Frequently Asked Questions

Questions & Answers

One of the best things about being a doctor is the wide range of practice opportunities available to you. There are doctors practicing traditional-style medicine in most urban and rural locations in Canada. Along with urban and rural practice, Canadian-trained physicians also have opportunities in the Canadian Forces, provincial police services and cruise lines, as well as global opportunities like mission work and Doctors without Borders.

Upon completing an undergraduate degree as well as graduating from medical school, most students have accumulated a large amount of debt. When looking at the earning potential of being a doctor, you must first consider the residency period. Residency or postgraduate training lasts between two and six years, depending on specialization.

According to, the 2016 earnings range for Canadian medical residents by province are:

  • Alberta - $55,073 - $95,207
  • British Columbia - $50,660 - $81,114
  • Newfoundland and Labrador - $53,282 - $80,589
  • Maritimes - $60,779 - $96,496
  • Quebec - $44,111 - $72,120
  • Ontario - $55,826 - $89,551
  • Manitoba - $54,956 - $93,055
  • Saskatchewan - $56,814 - $82,371

After residency, you enter into practice. The average physician salaries by province are:

  • Alberta - $349,655
  • Ontario - $340,019
  • Saskatchewan - $324,342
  • Manitoba - $304,165
  • British Columbia - $272,794
  • New Brunswick - $264,299
  • Newfoundland - $260,166
  • Quebec - $253,539
  • P.E.I. - $235,767
  • Nova Scotia - $250,486

Source: Canadian Institute for Health Information (2013)

The decision to apply for medical school is the easy part; getting in is a little more complicated. All 17 medical schools in Canada have very competitive entry. Often, it is necessary to apply to a Canadian medical school, more than once, even after successfully earning an undergraduate degree. Although some overseas universities allow direct entry to medical school from high school, if you do choose this route, you may have difficulty coming back to Canada to work. If you are considering this route to your medical education and training, do your research and due diligence before making a decision. It is imperative to do your research BEFORE making the decision to study medicine abroad!

Out of all the universities in the world, only 54 medical degree schools are recognized in Canada. Will you also complete your residency training overseas? Have you considered the additional costs? Will your post graduate training be sufficient to meet Canadian provincial licensing standards if and when you wish to come home to practice? Have you considered that all students studying medicine abroad are considered to be an international medical graduate regardless of being a Canadian citizen?

More than 70 percent of current first and second year medical students were not interested in pursuing careers in medicine until their undergraduate studies.

Although many current medical students excelled in high school, they did not all have perfect scores. In fact, approximately nine percent of current first- and second-year medical students finished high school with averages in the 70-percent range and 24 percent had averages in the 80s.

Actually only 55 percent of current students were in such programs. Do all medical students have to go into the Faculty of Science during their undergraduate studies? Although many students choose to enroll in the Faculty of Science, many other students have studied under such faculties as engineering, physical education, health science and arts.

Approximately 40 percent of the current first and second-year medical students applied more than once before they were accepted into the Faculty of Medicine. Of the people who enter medical school, about one quarter of them applied three or more times.

  • Sources:
  • The Canadian Resident Matching Service
  • MD Ambassador Survey, University of Alberta. 2009

The journey to becoming a doctor, including an undergraduate degree, a medical degree and residency training, usually takes a minimum of ten years.