After deciding to pursue a degree in nursing, one of the more difficult decisions is determining where to apply to a nursing school or nursing program. Community colleges, universities, and online nursing schools can all offer different programs, degree levels, certificates and even accelerated nursing programs. With all of the opportunities available in terms of a nursing education path, many nursing school students may be forced to ultimately decide which schools to apply to, based on one important fact: the cost.
The cost of nursing school, whether through a campus-based or online nursing program, can be a major factor in the choice about which school or even which degree program to pursue. Typically speaking, most tuition costs are based upon location and the status of the school – higher ranking schools, academically, may cost more than a school with a less prominent reputation. Online nursing schools may be one of the best values when it comes to a nursing program, taking into account not only tuition costs, but the value of time spent in a nursing school program.
The average Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at a local university or college takes four to five years to complete, including classroom time, study time and clinical experience. While the time commitment is tough, many of the nursing school students manage to attend school and work simultaneously, but this same time commitment can end up costing a nurse more in the long run, especially when looking at how soon a career in nursing can begin. On the other hand, online nursing schools and accelerated nursing programs are able to reduce the time needed to complete a degree by utilizing more intense academic and classroom instruction. Students enrolled in an online nursing school program are still able to work while attending the program, and can begin a career in nursing at a faster rate than through campus-based education. Accelerated nursing programs are designed to help students complete a nursing degree quickly, and many recommend that students do not work while in these programs. Most accelerated nursing school programs reduce the time involved in a nursing school program through vigorous curriculum that builds upon any previous college credit received, helping students complete a desired degree and begin nursing as soon as possible.
The costs involved with completing a nursing school program go beyond tuition, especially when considering the value of time and the ability to begin a nursing career quickly. Whether a nursing school program is held at a local college or university or through an online nursing school, the lowest cost can only be determined through a thorough evaluation of the time commitment, tuition and educational goals of the student.