If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Medical resident: What I do and how much I make

Jorge Torres, a medical resident at Olive View, UCLA, earns $55,000 annually. His demanding role involves patient care, collaboration with other physicians, and minimal downtime. Despite the challenges, he finds satisfaction in helping underinsured patients. Post-residency, he can become a licensed practicing physician with a higher income.

Want to join the conversation?

Video transcript

My name's Jorge Torres. I'm 32 years old. I'm a medical resident and I make 55,000 dollars a year. Part of the residency program at Olive View, UCLA, and here I see patients both in the inpatient and outpatient setting, and I'm still a training physician and so I work and collaborate with a supervising physician here and together we see patients and collaborate on the treatment plan. So most medical residents, in the inpatient setting work six days a week, with one day off. That's to facilitate patient care. It's also to facilitate training, since this is still a training process. A typical day in the inpatient setting is pretty busy. You're pretty accountable, you know, overall for the patient care. You're kind of a quarterback of the medical system. You're really interacting with a lot of teams, a lot of different nurses, a lot of different other physicians and the patient's family themselves. So in general, there's usually not a ton of downtime or restful time. It's not like a typical job where you can take a ten minute break here or there. Usually your hours are pretty demanding. The amount of annual income a resident makes is set by the federal government. In every medical residency program, when you're interviewing for that particular program, they let you know of the the salary that all of the residents in your cohort would make. That salary for me here is around 55,000 dollars a year. Some cities may be a lot more expensive in terms of cost of living and so they try to adjust for that, but in general, that's pretty much the entry average for all medical residents in the United States. So after medical residency, you can be a licensed practicing physician, and as a practicing licensed physician you can charge more money, depending on what sort of services you're given. Usually in those years, that's when more people are familiar with doctors making a well-endowed income, but medical residency can actually vary quite long. It can vary anywhere from three years to eight years and it can really vary quite drastically for different individuals training. One of the more challenging things in the medical, as being a medical resident, is definitely just the longevity of training. It's a long time to be training. The hours can be long. The days can be long. And just think of the overall emotional toll at times can be rather taxing, and the best way to really try to overcome that or try to manage that is really to have a really strong support system. You have to have really fun, great colleagues. You have to have friends outside of work, family, significant other, really lots of sorts of things that keep you grounded and really remind you of who you are and just things outside that exist in the hospital. The most important thing without a doubt that I enjoy about my job is definitely interacting with my patients, seeing my patients and being able to deliver care for them. A lot of patients that I see are often underinsured, you know, maybe haven't had a primary care physician in quite some time. The hospital here is like a safety-net hospital, so we really see local patients, we see patients who are from overseas, so it really brings me a lot of gratification to work with these different types of families and really to know that we're providing them with excellent care.