What is the Average Cost of Nursing School?

If you are planning to attend a nursing program so that you can get licensed to practice in your state, learning the average cost of nursing school can help you plan ahead. Attending any type of college program can be costly, but some programs are much more costly than others depending on their region or the type of school. For prospective nursing students, the costs to attend a nursing school can be just as important as the school’s location or their reputation for preparing future professionals for the field.

Pinpointing an average cost for all nursing schools can be difficult because there are different types of degrees and different types of financial assistance you can qualify for. You should be aware of the varying costs between an Associate of Science in Nursing program (ASN) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. To find out the potential cost to attend school, here is a nursing program guide that can help you.

Average Costs to Attend a Associate’s Degree Program

In some states, you can become a Registered Nurse with an ASN degree. At a minimum, you will be able to test to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) with this two year nursing degree. As a full-time student, it will take you two full years to complete general education courses and foundation nursing courses.

Since you are studying for just two years, an ASN is the most affordable type of terminal nursing degree that you can earn, but the costs can still be high. Tuition rates have been reported to range from just over $3,000 at community colleges to over $30,000 at private institutions where you are an out-of-state student. Keep in mind that there are additional lab fees, lodging, and charges for textbooks that must be factored in.

Average Costs to Attend a Bachelor’s Degree Program

A BSN program takes four years to complete. You will take general education prerequisites and also foundation courses in nursing. Since you have four years to study, you will take more courses in nursing theory. These additional courses will prepare you for higher nursing positions like case management or nurse management. If you want to enjoy the advantages of earning your BSN, you will spend more time in school and more money towards your degree (please see: Is Getting a BSN Worth It?).

The cost of a BSN can range all across the country, but you can expect to pay between $12,000 and $46,000 to complete your degree. In addition to the tuition rates, you can expect to spend an additional $500 per term on books and supplies. Some of the private nursing schools with prestigious programs could be much higher than the average range. If you attend these schools, you may have to prove that you can afford to cover the costs.

There is no denying that earning a nursing degree can be expensive, but once you graduate you can earn a sizable salary that will continue to grow with experience. If you do not want to get stuck paying the entire rate out-of-pocket, you can apply for needs-based or competitive scholarships. You can also apply for financial aid to pay for a portion of your cost to attend. Be sure you know what resources are available and stay up-to-date on the average cost of nursing school as you compare your options. 

For information on finding an affordable RN-BSN degree program, please see: 30 Best Affordable RN-BSN Programs.