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Before embarking on your nursing career, one of the most important questions to ask is the price tag of nursing school. There are many expenses associated with attending any college or university, including tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, and other living expenses.

The cost of nursing school is highly variable and depends on a number of different factors such as program length and type of institution. Naturally, you will not accrue as much student debt in a certificate program that lasts several weeks or months as you would in a two-year associate’s degree program. Similarly, an associate’s degree is cheaper than obtaining a four-year bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. Another cost factor is whether the school is public or private. Because public colleges and universities receive the majority of their funds through the state government, they often have lower tuition rates for in-state students than private schools. For example, the average non-profit private college tuition in South Carolina is $22,193 per year; by comparison, residents pay an average tuition of $8,367 per year to attend the state’s public colleges.

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However, it is important to consider the tradeoffs. For example, an associate’s degree may require half the time (and cost) of a bachelor’s degree, but the latter affords more opportunities for career advancement. Employment data suggests that in either scenario, becoming a nurse is worth the education investment. South Carolina employs over 70,000 nurses, and the number of registered nursing (RN) jobs alone is projected to increase by 19% over the next decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a South Carolina RN is approximately $60,000 per year, providing a solid foundation for quickly paying off the student debt accrued.

To provide a fact base for aspiring nurses, we’ve collected below recent data on the all-in costs of South Carolina’s nursing programs.

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Academy for Careers and Technology
Certificate in Practical Nursing (18-month program): tuition and fees $6,300, books and supplies $1,131, room and board $11,214
School Program Length Tuition & fees
Academy for Careers and Technology Certificate in Practical Nursing 18 months $6,300
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