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How can I complete medical school while working?

I want to be a doctor, but worry about the financial burden of undergraduate and medical school. I am an independent student financially supporting myself. I am looking for tips on how to find a job with flexible hours and navigating school requirements.

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Christopher’s Answer

It would be extremely uncommon for someone to work part-time while enrolled in medical school. This is largely due to the time demands of the curriculum. As a 3rd and 4th year student there is almost no time to do so with 50-80hrs/wk of clinical duties, studying, etc. some people continue to do things like work for test prep companies and I knew one person who held their bar tending job the first few months but it’s very rare. The financial concern is legitimate and a common one among all students, particularly with rising debt loads. That said, your job as a medical student is to excel in your studies. You can make informed financial decisions to minimize your expenses as much as feasible. That said, the reason banks are willing to loan such vast sums to medical students is because the rate of default is so low. There are many options to mitigate repayment, including loan forgiveness programs. Too varied to detail in brief here but the bottom line is one way or another you are indebted, either in terms of money (loans) or service in specific region (usphs, military, underserved loan forgiveness).

Christopher recommends the following next steps:

Try researching here, can’t vouch for accuracy but the general summary of options appears on point. https://www.magnifymoney.com/blog/college-students-and-recent-grads/loan-forgiveness-programs-doctors636267564/
Here is the American association of medical colleges resource. https://services.aamc.org/fed_loan_pub/index.cfm?fuseaction=public.welcome

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Richard’s Answer

Working during medical school is all but impossible. Most students take out loans.
I only knew 2 students who worked. One was a tax accountant before medical school and worked in April of our 1st and 2nd year preparing taxes. The other worked in valet parking and combined his workout with his job by running between cars while parking.
A job would interfere with your education and lower your grades.
After medical school, the next step is residency. During my residency I was able to moonlight as a physician on my weekends off, but that was 20 years ago and I am not sure if that is still possible.

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Rachel’s Answer

This is a tough situation. Many students find the financial burden of medical school to be very distressing and somewhat financially crippling. Attending classes at a community college, choosing a state school, and applying to all scholarships available can minimize cost. Additionally, you can participate in a work-study program through your medical school.

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Estelle’s Answer

You really cannot work a lot, because med school is so time consuming and often has an unpredictable schedule. Some med students in my class were able to do work-study. One of my classmates was a pharmacist, and he did some work on the side.
If you live frugally, paying back loans can be done quickly--I have many friends who paid off the loans within the first year of practice after residency.

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