Pursuing an advanced degree as a working nurse is a great way to not only improve your career prospects, but also to boost your earning potential. According to Payscale.com, nurses with an associate degree earn on average $67,000 per year—but those who go on to receive a BSN or MSN degree can expect to earn on average $78,000 and $91,000 per year, respectively.
Still, from tuition to textbooks and student fees, continuing your education can be expensive. So how do you go about making your degree more affordable?
Below, we’ll walk you through a few steps you can take to be confident about funding your nursing degree!
Look into Employee Tuition Reimbursement Programs
Hospitals have a growing need for nurses with deeper, more specialized skill sets, and many seek out nurses with advanced degrees to help them earn Magnet Status—the gold standard of quality nursing. Because of this, many hospitals offer tuition reimbursement programs to encourage nurses to pursue further education.
While you’ll still need to cover upfront tuition costs for your degree, the reimbursements themselves could save you thousands of dollars. So reach out to your company’s Human Resources department to see what programs are available to you!
Set Up a Payment Plan
Many colleges offer tuition payment plans, which break costs into three or four payments per term. This allows you to spread out the financial burden of tuition, rather than tackling it all in a single lump sum. This is especially helpful if you need to break up your payments as you wait for reimbursements from your employer at the end of the term.
Apply for Financial Aid
Federal aid is available to students of any age, both young and old—so fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see what loans you may be eligible for. You should also look into the many nursing grants and scholarships offered by colleges, healthcare companies, federal agencies, and nonprofits throughout the US.
Go Online Instead of a Program at a Traditional Campus
Online degrees have many benefits, but one of their biggest is affordability. You can avoid the extra fees associated with room, board, or student activities and there’s no commute to pay for. You can also explore online textbooks or rented course materials and together, these factors make for a more affordable education.
By going online, you also benefit from the flexibility of online programs. You can view lectures and complete coursework whenever you’re available, rather than being locked into a place and time to meet for class—so your education doesn’t keep you from working the hours you need to at work.
Learn More About Online Nursing Degrees
If you’d like to learn more about pursuing an advanced nursing degree affordably by going online, check out our guide to online nursing programs for working nurses!