Navigating Student Loans
The average veterinary technician earns about $42,000 a year and has left school with at least $25,000 worth of student debt. Although veterinary student debt is often discussed in the media, student debt among veterinary technologists, technicians, and nurses is often overlooked. Here are a few ways to navigate the financial stress of student debt while working on a veterinary technician’s salary.
The first step in navigating student debt is to consider enrolling in an income-driven repayment plan. These plans can lower your monthly payment significantly and, in some cases, can lead to complete loan forgiveness after a certain number of qualifying payments.
If you have multiple loans, another option to consider is consolidating these loans into one loan with a new interest rate. This will make navigating monthly payments easier and may lead to payment reduction.
If you’re currently dealing with an egregiously high interest rate, it may be worth considering refinancing with a private lender. However, this should be very carefully considered as private lenders may not offer the same protections as a federal student loan lender.
Loan Forgiveness Programs
There are a number of loan forgiveness programs available to veterinary technicians in Canada and the United States, such as:
The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program
The Saskatchewan Student Loan Forgiveness Program for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technologists
Repayment Assistance Plan
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Other Tips and Tricks
It’s important to make sure you are tracking exactly what you owe. List out all your loans, their totals, and their interest rates in a spreadsheet, financial management app, or on paper. Look at your monthly payments compared to your income and verify if you can afford to pay more than the minimum to pay off your debt faster, or if you should consider consolidating or refinancing.
Be sure to keep track of your credit score and understand the factors contributing to your score. Keep to a strict budget and keep tabs on money going in and out. Depending on your capacity and skillset, you may also consider freelance work or providing pet care services for supplementary income. If you’re feeling stumped, consider reaching out to a financial advisor to help you come up with a plan. Whatever you may decide, it’s crucial to dedicate time to researching all of the options and alternatives.
It’s important to know you’re not alone. We are in a worldwide student debt crisis. Although it may feel overwhelming, it’s possible to navigate these waters and pay off your debt.
Altman, Nathaniel. “Student Loan Forgiveness for Veterinary Technicians.” Debt Strategists, 15 Dec. 2021, https://debtstrategists.com/ student-loan-forgiveness-for-veterinary- technicians/.
“Student Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs.” American Veterinary Medical Association, https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/ personal-finance/student-loan-forgiveness- repayment-programs.
Team, Community. “Veterinary Student Debt: The Good, the Bad & Some Answers :: VET&PET Jobs Marketplace.” Veterinary Jobs the Fresh Way – USA + Canada @VET & PET Jobs Marketplace, 27 Mar. 2022, https:// www.vetpetjobs.com/blog/us-veterinary- student-debt-the-good-the-bad- some-answers/.
“Vet Tech Institute Loan Debt.” College Factual, 28 July 2021, https://www.collegefactual. com/colleges/vet-tech-institute/paying-for- college/student-loan-debt/.