Graduate school loans are the albatross that follow you into the working world. And while it’s almost impossible to avoid them altogether, there are ways to make your monthly payment more manageable. The fact is, you’re not alone when it comes to student loan debt. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 73% of higher education students graduate with an average loan balance of $29,650.
A student loan is a loan that’s taken out by a student in order to help them pay for their education. This loan is usually taken out with a bank or financial institution. When you’re paying back your loan, you’re repaying the loan that you took out for school. You’ll usually have to start repaying your loan once you’ve finished or left the school that you were studying at. You’ll usually have to repay the loan by a certain age, and you’ll have to start making repayments on a regular basis.
If you want to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, let me add some caveats. We have mentored people in over five dozen different professions with huge student debt. Oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMS) is the second most expensive option.
OMFS student loans have a big impact when you finally start making real money at the end of your 12-14 year education.
If managed properly, OMFS student loan repayment strategies can mean the difference between financial prosperity at 40 and feeling insecure (despite earning a few times the median family income in America).
The average debt of our dental student clients is $611,286 in student loans while working in the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery. Most of these maxillofacial surgeons have completed MD training. The average student debt for the oral surgery profession is likely lower than the national average. But these statistics still cast a shadow over the salary a new oral surgeon can expect.
After high school, oral, maxillofacial, and maxillofacial surgeons receive about the same amount of training as they do from kindergarten through high school. Class.
- First, earn a four-year bachelor’s degree while meeting the requirements for admission to dental school. For this degree, you can expect a student debt of $30,000.
- Second, you must enroll in a dental school in the United States that is accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). It usually takes four years and costs between $250,000 and $550,000 in student debt.
- Third, you must have oral surgery training. These residency programs last four to six years. You can also earn your medical degree by taking additional courses at an affiliated medical school. This can add another five or six figures to your student debt.
Boston University has a nice overview of a typical six-year medical school. This can prepare you to work in the hospital system. For those who want to make money and pay off their debt as quickly as possible, a four-year stay may be more attractive in terms of return on investment.
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While most students leave college with a five-figure tuition bill, dental school is where future oral surgeons incur most of their massive student debt. If you enroll at a public dental school, you can get a tuition credit of up to $250,000.
However, if you attend a private dental school in a large city, you could easily be in debt of $400,000 to $500,000 or more.
After their dental training, oral and maxillofacial surgeons must complete an internship in oral and maxillofacial surgery. This training continues for four to six years after completion of dental school. During your non-medical school years, a residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery offers an average salary for a resident ($50,000 to $60,000).
In some schools, you have the option of getting a medical degree. If you choose the MD track as an OMFS, you will typically spend two of the six years in medical school at the beginning of your training.
If you decide to pursue a medical degree in addition to a DMD or DDS as an oral surgeon, you will need to find additional funds for tuition. Most oral and maxillofacial surgery assistants take out deferred loans, leading to rapidly rising interest rates. The home is where I see a lot of financial loss related to OMFS student loan repayment strategies.
Postponement of stay means tens of thousands of interest payments on top of the already huge amount borrowed.
One of my best tips for oral and maxillofacial surgery assistants is to apply to have their loans paid off through REPAYE (Revised Pay As You Earn).
For example, you can receive an interest subsidy of between $10,000 and $30,000 per year while in school, depending on the amount of debt you have. This is possible because REPAYE pays 50% of the interest that remains unpaid after your mandatory monthly payment, which is based on your income.
Let’s say you owe $40,000 in interest on your $600,000 student loan. Imagine your monthly REPAYE payment is $4,000 per year as a PGY-1. Therefore, the REPAYE interest subsidy would be ($40,000 – $4,000)/2= $36,000/2 = $18,000.
In this case, the delay would cost an oral surgery resident $18,000 per year for four to six years. There is a huge price to pay if you don’t understand the complex student loan repayment options for dental students.
Many doctors I have spoken with have told me that the salary of an oral surgeon depends on the setting of the practice and the geographical location.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national average salary for an oral surgeon is $234,990.
That seems to be an understatement. Many of the OMFS doctors I’ve worked with started around $250,000. Practice owners often earn between $300,000 and $400,000. One doctor said he has a friend in Maine who makes more than $800,000 a year as an oral surgeon.
Assuming that $400,000 is more in line with the actual income of an oral surgeon, how will the doctor deal with his $600,000 student debt to OMFS?
Suppose Connie decides to enroll in a six-year course in oral and maxillofacial surgery. In her first few years at OMFS, she raised $600,000 while getting her medical degree.
It decides to consolidate the loans at the end of the MD program and executes them under the Pay As You Earn plan. Under this plan, you can pay for 20 years and pay off the loan at the end by paying taxes on the cancelled balance.
If she graduates after six long years of study, she must earn at least four of the required 20 years of college credits.
We assume that she initially earns $400,000, but deducts $75,000 per year in depreciation, pension contributions and interest costs from the business. This means that his adjusted gross income (AGI) is about $325,000. We will adjust this figure upwards to account for inflation at 3%.
These results are incredible because they expose a major misconception about full student loan repayment after oral and maxillofacial surgery training. Even on a high income, the PAYE program allows Connie to pay less than half of what she would have had to pay if she had refinanced.
Connie will owe $358,606 in taxes 16 years after graduating from medical school (assuming she starts paying off her loan immediately and doesn’t wait until after her assistantship).
If you use the costs shown to answer the question of how much an OMFS degree costs in today’s dollars, you will see that the cost difference between the two approaches is about $234,000 in 2018 dollars (right column).
If your grades and profile qualify you for an education in oral and maxillofacial surgery, you are already very smart. However, the rules for student loans are quite boring and complicated, so mistakes are quite common.
Don’t think that waiver programs are not for you, even if you have a huge salary – more than $300,000 a year. If you want to refinance your student debt, try to focus on four-year colleges instead of six-year ones. Also, refuse to pursue a medical degree unless you are doing so out of passion and not for the financial rewards you hope for.
Many oral surgeons can take advantage of some of the lowest interest rates in the country when refinancing. So, when using OMFS strategies for student loan repayment, make sure you put oral and maxillofacial surgery at the top of your priority list.
If you have significant student debt as part of your oral surgery education, we would be happy to create a customized plan for you. We are probably the only team in the country that regularly mentors students with more than $600,000 in oral surgery debt. We pride ourselves on offering solid student loan repayment strategies.
Avoid refinancing too soon and get a REPAYE plan if you want to take advantage of scholarships while in school. Consider PAYE if you are sure you want to forgive and focus on increasing your income with the right job. Build your wealth and play with the above average income you will earn as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Finally, avoid procrastination and paying in installments, as if you were trying to avoid a facial infection (pardon the joke).
As an oral surgeon, what is your experience with paying off student debt? How fast could you do it? Are you worried about remission with such a high income? How do you currently manage your OMFS student loans?
Comment below and tell us what you think!
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BONUS of $1,000 for 100,000 or more. 200 for 50,000 to 99,999¹.
variable 1.99% – 5.64% APR1
fixed 2.98% – 5.79% APR1
1,250 BONUS2 For 250k+, tiered bonus from 300 to 500 for 50k-250k.2
1,275 BONUS3 For 150,000 and above. Multi-level bonus from 300 to 575 for 50k to 149k.3
variable 2.39% – 6.01% APR3
fixed 2.79% – 5.99% APR3
1,000 BONUS4 for $100,000 or more. 200 for $50,000 to $99,9994.
variable 2.25% – 6.43% APR4
fixed 2.99% – 6.88% APR4
1,050 BONUS5For 100k+. 300 bonus for 50k to 99k.5
1,250 BONUS6 for 100k+ or $350 for 5k to 100k.6
1,250 BONUS7 For $150,000 or more. Multi-level bonus from 100 to 400 for 25k to 149k.7
variable 1.91% – 7.69% APR7
fixed 2.95% – 8.49% APR7
This source has been very much helpful in doing our research. Read more about how competitive is oral and maxillofacial surgery and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much do OMFS residents get paid?
In the United States there are many different types of teaching positions as well as different salaries depending on the position. Over the course of their careers, occupational therapists make an average of $73,390. With so many factors that determine how much a person makes in a career, it is important to know what to expect when you choose to become an occupational therapist.
The salaries of occupational therapy assistants and aides vary depending on their level of education and experience. In general, therapists in private practice have the highest salaries, followed by those working at hospitals or other medical facilities. In addition to having higher pay, therapists who work in healthcare facilities enjoy access to benefits and insurance that are not available to those working in private practice.
Which repayment plan is best for student loans?
Once you graduate college, the last thing you want to deal with is paying back student loans. The good news is that there are several options to help make this process easier. You can consolidate your loans, pick a repayment plan, or even apply for forgiveness. However, picking the right option requires understanding the most important factors, including interest rate, payment amount, and how long the plan lasts. The federal government offers several repayment plans for student loans, each with their own rules and advantages.
For example, the standard repayment plan includes a 10-year repayment period and a fixed monthly payment. Meanwhile, the income-contingent repayment plan requires no repayment of loans while the borrower is in school, but includes a 25-year repayment period and monthly payments that are, on average, about two-thirds less than standard repayment.
How do students pay off student loans during residency?
Paying off your student loans while working as a resident may seem like an impossible task. But, it’s not. Like most things, it just takes a little planning. First, you need to figure out how much money you have to work with. Then, you’ll want to create a detailed monthly budget. Finally, you’ll need to make several decisions about how to best allocate your available funds.
Whether you’re a medical resident or not, chances are you know someone in the medical field. Students who enter medical school usually do so with the goal of becoming a physician, but not everyone is able to complete their studies. Those who don’t end up as doctors often have to pay off student loans. But how is this accomplished while working as a resident?