While private nursing schools can be a good choice for some, they’re not without their drawbacks. Let’s take a look at the cons of private nursing schools now.
- Can be extremely expensive – An accelerated 1-year BSN can easily run a cost of over $70,000 on the high end, and $30,000/year on the low end. That’s a huge sum, especially when compared to the yearly cost of most community colleges and public universities – usually somewhere between $5,000-$10,000. While the high cost of accelerated RN programs may be worth it in some cases, they can lead to very high levels of student debt – and if you can’t secure a job directly out of nursing school, high loan payments can be difficult to deal with.
- Not all private schools are built alike – While there are some fantastic, totally legitimate private nursing schools out there, there are also some for-profit institutions that do not provide a high level of education. These for-profit “diploma mill” schools focus on simply getting a high graduation rate, and often neglect to provide students with the practical skills and clinical experiences that they will need to succeed in the competitive world of nursing.
- Private nursing schools don’t guarantee higher pay – At the end of the day, an RN is an RN. Despite the claims of some private nursing schools, most RNs are paid similar salaries – regardless of whether they graduated from a top nursing school in the country or became certified through their local community college.
Choosing between a public and private nursing school program varies from person to person. There are several factors to keep in mind that go beyond the school’s brochure.
Financial aid – Some schools and universities may be willing to send you financial aid to help you save money on your education. In some cases, this can make private nursing school just as affordable as going to a local institution. Some schools offer financial aid based on income, performance criteria, and even geographic location. Apply for these programs before making your final decision to save as much money as possible.
Pass Rate – You can learn a lot about a private nursing school based on the average number of students that graduate each year. Look for a school with a high pass rate, usually anywhere above 80% to 90%. This shows you that most students stayed with the program in order to earn their nursing degrees. If the pass rate is low, it usually means the school doesn’t provide a quality education.
Bridge Programs – Consider starting out as an LPN before moving onto a RN program. This will help you gain valuable experience on the floor before becoming a licensed registered nurse. You can always attend a bridge program later on when you’re ready to move onto the next academic level. Look for low-cost LVN to BSN programs that can help you save money down the line.
Is It Worth Going To A Private Nursing School? Only You Can Decide!
Hopefully, this list of pros and cons has been helpful to you as you understand this common nursing debate. In the end, there is no one right answer.
For people who need to accelerate their education – and can afford to do so – a private nursing school is often a perfectly legitimate choice.
However, prospective nursing students with a little more time may be better served simply getting an ADN from a community college, attending a public university to complete their BSN, and then become RN-NCLEX certified. Although it takes longer, this results in a comparable education – along with a much lighter debt burden.
So, if you know someone who is considering attending a private nursing school, share this information with them! It’s sure to help them as they make up their mind and decide how to get certified as an RN!