Crunching the numbers

What residents are getting paid in 2023

Annual Medscape report reveals how residents feel about their earnings, what they prioritize when it comes to job satisfaction and how much compensation factors into their specialty choice.


The average medical resident is earning $67,400 annually, according to Medscape’s 2023 Resident Salary and Debt Report (login required), an increase of 5% from the $64,200 they earned in 2022. Although the pandemic resulted in a couple years of stagnant growth for resident pay, this trend appears to have changed this year, with residents generally receiving higher pay.

Medscape’s report also explored average resident salaries based on length of training and found that those who trained the longest earned 21% more than those at the beginning of their training in 2023, an increase from 2022’s 17%.

Additional incentives

The report also dissected various additional incentives that some residents receive, including health insurance, meal allowances, travel allowances, commuter assistance and paid time off (PTO). Ahmed Mukhtar Ahmed, MD, a first-year resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, has found his meal allowances to be the most beneficial added perk for his lifestyle.

“It saves time on meal prep,” he told Medscape. “During busy blocks, this is simply invaluable.”

Is resident compensation fair?

The report found that 24% of residents felt they were being fairly compensated. Some of the reasons the other 76% don’t feel that way include the compensation not reflecting work hours or required skill level, compensation not adequate for the cost of living and insufficient benefits.

“When you crunch the numbers, the residents are paid just above a minimum wage rate,” Dr. Ahmed told Medscape. “Some can’t even afford to live in the cities they work in.”

Among the residents who didn’t feel fairly compensated, three quarters of them feel they should be making at least 26% more than they currently are.

Medscape surveyed 1,000 residents in 29-plus specialties throughout the U.S. to create this report.

More highlights

  • Roughly half of the residents polled believe that they were extremely influenced by potential earnings when choosing their specialty area, while 34% believe it is only somewhat influential and 17% were minimally or not at all influenced.
  • Around half of respondents carry medical school debt of over $200,000.
  • More than 80% of residents reported working in hospitals for more than 40 hours per week, with 26% noting that they work more than 70 hours per week in hospitals.
  • When asked which factors they prioritized when applying to residency, respondents said expected work-life balance, starting compensation and a supportive organizational/practice environment were most important to them. However, the priorities appear to be slightly different between female and male residents. More female residents (79%) listed work-life balance as their top priority, while more male residents (76%) said starting salary was most important to them.

For more guidance on money, see the AOA’s financial planning resources. AOA members can receive discounts on certain financial services from Student Loan Professor and SoFi.

Related reading:

Good websites for physicians exploring personal finance

Unexpected costs in med school: How to anticipate and plan for them


  1. Wild Bill

    yeah I know, an old-fart’s comments but in 1982 we were paid $10,000 a year with no restrictions in work hours :)

  2. Phillip B Shepard MD

    Very interesting. I graduated from a top tier MD school in 1968. I had a three year FP residency that was interrupted by two years in the Army Medical Corps. The Army take home pay of $1000/mo. was the highest paying job I had until then. The pay for my third year residency was $7800/mo. (1972-73). During Med. School I had a full tuition scholarship ($950/yr. instate) . My student loan debt was $3400 with ten years to pay it back. In my first practice in rural Virginia, Medicare paid $6 for an office call. Full Ob care and delivery was $250. I’m retired now and feel better at age 80 than I did most of my life. As Bob Dylan said: “The Times are A-changin”.

  3. Patrick Aufiero MD

    1985 Transitional year about $23,000/yr
    and no limit on patient volume, procedures and 7 days a week
    and ID fellowship about $28,000/yr, no limit on patient volume, ID on weekends > 60 patients and all had to be seen

  4. William Ollar

    It seeems that residents are paid per year approximately what a year at Medical School costs. These numbers are what I was paid graduated Med School in 1982. My internship paid me 17K In State NJ tuition highest for a state Medschool at the time was 9000$

  5. NK

    Current resident, that average seems high. In Chicago we are all making between $55,000-65,000 as interns. I make on the lower end of that. We work 6 days a week most of the time, average about 60-80 hours a week (at least that we report). And my debt is closer to half a million (with undergrad paid off already). It’s getting crazy out here. I break even basically every month.

  6. Jack Stevenson

    In Lubbock Texas. We make in our first year almost $62,000 a year. Which is a ton compared to the national average when adjusted for cost of living. Gas is way cheaper here too because of the oil business. We still are under paid for what we make the hospital systems. Good article out in ASA that residents make hospitals almost $500,000 or more. Varies on your specialty.

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