Doctors face some of the longest and most intense education and training of all career paths in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, after four years of undergraduate work and four years of medical school, medical students must complete between three and eight years of an internship and residency before they become fully qualified doctors. However, doctor internships do come with a salary and benefits.
Salaries for doctor internships vary along with the length and intensity of the internship program. The general salary range a doctor intern can expect is between $45,000 and $57,000 annually as of 2011, according to salary data provided by the University of Maryland Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Year of Residency
In general, resident doctors can expect an increase in pay for each year of their internship. At Johns Hopkins Medicine, first-year doctor internships bring in an annual salary of $47,596 as of 2011; second-year interns earn $49,887, third-year interns earn $51,976 and fourth-year interns earn $54,262. At the University of Maryland, resident doctors take part in a five-year internship that begins with a salary of $47,759 in the first year and ends with a salary of $56,583 in the fifth year.
Like doctors, doctor interns are eligible for benefits and stipends. At the University of Maryland, interns receive three weeks of paid leave, health and dental insurance, a full salary for 29 days of sick leave, short- and long-term disability insurance, maternity or paternity leave, life insurance and worker’s compensation. Many programs also offer meal allowances, uniforms and may pay for interns to attend conferences in their field.
The employment rate for doctors is expected to increase by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018, a rate “much faster than the average for all jobs” in the United States, reports the bureau. Medical students seeking an internship and work should consider applying in rural and low-income areas, as the bureau reports these places “have difficulty attracting these workers” and job opportunities are therefore better. Doctors in internships that focus on specialty areas that are related to the elderly, such as cardiology, will also enjoy better job prospects.