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What is a Medical Resident and how long is the Residency?

What is a Medical Resident and how long is the Residency?

Read this blog to know more about medical resident and their journey to becoming fully qualified doctors.

Medical residency is an important and exciting part of the journey to becoming a fully-qualified doctor. We explore the world of medical residency in this blog and answer some of the most common questions about this career milestone. 

What is a medical resident?

Residents are doctors that have completed medical school and are receiving on-the-job training in a hospital or other healthcare facility. Residents are closely supervised by attending physicians, (who are typically more experienced doctors) to ensure that they are providing quality care.

Medical residents typically work very long hours, often more than 80 hours per week. Residents may also have to work on-call for 24-hour shifts. While a medical residency can be a demanding experience, it is also an opportunity to receive comprehensive training in your chosen field of medicine. After completing your residency, you will be well-prepared to enter into practice and provide quality care for your patients. You may choose to pursue further training through a fellowship program or enter into practice.

How long is a medical residency?

While residencies typically last 3-7 years, it can depend on the specialty you decide on. 

Family practice

Most family medicine residencies last three years. Most programs include rotations in pediatrics, obstetrics, and other medical specialties. During residency, family medicine residents learn to provide comprehensive care for patients of all ages.


A pediatric residency often lasts around three years and includes rotations in various medical and surgical specialties. Pediatric residents will learn to diagnose and treat childhood illnesses. Sometimes this includes more general ailments in children.

Internal medicine

An internal medicine residency lasts three years and includes rotations in various medical specialties. During residency, internal medicine residents focus specifically on diagnosing, preventing, and treating ailments of the internal organs.


An obstetrics/gynecology residency includes rotations in various medical and surgical specialties, and typically lasts four years. Residents learn to diagnose and treat diseases of the female reproductive system in this specialty.

Emergency Medicine

Emergency medicine residency usually lasts three to four years depending on the hospital or learning program. Emergency medicine residents focus on diseases and injuries that require immediate medical attention and surgery.


Surgery residencies can last anywhere from five to seven years, depending on the specialty:

  • Urology and general surgery residency: 5 years
  • Plastic surgery: 6 years
  • Neurosurgery: 7 years

Average medical resident salary

According to Glassdoor, the average base salary of a medical resident is $65,058. However, this number varies depending on factors such as the type of residency program and the location of the hospital. Many residents receive additional benefits alongside their salary. 

While the salary of a medical resident may not be as high as that of a practicing physician, it is still a competitive wage when compared to other professions. The experience that residents gain during their training can lead to higher earnings down the road.

Do medical residents get health insurance?

Typically, residents have health insurance through their residency program. Many hospitals offer health insurance to their employees, which includes medical residents. However, the type of health insurance that a medical resident has may be different from that of a practicing physician. For example, some residency programs may only provide basic health insurance coverage, while others may offer more comprehensive coverage. In addition, some medical residents may be eligible for health insurance through government programs such as Medicaid or Medicare.

Vacation days as a medical resident

While the number of vacation days varies depending on the residency program, medical residents typically have between two and four weeks of paid vacation per year. However, it is important to note that medical residents are still expected to work long hours and may be on call during their vacation days. As such, they may not have as much free time as other professionals.

What happens after I complete my medical residency?

After completing their residency, medical residents can either enter into private practice or continue their training with a fellowship program. Fellowships are typically one or two years in length and provide trainees with advanced training in a specific area of medicine. After completing a fellowship, physicians can then enter into private practice or pursue a career in academia.

Some doctors might also become board certified after their residency, which requires passing an exam administered by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Board certification is not required to practice medicine, but it can demonstrate a doctor’s expertise in their field.

All of the above options are great career paths for medical residents. It is important to explore all of the options and find the one that best suits your needs and interests. Those who pursue a career in academia typically go on to teach at a medical school or conduct research at a hospital or university. On the other hand, those who enter into private practice typically open their own clinic or work for a group of physicians.

Medical residency placements

The National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) is a non-profit organization that helps place medical residents into residency programs across the United States. Each year, the NRMP matches more than 40,000 medical students and graduates with residency programs. To participate in the NRMP, medical students must first register with the organization and submit their preferences for residency programs. The NRMP then uses a computer algorithm to match students with residency programs based on their preferences. Once a match is made, the student and the residency program both agree to the placement, and the student begins their training.

Each year, Saba University School of Medicine graduates obtain ACGME residency appointments at renowned teaching hospitals and leading medical centers across the U.S. and Canada. Recent placements secured by Saba students include anesthesiology at St. Luke’s Hospital, emergency medicine at Detroit Medical Center, family medicine at Mercyhealth GME Consortium, Neurology at Carilion Clinic, Surgery at St Agnes Hospital, and many more.

Are you ready to take the next step in your medical career? Saba University School of Medicine is committed to providing a world-class education to our students and preparing them for successful careers in medicine. Our faculty members are experts in their field and are passionate about teaching. If you’re ready to take your medical career to the next level, contact us today to learn more about our programs. 

If you’re interested in learning more about medical residency programs, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Saba University School of Medicine. You can also attend one of our online webinar or open days to learn more about our programs and life on campus. Once you’re ready, you can look into our admissions requirements and apply to the medical school. We look forward to helping you take the next step in your medical career.


For prospective students

Saba is committed to supporting prospective students with any questions or queries throughout the application process. Please see the following links for detailed information about each topic:

If the information you are seeking is not provided here, please get in contact by contacting via WhatsApp here.

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