How Much Does Nursing School Really Cost?

How Much Does Nursing School Really Cost?

How Much Does Nursing School Really Cost?

The cost of higher education in the U.S. is expensive. When determining how much you’ll pay for your nursing education, you must consider things like tuition, fees, and other expenses that might not be listed in the college handbook. Not only can this be challenging to do, but it can be disheartening when you see the massive dollar amount attached to your dreams. 

When investigating the cost of nursing school, the critical thing to remember is that the money you spend now is worth it as you look toward your future. Many people even say that your nursing education is money well spent. 

Before we dive into the cost of nursing school, let’s review the average salaries for nurses in the U.S. 

How Much Will You Make as a Nurse?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses make an average annual salary of $49,500. And registered nurses average $77,600 yearly. The job outlook for nurses is growing faster than the average growth rate for all occupations across the country. This statistic means there are many opportunities for new nurses to find jobs. 

Now, you know you’ll make a good living wage as a nurse. However, paying $40,000 or more for nursing school might still be intimidating. So let’s break down these expenses a bit more. 

Tuition Costs by Program Type

There are two ways to unpack the actual cost of a nursing degree. The first is to explore the price by nursing program type. This means that you should only compare LPN/LVN program costs to other programs of the same kind. The same is true for RN programs. 

The second way to break down the cost of nursing school is by the type of school, which includes private and public institutions. Public institutions, like state universities and community colleges, cost less than private schools. You might pay twice as much or more for your degree at a private school than at public institutions. 

You might wonder why anyone would choose to pay for a private school. One reason is that public schools often have long waiting lists. The cheaper cost makes the program more popular, so they commonly get more applicants. Another reason you may want to go to a private school is the state-of-the-art facilities that many campuses offer compared to public schools. 

No matter what type of school you choose for your nursing program, there is a list of standard fees and expenses you need to know about. 

LPN/LVN Program Tuition reports that the average cost of an LPN/LVN program is about $10,000 to $15,000 across the U.S. You may find some programs for as little as $5000, while others run a whopping $30,000. 

RN Program Tuition

RN programs will vary depending if you enroll in an associate or bachelor’s degree program. Associate’s programs averaged less than $12,000 per year in 2022 or about $24,000 for a two-year degree. Bachelor’s degree programs averaged around $16,000 a year, according to, or around $60,000 for the entire program.  

Other Costs To Consider

Unfortunately, tuition costs aren’t the only expense you’ll have when attending nursing school. Here are a few other costs you need to consider.

Entrance Exam

Most nursing schools require you to take an entrance exam. The most common tests are the TEAS and HESI. These exams must be taken before you are admitted to the nursing program and will cost you about $100. If you purchase a prep course and practice exams, you might be looking at another $75 to $100 for these supplies. 

Uniforms and Nursing Supplies

Every school has a unique nursing uniform that likely consists of a specific color scrub top and pants. You may also have to purchase shoes in a particular color. Unfortunately, many schools use one supplier, so you probably won’t be able to shop around to find cheaper options. Most nursing school uniforms cost about $50-60 per pair. 

Other supplies you’ll need include:

  • Stethoscope – You can spend as little as $20 or as much as a few hundred dollars on this critical part of your nursing supplies. It’s important to point out that stethoscopes are an excellent example of a “you pay for what you get” item. So, we recommend purchasing a quality stethoscope that will run you between $75 and $100. 
  • Penlight and bandage scissors – Every nursing student needs these supplies in their pocket because you never know when you’ll need them. Fortunately, these essentials will only run you about $10 to $15 each. 
  • Shoes: You must consider your shoes’ importance as a nurse. A good pair can keep you moving pain-free during a long clinical day. Be sure to invest in shoes that are closed-toed, non-skid, lightweight, and supportive. 
  • Fees: Many nursing schools have a list of other fees you’ll have to pay. This category of expenses can range from nothing to a few thousand dollars, so be sure to ask for a detailed list of tuition and fees each time you tour a nursing program. A few standard costs include technology, parking, lab, and clinical fees. 

Choosing the best nursing program for you is challenging. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. If you need help with anything related to nursing school, NurseDash is here to help. Reach out to with any questions. We’re happy to help.

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