Average Cost of Tuition for an ADN Program

Aspiring nurses who are eager to break into the field can earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) in just two years. Find out what to expect in terms of tuition, fees, and other costs in this article.
How Much Does an ADN Program Cost?

If you are looking for a quick way to break into the field of nursing, consider earning an associate degree in nursing, or ADN. In addition to taking an average of two years to complete, these programs tend to be fairly affordable. Find out what you can expect to pay for tuition, books, fees, and other costs to earn your ADN by reading on below.


ADN programs are most commonly offered by community colleges, technical schools, and nursing schools. Many four-year colleges and a few of the hospitals offering nursing programs also offer ADN. Both public and private institutes offer the degree program. Because ADN programs are offered by such a wide array of institutions, tuition costs vary considerably. The average cost of tuition for ADN programs offered by public schools runs between $6,000 and $20,000. For private schools, the average cost of tuition for this type of program runs between $30,000 and $100,000. Ultimately, the cost of tuition for this type of program depends on the status of the school, its geographic location, the length of the program, your state of residence, and other factors.


To complete an ADN program, you must usually pay a variety of fees. These fees vary from one program to the next. To give you an example, many programs impose lab fees on students. Such fees cover the cost of lab equipment and supplies that are used during training. Some programs roll testing fees into the total cost - which means that your exam fees will already be covered when you sit for the NCLEX-RN. Because so many aspects of such programs are handled online or on computers, software and technology fees often apply as well.


ADN programs are made up of several parts: classroom instruction, lab work, and on-site clinical training. For the classroom portion, students are typically required to buy a number of textbooks. Like any college course, you must usually buy the most current version of any textbook that is required. As a result, books can considerably increase the total cost of completing an ADN program. You may be able to mitigate these costs to some degree by looking for used books or for online versions of the textbooks you need. However, you can expect to pay over $500, on average, for books.


You will need a number of supplies to complete your ADN training. The cost of these supplies is not usually included in the cost of tuition. In most cases, you are required to purchase the necessary supplies before the first day of class. For example, students usually need to buy uniforms. You can expect to pay $50 to $75 for one. Shoes typically add another $75 or so to the total cost. Most programs require you to purchase your own stethoscope, which can cost anywhere from $50 to $100. Depending on the program, additional supplies may be required.

Miscellaneous Costs

If your NCLEX-RN exam fees aren't rolled into the cost of your tuition, you should be prepared to pay them upon completing your training. Currently, it costs around $200 to take this exam. To be accepted into most ADN programs, you must prove that you have earned CPR certification. You may have to pay to do so if you haven't already. Additionally, ADN programs require health screenings. Depending on your health insurance, you may have to pay to have a physical exam performed. Finally, most programs require criminal background checks, and students are typically responsible for paying for them.

Financial Aid

While earning an ADN is generally more affordable than earning a BSN, it can still be prohibitively expensive for many students. If you are concerned about being able to pay for your training, please be aware that various types of financial aid are often available. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, to find out whether you qualify for any type of assistance. Types of aid include scholarships, grants, and loans. Depending on what you qualify for, some or all of the costs of your training may be covered.

Compared to many types of training, ADN programs are quite affordable. Given that registered nurses earned an average salary of $75,330 in 2020, it is safe to say that you will get an excellent return on your investment.

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