As a career choice, nursing is a highly rewarding and satisfying option. Working as a nurse is not an ordinary job. Not only are you going to be in a fast-paced working environment where no two days are the same, but you also get to go home from work every day knowing that you have been able to make a real difference to the lives of your patients and their families.
Nurses enjoy lots of career benefits alongside the high levels of career satisfaction. High demand, excellent career progression and advancement, and great job security are just some of the main benefits of working in nursing. However, getting your nursing education does not come cheap. If you’ve decided to become a nurse, here are some of the main things that you can do to save money along the way.
Get Your BSN Online
With tuition fees and student debt on the rise, getting a BSN to qualify as a nurse could set you back tens of thousands of dollars. However, the good news is that with the demand increasing for nurses and starting salaries rising, it’s a worthwhile investment to make when it comes to your career. And, you can save money on getting your nursing degree by choosing to study online.
Although online degree programs do not typically cost a great deal less in terms of tuition expenses, they are often much cheaper overall due to the fact that there are fewer associated expenses such as the cost of commuting or relocating. Getting a BSN online will also help to reduce the opportunity cost of getting into a career in nursing or furthering your nursing career. Since these degree programs are often fully-flexible and allow you to study from home, you can continue working full-time while getting your degree and avoid the need to live on a reduced income while you study.
Get an Accelerated BSN
If you are thinking about changing your current career to nursing and already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing subject, then an accelerated BSN could be the best way to get into this career faster and save money along the way. Accelerated BSN programs from Baylor University are designed for students who have already studied at the bachelor’s level, and therefore do not include non-specific courses as part of the degree, providing you with a nursing education that is more intensive and to the point.
You can expect to finish an accelerated BSN in around half the time that it would take you to get a traditional BSN, which in turn means that you may only pay half in tuition fees, allowing you to change your career to nursing for less.
Consider a Nursing Apprenticeship
Nursing apprenticeships are becoming more and more popular among nursing students who want an alternative route into this career that will not cost them as much as the traditional pathways. As an apprentice, you will be mainly learning on the job and will typically be paid for the work that you do rather than paying out thousands of dollars in tuition fees for your education.
Apply for Nursing Scholarships
The high demand for nurses right now means that there are more opportunities than ever for students who want to get into nursing. A scholarship can be used to pay all or some of your tuition fees as a student nurse and there are several scholarship options that are either merit-based or need-based. It’s worth spending some time researching the different nursing scholarships available and applying for any that you are eligible for. Nursing scholarships may be awarded based on your GPA, but you can also find scholarships and other grants to help students who are in certain situations such as a low income, single parenthood, or being the first in your family to attend college.
Another option to consider if you want to save money on the cost of getting your BSN is to ask your employer to help fund it. If you are currently working in healthcare and your employer would also benefit from you training and qualifying as a nurse, you may be able to access employer financial support.
An increasing number of employers are now offering tuition support programs in order to encourage more people to get into nursing. Not only may you be able to access support with funding from your employer when it comes to getting your BSN and becoming a nurse, but they may also be willing to help you financially in the future if you want to advance your nursing career with a master’s degree or a postgraduate certificate to get into a certain specialty area that is in high demand.
If you are currently working as a registered nurse with an associate’s degree in nursing and want or need to get your BSN, a bridge degree program can be the cheapest option for you. Bridge degrees are often shorter in length since you will not be wasting time learning the things that you have already mastered as part of your associate’s degree and working as a nurse. You can usually complete an ADN-BSN program in a much shorter time frame compared to getting a traditional BSN if you already have nursing experience, which will ultimately help you save a significant amount of money in comparison.
Getting a Student Loan
For many student nurses, even when considering all the various programs available that may be a cheaper option compared to getting a traditional BSN, borrowing money via a student loan might be necessary. While it might be daunting to consider the idea of getting into debt, there are some things that you can do to reduce the impact. Along with applying for scholarships and taking any employer support that is available, shop around for your student loan to find the one with the best interest rates and consider transferring the balance in the future if possible.
While nursing is a rewarding career with great earning potential, getting qualified isn’t always cheap. Thankfully, there are more alternative options available today to help you get your BSN on a budget.