Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

4 Jobs That Could Offer Student Loan Forgiveness

By Maurie Backman – Updated Feb 6, 2020 at 11:10AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Promo: Get ready to kiss those loans goodbye.

These days, many graduates have no choice but to take out student loans to pay for college. 

And in some cases, those loan balances can be staggering. The average class of 2017 graduate, for example, came away with $28,650 in student debt, according to the Institute for College Access and Success. That’s a staggering sum, and one that can haunt borrowers for many years after the fact. 

Woman standing in open field at sunset with broken chains hanging from outstretched arms.

Image source: Getty Images

Now most people who take on debt for college are stuck paying it off until they've whittled their loan balance down to nothing. But depending on the field you work in, you may be eligible to have your remaining student loan balance wiped out.

If you qualify for loan forgiveness under these programs, you're eligible to have your federal student loans forgiven after meeting certain requirements. If you took out private loans for college, unfortunately, such an option will not be available. 

Here are a few jobs that might render you eligible for student loan forgiveness:

1. Public service worker

If you work for a government agency or nonprofit organization, you're typically considered a public service worker, and as such, you might manage to get your remaining student loan balance wiped out after a period of time. Public service workers include, but aren't limited to, law enforcement agents, firefighters, and disaster response professionals. To meet the conditions for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, you'll need to make 120 payments while working full time for an eligible organization. 

2. Teacher

Not all teachers qualify for student loan forgiveness, but if you teach in a low-income school district, or are a special education teacher, you may qualify for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. You're only eligible once you've been teaching full time for five complete, consecutive years, but if you meet these requirements, you may be eligible to have up to $17,500 in student debt wiped out.

3. Doctor

It's common for doctors to graduate from medical school with loads of debt. Thankfully, student loan forgiveness exists for doctors, but to qualify, you'll need to work in an area that's considered high-need (like a remote corner of the country that may not be your first choice to live in), or for a nonprofit hospital. These constraints might limit the salary you're able to command, which is why many doctors don't pursue student loan forgiveness. 

4. Veterinarian

Just as people doctors are eligible for student loan forgiveness, so too can veterinarians get similar relief. But as is the case with physicians, to qualify for loan forgiveness, you'll need to work in an underserved area, which could impact your income and quality of life. 

Don't count on having your loans forgiven

Although it is possible to eventually have your student loan balance forgiven, the aforementioned programs can be difficult to qualify for. A good bet, therefore, is to take steps to keep your loan payments as manageable as possible. You could apply for an income-driven repayment plan if you took out federal loans, or refinance your student debt if you borrowed privately. Remember, student loan forgiveness generally doesn't kick in right away, so even if you eventually wipe out that debt, there will still be a period of your life in which you'll have to deal with it. Consider yourself warned. 


Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now


Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 10/01/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.