9 Nursing School Costs You Should Know

Becoming a nurse is a lot of work, from schooling to residency, there’s a lot on your checklist. If you’re planning on becoming a nurse, take a look at these 9 nursing school costs that may slip under the radar.

Nursing school can be pricey as is – with tuition fees going from $40,000 to upwards of $100,000 per year depending on where you study, it certainly isn’t cheap to become a registered nurse. There’s as much blood, sweat, and tears involved in financing the course as there is in completing it – and registered nurses are some of the hardest workers around.

However, while the tuition is one thing, there’s more to nursing school than just the price of class and admission. Hidden between semesters are a whole host of various smaller nursing school costs, some of which add up to serious sums over the course of a single semester.

What Are Common Nursing School Costs?

Today we’ll go over some of the more significant hidden costs of nursing school. These aren’t all of the costs you might face as a nursing student, and there will be plenty else to prepare for – but they do account for a substantial portion of the costs you will face.

1. Lower Living Income

First and foremost – if you are a young student from a middle-class family, chances are that you are at least partially financing yourself while going through school. The cost of living in a college town is not exactly low, and the hectic schedule of nursing school means that you can’t commit to much as a worker.

This can make scoring a decent job to get yourself through college quite difficult, and you might find yourself fighting to pay off not only certain fees, but also your cost of living. This diminished income might not show up on your personal balance sheet, but it’s certainly felt over the course of your semester.

While it is true that time off work and in school is an investment in your future self, it’s still part of hidden nursing school costs you have to contend with – one constituting many very real and in-your-face costs, such as lodging, utilities, internet bills, and more.

2. Uniforms and Accessories

You can’t go to nursing school in your regular civilian clothing – not only are you potentially going to need a school uniform, which likely is not covered in your tuition, but you will certainly need at least one pair of high-quality scrubs (and potentially more if you want to save on laundry costs).

Scrubs don’t always come cheap, and the cheap ones are less likely to be cost-effective in the long-term. You can opt for quality scrubs, and wear them throughout your school days and well into your first few professional years.

Depending on where you’re schooling, you will also have to cover for a wide variety of various nursing-specific accessories and assorted requirements, including:

  • stethoscope of your own
  • Compression socks to keep your legs and feet healthy
  • Shoes with maximum comfort (clogs or white sneakers) to help your feet tolerate the long hours spent walking hospital, clinic, and school halls.

Other requirements will likely include a clinical bag, clipboard, pen light, sturdy surgical scissors, and more.

3. Textbooks & Supplies

Another serious cost is textbooks. Textbooks can cost several hundred dollars each, and amount to the most serious non-tuition cost you will face during nursing school. Finding an alternative to buying new textbooks at retail prices is absolutely critical for most nursing students.

Speak with your instructors to figure out good alternatives, and look online for affordable eBook versions, second-hand books, and plenty of resources aimed at reducing the insane cost of schoolbooks throughout the country.

4. Commuting Costs

Whether it’s gas, the bus, or some other mode of transportation, you will face commuting costs. A bicycle might be the cheapest and most practical way to get around if it’s your option, but it’d be a tough one to weather as it gets colder, or on really rainy days.

One way or the other, you will need to invest time, money, or both into getting to school on time every day – and while that’s no different from getting to work, it’s still a cost you have to acknowledge.

5. Your Health

Throughout nursing school, you will be asked to take a number of tests to screen for diseases, examine your blood, get a drug test, get any vaccines you may have missed, and potentially a background check. All of these tests and shots take time and money, which probably isn’t covered by your school.

Then, there’s your current health to worry about, which can deteriorate through stress if not managed properly. School is stressful, and nursing school even more so – but with a consistent and balanced schedule of plenty of sleep, enough food, and frequent, modest exercise, you can stave off most sick days and foggy classes.

6. Meal Planning

Every student needs to eat, and it would preferably be something more substantial and nutritious than a pack of instant noodles. If you’re lacking good options at school, then your best bet is to prep meals for yourself. By buying mostly dry goods in bulk at the store and freezing as many meals as you have space for, you can get several days’ worth of meals done in a single cooking session.

It takes a little planning, some Tupperware, preferably some room in your freezer, and a few hours of your time on a free day. But all of that can still cost you, and considerably – especially if you don’t prep, or aren’t frugal enough with your food choices.

7. Malpractice Insurance

If you’re planning to become a healthcare professional, then you will be expected to purchase nurse malpractice insurance. Simply put, this is insurance that protects you from litigious and/or costly malpractice lawsuits.

Nurses have to cover themselves just as much as doctors do, and malpractice insurance is one of those things that you might not want to bother paying for but are grateful for when it suddenly becomes critical.

Final Thought: Start Budgeting Now

Hidden nursing school costs surrounding it can increase those expenses. You will need to budget effectively if you want to avoid as much debt as possible.

If you are being partially financially supported and/or have a source of income, get started with a monthly spreadsheet to help you keep an overview of what you’re spending, and what you’ve got left.

There are other ways to save money in nursing school, from splitting the costs of accommodation, food, and transport, to seeking a scholarship to help alleviate the cost of tuition and books. But regardless of how you plan to prepare financially, a budget will be your best friend.