CNN profile of two physicians in training, and their debt projection

Holy cow:

Young doctors in debt

CNNMoney.comChris and Meg Reis are on their way to long medical careers. Now it’s time to deal with $500,000 in student loans.

By George Mannes, Money Magazine senior writer

November 16 2007: 11:47 AM EST

(Money Magazine) — It’s Wednesday evening and Megan Reis can’t remember when she last saw her husband Chris. Small wonder. Since Sunday morning, Meg has worked more than 60 hours at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital, the Chicago-area facility where she is training in pediatrics.

Chris, meanwhile, has put in a 24-hour day followed by a 12-hour one at the nearby Loyola University Medical Center, where he’s learning anesthesiology. Meg guesses she hasn’t seen him since Saturday.

Such are the lives of medical residents: med school graduates getting years of on-the-job training, putting in brutal hours for salaries that, on an hourly basis, work out to a little more than they could earn stocking the shelves at Costco.

It’s all supposed to pay off, of course. Once they become full-fledged doctors (attending physicians, in the trade), they’ll have six-figure incomes, more reasonable hours, a respected occupation and work that they love.

Chris and Meg live frugally, work hard and are making the kind of investments in their future that would make any parent proud. But they’re also on track to finish their medical training in the next few years with a staggering $700,000 in debt.

I have some debt, but thanks to the Navy (and all of you, thanks) it’s a whole, whole lot less.

Does anyone else think this is an excessive amount of debt, even given rising costs?  Seems like a lot more than I’m used to seeing quoted.