With the majority of college graduates in student loan debt, an increasing number of employers and career fields are adding student loan support or even student loan forgiveness to their list of employee benefits. Such programs can help employers and fields stand out and attract more talent as benefits like health care, 401K matching, generous vacation, and flexible work environments become more standard.
You’ll also tend to find student loan forgiveness programs in careers that require some other tradeoff—a lower salary than other sectors; a commitment of several years; a specialized degree; or willingness to move somewhere with a shortage of similar professionals.
Whether you’re in your first year of college or several years post-graduation, you may want to consider one of these fulfilling career fields that include student loan forgiveness.
Doctors: Doctors accumulate some of the highest amount of debt for post-grad learning, but also have access to several programs for loan forgiveness. If you’re a doctor whose work qualifies as public service, you can be forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (check it out under public servants below). You can also join the military as a doctor to receive up to $120,000 in forgiveness. Read more on that here.
Lawyers: If you’re practicing law for a nonprofit, the government, or other qualified employers, you could be eligible for loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (check it out under public service below). Nurses: Registered nurses, nurse faculty, and advanced practice registered nurses can get up to 85% of their nursing education debt repaid through the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program. To qualify you have to work in a high-need area or at an accredited school. Check out the details here.
Public Servants: Through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program people in careers such as public safety, law enforcement, public health, public education, library services, and more can qualify for loan forgiveness after making 120 qualified payments while employed in one of these areas. Learn more here.
Relief or Service Workers: If you’re interested in giving back at home or abroad, you may be excited to know that programs including AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, and Teach For America, offer awards towards loan repayment. Learn more by visiting each organization’s website.
Teachers: Those in the profession of passing on their hard-earned educations to others may get a break in their debt. While there is a pretty long list of eligibility requirements, forgiveness gets you up to $17,500 removed from your debt and cancellation removes your debt entirely. Get the details here.
Veterinarians: Pets are like family, and the people who take care of them are important. Through the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program eligible veterinarians can work in areas with a vet shortage and receive up to $25,000 in debt repayment for their commitment. Read more here.
Employers: If these careers aren’t for you, not all hope is lost. Increasingly, companies in many sectors are making student loan repayment a perk to get top recruits in the door. Some employers that offer student loan repayment today include Fidelity, Aetna, Staples, and Penguin Random House. More employers are expected to add student loan repayment as perk in the coming year, so keep an eye out on the benefits list of employers where you’re interested in working.
States: A growing list of states are trying to combat brain drain by offering talented individuals student loan support to move to and work in certain zip codes.
Kansas has designed a number of areas Rural Opportunity Zones with offers of student loan repayment, tax waivers, and in some cases, free plots of land to build on. The state of Michigan offers support to those in fields where they have a shortage of talent and Alaska is offering student loan repayments to healthcare professionals. Even the cities are getting in on the trend — Memphis, Tennessee is paying off loans for their city workers.
If you’re at a crossroads in your career or could just use a change, you may want to consider one of these professions or locations for a mutually beneficial outcome.