Facts - The Cost of Becoming a Doctor

August 5, 2011

…the average Canadian medical student graduates with over $158,000 in debt.

How can we ease student debt?


The rising cost of a medical education means that most students now graduate with upwards of $150,000 of debt in the form of student loans and lines of credit. That figure is even higher for students at select schools, where both tuition and the cost of living drive up costs.  At the University of British Columbia medical school, it is not uncommon for the average debt after four years of medical school to be $200,000 or more.

A 2006 survey of Canadian medical students found the average resident owes about $2,000 in monthly student loan payments.  This can lead to a great deal of stress, as resident salaries aren’t enough to cover large debt payments in addition to the cost of living.  The increasing debt load of recent graduates affects not only their choice of career, but also their location of practice. To address the issue of escalating medical student debt, the BCMA has made several recommendations including an increase on the maximum yearly student loan amount, delay of interest and principal payments on student loans until the completion of residency training, and an expansion of loan forgiveness programs for physicians who continue to practice in BC. For more information, click here.