The Cost of Interviewing for Residency

January 26, 2024

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The biggest cost of the residency process will likely be the cost of interviewing. While these may be a minor part of the total cost of a medical education, it is still important to develop a strategy for managing these costs — before they are incurred.

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Interviewing Costs

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. 

"Dr. Median" Range
~$3,000 $400 - $7,000
The Data

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 $400 to $7,000*. 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 roughly $3,000.

*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 staff to see what financing options may be available.

Travel Tips

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 and end at the same airport).
  • Drive to programs whenever possible.
  • Stay with friends or family.
  • 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. 

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, the site was developed by two medical school graduates focused on helping students manage travel and interviewing costs. 

Couples Match

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 $6,000, with a possible range of $800 to $14,000. Please be sure to research both ERAS and NRMP fees, which have specific costs for the couples match.

Total Costs

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 Process

For more information on the total cost, review The Cost of Applying for Medical Residency fact sheet. 

Source: OSFS estimates and analysis of data from ERAS® program, NRMP® and LCME®, as of 01/2024

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