More physicians expected to enter workforce

Medical school enrollment, it is hoped, will rise to meet the ever-growing demand for physicians, according to a survey by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). “First-year medical school enrollment in 2017–2018 is projected to reach 21,434 — a 30% increase from 2002–2003,” says the survey, which does not estimate what specialties students will pick.

Medical schools that opened since 2002 will account for 31% of that growth, says the report, “Results of the 2012 Medical School Enrollment Survey.” Most of the data were collected in an e-mail survey sent last September to deans of 130 medical schools. For schools that did not respond, enrollments from the 2011 survey were used. Data were obtained for three schools that were in the process of applying for accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. “Without the three applicant schools [Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, Commonwealth Medical College, and Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.] currently in the pipeline, enrollment growth is not projected to reach the 30% target until after 2020.”

More DOs

There will still be many more MDs than DOs in the country, but the growth rate for DOs is expected to outpace that for MDs. Researchers estimate that by 2017, total first-year enrollment for DOs will be 6,675, a 125% increase over the baseline 2002 enrollment. Enrollment in MD programs will grow by about 30%.

DO growth since 2002 (000s)

Source: “Results of the 2012 Medical School Enrollment Survey,” Association of American Medical Colleges, May 2013.