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CRNA School and Debt Advice

SRNA   (2,514 Views 29 Comments)

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You are so young and have decades to work. I’m personally obsessed with the idea financial freedom. Are you opposed to starting school a bit later?

If not, I would work my butt off, save up like mad, and pay off the existing debt...then save some more, go back to school and cash flow as much as I could. Not many millennials have this mindset. Do it!!! I used to work with the surgeon who did this. She hated debt with a passion, worked hard and ultimately retired at the age of 49. She was so proud of herself, and rightfully so.

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Goldenfox has 12 years experience.

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A word of advice...look for a cheaper school. Avoid taking on that much more debt. As a nurse you may not be privy to the terms that these student loan programs make available to physician students. Also consider that subsidized graduate loans are capped. Beyond a certain amount you will be paying higher interest rates...and it does add up over time, even if you are in forebarance.

But as a CRNA you can pay this off and do well income-wise. How? Open your own pain clinic. You'll be swimming in the money. 

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52 Likes; 1,484 Visitors; 100 Posts

300K is a lot to pay off.  You won't be making physician money, and I don't think their average after school debt is that high either.  Have you looked into the military?  They have CRNA programs and can offer to pay off your school debt.  If I were you I would think twice about accruing that kind of debt.  Also, know that not everyone who starts CRNA school finishes.  It is extremely hard.  You may be used to being the smartest nurse on the unit, but once you start school you will most likely not be the smartest person in the class.  This was a realization for me, I didn't think it was academically going to be as difficult as it is.  If for some unforeseeable reason it doesn't work out and you have that amount of debt you have to pay off with an RN salary, you are going to be in high water.  Do some digging and try to find ways to get your school paid for either during or after through the military or by working in underserved areas.  Take some travel assignments and pay down some debt while you figure it out.  School will be there, and you're stuck with a 3 year program from here on out now anyways.  Good luck!

 

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I had a couple friends go through a CRNA school and all students from both programs were told the same thing: If you're going into a CRNA program just for the money, choose something else immediately (like finance or business-very high income generating fields). Love what you do. Fortunately, both my friends love their job and yes, they graduated with a large amount of debt (and still paying it off), but they are still happy with what they do. True, they had to life like a poor college student for a few years after, but after paying it down, they felt they had more breathing room to enjoy life more. But I remember they worked crazy hours after graduation with all their focus and energy on paying off the student loan debt. 

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3 hours ago, Ani Talla said:

I had a couple friends go through a CRNA school and all students from both programs were told the same thing: If you're going into a CRNA program just for the money, choose something else immediately (like finance or business-very high income generating fields). Love what you do. Fortunately, both my friends love their job and yes, they graduated with a large amount of debt (and still paying it off), but they are still happy with what they do. True, they had to life like a poor college student for a few years after, but after paying it down, they felt they had more breathing room to enjoy life more. But I remember they worked crazy hours after graduation with all their focus and energy on paying off the student loan debt. 

Thanks for the response! I am not so much doing it for the money - I loved all my CRNA shadowing and the versatility and all of the information that the CRNAs shared with me! I am just nervous about having that much debt, but I guess in the grand scheme if you do what you love does the debt really matter! 

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On 1/25/2019 at 1:43 PM, PediatricCTICURN said:

Thanks for the response! I am not so much doing it for the money - I loved all my CRNA shadowing and the versatility and all of the information that the CRNAs shared with me! I am just nervous about having that much debt, but I guess in the grand scheme if you do what you love does the debt really matter! 

And nervous you should be! Absolutely, the debt really matters.

Can you really picture yourself with 300k debt and not even age 30? I used to run a finance blog, so I’m chiming in again hoping to shed some light 🙃

Really give this some thought. You already seem to be in an established career. Work hard and pay down as much debt as you can. Your future depends on it.

If not already, you may want to get married (more debt), you may want kids (more debt), you may want a new car (more debt), or buy a new home (more debt). Before you know it, you’ll be in over your head and probably only paying the minimum on your student loans with more than half going toward the interest accrued. Your payments will hardly make a dent in the principal, which is the amount you will actually owe. 

Edited by Dwaddle2

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ProgressiveThinking has 7 years experience and works as a SRNA.

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300k is a bit excessive, but I have some classmates who are graduating with around that much in student loans, if not more than that. Tuition is only one factor. Not working for 36 months (since programs will be DNP by the time you start) is the most difficult factor. 

The most important thing to do is shadow a CRNA a few times to make sure it's exactly what you want to do before you take on that much in student loans. You also have to be okay with the fact that you will likely be working in the OR for the rest of your career.  Sure you can do GI lab, cataracts, or office anesthesia, but other than that there's not much lateral movement like there is in bedside nursing where you can go from specialty to specialty. I couldn't imagine being 300k+ in debt doing something I didn't love.

If you're okay with that then apply to the cheapest schools you can, and work OT or do travel nursing to save $$ or pay off student loans. For me personally, saving up $$ would give me more peace of mind than paying off loans knowing I wouldn't be able to work for 36 months. If you save up 70k, you can get a roommate and live off $1944 a month (assuming you don't have children or a family since you're young), and just take loans out for tuition.

Also, look into job prospects in the area you want to work in and find out how much they pay. If you're flexible and can move you can potentially start out at 200k+ as a new grad. Also keep in mind that you will be making more $, so OT will be at a higher rate. A lot of hospitals in my area offer 24 hour call shifts for OT. to make it easy, let's use 100/hr (my area pays more). 24 x 100 = $2400 extra to put towards you student loan a month.

Edited by ProgressiveThinking

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8 hours ago, Dwaddle2 said:

And nervous you should be! Absolutely, the debt really matters.

Can you really picture yourself with 300k debt and not even age 30? I used to run a finance blog, so I’m chiming in again hoping to shed some light 🙃

Really give this some thought. You already seem to be in an established career. Work hard and pay down as much debt as you can. Your future depends on it.

If not already, you may want to get married (more debt), you may want kids (more debt), you may want a new car (more debt), or buy a new home (more debt). Before you know it, you’ll be in over your head and probably only paying the minimum on your student loans with more than half going toward the interest accrued. Your payments will hardly make a dent in the principal, which is the amount you will actually owe. 

The numbers I posted about were very rough estimates, I am really hoping to get into one of the programs that don't transfer to DNP/DNAP until 2022 (which is the last year to get graduates by 2025) - so thatll lower my years of work off and the tuition is substantially lower. Also, my partner will be working and covering most (not all) of the rent and home expenses. Additionally, I have been working OT like crazy  and also have been putting all the bonuses I get at work and my tax return onto my loans. Lastly, I do own a house (on my own where I live in southern California and will be selling it (if I get into school) which the equity should help with some school expenses.

I have one question for you since you seem to have some financial hx, would you pay off some of the old student debt if I sold the house and you were me, or would you save it to no incur any new debt? The reason I ask is because some of my student loans are private and at a higher rate then I would imagine any graduate loans I could get would be.

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4 hours ago, PediatricCTICURN said:

 

I have one question for you since you seem to have some financial hx, would you pay off some of the old student debt if I sold the house and you were me, or would you save it to no incur any new debt? The reason I ask is because some of my student loans are private and at a higher rate then I would imagine any graduate loans I could get would be.

Incredible that you own a house in Southern California! 👏 We moved out of San Diego 6 years 😭 

Anyway, I would throw any and all extra cash made from the sale of the home to your existing student loans. Saving it may be tempting in order to create a comfortable nest egg for future school expenses, but there are always scholarships you can apply for to help offset school costs. If I were in your shoes, I would start by paying off the student loans with the highest interest rates first. Once I’ve eliminated a couple of high interest rate loans, I would then switch to paying off the loans in order from smallest dollar amount to largest dollar amount despite the interest rate. By the time you are in CRNA school you may have paid off several grand on your own! 

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19 hours ago, Dwaddle2 said:

Incredible that you own a house in Southern California! 👏 We moved out of San Diego 6 years 😭 

Anyway, I would throw any and all extra cash made from the sale of the home to your existing student loans. Saving it may be tempting in order to create a comfortable nest egg for future school expenses, but there are always scholarships you can apply for to help offset school costs. If I were in your shoes, I would start by paying off the student loans with the highest interest rates first. Once I’ve eliminated a couple of high interest rate loans, I would then switch to paying off the loans in order from smallest dollar amount to largest dollar amount despite the interest rate. By the time you are in CRNA school you may have paid off several grand on your own! 

Aww such a bummer! SD is so nice!! Goals as heck haha! I hope it all works our for me >.< IF I even get in!

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LouDogg has 2 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a SRNA, CCRN & ER Murse.

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On ‎1‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 2:35 AM, NickiRN87 said:

Hello!

If you don’t mind me asking, what schools are you applying to that are that expensive? I am starting CRNA school in the fall and my tuition for the program will be somewhere around 70-80K, including books and materials. Even factoring in the cost of living for 2-3 years I can’t imagine how you would be spending over 180K to get you to that amount of student loan debt....

Some schools are as high as $150K+ and that's not counting living expenses. Not all schools are priced as well as others. 

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ProgressiveThinking has 7 years experience and works as a SRNA.

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There's jobs in Southern California right now, so don't let that deter you. The market is opening up (except in San Diego where everybody wants to live). I graduate in 9 months and just got a job offer for 200k base pay. Just sayin'....I would do travel in the meantime to pay debt off or save up and just do it.

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