Post # 1
I was just admitted into my dream graduate school to become a Physician Assistant. Years of hard work culminating to this moment and it’s finally happening.
HOWEVER, the loans are scaring me shitless. Tuition is not finalized, but went up excessively, and I’m looking at $100k (at the very least) for JUST tuition. Bees, I need to hear from others who have been in this situation. Luckily DH has no loans and I have about 13k from undergrad.
I’ve worked so hard for this, but my excitement is slowly being replaced by complete fear!
Post # 3
How many years on a physician assistant’s salary will it take you to pay that off?
is there a lower-priced school that will give you the same certifications?
honestly I wouldn’t spend that kind of money unless I would be making $100k/year or more when I was done. Indeed.com says physician assistant average salary is $68k. So it doesn’t sound like a good investment to me.
Post # 4
@nixietink: Will going to that school greatly improve your chances of finding employment when you are done? Is the education above and beyond what you can get at other schools?
I chose an expensive, Ivy-league graduate school because it was the program that best fit my needs and wants. I am a teacher, so obviously I don’t make a lot of money. However, paying off loans, while annoying, is not impossible.
Post # 5
@nixietink: PAs are in high demand and depending upon where you live and what sort of practice you get into, you could be very well compensated. Assuming it’s a good school with a solid reputation, it could be a good investment in your future
Post # 6
First off, congratulations!
Loans are scary, my DH and I have a combined student loan of ~$300k (he was out of state). We graduated just under 2 years ago and are working as pharmacists now. We pay mortgage and everything else but live within our means. I’m paying off my loans rather aggressively, $2k a month and will most likely be done within 4 years (~100k). Then I can help tackle DH’s loans.
I believe that PAs make around 90k/yr where I live. I believe you can do it! Good luck in school and in your professional career!
Post # 7
Med school here! I’ll be about 260k in debt when all is said and done. I still think it will be worth it. Look into income based repayment plan from the government loans website. That set me at ease a little knowing my residency years I wouldn’t need to shell out all my money for loans. It’s a lot of money, but being a PA is a great job! Go for it
Post # 8
I am also a med student, and will graduate will ~300K in debt, so I know how you feel. While I hate that I will be starting out owing so much, I could not imagine any other career I would rather have, so is worth it to me.
While it certainly seems like a scary amount, and it will be a pain to pay back, PAs have great employment opportunities. If that is the job you really want, then you should go for it – you will be able to pay it back.
Post # 9
Yikes! I’m applying to grad schools for this year and looking at 10-20K max per year for a 2 year speech path program. I’d apply for all the assistantships and grants available, do lots of research! I think I’d die with that much in debt. Can you get a job without a master’s? I assume not with physical therapy but see what the potential income is and if it’s enough to justify 100K in loans.
Post # 10
I’m starting to feel a little better, bees. Thank you for the encouragement, especially from the bees who have first hand experience with a lot of loans.
The school is highly regarded and has an excellent med school as well (UC Davis). All PA programs are extremely competitive and pricey. I know I cannot give this spot up…they receive 1200+ applicants for about 30 seats. How can I say no if I’m given one of those 30 spots, right?
Plus we only have to move about an hour away and my husband gets to keep his job that he loves.
@Horseradish: I’m in California. Starting salary here will be probably average about $90k but is also dependent on specialty.
@MrsN14: There are certificate programs, but they are few and far between. I’m not sure places even hire certificate level Physician Assistants anymore.
Post # 11
@nixietink: I think its worth it. PAs are in demand and I don’t see that changing. With a higher salary too you can pay off the loan faster. I think its worth it.
Post # 12
@nixietink: Ive heard from financial people that you should only take out loans for the amount that your first salary will be. You may be a little over, but it’s not a vast amount. Those payments might be high for ahwile, but I think in the long run you are doing the right thing. Can you get like a part-time campus job whie you’re in school to help with living costs?
Post # 13
@nixietink: I think it’s worth it. You’ll have a well-compensated, stable career and the loans are not outrageous compared to the expected salary. Also, this is just how it is for anyone going into a healthcare field.
Post # 14
whatever you do, DO NOT get a private loan from sallie mae. they’re a nightmare to deal with. it’s awful.
Post # 14
nixietink: I say GO FOR IT! It’s totally normal to have some debt, and you can always work in an underserved area for loan repayment. Someone i know did that and got 14k knocked off their grad debt! I’m sure you will figure it out! I was so excited to get accepted into my FNP/DNP program I don’t even want to know what the grand total will be haha!
Post # 15
I am a physician assistant and graduated at the end of 2012. I went to a school in california and graduated with 159K. I took out 138, but with the interest it turned out to be A LOT more! Yikes. My tuition was 78K a year but I lived in the bay area, so cost of living was a lot.
I work in central california and make 120K-130K a year in the emergency department after only be 1 year out of school. It’s high stress and the salaries are a little higher. I would say new graduate salary in california is about 85-95K.
I make 1880 a month loan payments and it will take 9 more years.
To keep the cost down, get a roommate, live in a small apartment and don’t go out to dinner, drinks etc. You’ll be studying 24/7 anyways. It’s worth it though… I LOVE my job.