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Nursing school is an investment that will set you up for an exciting, rewarding career as soon as you get out. Here are some things to know about looking for a school and covering the cost.

1. Finding Your Program

How to Pay for Nursing School
You can choose from thousands of nursing schools across the U.S. and its territories. Here, we’ll help you find your perfect program—whether you’re right out of high school, changing majors in college, looking to advance your career or specialize in something new, or coming back to the profession after time away.

Is there a nursing school near you?

You can search schools by location—selecting individual states or whole regions of the country.

What if the program you like has a waiting list?

For many schools, the demand for degrees is higher than the number of spots in the program.

What if you’re a nurse looking to move up?

Whether you want an advanced degree or need a refresher course or two, you can search the program that fits your needs.

2. Paying for School

How to Pay for Nursing School
There are all kinds of ways to cover your tuition cost. Which are best for you? Here are some options:

If you can get a scholarship.

With hundreds of scholarships available, odds are you’ll qualify for one or more.

Check out opportunities for financial assistance.

There are many financial assistance programs for nurses. Here are a few common ones, and a little about them:

Loan Repayment is when you go to work for a healthcare facility and they pay off your nursing school loan in exchange for that work.

Grow Your Own programs are set up by individual healthcare facilities; the facility where you work sends you to nursing school.

Tuition Reimbursement is when you go to work for a healthcare facility and they reimburse you for your nursing school tuition while you work.

Residency programs, often offered by healthcare facilities, give you experience working as a nurse, helping you transition from nursing student to professional.

Career Ladder programs are programs where a healthcare facility will reward you with both a nursing school scholarship and a job at that facility when you graduate.

Look into student loans.

If you have to borrow money for school, know your options and weigh them carefully, since the more you borrow now, the higher your monthly payments will be after you graduate. Here’s a bit about the different types of student loans:

Federal loans are often the best option, since you can usually lock in a lower, fixed interest rate, which will help you predict what your payments will be after graduation. Sometimes, the government will even pay the interest on your loans while you’re in school—that’s called a subsidized loan.

Private loans usually have higher interest rates and less repayment flexibility than federal loans, and should be one of your last options after you’ve searched for scholarships, financial assistance, and applied for federal loans. That’s because unless you can prove a very high credit rating, you’ll likely need a co-signer who will be legally obligated to repay your loan if you can’t.

3. Now That You’re a Nurse 

How to Pay for Nursing School
You’ve set yourself up to go from cap and gown to scrubs in no time. Right now, recent college graduates who hold bachelor’s degrees in nursing have the lowest unemployment rate of all college grads. And, registered nurses currently top the U.S. Department of Labor’s list of “occupations with the largest numeric growth,” with 711,900 jobs projected to be added between 2010 and 2020

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