That is quite an expensive program. Private school? I'm about to start my last year of my FNP program. All together its going to lost me about $40,000 (I still currently work PRN as a RN two days - ish a week). You mentioned your school being a great well known one, I will say... from my experience, no employer has EVER cared where I got my degree from..just that I've got it and have my license.
For me, there was no doubt in my mind about starting school again. Sure, add $40,000 to the debt I still have from my bachelor's...but where I'm from (texas), I'm doubling my annual salary for the rest of my life. It was a no-brainer.
About the preceptors. I am in a program where I find my own as well. It was a huge challenge. Ultimately for the bulk of my program I am traveling 4 hrs away from my home. Luckily I have family near the site of my preceptor to stay with. I'm even from a big city in texas (Austin) and it was still a nightmare finding preceptors. How will you know you pick a good preceptor? You won't...until you start working with them. The good news is if you don't like them, you can always find a new preceptor for the next semester. Usually if they allow you to be there they are used to having students and don't mind it. In my program I have over 600 clinic hours required throughout. It spans over every semester except my first one. I have been in busy family practice settings and emergency rooms mostly. I will tell you, I get great experiences and learn more from these hours more than anything just like in nursing school
. This program is two years in length like the one you're starting.
In my opinion, go the two year route. The shorter amount of time you're not working full time the better debt wise. Are there no online programs in your state that may be cheaper and two years?
HRSA is a government program that will repay up to $60000 of your qualified student loans in exchange for a 2 year commitment of service in primary care in a rural, high need area. I plan on job searching for those sites next year.
Best of luck!