Life vs Loans: Does Debt Affect Career Satisfaction in Osteopathic Graduates?

J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2020 Aug 1;120(8):497-503. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2020.083.

Abstract

Background: The cost of undergraduate osteopathic medical education continues to grow. It is important to understand how the rising cost of matriculation negatively affects training and career satisfaction of entering students.

Objective: To better understand any association between level of educational debt and satisfaction with osteopathic medical education, career choice, and financial services.

Methods: Responses were analyzed from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine survey of pending medical school graduates from 2007 through 2016 regarding indebtedness and specialty selection.

Results: From 2007 to 2016, the mean educational debt level at graduation rose consistently among osteopathic graduates (from $155,698 to $240,331, respectively). In all years, there was no significant effect of debt quartile on satisfaction with choice of osteopathic medicine as a career. Quartile variable with debt did not show a significant effect on satisfaction with education experience in 2010, 2013, and 2016. Top quartile debt was associated with higher satisfaction with financial service departments in all years.

Conclusion: Although debt has consistently increased for osteopathic medical graduates, it does not affect their satisfaction with either their educational experience or their choice of osteopathic medicine as a career.