With a median annual wage in the six figures, it's not surprising medicine ranks behind only law as the most popular doctoral degree. However, not all medical degrees are great investments. Depending on the specialization, salaries for doctors can vary by hundreds of thousands of dollars. Despite intense competition for spots in prestigious schools and residencies, there is a critical shortage of primary care physicians. Considering the massive debt many new doctors are left with, it's not surprising careers in primary health tend to be overshadowed by higher paying specializations. Using the U.S. News and World Report's ranking methodology, these 10 schools offer prospective students the best combination of training and the least amount of debt upon graduation.
1. The College of Medicine at Mayo Medical School
The Mayo Medical School is one of the most selective in the country, yet 2011 graduates had the least amount of debt upon graduation for schools surveyed. 61.4% of 2012 graduates were admitted to their first residency choices.
2. The School of Medicine at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
2011 graduates left UNC's program with a little over $100k in debt, one of the lowest in the nation. U.S. News and World Report ranked the program highly across many specializations, including the top ranking for primary care training.
3. University of Michigan
2011 graduates left school with lower than average debt. The school was ranked in the top 10 for many specialization categories.
4. The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
With 2011 graduates leaving with an average of a little over $100k in debt, enrolling in Perelman offers a relatively inexpensive way to receive some of the best medical training in the country.
5. The Medical School at Harvard University
With one of the lowest debt totals for 2011 graduates, those lucky enough to get in will receive excellent training. Harvard ranks in the top five for several categories according to U.S. News and World Report.
6. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
With in-state and out-of-state tuition at $15,801 and $28,901, respectively, it's not surprising that 2011 graduates had some of the lowest debt totals upon graduation. There also doesn't seem to be much of a trade-off between price and education quality, with 63.7% of 2012 graduates being admitted to their first residency choice.
7. The School of Medicine at Yale University
In 2011, graduates left with some of the lowest med school debt totals. With high rankings in several categories, the first two years of the program give students a break from worrying about class rank or grades, with many preclinical classes often taking place in small seminars in which attendance isn’t taken and tests are optional and self-directed.
8. The School of Medicine at Duke University
Low debt totals for 2011 graduates coupled with high specialization rankings seem to suggest great future return on investment.
9. The School of Medicine at University of California
This program received extremely high rankings in nearly a dozen categories. Low graduation debt totals combined and its location should put this program high on many applicants lists of schools to apply.
10. The School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University
Those lucky enough to get into program with its highly ranked specializations will leave with some of the nations debt totals for med school graduates. John Hopkins Hospital is also rated one of the best in the nation.