Medical School Applicants, Enrollment Break Records

This year set the record for the number of students who applied and enrolled to U.S. medical schools, according to data released by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The total number of 2013 applicants is up 6.1 percent from 2012, surpassing the previous record — set in 1996 — by 1,049 students. This year, 48,014 people applied.

Additionally, the number of students enrolled in their first year at medical school passed 20,000 for the first time: 20,055 students enrolled this year. That number is up 3 percent from 2012.

According to the AAMC, growth in applications and enrollment is due to the opening of new medical schools and expanded class sizes at current schools. This year, 14 medical schools increased their class sizes by more than 10 percent, and four new medical schools opened their doors.

"At a time when the nation faces a shortage of more than 90,000 doctors by the end of the decade and millions are gaining access to health insurance, we are very glad that more students than ever want to become physicians," Darrell Kirch, MD, president and CEO of AAMC, said in a news release.

Now, the main concern is the limited number of residency spots available to students once they graduate medical school. "Unless Congress lifts the 16-year-old cap on federal support for residency training, we will still face a shortfall of physicians across dozens of specialties," Dr. Kirch said.

More Articles on the Physician Shortage:
10 Cities With Largest Physician Shortages
Hancock County Health Offers Cash Reward for Recommended Physician Hires
How Hospitals Can Get a Residency Program Off the Ground

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