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How Much Does Nursing School Cost?

November 15, 2022
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Nursing School Cost by DegreeWhat Else Affects Nursing School Costs?Others Nursing School CostsHow To Pay for Nursing SchoolFAQs: How Much Does Nursing School Cost?

”Rohan

Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Chief Resident in Anesthesiology, Weill Cornell Medicine, & Admissions Officer, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/13/22

If you’re interested in becoming a nurse, you may be wondering, “how much does nursing school cost?” Follow along for a full breakdown of nursing school fees to expect.

Nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system. Although we are constantly in desperate need of a larger nursing population, school can be quite pricey and a nursing degree can be challenging to obtain simply based on financial stress. Luckily, we’re here to tell you exactly how much nursing school really costs. 

Nursing school is a popular choice amongst students who are interested in a health career with a less expensive and shorter educational path. If this is you, you should know that there are several different types of nursing programs you can take - which come at varied costs.

Here we’ll break down nursing school costs for associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees and talk about other factors that can affect your fees. We’ll also go over some ways to make nursing school more affordable and answer some FAQs on nursing school costs.

Let’s get started!

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Nursing School Cost by Degree

The cost of nursing school depends on your degree. Here we’ll talk about the costs of each nursing degree and how they vary. 

1. LPN

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN Programs) are at the lower end of the pay and time commitment scales. To become an LPN, you do not need to attend a traditional school but rather a 12-18 month LPN program. This educational path can cost anywhere from $4,000 up to $28,000 from end to end. 

Most LPNs can expect to pay around $8-12,000 for their program. It must be considered that your career options will not be the same as an RN if you choose to stop at an LPN certificate. To learn more about LPN or CNA responsibilities, take a look at our guide on How To Become a Nurse.

2. ADN-RN

An Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN -RN) typically takes two to three years of school to complete, which means it can end up costing less than a four-year BSN degree. These programs typically cost anywhere from $12,000 to $35,000 or more. 

Typically, students will end up paying closer to $18,000 to $25,000 for their associate’s degree. It is worth noting that an ADN degree will allow you to become a nurse just like a BSN degree. However, your career opportunities may be limited if you opt for the shorter (ADN) option.

3. BSN-RN

A Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN-RN) Program is the typical standard option for most RNs. This program takes around three to four years to complete and can cost anywhere from $25,000 to $120,000 or more, depending on your school’s location and reputation. Students attending a nursing degree at a typical state college can expect to pay around $35,000 to $60,000. 

4. APRN

To become an Advanced Practitioner Registered Nurse (APRN), you will first need to complete a bachelor’s degree and then another 2-4 year master’s degree. Because of the extended schooling, this is the most expensive and lengthy educational path. 

Students can expect to pay anywhere from $63,000 ($25,000 for BSN and $38,000 for the APRN degree) to well over $100,000. Depending on the school, you may even end up spending up to $200,000 for your APRN degree.

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What Else Affects Nursing School Costs?

Here are a few considerations that may help you save on nursing school in certain areas. 

Online vs. On-Campus Program

Have you considered doing your nursing degree online? Online school can help you save on facility fees, transportation costs, food, costs, and more. Some schools also have a lower tuition rate for online students. 

If you’re someone who enjoys studying at libraries, cafes, or at home - attending nursing school online might be an excellent way to save up and stay cozy. To do well in an online degree, you must be good with self-motivation. If you choose this option, just make sure to follow your schedule and do your homework!

Public vs. Private Nursing School Programs

Choosing a state school for your nursing degree over a private or ivy league institution will help you save exponentially on your nursing degree. You can absolutely still get a high-quality education from a less-prestigious school. In fact, many employers will care more about your demeanor and passion for your nursing career than the name of your school.

When it comes to choosing a public or private institution, go with your gut. Ultimately what matters most is that you are confident and proud of your decision. Just make sure whichever college you choose has a good reputation, and meets all of your needs as a student. 

Location

Location can also make a significant impact on the cost of nursing school. Out-of-state and international fees can add thousands of dollars to your overall tuition cost. However, this doesn’t always mean you have to attend a local college in your hometown to save up. 

If your dream school is out of state, but you want to avoid paying extra, consider taking a gap year and becoming a resident of that state before attending school. Each state has different laws surrounding how to become a resident. 

For example, in Ohio, you can become a resident by registering a car in the state, registering to vote, and declaring the state your permanent residence. In most cases, you can become a resident of a different state by living there for a 12-month period without being a full-time student.

Others Nursing School Costs

Here are some additional costs and considerations to apply to your nursing school budget.

Books & Supplies

As with any school, there are plenty of fees to budget for beyond simply paying tuition. You’ll have to pay for books, supplies, and accessories. Some supplies you’ll need will be specific to nursing school, such as uniforms, a stethoscope, scissors, penlights, and more. 

Health Costs

Most nursing schools require students to pay health-associated fees and costs as part of their program. Sometimes these are included in your overall tuition and fees, but sometimes they are separate costs to look out for. 

You should consider budgeting for a drug screening test, a TB test, a background check, required booster shots, bloodwork, and a Hepatitis B vaccine series. In certain instances, you may also need to purchase personal malpractice insurance.

Transportation & Food

It can be easy to overlook day-to-day costs such as transportation and on-campus meals when budgeting for nursing school, but it’s important to count them in. Depending on where you go to school, you should consider the amount you may spend on gas or public transit. 

For some students, it may even be cheaper to pay rent closer to campus in the long run. If you live close by, you’ll be able to go home for lunches, save on transit, and it may even help you get to class on time!

Childcare, Decreased Income

If you are a parent, a non-traditional nursing school applicant, or a young student who is currently working to support yourself - there are a few extra needs to consider. Some nursing schools offer childcare on campus, which is certainly something to look out for. 

Of course, if you have added life expenses, you will need to consider that you will have a decreased income while in nursing school. Nursing school takes up a lot of time as well as physical and mental energy. It may be challenging to work a regular job at the same time you are completing your degree, so it’s important to manage your finances accordingly.

To help you prepare for what your total bill might look like, take a look at your target school’s tuition calculator. Most schools offer this tool to help prospective students get a better idea of what to expect. For example, take a look at the tuition calculator for nursing school at the Maine College of Health Professions.

How To Pay for Nursing School

If you can’t afford to pay for nursing school out of pocket, you’re certainly not alone! Here are some options for funding your nursing education. 

Financial Aid 

Some schools offer financial aid directly to their students, which you’ll often be able to apply for after being accepted. Financial aid is typically awarded based on the amount of assistance you need based on your financial situation. In a financial aid application, you will have to declare your income, the income of your parents/guardians, etc. 

Student Loans

Student loans can be applied for through your state or through a bank. It is recommended to take student loans out only if it is necessary and to avoid taking out a student line of credit from the bank as you may have to pay interest on it. Government loans are typically more forgiving with interest. 

Scholarships

Scholarships are typically awarded based on merit and are highly selective. However, some schools consider financial aid and scholarships to be the same and offer them on the same basis. You should do plenty of research on nursing school scholarships that are available to you based on your unique situation and how to apply for them.

FAQs: How Much Does Nursing School Cost?

Here are our answers to some frequently asked questions about nursing school costs.

1. How Much Is the Tuition for Nursing School?

Generally speaking, a BSN degree costs between $25,000 to $120,000 or more. Nursing school tuition depends on a number of factors, including the type of nursing school program you are attending, the location of your school, your school’s reputation, and numerous other factors. 

Most students end up paying between $35,000 to $60,000 for their BSN degree. If you’re looking for school-specific estimations, check to see if your target school offers a tuition calculator on their website.

2. How Much Does It Cost To Become a Nurse in Illinois?

Nursing school in Illinois can cost between $9000 to over $30,000 depending on the program and school. An associate’s degree in nursing or a BSN cost the most, while a degree in practical nursing costs the least.

3. How Much Does It Cost To Become an RN In Ohio?

There are many options for becoming a nurse in Ohio and therefore a large variation in nursing school expenses. It can cost anywhere between $10,000 to $37,000 to become a nurse in Ohio depending on the program you take and the school you attend. School is also generally much cheaper for in-state students.

4. How Much Does it Cost To Become an RN In Florida?

The cost of becoming a nurse in Florida varies depending on the school and program you want to take. Earning a BSN in Florida can cost anywhere between $12,000 to over $200,000 depending on the school. The most expensive nursing programs in Florida are offered through private institutions, while cheaper options are public.

Final Thoughts

The cost of becoming a nurse is challenging to pinpoint because there are so many options to choose from. Before choosing the cheapest or most expensive option, you should really ask yourself what types of career opportunities you want to achieve in your field.

As we’ve discussed, earning an LPN or CNA certificate is cheaper and does not take as long as ADN-RN or BSN-RN degrees. However, becoming an LPN can be quite restrictive in terms of responsibilities, pay, and room for growth. An ADN-RN degree will allow you to become a registered nurse, but will also have hindrances in terms of pay and opportunities.

We recommend attending a traditional BSN degree if you want to become a nurse, even though it is not the cheapest option. If you’re struggling to pay for nursing school, check our nursing scholarships, financial aid, and student loans. Ultimately the more money and time you spend on school, the more you’ll earn which will make it easier to pay off your loans. 

Good luck!

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