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Is medical education and medical training for US doctors too long? Show more Show less

Medical professions are typically regarded with great awe and fascination. In most countries, becoming a doctor is the highest form of academic achievement and it is a source of great pride for individuals and their families. However, in America, it takes anywhere from 11-16 years to become a doctor. Some would argue that such a level of training and education is necessary. They are also fairly compensated for their efforts. Others would disagree by showing how places like India and Europe have significantly fewer training requirements but still produce capable and adept doctors. Why do people have such contrasting views on the topic and why is doctorhood in America so fiercely debated?

Yes, medical education and medical training requirements are too excessive. Show more Show less

In most European and Asian countries, medical students tend to skip undergrad and enter 5-year medical schools. Similar measures need to be taken in America so that more people will enter the healthcare industry and not feel burdened by the time and cost of training.
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Most doctors are still in debt, years after entering their profession

After 11-16 years of schooling and training, most doctors are exhausted by their efforts and exasperated by the amount of money they owe. Student debt in America has been skyrocketing for the last few years and doctors, generally, have the highest amount of debt among the population. Simply lowering the number of years required to become a doctor can turn the tide against debt and financial stress.
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Context

The Argument

63% of medical school graduates are in debt by more than $150,000. [1] Over the next 10 years, debts are projected to increase for all students regardless of whether they are enrolled in public or private universities. This is the heavy burden that most future doctors carry. In America, in order to become a doctor, most people spend 4 years earning an undergraduate degree, another 4 years to graduate from medical school, and 4-10 years in residency where they work long hours and earn low wages. During the 8 years that they receive their education, they easily incur more than $100,000 of debt. To add to this, most people are in their late 20s when they graduate from medical school. They also have financial pressures from family expenses, mortgages, and other bills. Due to all of this, doctors tend to easily lose their financial freedom. They become slaves to their work, so they can earn enough to pay back their prior debts. People in America are well aware of the tremendous sacrifices doctors make and the exceptional care they provide. Decreasing the period of training can easily improve the quality of life for many doctors and it is one of the smallest ways that society can truly show how much they appreciate doctors.

Counter arguments

Although the costs of obtaining education in undergrad and medical school can be expensive, most schools provide much financial aid for their students. The average grant aid for undergraduate students rose to a record-high of $9,520 in 2018. [2] Most individuals or families only pay a fraction of the original "sticker price" to their schools. Also, when these students become doctors, their yearly salary could range from $200,000 to $500,000. Repaying a debt of $150K is very doable and most manage to pay back in just a few years. The training and education period for doctors is not too expensive and there are always ways to get financial help.

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References

  1. https://www.amainsure.com/physicians-in-focus/medical-school-student-loan-debt-by-the-numbers.html
  2. https://research.collegeboard.org/trends/student-aid/figures-tables/average-aid-student-over-time/source.html

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This page was last edited on Sunday, 2 Aug 2020 at 19:19 UTC