As medical students begin the process of selecting their preferred residency position, they often ask, “What is the cost of interviewing?” While “perfect” data does not exist to answer this question, it is possible to make an estimate. The cost of interviewing will vary for each applicant, but the main drivers revolve around two key factors: specialty choice and location.
- Specialty choice can influence how many interviews are completed.
- Due to travel expenses, the location of the desired program(s) will directly impact the total cost.
The results of these factors can vary greatly, but usually result in a cost that falls within a somewhat wide range.
|~$4,000||$1,000 - $11,580|
The AAMC’s FIRST team analyzed data from an annual school-level survey that included questions about residency interview costs for M.D. students. In recent years, this data falls within a range of $1,000 to $11,580*. Although there will certainly be outliers on both ends of the spectrum, medical schools report interview costs within this range, with a median value of nearly $4,000.
*This data covers total interview expenses and is not broken down by components such as travel, lodging, meals, etc.
Funding Travel Costs
In addition to travel and accommodations, there will likely be incidental expenses to budget for – everything from the cost of cabs/ride-shares, to attire and meals. If you need financial assistance with these expenses, check with your Financial Aid Office to see what financing options may be available.
Some obvious, and not-so obvious, ways to reduce the cost of interview expenses include:
- Plan to “cluster interview” meaning fly to a region and then drive to each site (but start/end at the same airport).
- Drive to programs whenever possible.
- Stay with friends or family anywhere you can.
- While traveling, keep your meal selections frugal.
- If you need to purchase new interview attire, keep the expenditures modest.
- Research the city/location you’ll be visiting to help budget transportation costs from the airport or hotel to the hospital site.
- Check to see if shuttle services are available that can help mitigate the cost of an expensive cab ride.
- If possible, consider coordinating accommodations with other medical students or stay in residents’ quarters.
Sometimes a program will provide accommodation, but if not, you could turn to your alumni network in the area. Check with the AMA Alliance for assistance on this. This option could help to cut down on costs, and provide an opportunity to get to know the community surrounding a potential residency program.
As you plan your budget for this stage of your medical education, also keep in mind travel and lodging costs that you will incur for the USMLE Step II Clinical Skills Exam.
While the AAMC does not endorse SmartMedTravel.com, the site was developed by two medical school graduates focused on helping students manage travel and interviewing costs. You may find useful information there.
Matching as a couple increases the stakes so when entering the application process, it can be helpful to apply widely. You can always decline interviews later. Also, focus on applying to multiple programs in the same city to increase match options.
As for estimating interview costs, there is no national data available on the expenses of couples. One obvious starting point is just to double the estimated costs for one, leading to an estimated median of $8,000, with a possible range of $2,000 to $23,000.
While interviewing costs are the main part of the cost of the residency process, don’t forget about application fees.
Application Fees + Interview Expenses = Total Cost of Residency
|Source: OSFS estimates and analysis of data from ERAS, NRMP, and LCME as of 01/2020|