How Much Does Nursing School Cost?

The United States population is growing older. As the nation’s senior population continues to increase, so does the demand for nurses to take care of these individuals.

While no one can predict what will happen in the future, it’s safe to assume that aging is a trend that will continue to hold true. That makes now an ideal time to enroll in nursing programs.

Even though the prospects look bright for nursing careers, there are other important aspects to consider before dedicating the next few years of your life to becoming a nurse. One of the most critical questions on the minds of most would-be nursing students is this: How much does nursing school cost?

Just like any other college student contemplating a major, cost is a big consideration for anyone hoping to enroll in nursing school. The following four factors will impact what you pay for your education.

Four factors impacting the cost of nursing school

  • Nursing degrees — The largest fee students and parents face is for tuition. How much you pay depends on many factors, chief among them the type of education you pursue. There are numerous ways to become a nurse. You can enroll in an associate degree program, a bachelor’s degree program, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) program, or a bridge program for LPNs or LVNs. Each program offering has a different cost associated with it.
  • Pursuing a bachelor’s — Tuition fees for a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN) range anywhere from $40,000 to well over $100,000 each year in private institutions and large universities. This degree typically takes four years to complete.
  • Community college considerations — By contrast to the above, BSN programs offered at community colleges cost considerably less. Tuition and fees in these colleges could range anywhere from $3,000 to about $14,000 a year. In-state students pay less than out-of-state students, which is another advantage for those who intend to stay in their own hometowns while obtaining their BSN degree.
  • The associate option — If it’s important to you to begin your nursing career quickly, an associate degree in nursing could be the right step since it only requires two years to finish. Another option is to enroll in a licensed practical nursing or licensed vocational nursing program. Those only require about a year to complete. Each of these programs costs significantly less than a four-year bachelor’s degree program. Once you’ve gained some actual experience, you’ll have the background to enroll in an RN-to-BSN bridge program. Once again, the cost of these degrees varies by the school. Ask your employer if they offer tuition reimbursement for programs such as this.

Other cost factors
In addition to the above considerations, it’s important to factor in the miscellaneous costs of nursing school because they can begin to add up. For example, textbooks, nursing gowns and uniforms, and health insurance are other costs you’ll need to cover. Every year, expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 to more than $3,000 for textbooks. As a nursing student, you’ll also be required to wear uniforms and purchase your own medical devices such as a stethoscope, blood pressure apparatus, watch, goggles, thermometer and more. Items like these can span from $300 to $500. Your health insurance is another important consideration, costing from about $1,000 to more than $4,000 each year. Application fees and laboratory fees should also be on your list of eventual expenses.

As with any other degree, living expenses should be a major part of your college budget. These expenses vary greatly as they pertain to where your school is located, whether you’re living at home and more. Conservatively speaking, expect housing, meals and other expenses to cost between $10,000 to $20,000 a year.

Numbers like this might begin to seem overwhelming. If so, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a great place to start seeking help to fund your nursing education. And of course, you can always opt to go the student loan route. The important idea here is to keep focused on the end goal — a rewarding and impactful nursing job in the health care profession.

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