Personal Finance

Medical school might be your ticket into the millionaires’ club — provided you can repay the debt you’ll incur on the way.

Indeed, many of the nation’s highest-paying occupations are in the health-care field, according to a GoBankingRates analysis of 2017 compensation data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Anesthesiologists are the top earners in the U.S., bringing in an average salary of $265,990.

Surgeons follow close behind, with an average annual salary of $251,890, while obstetricians and gynecologists earn an average of $235,240, according to the data.

See below for the top 20 professions, ranked by salary.

While top medical professionals may be in for a windfall once they’ve established their careers, the path there is paved with additional schooling and expenses.

“Medical school debt is a factor in how much you can save for retirement and how long it will take you to get to that point,” said Gabrielle Olya, senior writer for GoBankingRates.

For starters, these individuals must make their way through four years of undergraduate education, four years of medical school and at least a year of residency training, depending on their specialty.

First-year medical students in private schools faced a median cost of $61,533 during the 2018-2019 school year, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. That expense includes tuition, fees and health insurance.

Once graduates complete their studies, their balance sheets often are deep in the red.

The class of 2017 had a median debt level of $192,000, including loans they had taken out during their undergraduate education, the AAMC found.

Medical school students may be eligible for need-based aid, as well as scholarships, fellowships and service agreements to help offset the cost of their education.

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