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Cities across the US have a high demand for nurses to care for their growing and aging population. Huntsville, the second largest city in Alabama, is no exception.

Several major schools in Alabama, including the University of Alabama in Huntsville, offer a wide range of nursing degree programs to meet this demand for more nurses. Colleges and universities offering nursing programs ensure a steady stream of healthcare workers to look after the health and well-being of the sick, disabled, and elderly.

Those who pursue a career in nursing most often choose to earn a four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. Though it takes a considerable amount of commitment in time and money, a BSN prepares graduates for a promising future upon passing the licensure exam for registered nurses (RNs). In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics considers nursing a high-demand profession, with registered nurses earning an average of $55,000 annually.

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, almost half of US nurses who hold a bachelor’s degree in registered nursing started out earning a two-year associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) initially. This underscores the significance of such a degree as an important step in the career path of full-fledged registered nurses across the country, including Alabama.

The all-in cost of nursing education in Alabama includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, and other living expenses. These costs will vary greatly according to the length of the program selected, the number of years taken to complete the program, and the particular school chosen. A certificate will take 1-2 years to complete, an associate’s degree will require 2-3 years of study, and a bachelor’s degree will take 4-6 years to complete. The longer the degree, the greater the expense.

Private colleges and universities are institutions of higher education that are not financially supported by taxes or other public funds; they are instead entirely funded through private monies. Like their public counterparts, private colleges and universities offer a wide variety of traditional two-year and four-year nursing programs, with the added benefits of smaller class size and greater prestige. Smaller class size improves the educational experience by enabling personalized assistance and educative care.

Public colleges and universities are institutions of higher education that are financially supported by taxes or other public funds. Alabama's two largest public educational institutions are the Alabama Community College system and the University of Alabama system. Public colleges and universities offer a wide variety of traditional two-year and four-year nursing programs, and they typically charge lower tuition for state or county residents than private institutions.

The path to a lucrative career in nursing in the state of Alabama begins with obtaining the proper education and training at an accredited nursing school. The state, which is home to an impressive population of more than 80,000 nursing professionals, also requires licensing, registration and/or certification, plus continuing education for every nursing career path. Some of the most common nursing career paths include certified nursing assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), and registered nurse (RN).