Nursing Degrees & Schools / How Much is Nursing School?
Over the recent years, prices have been rising for groceries, gas, homes, and even education. So, when it comes to choosing a nursing school, not only do you have to consider the types of programs available, but also the costs associated with the program.
A comprehensive nursing education will set you up for success when it’s time to land a job after nursing school. But don’t worry; you’re not alone in considering and calculating the costs of nursing school programs. We’re here to help you!
Keep in mind costs of schools will vary. Factors include location, if your program is full or part-time, public or private institutions, and if you will be considered an in-state or out-of-state student.
In this article, we will discuss:
- The costs of each nursing degree
- Other costs to consider
- Paying for school
The cost of each degree
An associate degree in nursing (ADN) is an entry-level nursing degree. This degree allows nurses to take the first steps in pursuing a career as a registered nurse. Registered Nurses who hold an ADN can work in various settings including hospitals, clinics, and home health agencies.
- In general, these programs take 2 years or less to complete.
- On average, ADN programs cost anywhere from $7,000-$12,000 for the entire program.
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is the most common degree obtained by nurses. It is the prerequisite for masters and doctoral degrees.
BSN-trained nurses are in high demand in all areas of healthcare, including hospitals, healthcare administration, and even corporate healthcare companies.
- BSN programs are 4 years in length. The time includes prerequisite courses required before acceptance to a nursing program.
- Average tuition costs for BSN programs are around $15,000-$40,000 per year.
A Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) is an advanced degree nurses can pursue. Nurses can pursue master’s degrees as nurse practitioners, nurse informatics, nurse educators, and even certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA).
- Typically, master’s programs last 2 years and can be completed either online or in person.
- For the entire program, tuition for master’s degree programs can range from $35,000 to $60,000.
A Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) is considered the terminal or final level of degree specific to nursing. A DNP degree can be achieved after you have obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees. DNP-trained nurses have advanced nursing research and practice knowledge and can work in various settings, including hospital leadership, clinics, and universities.
- Depending on full-time or part-time enrollment, these programs usually take 2-4 years to complete.
- You can expect tuition costs to average around $114,000 for the entire program.
A Ph.D., or Doctor of Philosophy, is another doctoral degree that nurses can pursue. This type of degree focuses primarily on education and research. Nurses who obtain a Ph.D. can work as nurse directors, nurse scientists & researchers, and even consult government officials regarding policy change.
- A typical Ph.D. program takes up to 8 years to complete.
- Ph.D. programs, on average, cost around $98,800.
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Other costs to consider
Additional school expenses
So, not only do you have to think about the costs of tuition when selecting nursing programs, but there are other costs to consider too. You’ll need to consider the costs of textbooks, scrubs, technology fees, and nursing professional liability insurance (if your school requires it).
The average price for a pair of scrubs is $20-$40 per set. The average cost of textbooks for a 4-year degree is $1,240. To reduce the costs of textbooks, consider purchasing used books or renting them.
Additionally, universities typically charge technology fees that cover the costs of accessing campus computers, online libraries, and wi-fi. For those who aren’t staying on campus, consider the costs, such as gas and car maintenance, associated with traveling to campus and clinicals.
If you’re planning to live on campus during your college experience, consider your college’s housing costs. On average, on-campus housing costs around $8,000-$10,000 per year. Dorms on campus are equipped with a bed and desk. So, it’s important to not forget to factor in any furnishing expenses!
You can also opt to stay off-campus in apartments specifically for college students. Usually, rent for these apartments is lower than a traditional apartment. You can also save money on gas, as these apartments are generally located close to campus.
Exams & Lab fees
Most nursing schools require prospective students to pass entrance exams to gain admission. Entrance exams include the HESI, TEAS, and NET, and cost around $50- $115. The NCLEX exam is taken once nurses graduate and costs $200.
Additional exam fees include study materials and test prep courses.
Paying for school
Public Service Loan forgiveness
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program is a loan forgiveness program for those who work for non-profits or federal, state, or local government organizations. The PSLF program will forgive the remaining balance of your Direct Loans after you’ve made the required qualifying payments.
To qualify for this loan you must:
- Be a full-time employee of a non-profit organization, U.S. federal, state, or tribal government
- Make 120 qualifying monthly loan payments
- Have Direct Loans
Nursing Tuition Reimbursement
Numerous employers offer tuition reimbursement. Most of these employers have a set amount of tuition they will reimburse employees.
Employers often require you to work with the organization for a certain amount of time before qualifying for reimbursement. You will be required to provide proof of course completion, satisfactory grades, and proof of tuition expenses for the semester.
Several hospital employers have phased out or reduced the tuition reimbursement they provide. So, be sure to check with your hospital’s human resources department to learn more about the specific requirements for tuition reimbursement.
Universities and nursing school departments offer scholarships specifically for nurses. Additionally, professional organizations such as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and Johnson & Johnson offer scholarships for nursing students.
Student loans are another method to pay for nursing school. Loans can be available from the Federal Government or private student loan companies.
The loans are awarded each semester to pay for tuition and other expenses. Once you graduate from school, you’ll usually have a grace period of 6 months before your loan repayment starts.
With most loans, you will be charged interest fees in addition to the borrowed amount.
Although nursing school can be costly, it’s well worth the investment once you achieve your desired degree. A nursing degree can open the door to many exciting careers in and out of the hospital.
For more advice and tips when it comes to nursing school, make sure to check out our forum.
Questions from the Incredible Health Nurse Community
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“Weighing Costs of an Online Master’s in Nursing”. usnews.com.Accessed July 7, 2022.
“Doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree in the United States: Reflecting, readjusting, and getting back on track.” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed on July 8, 2022.
Average Cost of a Doctorate Degree : Ph.D., Psy.D. & More” educationdata.org. Accessed July 8, 2022.
“11 College Costs Other Than Tuition and Housing”. usnews.com. Accessed on July 9, 2022.
“How Much Does College Cost?”. mycollegeguide.org. Accessed on July 9, 2022.
Federal Student Aid. studentaid.gov. Accessed on July 8, 2022.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Foundation Scholarships. https://www.aacnnursing.org/Foundation-for-Academic-Nursing/Scholarships. Accessed on July 16, 2022.
Johnson & Johnson. Nursing Scholarships. https://nursing.jnj.com/scholarships. Accessed on July 16, 2022.