Physician Assistant Loan Forgiveness: You may earn a higher-than-average salary as a doctor’s assistant, but your debt is also likely to be higher-than-average. The median salary for physician assistants is $95,000, according to a 2017 National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.
The report also found that the total student loan debt is $112,500 for medical assistants.
Any student loan waiver or repayment plan will help if student loan debt continues to be higher than incomes. In this guide, we will discuss redemption and repayment plans for the physician loan assistant.
Federal physician assistant loan forgiveness programs
If you have federal student loans, you can take advantage of various repayment options that offer student loan forgiveness.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) offers student loan forgiveness to non-profit providers, government agencies, and other public service organizations. To qualify, your student loans must first be consolidated into a direct consolidation loan.
You will then make 120 payments, and once these payments have been completed, you can apply for forgiveness at this point. Nevertheless, there has recently been some concern with PSLF where people find out that their approvals will be reversed after making approved payments worth years.
There will be more to come regarding PSLF in the future, but as for now, this is still a viable option that could work well for clinicians looking to have most of their loans forgiven.
Income-driven repayment plan
You can find a revenue-based repayment plan if you have a federal student loan and you have trouble in being able to afford to make the payments. These include the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE), the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR), the Revised Pay As You Earn Plan (REPAYE) and the Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR).
You’re not going to get out of your student loan debt at a faster rate with all these plans; but, they’re going to work to reduce your monthly payments to a percentage of your income.
Once you have paid into your loan for 20 or 25 years depending on your plan, you can apply to have the remaining portion of your debt forgiven. It is important to remember with these plans that you will have to reapply annually. This means that if you have an increase in your income, then your payments are likely to increase somewhat as well.
National Health Service Corps (NHSC)
The National Health Service Corps has a loan repayment program that is available to physician assistants in exchange for two years of service in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).
The program will pay up to $30,000 to $50,000 for full-time service, depending on where you serve and is available to those with the following specialties:
- Women’s Health
- Mental Health & Psychiatry
To qualify, physician assistants must work under a primary care physician and have a certification or a degree from an accredited program. Additionally, you must have a certificate from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and be licensed and registered in the state you are serving in.
If you’re interested in serving in the armed forces and use your physician assistant skillset there, you could get student loan repayment assistance.
The Army will provide up to $65,000 in student loan repayment aid, and up to $50,000 is provided by the National Guard.
To apply, you need to serve a specific term that may vary depending on the program. Only federal student loans qualify for this program and there may be limited job opportunities. You can now check out the Navy for job opportunities for physician assistant.
You can also consider the Loan Repayment Program for Health Professions (HPLRP), which offers up to $40,000 per year to medical professionals. Loans are eligible for federal and private student loans.
The amount of time you are spending is determined by how much you apply. You can get more info with your branch, such as the Navy or Air Force.
Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program
The Indian Health Service has a loan repayment program that health professionals can receive if they commit to a two-year commitment to serve in American Indian or Alaska Native communities.
In this route, you can earn up to $40,000 in loan repayment for the two-year commitment. Additionally, the contract can be renewed until your debt is paid off completely!
State Loan Repayment Program
You may apply for local options in your state apart from the federal loan waiver and repayment options. Of example, if you’re looking for a New York or California medical assistant loan forgiveness, Iowa or Maine can search for programs available on individual state websites.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has State Loan Repayment Programs (SLRP) working with more than 30 states to support their loan forgiveness and repayment programs.
Doctor assistants are required to work in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) and serve for at least two years, possibly more depending on the contract.
In order to be eligible, physician assistants must have one of the following specialties:
- Psychiatry/mental health
- Women’s health
Qualifications and specialties can vary from state to state. To see if your state offers physician assistant loan forgiveness, check out your state’s local SLRP contact.
Many of the loan forgiveness or repayment programs of the physician assistant are associated with certain types of jobs or specific to specific areas. If you don’t apply for these services, by reducing your interest rate, you can get another form of student loan repayment assistance.
You apply for a new loan with a new interest rate and a new repayment period when you refinance your student loans. Ideally, you would knock off a couple of percentage points and save interest in thousands of dollars.
Refinancing will help you with your student loan repayment process if you have good credit, a good salary and a stable job.
One thing to note though is that once you refinance, your loans become private so any of the federal protections you once had are now gone. Be fairly certain you won’t pursue student loan forgiveness through PSLF or another program, before jumping on refinancing your federal student loans.
Take action on your student loans and examine forgiveness and repayment options in your state for any physician assistant loan. Then weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the various options available for refinancing loans. You can also check to see if any student loan assistance options are available from your employer or prospective employer.