Hello all, I would first like to say that I have been lurking here for several years, and this forum was instrumental in me picking my current career path. I came into nursing with the with the goal of becoming an anesthetist. This is what I want to do with my life, and have been working towards that goal for the past several years. I am at a point now though where I'm starting to get worried about it actually happening. The more research I do in my current situation, the fewer options there seems to be.

Here's a little bit about myself. I will be turning 40 this year, and have a wife and two kids. I started school late (33 years old), and earned a premedical bachelor's degree (4.0 gpa) and BSN (4.0 gpa), as well as years of cardiovascular research, gross anatomy experience (including TA for the class) and undergraduate teaching experience every year I was in school. I currently work at a level 1 Trauma Center in the ICU, and am coming up on my 1 year anniversary there. My plan was to work at least 2-3 years before going off to CRNA school.

Everything has been going along perfectly, with one glaring exception. I am currently $100,000 in debt from my undergratuate education (6 years in school). When I look at the cost of CRNA school, as well as the cost of living while in school, I will end up almost $250,000 in debt by the time that I am done. This is assuming that I can even get private loans to cover the cost of living while in school, which is no guarantee. The thought of be being 45 years old and $250,000 in debt when I graduate terrifies me. You can add another $40,000 to $50,000 to that for my wife's debt (in an ideal world, she would not have to work after I graduate). I do have interests outside of work, and would like to retire at some point. What is the possibility of that happening with such a debt load?

I originally thought that there were tons of school loan repayment options for someone willing to work at a critical shortage hospital. After some research, there seem to be far fewer than I thought, and most will not even come close to making a dent in my $250,000 debt. Not only that, but there are many stipulations for acceptance that I may not meet, so many of these programs may not be an option. I would be willing to move almost anywhere for a gig that would pay off my loans. I'm not sure that gig exists though. Does anyone have any more info on this? Do these options exist for such a high debt load?

This leaves me with the option of going to the USAGPAN. I brought this up with my wife years ago, and she said "no way in hell". After more research, I brought it up to her again recently, and she is now on board for this being a possibility (funny how so much debt can change your view on things). The thought of getting the best education out there is certainly enticing, as is not accruing any more debt. My only concern would be the time that I have to spend away from my family. I am also a little fearful that with Trump in office, that time away from family potential will increase greatly in the upcoming years. If this is my best option though, I will give it some serious thought.

I would greatly appreciate any advice that I can get on my current situation. Is it worth accruing so much debt at my age? Are there any other options that I'm not aware of? Is the USAGPAN my only option? Thanks for any help!