How Much Does it Cost to Become a Registered Nurse (RN)?

The process of entering the nursing field is already stressful.

The financial and time costs can be expensive and weigh heavily on students.

Factoring tuition, living expenses, lab costs, and other fees and the time commitment can add up quickly.

However, many nurses have found that these requirements are worth it for their future.

Nursing requires a minimum of two years of education, but earning a bachelor’s degree in a four-year program will differentiate you from the competition.

Keep reading to learn more about the costs of becoming a registered nurse (RN)!


How Much is Nursing School?

The quick answer is that it costs a lot to become a nurse.

The school depends on numerous factors location, program choice, and career path.

Four essential degrees exist within the nursing school: a two-year associate degree, a four-year bachelor’s degree, a six-year master’s degree, and a ten-year doctorate.

Before you step in the door, you must take and pass the TEAS examination.

Tuition fees are the largest portion of nursing school costs; you must factor in supplies, books, uniforms, and other fees.

Additional charges include transportation, food expenses, and housing.

It’s also essential to fact stress and emotional labor from studying hours, labs, and class lectures, which can take a toll on the body.

The typical nursing school costs range from single-digit to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This is mainly based on location, the school’s reputation within the medical industry, the program type, and duration.

Different states have different tuition rates than others, even when factoring in residency location.

To save money, many students decide upon the nurse practitioner path, which is significantly cheaper, but also gives less knowledge within the medical field.

Costs by Degree

Tuition costs are dependent on a variety of factors.

One of the most important is program length, which includes:

Associates Degree (ADN)

Registered nurses require a two-year associate’s degree to program, so the ADN is a great starting point.

The typical cost to pursue an ADN degree is $2,000 to $4,000 per year for a public institution and up to $25,000 per year at a private university.

Associate of Science Degree (ASN)

An ASN takes around two years and can cost from $2,500 to $15,000 annually, depending on the public school.

More distinguished private schools can run up to $60,000 for a two-year ASN program.

Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS)

If these tuitions sound incredibly expensive for an associate’s degree, then consider an AAS, which gets you into the medical field faster and allows you to work while going to school.

An AAS program can range from $4,500 to $18,000 per year.

Bachelor’s degree (BDN)

A BDN is one of the most popular RN degrees and costs $7,500 to $10,000 per year from public universities.

However, expect to pay more for private institutions and significantly more for leading schools within this field.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

For those looking to advance beyond associate degrees, a BSN will provide additional firsthand experience with actual patients.

In addition, this program will provide the skills and training necessary to work within a fast-paced hospital setting.

A BSN program typically costs $40,000 to $100,000, but it can be earned for less at a public school.

One excellent option is the RN-to-BSN program, which overlaps several classes to help you earn a bachelor’s degree faster.

Best of all, this transitional program costs around $24,000.

Master’s Degree in Nursing (MDN)

To gain more advanced expertise and knowledge, consider an MDN, which will teach you the nuances of patient management and care and how to lead in a medical department or facility.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

A master’s degree is an excellent opportunity to earn the second-highest educational level within the nursing field.

Additional careers, including an advanced practice registered nurse, administrator, and nurse leader, are possible with a master’s degree.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

For those with more energy and time, a DNP allows you to become an expert in a specific medical field.

Since this is the highest education level for nursing students, it’s an excellent degree for those who want to lead other nursing employees.

A doctorate program can range from $20,000 to $60,000 without adding other degree programs.

Licensing Cost

While the nursing licensing cost varies based on the state, it can run up to several hundred dollars depending on the location.

However, this is a small portion of nursing school’s overall cost.

Is it Worth It?

While nursing school can be physically and mentally grueling and expensive, most nursing professionals have found that the payoff is excellent.

You can work at any medical facility with a nursing degree, and the compensation is high.

Also, nurses are given amazing healthcare benefits and have incredible professional and educational advancement opportunities.

Key Takeaways

Becoming a nurse can be incredibly expensive, depending on your path.

A school’s location, program duration, housing, food, transportation, books, and other fees are significant factors in the program’s cost.

However, most nurses report that they are happy helping others while earning an excellent wage at a medical facility.

Search Programs