Dental Grads Have Fourth Highest Student Debt-to-Income Ratio

Dentistry Today


Dental school graduates are facing growing piles of student loan debt, and they’re not alone. According to Credible, these new professionals have the fourth highest student loan monthly debt-to-income ratio based on graduate degree, after optometrists, veterinarians, and physician assistants but before pharmacists.

Credible analyzed the data of more than 91,000 borrowers across 16 graduate school majors who requested student loan refinancing from the company and found that students not only need to consider how much debt they will take on or how much they will make, but also how to find the right balance between the two figures.

“When choosing graduate school programs, it’s easy for students to get distracted by potential high salaries, regardless of student loan debt incurred,” said Credible CEO and founder Stephen Dash. “Our analysis shows that students who balance student loan debt against their future earnings are often in a better financial position to pay back their loans.” 

According to Credible, optometrists have a 14.0% monthly debt-to-income ratio with a $1,369 monthly loan payment and $110,000 annual income. Veterinarians have a 12.6% ratio, with an $891 payment and $85,000 income. Physician assistants have a 11.6% ratio, $964 payment, and $100,000 income. Dentists have an 11.5% ratio, $1,434 payment, and $150,000 income. And, pharmacists have a 10.9% ratio, $1,092 payment, and $120,000 income. 

At the other end of the scale, computer science graduates had the lowest debt-to-income ratio at 6.4%, followed by graduates with MBAs at 6.8%, finance graduates with no MBA at 7.0%, nurses at 7.1%, and accountants at 7.2%.

Credible also notes that lawyers, dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists, and healthcare administrators take the longest time to pay back their loans, at 15.4, 14.9, 14.8, 14.5, and 14.5 years, respectively. Engineers, nurses, public policy majors, scientists, and accountants pay back their loans the fastest at 12.7, 13.0, 13.0, 13.1, and 13.2 years, respectively. Often, graduates trade off smaller monthly loan payments for longer loan periods—and more interest paid. 

“While incomes tend to rise over time, students considering going into professions where they are likely to have higher debt-to-income ratios should think carefully about how they plan on paying down their student loans upon graduation,” said Dash. 

“Dentists, in particular, are in a particularly challenging position of having to go through rigorous and costly training, taking on significantly more debt than medical doctors for their schooling, only to earn an average of about 10% less than doctors after graduation,” Dash said.

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