3 Strategies for Doctors to Pay Off Medical School Debt

According to a study by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the average medical student graduates with more than $190,000 in debt. While there are several ways to pay off medical school loans, the best strategy for you will depend on your career, salary, and financial situation.

Medical school can be expensive. The average cost of medical school tuition, fees, and living expenses for a single year is now over $60,000. For many students, that means taking out loans to cover the cost. And while there are various strategies you can use to make paying off those loans a bit easier, here are three of the most important ones:

Make a budget and stick to it

One of the best ways to manage your finances is by creating and adhering to a budget. When you know exactly how much money you have coming in and going out each month, it’s easier to adjust your spending as needed to continue making progress on paying off your loans.

If you are in a high-paying specialty such as surgery or oncology, you may be able to pay your loans off quickly. However, suppose you are in a lower-paying field such as family medicine or pediatrics. In that case, you may consider a longer-term repayment plan that allows you to save for retirement and other expenses.

Whatever repayment plan you choose, be sure to stay on top of your loan payments to avoid costly penalties and interest charges. If you have extra money, use it to make extra payments, or if possible, invest that money so that you can earn interest.

Make payments during residency

You are still responsible for making payments on your medical school loans during residency. Even though you may be struggling to make ends meet, it’s important to continue making payments on your loans. Failing to make payments can result in penalties and interest charges.

If you can’t afford to make your regular monthly payments, contact your lender or a great personal finance company like LeverageRX to see if you can arrange a payment plan that fits your budget. You may also be able to defer your loan payments until you finish residency. However, interest will continue to accrue on your loans during this time, so it’s important to try to pay as much as you can each month.

Make extra payments when possible

There are several ways to reduce the money you have to pay back on your medical school loans. One of the best ways is to make lump-sum payments whenever you have extra cash available.

Many think the only way to repay loans is making monthly payments. But if you have the extra money in your account, that may be an option. The more money you can put toward your loans, the better!


Medical school can be costly, and for many graduates, the debt incurred can be difficult to manage. While there are many ways to pay off this debt, including loan consolidation and income-based repayment plans, for some graduates, the only way is to take on additional jobs.

For residents who are already struggling to make ends meet, taking on additional work can be a daunting task. In addition to long hours and little sleep, residents often have to contend with call schedules that keep them tied up most of the night.

Adding another job on top of this can be overwhelming and lead to burnout. However, some benefits to paying off medical school debt quickly with the help of the best financial advisors will go a long way.