Many health careers, particularly the higher paying careers, such as physicians or advanced practice nurses, require at least a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, all physicians must obtain a medical doctorate which typically entails another four full years of college. Associate's degrees can even be cost-prohibitive for many people seeking allied health careers.
Paying for such extensive educational requirements can be overwhelming. Plus, saving money for college is becoming increasingly challenging, as costs of living and inflation continue to outpace average incomes. By making a few key choices early in your educational career, you could shave thousands of dollars, or even tens of thousands of dollars, off of your tuition bill.
If you don’t qualify for a scholarship, grant, or other funding to help pay for your college education, these simple tactics could be the answer for saving big bucks as you complete the educational coursework needed for various medical jobs. As you will see, planning ahead and making important decisions early in your educational career is key to saving money on college costs.
- AP Coursework: “AP” classes, or “advanced placement” are college-level courses offered to high school students, providing an opportunity to earn college credits by passing an exam at the end of the course. High school classes for college credit = free college!! If you or your child is seeking to enter into a medical field requiring a bachelor’s or advanced degree, AP courses could be one way to save some money on the total education bill.
- Joint Enrollment in College and High School:Joint enrollment, or taking college courses while completing high school, is another way to save some money on college tuition. Typically, local community colleges are a bit less expensive than state or private colleges. Also, joint enrollment allows you to earn college credits without the living expenses of being away at college. Check with your school counselor to see if joint enrollment is allowed during senior year of high school.
- Combined Bachelor's and Medical degree programs: The typical path to a medical degree entails four full years (or more) of undergraduate studies to earn a bachelor’s degree, plus four more years of medical school for the medical doctorate. Some colleges and universities offer combined programs, which provide a bachelor’s degree and the medical degree within a six year course of study, saving you two full years of college tuition and costs! Even if the actual tuition savings do not equate to two full years, you will definitely save on two full years of living expenses, plus you'll be able to start earning money two years sooner!
- Public university & In-state tuition: It may sound obvious, but choosing a public in-state college or university can save tens of thousands of dollars. Most clinical health careers are in such great demand, very few jobs or employers are going to require ivy-league education or costly private school credentials. Additionally, if you attend a public university, you may be more likely to rank higher in your class, which also looks good on a resume’.
- Stay the Course: The more you change schools, or change majors, the more time you lose, and in college, time is money. Each time you make a transition, you are likely to lose at least a few course credits which may not transfer to your new school or new major. Therefore, try to choose wisely before you enter college, and stick with your original plan if possible.