Need some advice-it's long sorry

  1. Hi,

    I just need some advice. I know you can't make decsions for me, but advice is always helpfull. I was in school at LSU. I've taken A&P 1, PSYC 1, all the ENG's and MATH's and made all A's. I was taking A&P 2, PSYC 2, and Micro this fall. However, after Katrina, my wife, my 7 yr old stepson, and I left town pretty quickly, so I withdraw from LSU. My wife is an RN and took the first travel contract that called-one in west Texas. I have got into the local community college here, and everything transfered.

    The councelor at the college advised me to do a CNA course before applying to nursing. Instead, I applied for an EMT course starting in the Spring. I had planned to do that and A&P 2 and medical terminology (then I would have all classes taken care of needed to apply for nursing or paramedic). I kind of had a change of heart and thought about EMS instead of nursing.

    One of my problems is I now have a student loan balance of near $12000, as we used about $5000 to move with to Texas. I only have $2000 left and this college does not give out unsubsidized stafford loans. They only offer subsidized loans and only to students who have an existing loan balance of under $6125. My wife and I have quite a bit of debt as it is. Right now she is making good money and is able to renew her contract.

    I am just at a loss as what to do. I don't know whether or not I would rather do EMS or nursing. With EMS I could do my EMT, work for a year or so (this would mean having to make payments on the student loan too) then go back for a yr to do paramedic. Or I could go from emt straight to paramedic, but I've been advised that this isn't a good option. EI suddenly you're on the streets with an inexperienced emt under your wing and u have pretty much no exposure to the job.

    Then if I decided to go for nursing, I would have to find someway of getting a student loan. Can you get these by just asking a bank? Plus, should I go ahead and do the EMT, A&P2, and Medical terminology (incase something goes wrong at least I can work as an EMT) and then enroll in nursing for the fall 06? Or would it be better to just do all prereques for the nursing program instead this spring and summer and have a few more A's to help me into the nursing program. I guess I could always do my CNA during the spring.

    At least if I chose, and was able to get a loan for, nursing I would be able to work in the ER, which I would love. Plus I would make over double what I would make as an EMT. In the long run it would take about the same time-2 years for paramedic or nurse. And I am ready to get school over with. I don't think I could hadle working for a year then having to go back to school for a year.

    I don't know. I'm so lost. Right now I am waiting to hear if I got into the EMT program for the spring, and spring registration for classes isn't untill Nov 28th. I already took the nurse entrance test, as you have to for the EMT course, and did well at it. I just don't want to get in more debt, but I keep thinking 2 years down the road with both my wife and working as RN's it shouldn't be a problem. Sorry for rambling for so long. Thatnks for reading.
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    About Skwidward

    Joined: Oct '05; Posts: 105; Likes: 22


  3. by   RN1DAY2B
    I'm not sure who you had your prior student loan through, but my community college doesn't verify student status so I had to go the unsecured route. through Bank of America. They offer up to $30000.00 year, I'm sure that's based on income and other debt though. It may be worth taking a look at. Good luck!
  4. by   ICRN2008
    This is a tough situation; I'm sorry that you had to pick up and move after the hurricane. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    I don't know much about EMT or paramedic, so I can't give you any good advice there. If you would like to take out student loans and your school doesn't offer them, you have options in the form of private loans. If your credit rating is good, some banks will even loan you money for living expenses while you're in school. Check out This is the largest private education lender. The Nurse Anesthetist forum has some good threads about sources of private funding.

    As far as how much debt you are willing to incur, this is a very personal decision. It depends on factors such as earning potential and other financial commitments. If it makes you feel any better, there are alot of us who wouldn't be in nursing school if not for loans.

    Congratulations on doing so well and making it this far. Good luck with your decision
  5. by   Daytonite
    One of the nice things about finally getting a job in a healthcare career is that many of the larger facilities offer tuition reimbursement to help with going onward in school to get a more advanced degree. Your wife would be aware of this benefit if she's worked in other hospitals. Unfortunately, I don't think the benefit extends to family members. An alternative source of loans are credit unions in which membership is often a benefit extended to many employees of healthcare providers. Were you aware that as long as you are taking classes, you do not have to pay on your school loans? I would watch carefully for tuition assistance to come out of the federal government for victims of Katrina as it affected so many people. I would look to see special scholarships or loans set up for students who experienced major upheaval in their education due to the disaster.

    I know it sounds that you have kind of gotten your life back on track, but I would like to let you know about the state college system in California. You have to establish a place of residence and live in California for one year to become a resident of the state. Once you are a resident you pay a substantially discounted tuition at all state supported junior colleges and universities. There are junior college with RN programs EVERYWHERE out here. And, of course there are quite a number of Cal. State and University of California schools. Since your wife is a traveler nurse, I would think that she would be able to find work here in California while you set up residency. Currently, the tuition at junior colleges here is $26 per credit unit, so for a load of 12 unit hours, the tuition would be only $312 not including textbooks. With her nursing experience it wouldn't take her long to find very lucrative nursing jobs as the pay is quite high out here.

    Another alternative is to file for personal bankruptcy. It is a big step and not one to do without thinking long and hard. You cannot discharge student loans in a bankruptcy, but personal loans and credit card debt can be totally wiped clean. I would expect bankruptcies to be up following Katrina as well. I have an inlaw who is a bankruptcy lawyer and told us that the new bankruptcy laws that are going into practice came about from the lobbies of the credit card companies. He is predicting that the new bankruptcy laws that force people into consumer credit counseling is not going work because about half the credit card companies now will not work with the credit counseling services so that people that try to go this route more often than not end up in the bankruptcy courts anyway. A great many of the people who file for personal bankruptcy have less than $10,000 in debt. The trustees in the bankruptcy courts are way more understanding of people's personal situations than an agency like the IRS who are baracudas when it comes to the collection of past due taxes. The minute you file the bills stop coming in the mail. It might be something to look into and think about.
  6. by   Skwidward
    I'd rather not file for bankruptcy. Although we are in a far wack of debt, we are able to pay the bills. I would consider California, as I know nurses out there make a load of money. Thing is it was the move here that kinda screwed over my student loan money I had stacked up to finish school with in LSU- Changing drivers liscenes and all that other crap u don't think of. Everything would be good if this school would allow a student to obtain a student loan. I got on the phone with SALLIE MAE and the only loan this school offers is the stafford subsidized one to students with less than $6125. The college is within walking distance of our appartments and within a year I will be an instate in district student and fees then will only be $540 for 12 hours.

    There is another college within 40-50mins drive that offer both sub and unsub stafford loans. They are just as cheap and offer ADN too. It just seems crazy when that school is right next door to me, and if my car dies I don't have to worry.

    I might go talk to the financial aid people at this closer college again.
  7. by   Catsmeow
    I'm not sure if this is a huge consideration for you, but, from the salary reports I've done in Texas for EMTs vs. RNs, the EMT's make considerably less. If you can get the loans and you don't have a strong desire for EMT over RN, go for the higher paying salary.
  8. by   jbarton52
    What institution was your student loan through at LSU? Perhaps if you get in touch with the student assistance dept at LSU, they can guide you. I believe that, under the circumstances, LSU would want to help you all they can. They may even have "sister relationship" with schools close by. I know here in San Antonio, LSU has a campus at Ft. Sam Houston Academy of Health Sciences (I used to teach in their MSN program). Who knows what might be arranged. I'd certainly recommend going the RN route...... it'll pay off big time down the road! Best of luck to you and yours. Jeanne
  9. by   CapeCoralNurse2be
    I started as an EMT and had planned to then go Paramedic and then into the accelerated Paramedic-RN program. (Back then I was thinking about being a flight nurse) It didn't end up working out for me. I wasn't making enough as an EMT to put food on the table or pay for school, so I ended up taking a Lab job as a Phlebotomist.

    Where I lived at the time, as an EMT you could only work for first aid stands at the fair or other events or work for a private ambulance company transporting nursing home residents to and from the hospital for $7 an hour (13 yrs ago). Not very exciting. You had to at least be a paramedic to work for the city or county with EMS, they didn't hire EMTs at all. If I could do it all again, I would have went straight for the RN program. Now 13 years later, I'm starting all over again. I'm doing all my pre-reqs for the nursing program and hope to apply next fall.

    In some places if you are an RN, you can get into an RN-Paramedic (short version) class or challenge the Paramedic exam. Here in FL though you have to do the EMT program first either way to be able to do that but you could skip the paramedic classes altogether that way. I remember in my EMT class we had an RN. He was doing that, taking the EMT course so he could challenge the paramedic exam when he was done. If you are unsure that's probably the way to go...but it's a very personal decision. If you like being out on the streets and Paramedic really interests you, then go for it. You won't make as much of a wage but it's not all about money. Do what you love. Oh, one other thing to consider, Nursing is in NEED in a big way in most states, whereas Paramedic jobs may be far and few between...depending on your area. Around here...I rarely see an EMT or Paramedic job listing anywhere! Another option is to do an LPN program, start working someplace that offers tuition reimbursements for school and go back to school for RN. If you are an LPN you can do an online program for RN at Excelsior and still be able to work full time.

    My plan is to get through my ADN and then let my employer pay for me to go through the BSN program, which I'll do online.

    As for the loan, try to get a private loan, they offer more money per year in most cases. We use Citibank, they give us more than the costs of school so we end up with extra money for daycare and such until I'm done with school and ready to go back to work.
  10. by   Skwidward
    Thanks to all who posted! It really helped me reading your posts.

    Well, I decided nursing is deffinately for me. I think the EMT thing was more about getting to a wage quicker. I went to see the health dept at college yesterday and found out that I already have a good number of admission points.

    I plan to do A$p 2 this spring and some other prereques then apply for the LPN and RN program. I haven't decided whether to just go for RN or do LPN first. You need a CNA to get into the RN program, so I guess I could work as a CNA while in school to try pay for tuition; and if I run into trouble then I guess an unsecured loan would be worth it in the end.

    Thanks again.