May 30, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Medical school enrollments are up in the US. While it's good news for medical schools and medicine in general, some medical school administrators are worried about placing all of them for residency.

The Association of American Medical Colleges recently published its Results of the 2017 Medical School Enrollment Survey and found a 29 percent overall increase in first-year enrollment at US medical schools since 2002.

What does this mean?

It means that about 5,000 more students started medical school in 2017. 

For starters, some experts are worried that the number of medical residency spots for graduates won't be able to keep pace with the surge in the numbers of students. 

In the survey, 64 percent of medical school deans expressed concern about residency slots in their own state, and 78 percent expressed concern about the availability of residency slots nationally.

What else did the survey find? Fifty-four percent of medical schools saw competition for clinical training from other healthcare training programs--a 25 percent increase from 2009. Almost all medical school deans--nearly 99 percent--plan on recruiting a more diverse student body.

Forty-four percent of deans also had concerns about the uptick in numbers and the ability for graduates to secure residency positions.

Medical schools continue to face fierce competition from DO programs, too. First-year enrollment at DO schools in 2017-2018 was 8,088 students--a 163 percent increase from about 3,000 students in 2002-2003. The combined enrollment of MD and DO programs increased by a total of 9,859 students or a 50 percent increase since 2002-2003. 

Learn more about attending medical school. 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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