Want to study and train to become a registered nurse? Wonder how much does nursing school cost? Consider this: Course tuition fees for an RN degree at college and university campuses are reasonably priced.

I’ll provide sample class fees for an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) for on-campus study. I’ll also provide sample charges for an RN to BSN program.

For the most accurate information, check the school you are considering, but this article will provide an overview of 2 example nursing school tuition charges in Illinois. Let’s get to the question: How much is nursing school?

How much does an associates degree in nursing cost?

The ADN is two-year long, full-time program, which usually requires one year of pre-requisite courses. To provide an idea, here is a sample associate’s degree in nursing tuition expenses and fees.

In total, an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) from a community college will cost about $12,000 dollars to complete or $3,000 dollars each semester. Keep in mind you’ll have room, board and living expenses, too.

Even at $12K, this is an inexpensive price to pay for an education that qualifies you to earn a nurses’ salary, which in 2012 the median pay was $65,470 per year or $31.48 per hour.

So no worries; also: Financial aid and scholarships will help you for the two years you are in the program. You could also work.

Here’s a breakdown of how much nursing school is for an ADN program — from start to finish — from Heartland Community College in Normal, Ill.

Before you can even start a program, there will be application fees and other necessary administrative charges. These are one-time fees.

  • Criminal background check: $50
  • Drug screening: $50
  • TEAS Test: $40
  • Physical exam, immunizations, and titers: $500
  • Misc. $100

After you have been accepted and start your RN program, you will have around 65-70 credit hours during the two-year time.

At the rate of $130 per credit hour, you will spend about $8,840 for 68 credit hours. Per-semester tuition would be around $2,210 dollars, which is reasonable if you want to change careers and become a registered nurse.

Most universities work with book manufacturers and get a discount on textbooks, which will be between $1,200-1,700.

Then there are uniforms, a stethoscope, and blood pressure cuff — all of which you’ll need. These nursing school supplies will run you around $200.

If you don’t have your CPR certification, you will need to become certified, which is about $120.

There will also be living expenses, but everybody’s standard of living is different, so that amount you will need to calculate.



After graduation: You’ll have the NCLEX-RN application and examination fee, which will cost about $300, along with a LiveScan Criminal Background Check for NCLEX Examination, which is about $60.

Finally, your local state may have specific licensing fees. For instance, in Illinois, the state has a Nursing License Fee of $60.

Sample bachelor’s degree in nursing school tuition costs

A BSN is a four-year long, full-time program. In total, a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) will cost more than $38,000.

Here’s a breakdown of sample costs for a BSN program at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill. These will not include room, board, and living expenses.

There’s a total of 128 credit hours in this nursing program and the current rate per credit hour is $280.18, which is a total of $35,863 over four years. This is $4,482 each semester.

Although the dollar signs may seem staggering, remember that your salary after you graduate may be double the amount you paid for your degree.

You, also, have the option to continue your education into advanced practice after your BSN.

Like other programs, there may be other miscellaneous charges. Examples include:

  • Criminal background check: $50
  • Drug screening: $50
  • TEAS Test: $40
  • Physical exam, immunizations, and titers: $500
  • Misc. $100

Although book costs will vary, budget a minimum of $3,500 to $4,000 for books.

Nursing supplies, such as uniforms, a stethoscope, and blood pressure cuff, will run you about $200.

CPR certification is about $120.

After graduation, there’s the NCLEX-RN application and examination fee, which will set you back around $300, along with a LiveScan Criminal Background Check for NCLEX Examination, which is about $60.

The State of Illinois Nursing License fee is $60.

RN to BSN costs

An RN to BSN program is a viable option for those who are currently licensed registered nurses.

Granted, you already have an associate’s degree, so you have spent money on your education, but the bachelor’s is worth the payoff.

It grooms you for managerial roles or provides a foundation for additional studies as an advanced practice nurse.

Because we used Western Illinois University above (and it has an accredited program), we’ll use that educational institution again for our sample RN to BSN costs.

An RN to BSN program takes about two years to complete and its costs will only be your application fee, tuition, books, your living expenses, and a few other miscellaneous charges.

Public university example: WIU tuition is currently at $280.18 per credit hour, and you would need a minimum of 125 credit hours to graduate.

But you already have around 65 to 70 from your associate’s degree, which transfer over. Let’s assume you have 68, so you’ll need 57 more credit hours, which will cost $15,940.

Books may cost $1,500 to $2,000 and you may have a $50 application fee.

In our example, the total fee is $18,000. I’m sure it’s probably not one of the cheapest RN to BSN programs out there, but it is an exceptional value for two years of education at a public school, not to mention you’ll be able to get a job in the healthcare industry.



There are variations to every scenario and how much it costs to be an RN will vary on your personal circumstances and location, but I hope this provides you with examples to answer your question: how much does nursing school cost?