic expenses that students should expect in their journey.

Step 1: $910 for US students (+international test delivery surcharge for IMG)

Step 2CK: $910 for US students (+international test delivery surcharge for IMG)

Step 2CS: $1565 (Only done in the US)

ERAS token: $120

This comes up to a total of a little more than $3500, and will be more if you are an international medical student. Those costs are just the basic costs, given that everything went well with you and passed the exam from the first attempt. Unfortunately, this is the tip of the iceberg, as more costs will come across buying studying materials, question banks, application fees, Visa and travelling fees. You want to raise your chances in getting residency, then you will need to do some internships which would add a couple of thousand dollars. All of this and you still haven't applied to residency programs and haven't started the tour around the US in the interview season. I will be posting an estimate for the interview season in another separate post.

All in all, be prepared to pay about at least 15 Thousand dollars in your journey as an international medical student. It would definitely cost less for an American graduate. If you think that you can't cover those fees, then rethink about your plan for US residency.

you can always send us questions by emailing

Costs were taken from the ECFMG website

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