Becoming a doctor can be a very lucrative career. While doctors can earn a lot of money over the course of their careers, the cost of going to medical schools is extremely expensive. In fact, over 25% of graduates end up more than $200,000 in debt by the time they are done with school. If you want to go to medical school but can’t find a way to fund your lofty goals, don’t give up hope just yet. It may seem impossible to find the expenses necessary to get you through medical school, but perhaps you haven’t been looking for the money in the right places. The following are a few options that can help those who have great ambitions after medical school that don’t include drowning in debt for ten years.
This may seem obviously, but one smart way to pay for school is to earn scholarships. There are many different scholarship funds that are designed to help students pay for medical school, so you never know if there might be one out there that you qualify for. The school of your choice likely has information on their website about the different scholarships available and how to apply. These scholarships can be tough to win, but could end up covering a considerable amount of the total costs. If you still think there aren’t any scholarships out there for you, consider meeting with a scholarship counselor or financial aid specialist at your chosen school to see if they have any scholarships in mind that you can go for.
While taking out loans may not eliminate the debt, federal student loans could be a good option as they can come with negotiable repayment terms and deferred interest expenses. This means that after you are done with school and are going through residency, you could be left with an affordable monthly payment. Then, once you are earning more money, you can pay off the debt more aggressively. Taking on loans can be dangerous for students who are pursuing a career that doesn’t guarantee job placement. By going into healthcare, you have a better chance of getting a good job right off the bat, which will give you the ability to pay off loans much more easily than other students.
Join the Military
The third way that you could pay for medical school is to join the military. If you agree to join the military after you complete your degree, you could end up getting a large portion of the education expenses paid for. However, after you are done and certified, you will likely have to serve at least four years in the armed forces. Although this is a much larger commitment than a scholarship or a loan, it is a viable option for many who have the desire and drive to serve in the military. Keep in mind that this option isn’t for everyone, but for those who can handle it, it’s a great option.
Financing from Hospitals
Some students also end up getting their education paid for by having it financed by hospitals. Hospitals may be willing to offer a future doctor with money to pay for school if it means that they will join the hospital staff afterward. This is beneficial for the hospital as it will mean they can get some commitments for future staff, and it is beneficial for medical students for obvious reasons. If you plan to stick around the area after graduating medical school, you might want to look into local hospitals who could be willing to pay for portions of your schooling. Their willingness to pay for your schooling and the amount they will pay will likely be dependent on the type of medicine you are studying.
Look into Online Classes
In some senses, taking online classes can lower the cost of your education. While most of your serious medical school classes require labs and work where you must actually be present, you can complete a great portion of your pre-requisite classes online. Now, online classes aren’t always cheaper—it depends on the university. Some schools charge extra fees to balance out the costs, while online classes at other schools might be cheaper. The good thing about online classes is that you can complete your coursework on our own time, which gives you a more flexible schedule for working, bringing in a stronger flow of income. You might think that you can’t complete your degree online, however, some healthcare degrees can be completed solely through distance education. There are radiology schools online, nursing programs, and dozens of other options when it comes to completing your degree online. If you need a more flexible schedule, this is something you might want to look into.
US Health Service Corp
The sixth way to pay for medical school is to receive money from the US Health Services Corp. Under this federally sponsored program, you will receive a steep discount to your education costs, but will then be required to spend the first four years of your career working for lower pay in areas of the country that are medically under-served. Like the military option, this option requires much more commitment than the others. However, for most people who go this route, it becomes much more about the type of service they are rendering rather than getting school paid for. While it is nice to receive financial help for school, those who pursue this path with find that spending their first years in the medical field serving those who are medically under-served is extremely rewarding work.
If you’ve always dreamed of being a successful doctor that would help hundreds of people in their times of need, don’t let a lack of finances bring your dreams to a halt. Look into financing options at your particular school and consider meeting with a counselor who can help you map out how you plan to pay for schooling. These counselors will have a vast knowledge of the options out there, and can help you create a plan of attack in order to see your dreams come to fruition.