How much does nursing school cost? (2023)

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from affiliate links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not influence our editors' opinions or evaluations.

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

This article provides an overview of the average cost of nursing school at each degree level. We also outline a few key financial aid resources to help ease the costs. Finally, we discuss the potential return on investment for nursing degrees.


Southern New Hampshire University

Take the next step in your healthcare career with a program from Southern New Hampshire University.

(Video) Nursing School Cost | Nursing School Tuition, Fees Explained

Learn more

How much does nursing school cost?

The cost of nursing school can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the degree you choose, whether you attend part-time or full-time, whether you attend an in-state or out-of-state institution, and whether you enroll in a private or public school .

Associate degrees in nursing(ADNs) tend to cost less, with some programs totaling as little as $3,000, while more advanced degrees can cost up to $100,000 if you attend a private school.

Nursing school costs by degree

Nursing school costs can vary significantly depending on the school and level of education you choose. Below, we break down typical nursing school costs for each degree level, from an ADN to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Associate Degree in Nursing

Aspiring nursing students looking for a time- and cost-effective path to nursing may consider an associate degree in nursing. ADN programs typically last two years and are generally among the most affordable educational options for nursing students. With that said, tuition and program costs can vary significantly from school to school.

Several factors can affect the cost of an ADN degree, including whether you choose to attend an in-state or out-of-state institution and whether it is a public or private university. Enrollment in an out-of-state public program can cost more than twice the tuition of an in-state public program.

Generally, the cost of ADN programs at public universities can range from $3,000 to $10,000 per year. Since most ADNs are two-year degrees, this amounts to $6,000 to $20,000 in total. Private universities generally charge higher tuition rates; private school students can spend more than $40,000 for their ADN.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

A bachelor's degree in nursing takes an average of four years of full-time study to complete and typically comprises 120 credits. As with an ADN, the total cost of a BSN degree varies greatly depending on whether it is a public or private university and whether you attend in or out of state. Students can pay between $20,000 to over $100,000 total for oneBSN grad.

In most cases, out-of-state tuition costs significantly more than in-state tuition. E.gNational Center for Education Statistics(NCES) reported that the average undergraduate tuition and required fees for full-time students in the 2020-21 school year was $9,375 at in-state institutions and $27,091 at out-of-state institutions.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

MSN programs take one to two years to complete. The total cost of a master's in nursing varies between $24,000 and $80,000 depending on factors similar to those that affect ADN and BSN costs. Some MSN programs, including foreign and private universities or colleges, can cost $100,000 or more.


Program length also affects the cost of an MSN, and the number of credits required varies considerably from program to program. Students may need to complete anywhere between 30 and 70 credit hours depending on the program they choose.

An MSN typically costs more for part-time students, as part-time enrollment often increases the overall program length. Students attending foreign or private universities often pay more as well.

Doctor in nursing

The total cost of aDNP gradcan vary significantly depending on several factors, including your highest level of education, as this affects the length of the program. If your highest degree is a bachelor's, you can expect a BSN-to-DNP program to take three to four years. Alternatively, an MSN-to-DNP program takes about two years to complete.

DNP programs can range in cost from around $10,000 to over $100,000. Attending part-time or enrolling in a private university can increase your costs.

Additional expenses for nursing school

Aside from tuition and fees, prospective nursing students should consider additional nursing school expenses when determining the total cost of nursing school. These expenses may include the following:

  • Background check
  • Childcare for students with families
  • Vaccinations, drug tests and laboratory tests
  • Lab supplies
  • Lost or reduced wages for students who quit their jobs or reduce their working hours
  • National licensure exam preparation and registration
  • Physical exams
  • Scrubs
  • Textbooks
  • Transport costs and parking charges for commuters

NCLEX preparation and fees

To obtain licensure and begin practice, nursing students must passNational Council Licensprøve(NCLEX). Candidates seeking to practice in the United States must pay a $200 registration fee to take the NCLEX.

Once you've paid the registration fee and are planning your exam, you can look at prep courses and other resources to start preparing.NCLEX preparationcourses can cost anywhere from $25 to over $500. Students can browse various preparation materials and courses to choose one that fits their budget, learning style, and scheduling needs.

This is how you pay for nursing school

Students must submit the FAFSA to qualify for federal student aid, including loans. For more information, see our guides that explainwhat the FAFSA isandhow to apply for financial aid using the FAFSA.

Nursing students can look into scholarships, grants, and tuition reimbursement programs to help reduce the cost of nursing school. ThatAmerican Association of Colleges and Nursingupdates a list of aids for nursing students. Below we examine various means of financial aid to help offset and ease the cost of nursing school.


Scholarships are often awarded to students based on academic achievement or financial need. Scholarships are available through both public and private resources and are non-repayable. E.g,Johnson & JohnsonandU.S. Health Resources and Services Administrationoffer scholarships to nursing students.

(Video) Let’s Talk About the COST of Nursing School!


Grants are needs-based awards that are typically issued by companies, organizations, foundations and government organizations. Like scholarships, grants do not require repayment. Several public and private bodies offer scholarships to nursing students. E.gCalifornia Department of Health Care Access and Informationprovides grants to nursing students who commit 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 can choose between two primary loan types: federal loans and private loans. For suggestions, check out our list ofbest nursing school loans.

To apply for federal financial aid, including federal loans, students must submit the FAFSA. In general, federal loans incur less interest than private loans. There are three main types of federal loans students can apply for:

  • Direct subsidized loans
  • Direct unsubsidized loans
  • Direct PLUS loan

Federal loans come with annual loan caps. For example, direct subsidized loans are limited to $5,500 to $12,500 per year. Students who max out their federal loan offer and need additional financial assistance may need to look into private loans.

Student loan forgiveness programs are available to nurses and offer a chance to eliminate student loan debt. For more information, see our guide on the different onesways to get student loan forgiveness for nurses.

Make sure you thoroughly understand the specifications, requirements and terms of a prospective loan program before accepting a loan or loan forgiveness.

Tuition reimbursement programs

Employers often offer tuition reimbursement programs, which are becoming increasingly common in the healthcare industry to address the national shortage of nurses in hospitals and healthcare facilities. A tuition reimbursement program can be similar to an employer reimbursing part or all of a graduate's tuition as long as the graduate commits to working as a nurse in a specific location or for a certain number of years.

Common reimbursement programs may include the following conditions:

  • Successful completion of the training
  • Maintaining a specified grade point average
  • Agreeing to work for a specific hospital or other health care facility for a specific period of time
  • Agreeing to work in a specific geographic area, such as a rural area

For example, the federalProgram for repayment of loans for nursing educationrepays student loans to qualified nurses who commit to work in nonprofit clinics or hospitals.

School of Nursing Return on Investment

The return on investment is the profit you made on your investment (in this case, your salary after graduating from nursing school) divided by the cost of your investment (the cost of nursing school), multiplied by 100 to give you a percentage.


Let's say you spend $50,000 to earn a BSN and you go on to become a Registered Nurse (RN). According to the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics earns RNs an average annual salary of $77,600 per year, which means you'll get your investment back (and then some) within a year of working as an RN. Let's break it down:

77.600 USD / 50.000 USD x 100 = 155,2

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about nursing school expenses

How much is the tuition for nursing?

Tuition rates for nursing school vary significantly depending on your desired degree level and the school you choose. Looking at ADN, BSN, MSN, and DNP programs, nursing school can range in cost from around $3,000 to over $100,000.

Is it worth it to become a nurse?

Yes, for many people, nursing is a worthwhile career. Nursing can be physically and emotionally demanding and generally entails long working hours. On the other hand, nursing provides opportunities to participate in meaningful work that provides essential care and support to others. Nursing provides job security, boasts a high earning potential and can offer variety in your daily work. After a year of working as an RN, you can get more than 100% back on 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? ›

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.

How many hours a week do nurses work USA? ›

Typically, nurses either work eight, 10 or 12-hour shifts. A nurse's shifts can vary depending on factors such as location, demand and personal preference. Full-time nurses work between 36 and 40 hours a week, while part-time nurses usually work less than 30 hours a week.

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.


(Nutrition Daily)
2. how much does nursing school cost
(Jeremy The real truth)
3. How Much Does Nursing School Cost -- For Real Tuition
(Tannya Merary)
(Escotie Pippen Reyes)
6. Nursing School | How Much Does It Cost
(Q The Nurse)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Arline Emard IV

Last Updated: 16/05/2023

Views: 6279

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Arline Emard IV

Birthday: 1996-07-10

Address: 8912 Hintz Shore, West Louie, AZ 69363-0747

Phone: +13454700762376

Job: Administration Technician

Hobby: Paintball, Horseback riding, Cycling, Running, Macrame, Playing musical instruments, Soapmaking

Introduction: My name is Arline Emard IV, I am a cheerful, gorgeous, colorful, joyous, excited, super, inquisitive person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.