how much do residents make

How Much Do Residents Make? Full Breakdown

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One of our posts before have already tackled about the breakdown of how much a doctor makes, but have you ever wondered how much do residents make?

Seeing how years of experience and fields of expertise are a heavy consideration in how much healthcare professionals earn, what are we to expect in this breakdown of resident salaries?

In this post, we’ll be going into detail how much do residents make in general and by their respective specialties.

How Much Do Residents Make?

how much do residents make

By the time a med student graduates and steps into residency, his undergraduate school debt, and med school debt has already probably piled up and will definitely pile up more in the years to come. But even as a resident he is now earning money to slowly pay off his med school debts.

The question is, how much is he earning and how long will it take for him to completely pay off all of this?

The team at Medscape released the Residents Salary & Debt Report for 2019 and it shows all data and information with regards to how much do residents make on an annual basis. We’ll also be seeing here some data on the previous reports for comparison purposes.

Medscape has interviewed 2200 participants enrolled in US medical resident programs in more than 30 specialties and solicited responses regarding their salaries, the number of hours they work, and if they feel fairly compensated for their work.

Let’s look at the graph provided by the Residents Salary & Debt Report for 2019.

mean resident salary by year

Table 1. Mean Salary of Residents by Year

As you can see from above, the salary of residents gradually increases by the year. There has been a $6K increase ever since 2015 and for the past 2 years, the average annual salary of residents has ascended by 3%. Residents are earning $61,200 in 2019, the highest it has ever been.

Salary by Residency Year

The salaries increase as residents proceed to their higher years, with the lowest being $55,200 in their first year and the highest being $67,800 for residents in their 6-8th year.

Comparing data of the salaries by residency year from 2018 to 2019 also shows us that residents in their 3rd year and up had increases in salary for the year 2019.

salary by residency year 2018

Table 2. Salary by Residency Year in 2018

salary by residency year 2019

Table 3. Salary by Residency Year in 2019

Only 47% of residents feel fairly compensated. Most of the residents who feel fairly compensated belong in their Years 1, 4, and 6-8. Residents in their first year will always feel fairly compensated since it would be the first time they’ll be making money as a medical health practitioner!

The trend then goes downward in their 2nd year because this is when they start feeling burned out!

Those who don’t feel fairly compensated for their work, on the other hand, are mostly because they feel that compensation doesn’t reflect the number of hours they have worked and that compensation is not comparable to that of other medical staff.

Salary by Gender

As for gender, you will notice that men earn more than women by a very tiny margin earning $61K and $60K, respectively. Both genders have earned $2K more from 2018, still bearing that margin.

how much do residents make

Table 4. Resident Salary by Gender in 2019

Meanwhile, the margin between the two genders for physicians and specialists are massive. Male primary care physicians earned 25% more with an annual income of $258K than female primary care physicians earning only $207 annually.

The disparity between genders among specialties was even more enormous with male specialists earning 33% more with an annual income of $372K. Female specialists, on the other hand, only earns $280K!  

Medical Resident Salary by Specialty

The salary of residents is largely dependent on which field they have specialized in. This is the case for the salaries of physicians and specialists, as well. You could see a breakdown of how much a doctor makes by clicking here!

how much do residents make

Table 5. Salary of Residents by Specialty in 2018

salaries by specialty 2019

Table 6. Salary of Residents by Specialty in 2019

Medical Geneticists earn the most at $67,500 for the year 2019. This is a major event for the specialty since they have catapulted to the top position from being ranked 14 in 2018, earning $61,400.

Some of the top-earning specialties after Medical Geneticists are Allergy & Immunology, HIV/Infectious Diseases, Specialized Surgery, and Plastic Surgery / Aesthetic Medicine.

It is significant to note that Allergy & Immunology – though ranked lower and have decreased salaries from $68K to $66K –  and Specialized Surgery with salaries decreasing from $66K to $65K, are still some of the top-earning specialties from 2018 to 2019.

The top-earning specialties in 2018 – Rheumatology, Critical Care, and Gastroenterology were eventually replaced by HIV/Infectious Diseases earning from $61K with an increase to $66K, and Plastic Surgery / Aesthetic Medicine earning from $63K with an increase to $65K in 2019.

You would also notice that the disparities of the salary of residents are minimal, only hundreds of dollars in fact. The differences are most likely visible if we look at the salaries of residents in primary care specialties.

Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, Ophthalmology, and Public Health & Preventive Medicine are the lowest earning specialties with resident salaries ranging from $57K to $60K.

This has been the case since 2018, but the fields still had a noticeable but minimal increase in salaries from $55K to $57K.

If we take a look at the earnings of physicians and specialties from my post How Much Does A Doctor Make, you would notice that the highest-earning specialties, particularly Orthopedics, Otolaryngology, Dermatology, Radiology, Urology, and Gastroenterology are distributed within the unpolarized regions of the rankings for resident’s salary by specialty.

It’s also remarkable to notice that Infectious Diseases is one of the least earning specialties for physicians and specialists, but one of the highest-earning specialties for residents.

Allergy & Immunology also belongs to the lower part of the ranking for physicians but scores the 2nd spot for the highest-earning residents.

Meanwhile, there is not much difference for the lowest-earning specialties for both cases of physicians and residents. We still see Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Public Health & Preventative Medicine, and Pediatrics at the bottom of the rankings.

Which Residency Pays The Most?

how much do residents make

About 24% of residents have med school debts that go beyond $300,000, according to the 2019 report released by Medscape. A large percentage of them also have med school debts that range from $200K to less than $300K, but still – that’s going to take a lot of years to completely pay off.

Taking this into consideration, wouldn’t it be only logical for med school graduates to choose and apply for a residency program that pays the most?

I have listed below the top 3 highest paying residency programs across the U.S.

Department of Medicine at Stanford University

The Department of Medicine at Stanford University has got to be one of the highest paying residency programs.

Residents in their first year at most residency programs usually earn stipends ranging from $55K to $60K. Stanford, on the other hand, pays its first-year residents with an annual stipend of $68, 385.41, that’s $5,698.67 per month.

The salaries go stellar from there as they proceed to their higher years with the highest being six figures of $100,114.35 for residents in their 8th year, that’s $8,342.70 by the month.

These are the salaries for the year 2019-2020, and judging from the salary plans of their residents from their previous years, these are most likely to increase in the following years.

Here’s a complete look at Standford Medicine’s stipend plan.




Per Month

III$77, 319.22$6,443.14

Table 7. Stanford Medicine’s Residency Stipend Plan

Stanford Medicine also offers educational and other business-related payments, as to be seen in the table below.



Annual educational allowance $2,000*Paid in November providing, all required HealthStream and EPIC/LINKS modules are completed by house staff’s assigned deadline
Cell phone allowance $1,000*Automatically added to paycheck in July
Food allowance $10 per day (shifts of 12 hours or longer for clinical rotations only at SHC & LPCH)*Payments made on the last paycheck of each month
Housing stipend $7,200 per year (paid as $600 monthly)*+Automatically paid on 1st paycheck of each month
Medical, dental, vision, and long-term disability insurance providedEligible to participate on house staff’s hire date
Moving allowance (new hires only) $3,000*Automatically added to a paycheck in August
1% annual bonus based on completion of a Quality Improvement Project*Automatically paid at the end of each academic year in June
Cost of initial CA MD license and renewalsPaid upon reimbursement submission for academic year expense occurrence
Cost of initial DEA and renewalsPaid upon reimbursement submission for academic year expense occurrence
Cost of USMLE Part Ill for InternsPaid upon reimbursement submission for academic year expense occurrence

Table 8. Stanford Medicine’s Residency Benefits

Source: Stanford Medicine Stipends and Bonuses

School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin Madison

Their residency programs are the 2nd highest paying after Stanford Medicine. First-year residents earn an annual stipend of $60,090, while those at their 8th years make $79,805.

Though not extravagant as the stipend plan of Stanford Medicine, the rates as residents proceed to their higher years still do increase reasonably.




Table 9. University of Wisconsin Madison Residency Stipend Plan

Source: UWHealth Stipend Levels

They also offer benefits and services such as insurance, parking and transportation, and vacations among others. You may take a look at their benefits and services in detail on their official website.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Third in our list is the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Annual gross salary of first-year residents is around $59,727.28, while 8th-year residents earn $75,622.68.

Take note that these stipend plans take effect for all their trainees in residency/fellowship programs based at:

  • UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • UPMC Hamot
  • UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital
  • UPMC Mercy
  • UPMC Presbyterian
  • VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System




Table 10. UPMC Residency Stipend Plan

Source: UPMC Stipends and Benefits

UPMC offers a lot of benefits. You can take a look at their summary of benefits in this PDF.

Frequently Asked Questions About Resident Salaries

how much do residents make

Here are answers to some of the burning frequently asked questions about how much do residents make!

How Much Do Medical Residents Make an Hour?

A resident in the U.S. has an average hourly wage of $25, though the hourly wage ranges between $23 and $28.

But of course, this still largely depends on which specialty your residency program belongs to. Primary care specialties are always relatively paid less than the most competitive specialties.

Another thing that plays an essential role in the hourly wage of residents is the stipend plans of the residency program they have applied for. As you may have observed, residency programs across the U.S. have variations in their residency stipend plans.

How Much Do Interns Make?

Medical interns would usually make around $44K annually. However, of course, these interns still receive benefits. Parking fees, cafeteria food, cost of living, and other benefits are still given to interns which could act as attracting forces for some medical school graduates. After all, salary isn’t everything!

Does Better Residency Equal Better Pay?

Better residency does not always equate to better pay, nor does it work the other way around. Salaries are definitely one thing to consider when choosing and applying for residency programs. Still, you need to weigh out the benefits and the quality of education and training you would receive as a resident.

Don’t rely too much on the projected salaries you would receive in a particular residency program. Evaluate different residency programs and contemplate which would suit your needs best.

If you need money, then apply for the highest paying residency programs. If you want high-quality training, then salary wouldn’t be so much of a big deal.

At the end of the day, the biggest and final consideration would always have to be where you can grow and nurture yourself to be a doctor that your patients would need.

The charts, graphs, and information presented on this post were based on the 2018 and 2019 Resident Salary & Debt Reports. Check it out for more information.

So, that’s a wrap on the full breakdown of how much do residents make! I hope you had found this post helpful and have answered all your questions efficiently.

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