I am going to be starting an NP program in the fall that will ultimately cost me 100K in tuition alone, and probably 15-25K more for housing, travel, etc. Given what you know now as practicing NPs (hindsight in terms of salary potential, graduating faster, opportunities in the field, continuing education, learning environment, professional work, etc) would you incur this sort of debt to become an NP? The school is very well known and i'm sure it might carry some clout when applying for a job, but not sure how much. The program is quick and fast--only 2 years in length. So is it beneficial to finish faster, be able to work as an NP and therefore potentially have a higher earning potential faster to pay off the loans?
The other thing that i'm thinking about as well is that I will need to find my own preceptors. I don't know how stressful and time consuming and in the end beneficial this will be for me. How do i know the person i pick will be a good teacher and have the patience to work with students and actually enjoy it? We only do 2 rotations in our program as well if we are in specialized NP program. How much exposure does this give me?
My other option is to wait a year and hope that I can get into my state program. It will be a 3 year program instead of 2. So ultimately it will be 4 years from now instead of 2 that i will be completed with my program. Time doesn't matter as much as debt, but I do think about it too. I will be able to work during my last year and half in the program. But its a "what if" situation (also depends on funding if the school can follow through with offering this program and they won't know until very last minute). This program in total will only cost me 40K, probably quarter of which I could pay out of pocket.
I want to understand the ramifications of accumulating this debt especially because of the other options I have. I also am fully aware that as an NP my earning potential is not as much as an MD so going into this blinding thinking that oh yea, i'll be able to pay off this debt in a matter of 20 or so years making not as much as I anticipated also plays a role.
To those with NP work experience, and or those who have in been in the field recently paying off debt, or otherwise have advice to provide, I would like some insight and feedback about the situation! What would you do or have done if you could do it all over again?