July 05, 2019

6 High-Paying Jobs that Offer Student Loan Forgiveness

Getting a degree not only gives you more career options, it can help you earn more money in your profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), having a bachelor’s degree will help you earn an average of $907 more per week than those without the four-year degree. A doctoral degree will help you […]

Getting a degree not only gives you more career options, it can help you earn more money in your profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), having a bachelor’s degree will help you earn an average of $907 more per week than those without the four-year degree. A doctoral degree will help you net even more, as PhD recipients make up to $1743 more per week on average.

But even with higher salaries, repaying student loans can still be a big challenge. Thankfully, there are a number of student loan forgiveness programs available to help teachers, nurses, current and former military members, and other types of professionals get out of debt more quickly.

If you’re looking for a career that offers a substantial yearly income and the possibility for loan forgiveness, here are some of your best options.

Veterinarian

Education required: Doctoral or professional degree

Average yearly income: $93,830

Do you love working with animals and want to make a career out of it? Veterinarians not only make a great income, they can also become eligible for a few forgiveness programs.

One of the best programs for veterinarians is the Veterinarian Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP), which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, it does come with some very specific requirements.

For one, you’ll need to work in an area with a shortage of veterinarians for at least three years. You may also be required to work primarily with livestock. But if you have qualifying debt, and this sounds like a career you’d be interested in, you could earn up to $25,000 each year towards your loans.

Another option for veterinarians is the North Dakota State Veterinarian Loan Repayment Program. This program offers up to $80,000 in student loan repayment assistance each year to three veterinarians who work in a North Dakota shortage area.

Lawyer

Education required: Doctoral or professional degree

Average yearly income: $120,910

You can rack up a lot of student debt on your way to becoming a lawyer. But if you work for a nonprofit or the government, you might qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which offers loan forgiveness after 10 years of on-time, qualifying payments as long as you meet other program requirements.

In addition to the PSLF program, attorneys can take advantage of several other forgiveness options, including:

  • The John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program awards eligible attorneys up to $10,000 each year who work as a public defender or state prosecutor, or who work at least three years at a state agency.
  • The Herbert S. Garten Loan Repayment Assistance Program uses a lottery to select dozens of attorneys each year who are awarded up to $5,600 towards repaying student loans.
  • The Department of Justice Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program gives lawyers access to up to $6,000 annually over a 10-year period, as long as you work for the Department of Justice.

Some law schools also offer loan forgiveness programs specifically for their alumni. So be sure to check with your school to see what’s available.

Doctor or Physician

Education required: Doctoral or professional degree

Average yearly income: $93,830

On average, doctors accumulate over $200,000 in medical school debt before graduating. Repaying this debt can sometimes take more than a decade – even with a high salary.

To help physicians get out of debt more quickly, the National Health Services Corps (NHSC) offers three forgiveness programs for doctors.

  • The NHSC Loan Repayment Program awards qualified, licensed healthcare providers up to $50,000 in repayment assistance after completing two years in primary care medical or mental/behavioral health.
  • The Students to Service Loan Repayment Program (S2S LRP) awards current medical students up to $120,000 for committing to three years at a NHSC Health Professional Shortage Area site.
  • The State Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) helps doctors working in certain states earn money towards their loans by providing primary care in Health Professional Shortage Areas across many U.S. states. Requirements and forgiveness amounts do vary by state, however.

Other forgiveness programs for doctors exist outside of those offered by the NHSC. To learn more about these and other options, get in touch with one of our student loan experts.

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Dentist

Education required: Doctoral or professional degree

Average yearly income: $156,240

Like doctors, dentists can take advantage of many of the same forgiveness programs for healthcare professionals. But for dentists working at nonprofits or government agencies, the PSLF program is definitely the best option, as it offers loan forgiveness after 10 years of qualifying payments.

Other student loan forgiveness programs for dentists include the NHSC Loan Repayment Program, which offers up to $50,000 in repayment assistance for investing two years in a primary care dental role. Another is the Students to Service Loan Repayment Program (S2S LRP), which awards current dental students up to $120,000 for working three years at a NHSC Health Professional Shortage Area site.

A large number of states also offer Loan Repayment Assistance Programs to help dentists repay their loans. Information on these programs is available through the American Dental Association.

Pharmacist

Education required: Doctoral or professional degree

Average yearly income: $126,120

PharmD graduates can accrue hundreds of thousands in student loan debt during college. For pharmacists working in the public sector, the PSLF program is a great option for getting rid of this debt after making 10 years of qualifying payments.

Beyond PSLF, student loan forgiveness programs for pharmacists include the NHSC Loan Repayment Assistance Program, which offers $50,000 in repayment assistance, and the NIH Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program, which awards $35,000 a year to pharmacists who perform research.

Like doctors and dentists, state loan forgiveness programs are another option.

Firefighter & Police Supervisors

Education required: Bachelor’s degree

Average yearly income: $80,310-$93,100

If you want to make a good income without a PhD or professional degree, consider working as a police or firefighter supervisor. While it may require working your way through the ranks, you can be rewarded for your service with loan forgiveness before ever serving in upper management.

Loan forgiveness programs for police and firefighters include the PSLF program, which can erase all of your student debt after 10 years of eligibility. Since most police and firefighters work for government agencies, the PSLF program is one you’ll want to take advantage of if you join the career.

Have Perkins Loans? You might qualify for a Perkins Loan Cancellation. By working as a full-time police officer or firefighter at a qualifying agency, you can become eligible for cancellation of a percentage of your debt, with the amount growing each year you serve for up to five years.

Learn more about the student loan forgiveness programs you might qualify for by filling out our online form or calling (800) 771-6358 to speak with a student loan specialist. We can help you find the best programs for your situation and help you navigate each program’s requirements on your way to loan forgiveness.