The average student loan debt for veterinarians is $ 183,302, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. This average is based on data from the class of 2019 veterinary school graduates surveyed by AVMA and does not include undergraduate loans.
A vet who owed $ 183,302 would have monthly payments of more than $ 2,058 over a standard 10-year repayment term, assuming an interest rate of 6.25%. The total amount reimbursed would be $ 246,974.
How much veterinarians owe on average
the cost of veterinary school typically exceeds $ 200,000 on average. Eighty-three percent of the Class of 2019 took out student loans to help pay these costs, according to the AVMA.
The average they borrowed – $ 183,302 – increased only slightly from the class of 2018. These graduate vets owed an average of $ 183,014. This marked an increase of almost 10% from the class of 2017.
Average student loan amounts by type of debt
$ 19,928: Associate Degree Nursing (ADN)
$ 23,711: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
$ 47,321: Master of Nursing (MSN)
Debt management of veterinary schools
Most healthcare professionals borrow student loans, but debt management can be especially difficult for vets because they earn less money than those in other medical fields.
For example, pharmacists take on less debt on average than veterinarians. But the median pharmacist salary in 2019 was $ 128,090, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – about $ 32,600 more than the median veterinarian salary of $ 95,460.
Look for loan forgiveness programs. Since veterinary hospitals are generally private, most veterinarians cannot claim to Public service loan remission. But those who work for a nonprofit or government entity, such as the USDA, may have their loans canceled tax-free after 10 years of qualifying payments. Some states also offer forgiveness programs. For example, Minnesota vets can receive up to $ 15,000 per year working with large animals in rural areas.
Sign up for an income-driven repayment plan. Federal loans are generally the best vet school student loan because you can make payments based on your income. For example, under the revised Pay As You Earn, or REFUND, an income-driven plan, a veterinarian with an average starting salary of $ 76,633 might expect to pay less than $ 76,633. $ 500 per month. These plans will write off any remaining debt after 20 or 25 years, but that amount is taxable.
If you’re comfortable with paying off your loan – or just want to get rid of vet school debt – you can look for ways to repay loans faster. For example, depending on your salary structure, you might be working more hours or doing extra procedures and spending that extra money on your debt.