I dunno, I've seen this argument before and I'm not really convinced it adds up to "doctors don't make that much money." The average starting salary for a college graduate is around 44k. Allowing for raises n' such, they'll make let's say around 250k during the five years that their classmate is in medical school and doing a residency. So the doctor missed out on that much and is 162k in debt, meaning that they're in the neighborhood of 410k in the hole. They make 113k per year more than their starting salary would have been if they hadn't become a doctor, but let's be really generous and assume that the non-doctor has consistently gotten really great raises during those five years and now makes 65k a year. The doctor is still 92k ahead per year, meaning that he or she will recoup his 410k investment in just under four and one half years. Maybe throw six more months on there to cover the interest on their student loan. They're still doing just fine. It does expose a problem with our system, though: doctors make a shitload of money in part because they have a shitload of debt to repay, so if we fixed our education system too we could actually just pay doctors less.