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The Best Jobs for Student Loan Forgiveness
For some jobs, the perks go beyond annual salaries and 401(k) plans. Some career fields actually help employees with their student loans through federal debt student loan forgiveness programs or company-sponsored repayment packages. Let’s take a look at what careers you might consider if you need a little debt relief.
Amount of outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. (1)
Average student loan debt per graduate (2)
According to an American Student Assistance survey, help with student loan repayment is one of the main factors in borrowers accepting jobs.
Student loan help impact on job decision (3)
Considerable impact: 45%
The deciding factor: 38%
No impact: 5%
Minimal impact: 4%
Careers for Credit
There are seven career categories to consider when looking at student loan aid and reduction. Some receive more help than others, and some only help with specific types of student loans. (4,5,6)
Federal Agency Employees
Federal agency employees might work for the U.S. departments of:
- Health and Human Safety
- Homeland Security
Student loan aid: Up to $10,000 per year per employee, no more than $60,000 (7)
Qualifications: Employee must sign three-year contract
Public Service Workers
Public service workers include:
- Family and child social workers or legal aid
- Police officers and firefighters
- Correctional officers
- Public defenders
Average salaries: Police officers, $61,270; correctional officers, $45,310; social workers, $46,170
Student loan aid: Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLFP)
Qualifications: Borrower must have made at least 120 loan payments and must work for federal or local government, or nonprofit organization.
Average salary for physicians and surgeons: $202,450
Student loan aid:
- The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) offers loan repayment help by state. (8)
- Some doctors may also qualify for the previously mentioned Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
- The National Institute of Health (NIH) offers $35,000 a year in loan repayment aid to licensed physicians who commit two years or more of medical research funded by a nonprofit organization.
Average salary: $136,260
Student loan aid: The Department of Justice’s Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP) not only offers incentives to new lawyers, but also opens up the possibility for public service worker repayment help. (9)
Qualifications: Graduates must have at least $10,000 in federal loans.
Average salary for RNs: $71,000
Certain types of nurses can qualify for loan forgiveness with the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment program, including:
- Registered nurses
- Nurse practitioners
- Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) facility nurses
Student loan aid: 60 percent of student loan balance forgiven
Qualifications: Nurses must sign a two-year service contract.
Average salary for elementary school teacher: $43,574 (10)
Average salary for high school teacher: $47,737 (10)
Student loan aid: Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program offers between $5,000 and $17,500. Also, loan cancellation programs can apply to Federal Perkins loans. (11)
Qualifications: Qualifying applicants must work in a low-income area.
Sometimes it actually does pay to volunteer. The following organizations regularly offer student loan awards or special repayment options:
- Peace Corps
- Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA)