Types of Nursing Degrees
The type of nursing degree you pursue affects its overall cost. Certificate or associate programs are less expensive than graduate-level programs, but they don’t prepare students for careers as registered nurses or nurse practitioners. The following table demonstrates how the five major types of nursing degrees prepare students for different careers.
Nursing diploma programs train students in basic medical practices and prepare them to pursue entry-level hospital positions. Taught at hospitals instead of colleges, these programs are becoming increasingly rare.
- Licensed Practical Nurse
- Inpatient Clinic Nurse
- Associate Degree
Along with fundamentals of anatomy, physiology, and human development, coursework introduces essential critical thinking skills and prepares students for further certification programs.
- Residential Care Nurse
- Bachelor's Degree
BSN curricula expand on basic healthcare concepts and introduce topics such as children’s healthcare and the fundamentals of pharmacology. Bachelor’s programs may include a clinical component.
- ICU Nurse
- Operating Room Nurse
- Registered Nurse Supervisor
- Master’s Degree
Graduate-level nursing students typically focus on a specialty or concentration area. Depending on the student’s specialty, a period of residency may be required.
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
- Nurse Practitioner
- Doctorate Degree
Nursing PhD candidates examine methods of research and statistical analysis and often conduct their own studies. Graduation requirements vary considerably among institutions.
- Director of Nursing Research
- Classroom Instructor
- Clinical Services Coordinator
How Much Does a Nursing Degree Cost?
In addition to the type of degree you pursue, numerous factors affect a program’s cost. Many online programs can be completed much more quickly and inexpensively than on-campus degrees. However, some schools offering online degrees are for-profit. These institutions operate like any other business and earn revenue by increasing tuition rates. Nonprofit schools, including public universities, receive federal and private funding, which helps keep tuition rates low and relatively stable. Private colleges can also be nonprofit, but tend to be smaller and much more expensive. Because they receive little government funding, these institutions rely on private contributions and student tuition.
Financing Your Nursing Degree
There are a variety of ways to finance your degree, including nursing scholarships, work-study programs, and private loans. Complete the FAFSA to learn which federal funding you are eligible to receive. Federal loans offer lower interest rates and better repayment options than private loans.
However, scholarships are always the most desirable type of funding, as they do not need to be repaid. Earning multiple scholarships can reduce or eliminate your student debt. Scholarships for nursing students are plentiful, and students should apply for as many as possible to maximize the chances of receiving an award.
Types of Scholarships
With so many options available, researching nursing school scholarships can feel overwhelming. There are scholarships available for every academic field, income level, hobby, and state of residence. Most are awarded based on financial need or academic or athletic merit. Let’s look at the types of nursing scholarships you may consider to fund your degree.