7 Unexpected Costs Nurse Practitioner Grads Should Prepare For
By Danielle LeVeck, DNP, ACNPC-AG, CNS, RN, CCRN
Nearing my graduation from Nurse Practitioner school, it was difficult for me to see beyond walking across the stage in my cap and gown, accepting my diploma. I was so laser focused on being done, and was so exhausted and confused about licensing, credentialing, and taking my boards, that I did not even consider the extra costs associated with becoming a nurse practitioner. The following are costs you should be ready to endure in the 3-6 months following graduation from Nurse Practitioner school.
1. Board Prep and Registration
When you graduate with any degree in healthcare, it is not just about the board exam, it’s also about board prep. There are multiple options for board review, but the most of my colleagues attended a Barkley’s Live Review Course, which costs $579.00 plus travel and hotel. With the travel expenses, this was beyond my review budget, so I opted to purchase the Barkley’s at home review for $449.50. Additionally, I added a subscription to Board Vitals for practice questions that was $100.
Regarding registration for my board exams, I paid $255 ($360 for non-members) to register for my Nurse Practitioner boards through the AACN and $295 ($395 non-member) to register for my CNS boards through the ANCC. At this point, I was over $1000 of expenses and had not even taken my board exam.
2. Time off/Vacation
Although these expenses are optional, I highly recommend trying to plan for them. After my DNP, I was so burned out and still am to an extent. I had not taken a vacation for years and vowed to take one post-graduation. While I did plan for the cost of the vacation, it was still expensive to travel for two weeks (roughly $3000 for the trip). But what was more expensive, was taking time off. I took two months off post-graduation to relocate and settle in my new city, therefore, my savings account greatly decreased.
My new job did offer a relocation package; however, I was expected to endure all costs up front. Between a trip out to find an apartment, a moving truck, gas for the truck and my car, and packing materials, I needed around $3500 up front to cover the costs. I also needed a hefty security deposit for my new apartment as well. As I said, most of this will be reimbursed, but it takes time and tedious book keeping submitting to a company for full reimbursement.
4. New RN and NP license
As I mentioned above, I relocated to another state. This meant that I needed to obtain a new RN and NP state license. The RN license was $75, and the NP license was $115. Additionally, in my new state, I was required to complete pharmacology CEs increasing the cost by $100. These licenses increased my mandatory, out-of-pocket costs, by $300.
5. DEA License
After you have graduated, passed your boards, and relocated, it’s time to pay for your DEA license. A DEA license is a must-have for most Nurse Practitioners who will be regularly prescribing medications. The cost for a three-year license is $731 – and that one is on you.
6. Health Insurance
If there is a lapse between the end of your previous job, and the beginning of your new NP job, you will need to consider some kind of health insurance coverage. I had to search for catastrophic coverage because I had a one-month gap between positions. Gap coverage can range anywhere from $250 per month to thousands per month depending on the coverage you need and was another unexpected expense I did not consider.
7. Grand Total
So, at minimum, out of pocket expenses post-graduation will equal roughly $2100. However, if you are relocating, additional money may be required up front for relocation expenses; for me it was around $3500. Then, if you opt to take some time off prior to starting your new job, consider saving enough for your living expenses over that time ($3000-$6000). And finally, if you can, plan for a vacation to renew yourself to be ready for starting the new job you have worked so hard to begin.
Danielle LeVeck, DNP, ACNPC-AG, CNS, RN, CCRN is an ICU Nurse Practitioner, blogger, writer, and social media influencer, who strives to empower and inspire nurses from all backgrounds, to partake in regular self-care and multidisciplinary teamwork, for the sake of providing optimal patient care. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook for her latest.