How Much Does Nursing School Cost? (2023)

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Attending nursing school can be a powerful investment in your future. When choosing a school and major, prospective nursing students should consider the cost of nursing school so they can predict when their investment will pay off.

This article describes the average cost of nursing school at each degree level. We also describe some key financial resources that can help reduce costs. Finally, we discuss the potential return on investment of a nursing degree.


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How Much Does Nursing School Cost?

The cost of nursing school can vary widely based on a number of factors, including the degree you choose, whether you attend part-time or full-time, whether you attend a government or non-government institution, and whether you attend a private or public school.

Associate Degree in Nursing(ADN) fees are typically low, ranging from as little as $3,000 total for some programs to $100,000 for a more advanced degree if you attend a private school.

The cost of nursing school after graduation

The cost of nursing school can vary greatly depending on the school you choose and the level of graduation. Below we break down the typical cost of nursing school at each degree level, from ADN to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Associate Degree in Nursing

Prospective nursing students looking for a time- and cost-effective nursing path may consider earning a bachelor's degree in nursing. ADN programs typically last two years and are often one of the most affordable educational options for nursing students. However, tuition and program fees vary from school to school.

Several factors affect the cost of an ADN degree, including whether you choose to go to a state or non-state institution and whether it is a public or private university. The cost of attending an out-of-state public program can be more than double the tuition for in-state public programs.

Generally, the cost of an ADN program at a public university ranges from $3,000 to $10,000 per year. Since most ADNs are two-year degrees, you'll need $6,000 to $20,000 in total. Private universities usually charge higher tuition fees. Private school students can spend upwards of $40,000 on their ADN.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

On average, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing requires four years of full-time study and is typically 120 credits. As with the ADN, the total cost of a BSN degree varies widely depending on whether it is a public or private university and whether you study in or out of state. Students can pay anywhere from $20,000 to over $100,000 totalBSN degree.

In most cases, overseas tuition fees are much higher than domestic tuition fees. For example,National Center for Education Statistics(NCES) reported that the average tuition and required fees for full-time students for the 2020-21 academic year was $9,375 at in-state institutions and $27,091 at out-of-state institutions.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

The MSN program takes one to two years. The total cost for a Master of Nursing ranges from $24,000 to $80,000 depending on factors similar to those that affect ADN and BSN fees. Some MSN programs, including non-government and private universities or colleges, can cost $100,000 or more.


The length of the program also affects the cost of the MSN, and the number of credits required varies by program. Depending on the courses chosen, students can complete between 30 and 70 credits.

The MSN is generally more expensive for part-time students, as part-time enrollment usually increases the length of the overall program. Students attending non-state or private universities also tend to pay more.

Doctor of Nursing Medicine

Total cost for aDNP degreeIt can vary widely based on a number of factors, including your highest educational level, as this will affect the length of the course. If your highest degree is a bachelor's degree, you should assume that it will take three to four years from BSN to DNP. Alternatively, the MSN to DNP program takes approximately two years.

The cost of a DNP program can range from about $10,000 to over $100,000. Working part-time or attending a private university can increase your costs.

Additional fees for nursing school

In addition to tuition and fees, prospective nursing students should consider the additional costs of nursing school when determining the total cost of nursing school. These charges may include:

  • examination
  • Childcare for students with families
  • Vaccinations, drug tests and laboratory tests
  • Laborbedarf
  • Losses or reduced pay for students who quit their jobs or reduce their hours
  • Exam preparation and registration for state exams
  • body examination
  • Schrubben
  • handbook
  • traffic and parking fees

NCLEX Preparation and Fees

To become licensed and begin practicing, nursing students must passNational Board Licensure Examinations(NCLEX). Candidates wishing to practice in the United States must pay a $200 registration fee to take the NCLEX.

After you pay your application fee and schedule your exam, you can view prep courses and other resources to start preparing.NCLEX FridayLessons can range from $25 to over $500. Students can browse a variety of prep materials and courses to choose one that fits their budget, learning style, and scheduling needs.

How to pay for nursing school

Students must file the FAFSA to be eligible for state student aid, including loans. See our how-to guide for more informationWhat is the FAFSA?AndHow to Apply for Financial Aid on the FAFSA.

Nursing students can research scholarships, grants, and tuition reimbursement programs to help reduce the cost of nursing school. TheAmerican Association of Colleges and NursingUpdated list of resources to support nursing students. Below we review various financial aid options to help offset and mitigate the cost of nursing school.


Scholarships are usually awarded to students based on academic merit or financial need. Scholarships are available from public and private sources and do not have to be repaid. For example,Johnson & JohnsonAndUS Health Resources and Services AdministrationScholarships for Nursing Students.



Grants are need-based grants typically awarded by corporations, organizations, foundations, and government agencies. Scholarships, like scholarships, do not have to be repaid. Several government and private organizations offer scholarships to nursing students. For example,California Department of Health Access and InformationProvides financial assistance to nursing students committed to practice in underserved areas.

student loans

Program applicants can also apply for student loans to pay for nursing school. Unlike scholarships and grants, students must repay loans. Nursing students have two main types of loans to choose from: federal loans and private loans. See our list for suggestionsBest Nursing Debt Loans.

To apply for federal financial aid, including federal loans, students must file the FAFSA. In general, interest rates on federal loans are lower than private loans. Students can apply for three main types of federal loans:

  • Direct subsidized loan
  • Direct unsubsidized loans
  • Direct plus loan

Federal loans have annual credit limits. For example, direct subsidized loans are limited to $5,500 to $12,500 per year. Students maxing out their federal loans and needing additional financial aid may want to consider private loans.

Nursing graduates have access to student loan forgiveness programs and provide opportunities to eliminate student loan debt. See our guide for more informationWays to Forgive Nursing Student Loans.

Before accepting any loan or loan forgiveness, make sure you fully understand the specifications, requirements and terms of the prospective loan program.

Tuition Reimbursement Program

Employers often offer tuition reimbursement programs, which the health care industry is increasingly using to help fill nursing shortages in hospitals and medical facilities across the country. Tuition reimbursement programs can look like employers reimbursing graduates for some or all of their tuition if the graduates commit to working as a registered nurse in a specific location or for a specific number of years.

Joint compensation plans may include the following conditions:

  • Successful completion of a degree
  • Maintain the specified grade point average
  • agree to work for a specific hospital or other medical facility for a specific period of time
  • Agree to work in a specific geographic area, e.g. B. in a rural area

For example the BundNursing Education Loan Repayment ProgramPay off student loans for registered nurses committed to working in a nonprofit clinic or hospital.

School of Nursing ROI

Return on investment (ROI) is the return you received on your investment (in this case, your salary after nursing school) divided by the cost of your investment (the cost of nursing school), multiplied by 100 to get a percentage.


Let's say you earn your BSN for $50,000 and later become a Registered Nurse (RN). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses earn a median annual salary of $77,600, which means you'll recoup your investment within a year of working as a registered nurse (and then some). Let's break it down:

77.600 $ / 50.000 $ x 100 = 155,2

After a year of working as an RN, you saw a 155.2% ROI.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Cost of Nursing Schools

How much is the hospital allowance?

Nursing school tuition varies widely depending on the degree level you desire and the school you choose. Looking at ADN, BSN, MSN, and DNP programs, the cost of nursing school can range from about $3,000 to over $100,000.

Is it worth becoming a nurse?

Yes, nursing is a rewarding profession for many people. Nursing care can be physically and emotionally demanding and often involves long hours. Nursing, on the other hand, offers an opportunity to engage in meaningful work and provide meaningful care and support to others. Nursing offers job security, high earning potential and can provide variety in everyday work life. After one year as an RN, you can recoup more than 100% of your investment in nursing school.



How much does nursing school cost us? ›

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

This program will give you some of the training and skills you need to work in a hospital setting. The average cost of a four-year BSN program is $40,000-$100,000 from private universities, but for less you can get this degree for $13,000 to $17,000 per year from public schools.

Why does nursing school cost so much? ›

Reasons Why Nursing School is So Expensive

Expanding campus amenities. Growing college administrations. Higher demand for a college education. Increases in the cost of living.

How much math is nursing? ›

Nursing in the "real world" generally requires very basic math skills, but almost all programs require at least one college-level math class — usually algebra. Some nursing schools may require a basic statistics course as well, so if you know what schools you're applying to, be sure to check for this requirement.

Will the military pay for nursing school? ›

The Army pays up to $15,000 per academic year for tuition and mandatory fees for a maximum of 24 months of schooling along with book reimbursement up to $1,000 per year.

How much does a 2 year nursing degree pay in USA? ›

Licensed practical nurse average salary

According to Indeed's salary information, the national average salary for LPNs in the United States comes in at $23.81 per hour , which can amount to just under $50,000 per year, assuming a 40-hour workweek.

How much is RN per hour in USA? ›

Salaries by years of experience in the United States
Years of experiencePer hour
1 to 2 years$42.21
3 to 5 years$44.31
6 to 9 years$45.90
More than 10 years$51.33
1 more row

How much is the cheapest nursing school in the USA? ›

10 Most Affordable Traditional Nursing Degree Programs
  1. Lamar University. Tuition – $3,120 per semester. ...
  2. Stony Brook University. Tuition – $2,785 per semester. ...
  3. University of Nevada at Las Vegas. ...
  4. University of Michigan Flint. ...
  5. Northwestern Michigan College. ...
  6. Indiana State University. ...
  7. East Carolina University. ...
  8. Clarkson College.

Which state has the cheapest nursing programs? ›

The most affordable nursing schools in the US are Oklahoma City University, Florida State University, and University of West Georgia. Our list of affordable nursing programs covers bachelor's, master's, and doctorate programs that will help advance your career in nursing or healthcare.

What is the least amount of school for nursing? ›

What is the shortest schooling for a medical career? The shortest schooling for a medical career is a Diploma in Practical Nursing (DPN). In as little as 12 months, you can become a licensed pratical nurse (LPN) and be on your way toward becoming an registered nurse (RN).

Can I be a nurse if I'm bad at math? ›

No, you do not have to be “good” at math and science to get into nursing school (and finish). You simply have to have a desire to succeed and a strong work ethic. With those two things, you can do anything (including getting into nursing school!)

Is nursing more math or science? ›

Math is an essential skill for nurses to have because they use formulas to help them determine how much to put into intravenous therapy (IV) fluid drips, injections and oral medications. The more nurses practice their math skills, the more confident they may feel when using them on the job.

Is rn math hard? ›

it's pretty easy. I think the stressor for dosaging math comes from the pass/fail nature of the course. Many programs require you to get a 90% or better on your dosage calculations test and grade on a pass/fail basis.

What is the highest paying nurse? ›

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Salary

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists earn a median salary of $195,610 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, making it the top paying nursing specialty.

What rank is a nurse in the Army? ›

A newly enlisted nurse with no previous military service would start at the rank O-1, or second lieutenant. With experience and years of service, the Army nurse could rise through the ranks to O-10, the highest rank. There is a special pay grade rank for nurses who were previously enlisted in military service.

What rank is a nurse in the Air Force? ›

Since they are commissioned officers, nurses enter the Air Force as Second Lieutenants, a rank with an annual salary of $41,720, according to 2022 military pay data.

What is the 1 month salary of nurse in USA? ›

Monthly: Though registered nurses are typically paid weekly or biweekly, understanding monthly salary can help in terms of budgeting.
What Is the Average Salary of a Registered Nurse?
Hourly Wage$39.78
Monthly Salary$6,900
Annual Salary$82,750
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021)

What is a RN salary? ›

What is pharmacist salary? ›

What states have high RN pay? ›

California tops our list of the highest-paying states, where registered nurses make $124,000 per year on average. Following it is Hawaii, at $106,530, and Oregon at $98,6300.

How much do most RN make an hour? ›

Salaries by years of experience in California
Years of experiencePer hour
1 to 2 years$52.54
3 to 5 years$55.15
6 to 9 years$57.13
More than 10 years$63.88
1 more row

Which country pays nurses most? ›

Switzerland: Nurses in Switzerland have some of the highest salaries in the world, with an average annual salary of around $85000. Canada: Nurses in Canada earn an average annual salary of around $75000. Germany: Nurses in Germany have an average salary of around $65000.

What is the easiest nursing school to get into USA? ›

The easiest nursing school to get into also varies since many nursing schools have high acceptance rates. Based on admission criteria and statistics, the University of Kentucky is the easiest nursing school to get into.

Where is the cheapest to study nursing? ›

Norway. Norway comes in first as the cheapest in the world to pursue a nursing degree since most Norwegian public institutions do charge tuition fees. The best part? All international students qualify for this benefit.

Is studying nursing in USA worth it? ›

Salary of a nurse in the US

In the US, nursing is a relatively high-paying profession with a minimum salary of about 45,000 USD per year. Nurses take care of babies with an average salary of about 100,000 USD/year (according to The average salary of anesthesiologists sometimes reaches 147,000 USD/year.

Which state is the hardest to become a nurse? ›

  • MAINE. ...
  • ALASKA. ...
  • Georgia. ...
  • Alabama. ...
  • Hawaii. ...
  • South Carolina. ...
  • Kentucky. ...
  • Summary. There are a few cases when temporary licenses can be obtained through the state board of nursing.

What is the easiest nursing degree to get? ›

An LPN or LVN program usually takes around a year to complete, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). What makes an LPN or LVN preparation program the easiest type of nursing education you can pursue is its focus on training for basic nursing services only and its quick completion time.

What state pays school nurses most? ›

The highest-paid school nurses work in California and Hawaii where the cost of living is respectively 50 percent higher and 77 percent higher than it is throughout the U.S. as a whole.

What is the lowest GPA for nursing? ›

While most nursing schools set their minimum GPA requirements at 3.0, there are accelerated nursing programs out there that accept students with 2.7 and 2.8 GPAs. Keep in mind that this doesn't mean you'd receive a lesser nursing education with these programs.

What is the hardest subject in nursing school? ›

Pharmacology. Pharmacology, or the study of medication, can seem scary because of the sheer scope of the course. "It becomes one of the hardest classes for nursing students due to the depth and amount of knowledge needed," says Megan Lynch, RN and instructor at Pima Community College.

How common is it to fail nursing school? ›

Nursing school is difficult and will be hard to pass. Most students pass their nursing program, so you can too. How many nursing students fail? According to the National League of Nursing, the dropout rate for nursing programs in the United States is around 20%.

Is calculus needed for nursing? ›

It is a good idea to know the types of math you need to be able to do, but it is not necessary to know advanced algebra or calculus. As long as you are taught correctly and have a basic knowledge of math, most nursing students will do just fine without having to take high-level math classes.

Can you use a calculator in nursing school? ›

And yes, most NCLEX prep courses allow use of calculators. There are calculators all over the clinical setting as well.

What type of math do nurses use? ›

Mathematics Used in Nursing

Nurses have to use addition, ratios, fractions and algebraic equations at work to deliver medications and monitor patients. Math is necessary for calculating medication dosages, IV drip rates, drug titrations, and the patients' caloric inputs and outputs.

How long is the nursing exam? ›

2. How Long is the NCLEX RN? The minimum number of questions on the NCLEX is 75 and the maximum number of questions is 145. The max amount of time you can take on the exam is 5 hours, including all breaks.

Do nursing students study a lot? ›

Everyone is different, but in general, it is recommended that nursing school students study anywhere from 2-4 hours a day. Committing class material to memory is essential to becoming a registered nurse, so the more time studying, the better!

Is nursing easier than medical school? ›

However, don't take it for granted that nursing school will be much easier than medical school, especially in an accelerated format. Both offer a unique set of challenges and demand the utmost in student commitment and work rate.

How hard is it to pass the RN exam? ›

Rather than using memorization skills, logic and critical thinking skills are required to succeed on this exam, making it more comprehensive and challenging. So, if you find yourself asking, "How hard is the NCLEX-RN? - The short answer is, it's very hard.

How do you pass RN school? ›

  1. Time Management. To be successful in nursing school, you must manage your time appropriately. ...
  2. Get Organized. ...
  3. Use Mnemonics. ...
  4. Study Everyday. ...
  5. Complete Practice Questions. ...
  6. Participate in a Study Group. ...
  7. Focus on course objectives when studying. ...
  8. Know your learning style.

Why is becoming a RN so hard? ›

Why is nursing school so hard? The top 6 challenges of earning a BSN include the rigorous curriculum, fast pace, need for multitasking, time commitment, personal sacrifices, and NCLEX preparation. However, despite these rigors, it's possible to rise up and master how to succeed in nursing school.

What is the easiest nursing job that pays well? ›

  • Occupational Health Nurse. About the Job: ...
  • Research Nurse. About the Job: ...
  • Case Management. About the Job: ...
  • School Nurse. About the Job: ...
  • College Health Clinic Nurse. About the Job: ...
  • Community Health Nurse. About the Job: ...
  • Nurse Writer. ...
  • Parenteral/Enteral Nurse.

What type of nurse is most in demand? ›

What type of RN is most in demand? All RNs are in demand more than other occupations. The BLS projects 6% job growth for all RNs between 2021 and2031, compared to 5% job growth for all occupations. Some specialties that are in especially high demand are neonatal nursing, surgical nursing, and critical care nursing.

What is the burnout rate for nurses? ›

95% of nurses have reported feeling burnt out within the past three years. Only 15.6% of nurses felt burnt out, in 2019, but since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, that number has risen to 62%. Up to 30% of all US nurses quit their jobs in 2021.

Do nurses make more than military? ›

Do nurses get paid more in the military? While the base pay for a military nurse can be lower than civilian nurses, individuals serving in the armed forces earn additional financial compensation, including hazard pay, free medical and dental insurance, free relocation services, and retirement plans.

What are Army nurses called? ›

The ANC is the nursing service for the U.S. Army and provides nursing staff in support of the Department of Defense medical plans. The ANC is composed entirely of Registered Nurses (RNs).

What is a RN called in the military? ›

A military nurse is a registered nurse who is also enlisted in one of the branches of the military, serving their country by providing medical care to other service members. They also support the families of our servicemen and servicewomen.

What is the age cut off for Air Force nursing? ›

Nursing candidates in the Air Force must be U.S. citizens between 18 and 48 years old. They may receive a waiver for the upper age limit, depending on the specialty they choose. These nursing professionals also must meet all physical requirements for serving in the Air Force.

Is a flight nurse an RN? ›

Flight nurses are registered nurses who care for patients transported in a helicopter or plane. As a flight nurse, your primary responsibility is to keep patients stable until they arrive at their destination.

How much does a flight nurse get paid in the Air Force? ›

Salaries for military flight nurses depend on education upon joining, certifications, and rank. On the lower end, they make about $31 to $32 per hour, which comes to between $64,000 and $67,000 annually. However, there are reports that U.S. Air Force flight nurses make an average of $80,000 per year.

What is 1 year nursing course in us? ›

LPN or LVN Programs

The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) training programs are approximately one year long. An LPN/LVN works under the direction of a registered nurse. LPN/LVN programs are offered at many colleges throughout the United States.

How long is a nursing degree in USA? ›

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

Takes 4 years. Also referred to as Baccalaureate degree. Offered at many California State Universities and some private colleges.

How long is a nursing course in us? ›

Depending on the specific nursing program that you enroll in, it could take anywhere from 16 months to four years to become a registered nurse. “I chose to earn my BSN, which takes four years,” says ChiChi Akanegbu, who completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Regis College as a part of the Class of 2020.

What state has the lowest paying nurses? ›

The lowest-paying states are South Dakota ($60,540), Alabama ($61,920), Mississippi ($63,130), Iowa ($64,990), and Arkansas ($65,810).

What state pays the lowest for registered nurses? ›

Highest-paying states for RNs, adjusted for cost of living

As of 2021, Hawaii tops the list at 119.3, while Mississippi comes in lowest, at 87.8. Adjusting each state's average RN salary by its cost of living index gives us a potentially more accurate means of comparing where nurses get paid the most.

Is a 2 year nursing degree hard? ›

You're headed for a great career, one that's rewarding, challenging, and always exciting. But nursing school is notoriously difficult. Most nursing programs require high GPAs and impressive scores in math, chemistry, biology, psychology, and other demanding subjects. It's also extremely fulfilling.

What is the shortest nursing degree? ›

The way to become an RN with the lowest level of education is to go through an associate's degree in nursing, or ADN program. Most ADN programs are two years long and held at community colleges.

What is the easiest nurse course? ›

What makes an LPN or LVN preparation program the easiest type of nursing education you can pursue is its focus on training for basic nursing services only and its quick completion time. However, aspiring LPNs and LVNs still need to take coursework in studies such as biology, pharmacology and nursing.

What kind of nurses get paid most? ›

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists earn a median salary of $195,610 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, making it the top paying nursing specialty.

Is nursing hard in USA? ›

Nursing requires more dedication than many other careers. However, it's one of the most rewarding jobs you can have. Nursing school is notoriously difficult—and it's not for everyone. Graduate school is challenging as well.

What is the fastest nursing programs? ›

Certified Nursing Assistant

A CNA program is a fast-paced program that only takes a couple of months to fully complete. After graduation, students can enter the field right away, assisting nurses with patient work in a wide variety of settings.

What are the requirements to study nursing in USA? ›

Required documents
  • A graduated Bachelor's degree.
  • Official transcript of records (grade list)
  • GPA scores.
  • A resume with relevant experience in the field of Nursing.
  • Letters of recommendation from past teachers or employers.
  • Recommender's contact information.
  • A letter of motivation or personal essay.
Nov 17, 2022

What is a 2 year nursing program in the US? ›

The Associate's degree in Nursing, or ADN, is a 2-year degree and is the minimum amount of school required to become licensed as a registered nurse, or RN. Once the student graduates, he or she is eligible to take the NCLEX-RN examination which must be passed to become licensed by the State.


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