Going to Physician Assistant school can be very expensive. FitBUX members that are a Physician Assistant on average have $180,000 in student debt.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average Physician Assistant salary for 2021 was $121,530 while the job outlook is way above average for the next decade at a growth rate of 28% expected.
However, the pay for an entry level Physician Assistant is less. We typically see new graduates making between $90,000 and $110,000. This is why going to a relatively less expensive physician assistant school pays off massively in the long run.
Thinking of how to pay for this degree may be a bit discouraging. However, don’t be discouraged because I’m going to review how to pay for Physician Assistant school below.
Scholarships and Grants
The optimal way to pay for Physician Assistant school is through scholarships and grants. The reason is you don’t have to pay cash out of pocket. You also do not have to repay them.
Many scholarships require an application and can be found online. The AAPA Foundation offers more than $2 million in scholarships every year. Many people know about scholarship opportunities but don’t try to apply for them.
If you have financial hardship, Pell Grants are another way that could help tremendously. You are automatically considered to get one when you submit your FAFSA.
The max amount you can get a semester for the ’21-’22 school year is $6,495.
National Health Service Corps
This next option to pay for Physician Assistant school comes after you graduate.
This is a unique loan forgiveness option that is specific to health care professions such as Physician Assistant.
The NHSC offers up to $50,000 in forgiveness for any Physician Assistant that works in an NHSC approved facility. Most of these facilities are located in high-need, underserved areas.
Federal Student Loans and Repayment Strategies
One of the most common ways to pay for Physician Assistant school are student loans.
Federal debt will be your best option. They:
- Have fixed rates;
- Are more flexible because they have multiple repayment options, and
- Usually have lower interest rates than private loans.
After graduation you pick a repayment option. You will be picking between 10 different options.
To make choice easier for you, at FitBUX we break these 10 options into two strategies. The payoff strategy and the loan forgiveness strategy. Forgiveness is also referred to as an income-driven repayment plan.
If you need help deciding which option is best for you, become a member of FitBUX then give us a call. You can chat with a FitBUX Coach for free. Our Coaches will be able to show you how to pay off your loans the fastest using various tricks!
Another option to repay Federal student debt would be Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). To qualify for this, you need to:
- Work full-time at a non-profit;
- Be on an Income Driven Repayment Plan such as PAYE or REPAYE; and
- Make 120 qualifying payments.
Private Student Loans
One of the last resorts you’ll want to use to pay for Physician Assistant school are private student loans.
This should be a last resort because:
- You have no flexibility because there is no forgiveness;
- You have no flexibility because there is only one repayment option;
- Usually, the interest rates are quite a bit higher than the federal loans are; and
- Most of the time the interest rate is a variable rate.
Get a Plan to Pay for Physician Assistant School
It’s a great idea to start budgeting what you need on a month-to-month basis while you are in school. This will allow you to know how much you need to pay for Physician Assistant school.
From there you can build a financial plan as a student that incorporates your expenses. This will help you determine and reduce the amount of student debt you use.
At FitBUX, we’re all about planning for the future and putting yourself in the best positions possible. We have a financial planning technology that will help you while you’re in school.
You can even compare repayment options post graduation.
Also, as I mentioned above, if you need help you can schedule a free call with a FitBUX Coach as part of our free membership!
By David Hughes and Joseph Reinke, CFA