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How Much Does Nursing School Cost?

Nursing School Prices

A nursing career comes with the perks of job security, competitive pay and excellent benefits. Nurses work in a variety of settings Ė hospitals, doctorís offices, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, to name a few. Skilled nurses are almost always in demand. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that more than 1 million nurses will be needed by 2016.

Unlike some professions, there are varying levels of education in the nursing field, ranging from certificate programs to advanced degrees. Generally, more advanced degrees lead to higher salaries and a broader range of job opportunities.

  • A Certified Nursing Assistant certificate requires about six weeks of schooling along with on-the-job training. The average salary for CNAs is $19,759 to $27,057, according to payscale.com.
  • Licensed Practical Nurses go through a 1-year vocational program. The average salary for LPNs is $31,865 to $44,509.
  • Registered Nurses spend 2-3 years in school for an associateís degree and four years in school for a bachelorís degree, although most hospitals require the four-year degree. RNs make $46,818 to $67,106, on average.
  • Advanced Practical Registered Nurses must complete some form of post-graduate work, typically earning a masterís degree. APRNs make anywhere from $76,808 to $89,243.

Nursing School Costs

The cost of nursing school varies widely based upon the school and the type of degree program.

  • Certified Nursing Assistant programs cost $300-$600, according to cnatips.com.
  • Licensed Practical Nurses generally spend about $7,000-$12,000 to complete the program, although some programs can run up to $20,000, according to successdegrees.com. LPN programs are offered primarily at community colleges or vocational schools.
  • Students pursuing a bachelorís degree in nursing should plan to spend anywhere from $5,000-$30,000 per year, according to Petersonís College Search. At a four-year public school, the average cost is around $14,000 per year, including room and board, books and fees. At a private school, costs can reach $30,000 or more per year.

Nursing School Costs Examples

  • At Emory University in Atlanta, tuition at the schoolís Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing was $16,700 per semester in 2009-2010 for both graduate and undergraduate students, according to Petersonís College Search.
  • At the University of Pittsburg in Pennsylvania, tuition for full-time undergraduates in 2009-2010 was $8,399 for in-state students and $14,642 for out-of-state students. On campus housing was $1,795-$3,495, and meal plans ranged from $410-$2,750. For part-time students, tuition per credit was $699 in-state and $1,220 out-of-state. Full-time graduate students paid $9,616 in-state and $11,851 out-of-state.
  • At Columbia University in New York, undergraduate tuition in 2009-2010 was $1,118 per credit, according to Petersonís. For graduate students, it was $1,118-$1,522. Housing costs ranged from $4,000-$6,000, and expenses such as health fees, books, uniforms and fees are about $5,000.

Additional Nursing School Costs

In addition to tuition, fees and room and board, nursing school comes with a few smaller, miscellaneous expenses. They include:

  • Books and supplies: $200-$1,000 per semester.
  • State nursing exams and licenses: $200-$500, usually upon graduation.
  • Uniforms: Approximately $150 per semester.
  • Applications fees, commuting expenses and liability insurance.

Saving Money on Nursing School

Although nursing school can be expensive, there are several ways to cut back on costs. Students pursuing a bachelorís degree in nursing can eliminate room and board expenses Ė usually 25 percent or more of the total costs Ė by opting to live at home and commute. Another option is to pursue an associateís degree at a less expensive community college and then transfer to a four-year school to complete RN coursework.

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