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Physicians and surgeons are among the most highly compensated professionals in the United States, and those who practice in a medical specialty tend to earn more than those in general practice, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Attaining that level of financial success doesn't come quickly. Doctors must typically graduate from college, complete four years of medical school studies, then undergo three to eight years of a paid medical residency depending on their field of practice.
Medical residents are typically paid for their services, although those payments might be referred to differently based on the residency program. Some programs offer salaries while others offer stipends. The method in which you are paid can affect how that money is treated for federal income tax purposes. In most cases, the Internal Revenue Service treats remuneration for services rendered as reportable, taxable income, but it never hurts to ask if some or all of your residency income might be tax exempt.
Residency compensation varies from program to program. For example, first-year residents in the anesthesiology residency program at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine receive an annual salary of $54,700 for the 2013 - 2014 academic year. First year residents in the orthopedic surgery graduate medical education program at Carolinas Medical Center earned $47,749 for the 2012 - 2013 academic year.
Medical residencies can last for eight years or longer, depending on your field of specialization. Residents can typically look forward to increased pay as they progress through their residency program. For example, first year residents in the University of Massachusetts Medical School receive $53,300 for the 2013 - 2014 academic year. Residents in their second program year receive $55,299 and those in their third year earn $58,011.
Wages, salaries or stipends only account for a portion of a medical resident's total compensation. Different residency programs typically offer additional benefits which might include health insurance, child care and paid time off. For example, residents and their families in the Carolinas Medical Center program are eligible for medical, prescription drug and dental coverage. Residents at the University of Massachusetts Medical School receive a combined 264 hours of vacation, sick days and personal time off. The University of Connecticut School of Medicine offers its residents professional liability coverage.
- University of Connecticut: School of Medicine Residency Program Anesthesiology
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Physicians and Surgeons
- University of Massachusetts Medical School: Benefits Guide and Stipend Information For Residents and Fellows, Health Insurance
- Carolinas HealthCare System: Resident Salary and Benefits
Mike Parker is a full-time writer, publisher and independent businessman. His background includes a career as an investments broker with such NYSE member firms as Edward Jones & Company, AG Edwards & Sons and Dean Witter. He helped launch DiscoverCard as one of the company's first merchant sales reps.