Home > Managing Debt > Doctors Making Career Decisions Based on Debt

Comments 0 Comments

Today, there is a nationwide doctor shortage in many fields of medicine, and new data suggests that student loan debt might be part of the reason for this problem.

A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that a majority of doctors in that field are going into general or primary care instead of specialties, largely because the latter concentrations require more schooling and therefore cost more money, according to a report from Reuters. This is because, between 2006 and 2010 alone, the average amount of debt being carried by a pediatric resident grew 34 percent, and in many cases, specialties don’t pay significantly more than general medicine, giving medical students little incentive to pursue those areas.

“There are multiple factors that (affect) a pediatrician’s career decisions, and debt is just one part of that,” Mary Pat Frintner, from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the study’s lead author, told the news agency. But, “since there’s no end in sight to the rise in debt, that relationship may become more important in the future.”

In all, debt for these doctors rose to $139,000 in 2010, up from an average of $104,000 four years earlier, the report said. Meanwhile, just 43 percent of residents said they planned to get more training in certain specialty areas, and the rest planned to go straight to primary care. Those with $51,000 in debt or more were about 50 percent more like to pursue the latter path than their colleagues who carried smaller outstanding student loan bills.

Some experts advocate that the best way to lessen these concerns, and supply more doctors to a broader range of specialties, is to create more forgiveness programs that allows debtors to get out from under their massive balances if they meet certain goals, but others say this is not necessarily the case, the report said. Those who argue against that type of plan say it might be a better idea to do more to boost doctor pay in all fields so that financial concerns play less of a role in determining which fields medical students pursue.

Even people who are not doctors struggle with massive student loan debts, and recent studies show that the average college graduate leaves school with tens of thousands of dollars in outstanding balances across student loan obligations, credit card bills, and more.

Image: Miss Chicken, via Flickr

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other sponsored content on Credit.com are Partners with Credit.com. Credit.com receives compensation if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any financial products or cards offered.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team