Sounds good, right?
Some of these careers require you to take on a huge amount of debt in order to complete school (dentist, veterinarian, lawyer, etc.). I’m not suggesting you choose those careers on a wing and a prayer that you’ll get your loans forgiven.
But most people don’t realize there are options if you do want to pursue those careers.
Arguably the best deals on this list are the loan forgiveness plans for public service employees and non-profit employees.
1. Work in public service and get up to $60,000 toward your loans.
If you work for a federal, state or local agency (everything from the U.S. Postal Service to a local law enforcement agency), you might qualify for student loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF).
If you’re full time, you’ve made at least 120 payments as a public employee, and you’ve worked for 10 years, you can apply for PSLF and receive up to $10,000 per year with a cap at $60,000 to pay off your Direct (or Stafford) loans.
Use the PSLF tool to find out if you qualify.
2. Work for a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and get up to $60,000 toward your loans.
This is through the same program for public employees — the PSLF program.
If you work for any type of non-profit employer, you can apply for the program. Common examples of non-profit employers are not only charities, but churches, zoos, certain hospitals and clinics.
3. Work in healthcare to get up to $60,000 toward your loans.
This is worth repeating. If you’re a hospital employee — meaning, you don’t have to be a doctor, you can simply work in hospital registration or IT — you might also qualify for that PSLF program.
Your hospital might qualify even if it’s a for-profit hospital because it’s a healthcare provider.
4. Become an automotive professional and get up to $5,000 per year to pay off your loans.
Through Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), automotive workers who have graduated college or tech school with a 2.5 GPA and who are current employees (for at least a year) with a SEMA member company can apply for the SEMA loan forgiveness program.
So get a job doing anything from automotive mechanics to sales, and you may qualify for loan forgiveness.
5. Become a dental assistant or radiology tech and get your loans totally forgiven.
When you get a job through Indian Health Services (IHS), you are eligible for this loan forgiveness program.
To qualify, get a job at and work for at least two years at a facility that cares for American Indian and Alaska native communities.
As a participant in the loan repayment program, you can opt to extend your contract annually until all your student debt is paid off.
There are tons of careers that qualify for this award, not just dental assistant and radiology techs. Get more information here.
6. Teach in low-income schools to receive up to $17,500 in loan assistance.
“Highly qualified” teachers who work in low-income schools for at least five years are eligible to receive loan forgiveness.
You must have a bachelor’s degree and be fully certified by your home state as a teacher.
Additionally, you may need to take tests to prove qualification in order to meet eligibility requirements. Meaning, your state may ask you to take tests to show that you are “highly qualified” in order to receive loan assistance.
7. Get a nursing job in a critical shortage facility for up to 85% loan forgiveness.
Through the NURSE Corps Loan Replacement program, you might be eligible to get most of your nursing school loans paid for.
A critical shortage facility is a non-profit hospital in an area with a shortage of primary care and mental health professionals.
Work for two years as an RN in a facility like this and you’re eligible to apply for the loan repayment program. If you are accepted, you’ll receive 60% loan repayment the first two years, and you can apply for an additional 25% the following year.
8. Practice law with the U.S. Justice Dept. and get $10,000 per year toward your student loans.
Through the Attorney Student Loan Repayment program (ASLR), attorneys can apply every spring for assistance in paying off their student loans.
If you agree to a minimum three-year term of service in the public sector, you can get up to $60,000 toward your student loans.
Also consider working as a public defender so you can access loan assistance through the John R. Justice program. Through this program each state receives an allocation like a scholarship that they award to eligible public defenders. Depending on your state’s award, you can receive $2,000 or more per year.
9. Become a veterinarian and earn up to $25,000 per year toward your loans.
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture offers veterinarians who choose to work in underserved communities for at least three years the opportunity to apply for loan forgiveness of $25,000 per year for up to three years.