Fun1nth3sun1

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So I have always wanted to be a doctor, but when I think about the medical school tuition costs it gives me so much anxiety trying to figure out how I would pay for it. Thinking about being $200k-$300k in debt for so many years really scares me. For this reason, I have considered PA School, which is about $100k, a little better. Financially I do not know if it makes sense to go to medical school. I am applying this cycle and have not heard back from any schools yet. I do not know how financial aid packages work or fafsa with medical schools. Do they actually give out some grants to help with tuition costs? Are there any scholarships available?
 

DO2015CA

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and for most private DO schools, if the student has no help from family, it’ll be closer to 350-400k by the time you graduate and finish residency
 
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DO2015CA

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Honestly just that thought scares me and it's enough for me to pursue PA.
It shouldn’t. You can pay it off as any full time physician at this point in time. Even the lowest paid specialty. With PA, there are enough schools proliferating that the job market is already getting tight. And that’s for a salary that’s 1/2-2/3rds that of a physician salary. Go with the better job prospect even if it’s more expensive. No full time physician can’t pay off their loans with proper money management
 
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Fun1nth3sun1

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I made about 300k/year before my Covid paycut. In my state, as an unmarried person, this was about 180k/year after tax and deductions, including 15k/year deducted pre-tax toward retirement.

When I started DO school year 1 tuition was about 37k/year. year 4 it was 43k a year. I took out about 70k a year. At graduation I owed 380k, including undergrad, postbacc, med school, and the associated living costs. I paid $300/month during residency for 4 years. At the end of residency I owed 480k.

Ended up obtaining a job that would qualify me for PSLF since it would be about 6 years more. So decided not to refinance my student loans.

My pre-tax income in three years started at 277k year 1 and peaked at 300k year 3 before getting my Covid paycut. About 80k extra was earned moonlighting, this is about 55k after tax. I should add I had no life that year because of the irregular shifts. Immediate family needed money, so about 75k of post-tax income went to them. I paid off $150k of my loans before I was able to qualify for a mortgage, I had previously been turned down for one when I tried buying year 1. I have $380k left. Its that amount because these past three years interest still accrues at 24k/year.

My DO schools tuition is now 60k/year, so if you're going to be a doctor via my school then I suggest dermatology and multiple med spas in a thriving economy if you're interested in paying it off quick. Or the other reason, which is don't do it unless every fiber of your being wants to go to medical school.

I would never go see a midlevel as a patient, however as a career I can understand the economics and limited liability of it. Lots of bang for your buck.
I honestly would not see a midlevel as a patient either and that's why I am conflicted. To be honest, one of my family medicine doctors as a child was actually a PA and I just always thought of her aa a doctor.

Medical tuition tuition is ridiculously high. One of my best friends is canadian and she actually a 26 year old internal medicine resident in her 4th year (she skipped 2 years of college through a medical program). The tuition their is like $4000. People their complain about $4000 a year of tuition!!!! This is of course for residents as the non-resident tuition is about 30k a year. I think it's makes sense why most of medical school class would be coming from high income family. It's so hard to be from lower class and just apply to medical school let alone attend.

Don't they do loan forgiveness after a certain number of years have passed?
 
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Can't advise on the med school vs. PA school decision...I've had the same thought many times. But in this time of waiting, doesn't hurt to inform yourself.

Check out The ChooseDO Explorer! Each school has a Tuition/Fees/Financial Aid section, which lists average student indebtedness upon graduation, the availability of scholarships, and the average scholarship/grant awarded.

Some schools (Western U comes to mind) also have links on their websites to scholarship databases for both school-specific grants and scholarships that any DO student can apply for.
 
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thepoopologist

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My 2 cents is to think about the economics of the situation, but again it's your life.

There is supposedly loan forgiveness, however nothing looks stable right now.
 
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Fun1nth3sun1

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My 2 cents is to think about the economics of the situation, but again it's your life.

There is supposedly loan forgiveness, however nothing looks stable right now.
From an economics standpoint, PA route makes more sense...I am a first time applicant this cycle but only applied to two schools so far. The truth is I may not even be accepted. I am also taking the MCAT for the first time this January. Now I am wondering if it is even worth my time to study for the MCAT. I am trying to have a balanced life, and not one where I will be in $300k debt or be working too much to the point where I do not spend enough time with my children. It would be different if I was interested in a specialty that is impossible for PAs to work in but I am more interested in lifestyle medicine and more primary care/pediatrics. That is why I was looking into primary care 3 year programs so I could save a year of tuition... I can still treat patient autonomously as a PA though.
 
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thepoopologist

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From an economics standpoint, PA route makes more sense...I am a first time applicant this cycle but only applied to two schools so far. The truth is I may not even be accepted. I am also taking the MCAT for the first time this January. Now I am wondering if it is even worth my time to study for the MCAT. I am trying to have a balanced life, and not one where I will be in $300k debt or be working too much to the point where I do not spend enough time with my children. It would be different if I was interested in a specialty that is impossible for PAs to work in but I am more interested in lifestyle medicine and more primary care/pediatrics. That is why I was looking into primary care 3 year programs so I could save a year of tuition... I can still treat patient autonomously as a PA though.

I'm all about the practical outlook. Do something interesting and worthwhile, make good money, but also be able to walk away if one day you don't like it. I'm in a good situation but it was a difficult road to get here and its not like the end result is me sitting on a throne dictating orders to others, immune to lawsuits, financially secure for life.
 

stormking

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Can't advise on the med school vs. PA school decision...I've had the same thought many times. But in this time of waiting, doesn't hurt to inform yourself.

Check out The ChooseDO Explorer! Each school has a Tuition/Fees/Financial Aid section, which lists average student indebtedness upon graduation, the availability of scholarships, and the average scholarship/grant awarded.

Some schools (Western U comes to mind) also have links on their websites to scholarship databases for both school-specific grants and scholarships that any DO student can apply for.
Mind if i ask you rather you would make the same choice if you were to decide again? I didn't look too much into the numbers that you wrote but i assume that every debt is accounted for with a stable income after you started to work as a full time physician.
 

Chibucks15

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The student loan bubble is gonna pop. And it’s gonna be 10x worse than the housing bubble of 08. Personally, there are no more secure jobs than a doctor when that **** goes down.
Also, it wouldn’t surprise me if somehow the government tried to rectify their stupid federal loan policies and forgave a good chunk but well see
 
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Vngannxx

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Maybe try accelerated one year BSN nursing.

I recently graduated from a one year public university program and paid $17k for the program. Did not have to take out a lot of loans and will enter the workforce in one year.

Options to pursue more school (NP, CRNA) later on.
 
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Mind if i ask you rather you would make the same choice if you were to decide again? I didn't look too much into the numbers that you wrote but i assume that every debt is accounted for with a stable income after you started to work as a full time physician.
Not sure if you meant to reply to another post, but I should have made this clear - I'm a premed, still applying, not a physician. I meant to convey that, particularly as an older reapplicant, I've also weighed the pros and cons of continuing to pursue this longer, more expensive path. That said, I do know that there are scholarship resources out there if you're willing to do a little digging and spend time filling out more applications.
 
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Ho0v-man

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PLEASEEEE if you originally wanted to do pre-med, BECOME A DOCTOR! Everything you just stated sounds like -“you want to be a doctor but you to think PA/NP will be more convenient/cheaper route” This is not true. There are no shortcuts to success.

Myth #1: debt: Education itself has become ridiculously overpriced, so I don’t know why ppl believe education debt is only unique to physicians.
The avg PA student graduating debt is $150k -200k in 2018 (taken from the AAPA website). The avg debt for graduating med student in 2019 was $201k (AAMC website). I’m not gunna research NP, but I’m sure it’s not cheap. Regardless the route, There are tonnnnsss of programs and hospitals that pay back your debt, especially if you want to do primary care.

#Myth #2: Time in school: All of these programs are post-bachelor. PA 2-3years, NP mostly 3), MD/DO (4 years). That is one extra year! RESIDENCY is not school! It is work + education, that’s it!
Now, ppl argue “but PAs/NPs are making more money than a resident”. Yes, but that logic is also flawed. Example: The avg PA salary 2020 is $112k (AAPA website). The avg physician salary 2020 is $294k (medscape). So yea, you will be making $65k as a resident for 4yrs (average) while your friend who started PA school the year you started med school has been making $112k. Now math question, how many years will it take, after you finish residency, for your lifetime earnings to “catch up” with your PA friend? I did the math for you: ONLY 2 years and 3 months!!

I crunched those numbers just to show - don’t choose medicine because of money, HOWEVER, don’t let money deter you. (Same for NP).

Myth #3 s Finally lifestyle. lifestyle in medicine is SPECIALTY specific, not profession specific. I am a resident, my best friend is a neurosurgery OR nurse. she works the same, and many times, more hours than me. I will be graduating residency at 29. I’m married to my “med school sweetheart” (half of every med school class gets married to eachother - it’s a true phenomena lolll). We are planning to have 4kids and we are both physicians. I just signed my first contract out of residency - $375k/yr in a low cost of living city. Hours: M-F 6am-2:30p. No overnight calls, no weekends, no holidays. I will not miss a single holiday with my family nor a weekend kids soccer game. Each year I stay, my salary is increased by 25k (for the same hours), and it is capped at 400k. Any extra income I want, I am given the option to pick up shifts. Oh yea, 8 weeks vacation/year. My job is considered a “mommy track job”, sounds do-able right?

I took the time to write this because I’m tired of fellow women being deterred by myths.

Saw this post I’ve quoted above recently and thought it was applicable info. Makes some good points. Your debt as a DO without rich parents will be higher. But if it’s taking you ~2 years to catch up at that lower debt, then you can guess another couple with yours. PA is a great idea for older students who want to prioritize lifestyle. Around the time a doc would be in residency. But at least for now, doc is still a much better decision financially for someone in their 20s and even mid 30s. While it looks better up front, a traditional student who goes PA is likely leaving millions on the table. Exceptions may include going to a super expensive school and specializing in peds.

Go to the cheapest DO school you get into!
 
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NITRAS

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The student loan bubble is gonna pop. And it’s gonna be 10x worse than the housing bubble of 08. Personally, there are no more secure jobs than a doctor when that **** goes down.
Also, it wouldn’t surprise me if somehow the government tried to rectify their stupid federal loan policies and forgave a good chunk but well see

Except when a pandemic happens and physicians get laid off. . . . . Something like 8% of my group, who sees hospitalized patients btw got laid off.

Personally, i think the government should get out of the student loan business. . . But whatever.
 
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jhmmd

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Like has been said elsewhere on this forum...if you're smart enough to get into med school and finish successfully, you will eventually pay off your loans. You don't have to pinch pennies; just make an effort to be frugal. Worst case scenario you go into FM and start making $200k. Your loans should disappear in <5 years. Now stop worrying.
 
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scpod

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What you need to look at is what the difference is between a PA or NP versus a Physician. While there are indeed states that allow autonomous practice for mid-levels, they do not have the education that you receive as a doctor. Clinical experiences are where you really learn to practice medicine. I have NP's working for me now that have a little as 500 hours (a lot of which are not really hands on) of clinical care and can be licensed in the state of Florida and provide primary care autonomously. By comparison, including medical school and residency I had nearly 18,000 clinical hours before I could practice on my own, Granted, you are not allowed to work as many hours in residency these days, but the learning gap of mid-levels in still tremendous.

The wealth of knowledge that you gain becoming a physician is exponentially higher. If you want to take care of your patients to the best of your ability, then become a physician. If you want to make some decent money and not have to learn too much, do something else.

With good financial planning, you can succeed with any amount of debt.
 
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Ibn Alnafis MD

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Debt sucks. Minimize it as much as you can.

From a purely financial prospective, MD/DO with 300k > midlevel with 100k. In both scenarios, your debt to income ratio is about 1:1. However, after taxes and loan payments (10-year plan), your monthly income would still be significantly more as a physician vs a midlevel.

Now one could make the argument that PA school is 1-2 years shorter and they don’t do residency. So that is 5+ years of opportunity loss for the DO counterpart, but even then, the DO would catch up very quickly.

TLDR: it’s a 7.5M vs 4.2M of lifelong earning power.
 
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Kevvv

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LECOM still has decent tuition.

An OMM practice in any well-to-do suburb (think Great Neck or Scarsdale, NY) can net as much any any decent dermatologist, and with less overhead.
I live in Great Neck for years and can attest to this. My PCP/influencer is thinking about diversifying her practice into a more affluent area, focusing on OMM practices. So far there aren't many competition in the area, and with the increasing exposure of DOs the outlook is solid.
 
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I live in Great Neck for years and can attest to this. My PCP/influencer is thinking about diversifying her practice into a more affluent area, focusing on OMM practices. So far there aren't many competition in the area, and with the increasing exposure of DOs the outlook is solid.
Patients definitely seem to be increasingly interested in alternatives to pharmaceuticals and surgery
 
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goldsummer

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Do you mind sharing your debt post med school and how much you paid down over X years of residency?

I graduated with something like 246k. First year residency i paid 0/month, second year i paid 75, third year i paid 150. Now as an attending Its been on that covid 0% no payments deal.
So, basically I haven't paid much down on it at all. I do plan to start making big payments on it in 2021 and on. But I'm also figuring out the best way to do that based on various things.
 
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