Justine Bateman, age 47, just finished her freshman year at UCLA. With adults going back to school in droves these days, that might not sound like big news – unless you remember Bateman as the actress who played the beautiful but ditzy Mallory Keaton on the hit 1980s sitcom “Family Ties.”
Attaining the education you need to work as a pharmacist has a different setup from your traditional degree programs. Students seeking to practice in the United States are required to earn a doctor of pharmacy degree from an accredited school, and it’s important to recognize now that the program can be lengthy and costly.
It requires at least two years of undergraduate college study, then four academic years (or three calendar years) of professional pharmacy study, according to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. You will likely enter the pharmacy degree program after at least three years of college, and then you’ll be on your way toward completing the all-important doctor of pharmacy degree.
As a result, it can be costly to earn a doctor of pharmacy, with some tuitions adding up to well over six figures.
So what does it really cost for a pharmacy education?
The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy provided us a breakdown of costs, based on 2009-2010 first-year pharmacy tuition and mandatory fees. Remember, though, that the costs vary due to differences in tuition and fees throughout the various years of the program and other factors such as inflation, association officials tell us.
Public Schools – Instate
Four-year program: $63,070
Public Schools – Out Of State
Four-year program: $115,756
Four-year program: $122,209
Those costs don’t include costs for books, which some schools estimate as costing $695 per semester, plus important exams like the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT), which has a $150 registration fee for 2010.
Pharmacy colleges and schools could offer some financial assistance, and federal and state grants and scholarships are an option, although the association notes that most are generally reserved for the most economically disadvantaged students. The best options for finding out about loans, scholarships and grants are your college advisors, so take advantage of that resource, too.
The expenses of earning your education will be worth it when you start to reap the rewards (and high salary potential!) of this in-demand career.
The biggest factor in how much your nursing degree will cost is which education path you pursue: a three-year diploma program, two-year associate degree in nursing (ADN) program, or four-year bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) program.
Two-year colleges might charge about $75 per nursing credit, while private universities might charge up to $500 per credit. For a four-year program, the difference between public school nursing tuition and private school nursing tuition can be as much as $75,000.
So consider your nursing education path carefully: An ADN or diploma will be less expensive nursing degree option, but they may not afford the same opportunities for advancement and specialization that can be gained with a BSN. On the other hand, you can always start working with a diploma or an ADN and later take advantage of tuition assistance to cover the costs of an RN-to-BSN program.
Additional Nursing Degree Costs
Aside from nursing tuition, when it comes to figuring out how much your nursing degree will cost, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of books, uniforms, nursing supplies, lab fees, and any other administrative fees into your education budget.
Medical textbooks may cost between $1,000 to $3,000, which is higher than the cost of books in many other disciplines. Uniforms and work shoes typically cost between $150 and $300. Lab fees for nursing school (about $1,700 per term) are often higher than they are for other programs because of the cost of specialized supplies and equipment. And be sure to inquire about any additional registration, acceptance, or enrollment fees for nursing school, which can range from $75 to $600. Depending on the school, these fees may be credited toward your nursing tuition.
Financial Assistance for a Nursing Degree
If these numbers sound steep, rest assured that a wide range of nursing financial assistance is available. Some RNs choose to work for hospitals or long-term care facilities that will reimburse some or all of their nursing tuition. In exchange, the RN must work for the organization for a predetermined period of time, sometimes only six months.
Plus, a variety of nursing scholarships are available for students who plan to practice in a particular specialty (e.g., critical care, neonatal). Check with the professional associations for your specialty to find out if they offer nursing scholarships. Nursing scholarships are also available for male students, students of various nationalities, residents of certain states, and many more.
If you do have to take out loans to fund your education, don’t worry about drowning in debt. Not only can you recover that money with your future salary, you may also be eligible for nursing loan forgiveness. The Nurse Education Loan Repayment Program (NELRP), an $8 million government-sponsored program, will repay 60 percent of the nursing loan balance for 100 RNs. If you win this award, you must work full time for two years at a critical shortage facility. You may even be eligible to work a third year and receive an additional 25 percent off your nursing loan balance.
Nursing degree costs may be high, but once you begin your career, you’ll discover that the investment you made was exceedingly worthwhile.
Justice is never free. Whether you’re a legal secretary working with lawyers to seek justice for clients or you’re a police officer pursuing justice for victims and criminals, there is always a price to pay. And before you can even enter the field of justice, you’ll have to pay for a criminal justice degree. The question is, how much?
Choose Your Criminal Justice Degree
First, you need to decide whether you’ll be enrolling in an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree program, as criminal justice degree costs will vary according to your choice. For some criminal justice occupations, like paralegal, an associate degree will get you in the door. For others, like FBI agent, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree for entry.
If you’re pursuing a four-year degree, you can still cut your criminal justice degree costs by starting at a community college. That way, you’ll benefit from less expensive tuition for your first two years before you transfer credits to a four-year university. Criminal justice tuition at a community college is about one-third of in-state tuition at public universities.
How Much Does a Criminal Justice Degree Tuition Cost?
If you choose to get your criminal justice degree at a community college, you’ll pay about $80 per credit. Compare that to private school tuition, which runs about $900 per credit. You’ll need about 60 credits to complete an associate degree and 120 credits to complete a bachelor’s degree.
At $80 per community college credit, a criminal justice degree costs about $2,500 each year. Public, four-year colleges cost $7,000 for in-state students and $19,000 for out-of-state students. As you can see, attending public school close to home can save you a good $12,000. Private colleges are the most expensive option, averaging about $26,000 per year.
Hidden Criminal Justice Degree Costs
When you’re applying to criminal justice school, find out what tuition includes. Most universities do not include such costs as room and board, which runs about $8,000 per year at public schools and $9,000 at private schools. (Of course, if you don’t live on campus, you can find significant savings on room and board.) Add in about $1,000 for textbooks, $1,000 for transportation, and $1,800 for personal expenses, and you could be paying around $12,000 on top of annual criminal justice tuition costs.
Criminal Justice Financial Aid
The good news — when you enroll in an accredited degree program, you may be eligible for financial aid for criminal justice. Just make sure your school is accredited by a regional or national agency that’s approved by the Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Then, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before the deadline and you’ll receive a rundown of all the federal loans, grants, and scholarships for which you may qualify.
There’s always a price to pay for justice. But when your education program enables you to pursue justice for all, you’ll probably find that criminal justice tuition costs are completely worthwhile.