How Much Does Nursing School Cost?

Costs main cover image
$ Low: The National Council of State Boards of Nursing administers the National Council $ $ Associate Degree in Nursing: $6,000-$100,000+ $ $ $ Bachelor of Science in Nursing: $40,000-$200,000+

The duties of the nurse depend on the individual level of education and licensing.

The Licensed Vocational Nurses, also known as Licensed Practical Nurses, offer basic, entry-level nursing care; which means that LPN/LVN programs secure the shortest and least expensive nursing training.

The Registered Nurses offer and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public on health issues, and also provide emotional support and advice to patients and their families.

To work, LPNs/LVNs should past the national NCLEX-PN exam and thus satisfy the state license requirements.

The registered nurses should earn an associate or bachelor of science degree or a nursing diploma, and should also pass the NCLEX-RN exam to complete the state license requirements.

Typical Costs

  • LPN/LVN training tuition, fees, books and supplies in a state-approved program usually cost $5,000-$25,000 at a public college and $20,000-$40,000 or more at a private school, based on the location, program length (in general 12-18 months) and state residency status for the public schools.
  • The tuition and fees, books and supplies for an associate degree in nursing (ADN) are between $6,000-$40,000 or more at a public college and $30,000-$100,000 or more at a private school, based on location and length, school status and state of residency (for public schools).
  • The living, transportation and personal expenses vary.
  • The tuition and fees, books and supplies for a traditional four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) usually cost $40,000-$200,000 or more, based on the reputation of the school and whether it is a public or private school.
  • The tuition and fees, books and supplies for an accelerated BSN program – for students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing subject – can reach $17,000-$90,000.
  • Diploma programs are the oldest and most traditional nursing education in the United States, provided by a few hospitals and their tuition and fees, books and supplies can cost $18,000-$40,000 based on the hospital, location and program length.

Additional Costs

Taking the NCLEX license exam (either -PN or -RN) usually costs approx. $200, while state license fees can add another $75-$200 based on the state.

Most of the schools include these costs in their estimated fees for completing their program.


  • There are many nursing scholarships, grants, and loan programs offered.
  • Before receiving most scholarships or financial aid, one should fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
  • There is information online for federal student aid grants and federal work-study programs, tailor-made for students with financial need.
  • The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has a list of the potential financial aid resources.
  • The Department of Health Resources and the Human Services Administration’s Nurse Corps scholarship program pays tuition and fees, related costs and a monthly stipend, for a commitment to work two years at an eligible Critical Shortage Facility after graduation.

Shopping For Nursing School

  • The search for nursing schools is possible at, and at the state board of nursing for a list of schools in that state.
  • Candidates should ask about the school’s accreditation, where the clinical practice is offered, the number of clinical hours students attend, the desired NCLEX-RN pass rate and the percentage of students placed in jobs or continuing their nursing education.
  • For example, the Kansas Association of Nurse Leaders lists questions to ask a potential nursing program.
  • Scrubs magazine presents the questions to consider before entering nursing school.

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