Best Nursing Schools in Mississippi

No matter where you’re at in your nursing career journey, nursing schools in Mississippi have a program that meets your needs. Explore top-ranked online and campus options in this guide.

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Written By

Gabby Hyman

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last updated

Last Updated: 01/12/2022
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Late in 2021, nursing shortages caused one hospital to repay loans from Mississippi nursing schools of up to $20,000 if applicants signed a two-year contract. Mississippi is in obvious need of new nurses on the front lines of patient care in hospitals and medical clinics from Corinth to Gulfport.

Choosing the right school impacts your career and long-term growth in the nursing field. This guide will help you find a quality online or on-campus nursing program in Mississippi, whether you’re just beginning on the road to becoming an RN or want to move into advanced roles that call for a grad degree. Read on to discover the best nursing schools in Mississippi and see how they can help you take the first or next step in your RN career.

2022’s Best-in-Class Nursing Schools in Mississippi

After considering factors like affordability, student support, and accreditation, the three nursing schools in Mississippi rose to the top as the best in class. They also stand out in terms of academic quality, first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate, available nursing programs, and financial aid options.

Alcorn State University

The Cora S. Balmat School of Nursing at Alcorn State University sees more than 80% of all ASN graduates passing their licensing exams on the first attempt. At the ASN level, students can complete their degrees in four semesters or pursue an LPN/ASN option in three semesters. Alcorn’s undergraduate nursing degrees also include the Associate of Science in Nursing and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. At the graduate level, Alcorn State offers Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees. All programs are accredited by the ACEN.

Mississippi University for Women

The Department of Associate Nursing at the Mississippi University for Women offers two tracks leading to an ASN. The ASN Nursing Generic Option requires two years to complete. MUW’s LPN/RN Advanced Placement Option is a nine-month program for Licensed Practical Nurses to complete an ASN. Both programs offer opportunities for nursing students to integrate their theoretical learning with hands-on experiences. Additional options include the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, RN/BSN advanced placement program, Master of Science in Nursing, and Doctor of Nursing Practice. All MUW programs are accredited by the ACEN.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College School of Nursing and Health Professions offers a range of undergraduate and transitional degrees at the Bryant Center in Biloxi. These include the ADN program completable in five semesters, a Practical Nursing program, and an LPN to RN option. LPNs can transfer 14 credit hours for previous education to their RN degrees, and MGCC has an outstanding first-time NCLEX passing rate of99%. Programs center on client-centered care, client education, quality of care, and informatics. Clinical requirements are completed at the MGCCC Bryant Center Healthcare Simulation Center. All programs are accredited by the ACEN.

Types of Nursing Programs Available in Mississippi

Nursing schools in Mississippi offer degrees for those just entering the profession through those pursuing nursing doctoral degrees. You’ll also find in-person, online, and hybrid programs. Pre-licensing nursing programs in Mississippi prepare students for the NCLEX licensing examination while bridge programs prepare nurses for advanced roles in the profession. The most common degree options are described below.

Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Mississippi

ADN Programs

An ADN program is the shortest route to becoming an RN. This two-year program prepares students to take the NCLEX licensing exam and trains them for entry-level nursing positions in hospitals, clinics, and medical offices. The ADN can also be used as a steppingstone to a BSN and specialized training.

Examples of Mississippi Nursing Schools with this Program

Traditional BSN Programs

Many employers view the BSN as the degree of choice in hiring new nurses. These four-year programs include two years of general education and two years in the nursing curriculum with clinical experiences. Courses deepen nursing skills in research, technology, and patient care.

Examples of Mississippi Nursing Schools with this Program

Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSN degrees provide a quick route to upgrading to a BSN. They also allow students holding bachelor’s degrees in other fields to change to the nursing profession. Accelerated BSN programs typically take 18 months and provide theoretical and practical knowledge.

Examples of Mississippi Nursing Schools with this Program

Nursing Bridge Programs in Mississippi for Current Nurses

LPN to RN and LPN to BSN Programs

Bridge programs are ideal for LPNs wanting to become RNs. LVN to ADN programs lead to an associate degree and licensure and take one to two years. The LVN to BSN programs take two to four years and are for students wanting to assume a greater variety of nursing duties and/or enroll in graduate nursing programs.

Examples of Mississippi Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to BSN Programs

RN to BSN programs are for working nurses who already have ADNs and want to get BSNs without spending four years. These bridge programs take one to two years, depending on the transfer credits from your RN program. Getting a BSN expands your scope of practice and increases your salary.

Examples of Mississippi Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to MSN Programs

RN to MSN programs allow RN students to earn their BSNs and MSNs simultaneously. They typically take two to three years, and applicants must have several years of nursing experience. These programs are ideal for nurses planning to enter advanced fields in management, research, quality of care, and more.

Examples of Mississippi Nursing Schools with this Program

Advanced Nursing Programs in Mississippi

MSN Programs

The MSN is an advanced nursing education that takes one to three years, depending on your specialization. They prepare students for roles as nurse practitioners or in informatics and administration leadership. Those with bachelor’s degrees in other fields can take direct-entry MSN programs and finish in 18-32 months.

Examples of Mississippi Nursing Schools with This Program

DNP and PhD Doctoral Programs

The DNP takes about two years full time, includes a practicum, and prepares students for nursing leadership, clinical education, and individual practice. A Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science is a scholarly research degree that takes up to 10 years and includes a doctoral dissertation.

Examples of Mississippi Nursing Schools with This Program

Post-Graduate Certificates

Designed for nurses with MSNs, post-graduate certificates take one or two years and concentrate in areas like psychiatric nursing, acute care, nurse practitioner, nursing education, informatics, pediatric or gerontology populations, and emergency nursing. Nursing management studies include leadership, finance, and human resources.

Examples of Mississippi Nursing Schools with This Program

Inside Look at Online Nursing Programs in Mississippi

Online nursing programs in Mississippi meet the needs of busy individuals who juggle work and family obligations while going to school. Programs may feature lectures and examinations fully online with clinicals in person, require scheduled online sessions, allow for asynchronous learning, or have a hybrid approach. Some also have on-site orientation or online pre-requisite courses before the actual program begins.

Remember that online does not necessarily mean easy. Online learning usually requires significant discipline. Additionally, some programs are accelerated and require even more focus. Setting aside consistent time dedicated to your studies is important for success.

We’ve highlighted the best online nursing programs in Mississippi below to show you want to expect in a quality program that can help you stay focused and achieve your goals.

Best Online Nursing Programs in Mississippi

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

The LPN to RN Hybrid program at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College provides students flexibility through a combination of online and in-person coursework. Students can take online courses during weekdays, in the evening, or on the weekend. The program requires a summer transition course before the first semester, and its curriculum focuses on legal issues in nursing, conflict management, and Mississippi standards of nursing practice. LPNs can transfer 14 semester hours from their previous nursing education, and prerequisites in anatomy/physiology, microbiology, and psychology are required. Students gain clinical experience through partnering with healthcare organizations in the community. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Belhaven University

The online RN to BSN degree at Bellhaven University is for RNs who want to keep working while earning their degrees in only three semesters. Applicants need nursing associate degrees or diplomas. This online bridge program focuses on professionalism, nursing science, and clinical practice and provides online courses in nursing across the lifespan, principles of pharmacology, community health, health assessment, and nurse leadership. Clinical experiences are arranged with local hospitals and institutions. Bellhaven offers financial aid programs especially for nursing students, including the Nursing Education Loan/Scholarship RN to BSN (NELR) and Mississippi Nurses Foundation Scholarships. The RN to BSN program is nationally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Delta State University

The Robert E. Smith School of Nursing at Delta State University hosts a breadth of online degrees, including a BSN, RN to BSN bridge, MSN, post-masters certificates, and a DNP. The online RN to BSN focuses on clinical experiences, nurse leadership, professional collaboration, health promotion, assessment, health policy, and informatics. Clinical requirements are completed at surrounding healthcare agencies, and all coursework can be completed online in as little as two semesters. Students can also transfer up to 39 hours from their RN programs. Applications are available year round, and classes begin every fall. Students must be current RNs and have overall GPAs of 2.0 in their prior post-secondary education. Delta’s programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Financial Aid Opportunities for Nursing Students in Mississippi

With the many financial aid opportunities available, Mississippi nursing students do not need to end up in debt after getting their degrees. From low-interest (subsidized) Federal loans to grants, work-study programs, and scholarships, you can use a combination of sources to fund your degree. Check out the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid for tuition and other resources specifically for Mississippi students.

Your first step in applying for all aid should be the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). The Federal government’s Department of Student Aid breaks down available sources of support. Note that most nursing schools offer their own set of scholarships and grants, so be sure to check with the financial aid office at your prospective colleges as well.

Visit our nursing scholarship guide, guide to graduating from nursing school debt-free, and main financial aid guide to find additional sources of aid along with helpful advice.

How to Become an RN in Mississippi

To practice nursing in Mississippi, you must complete your nursing degree from an accredited nursing school and pass the NCLEX. Mississippi is an Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact state, so an RN from another state can receive licensure provided they have never held a Mississippi license. Their first step is completing an endorsement application

An overview of the steps required for first-time RNs in Mississippi is outlined below. To fully understand first-time and renewal licensing requirements, visit the Mississippi Board of Nursing

Step 1

Complete Your Degree and Prepare for the NCLEX

Complete an accredited ADN or BSN program and utilize any NCLEX mentoring or advising available through your school. See if practice tests are available to sharpen your understanding of the theory and skills on the NCLEX. During your final semester, apply through the Mississippi Board of Nursing to take the exam.

Step 2

Register to Take the NCLEX

Nursing graduates can begin the procedure by creating an account through the Gateway at the Board of Nursing. The RN application fee is $100, and applicants must provide the Mississippi Board of Nursing with official transcripts. Then, register for the NCLEX through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and pay the $200 fee. Note that the NCSBN also offers free information on test strategies and tutorials.

Step 3

Schedule and Sit for NCLEX RN Exam

After your NECLEX application is approved, you’ll receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) email. You’ll have 90 days to schedule your exam and will be notified of specific deadlines in the ATT and given your appointment time. You can deny the appointment and schedule another one if you have a conflict with the one given you.

Step 4

Complete All Mississippi RN Requirements

The Mississippi Board of Nursing’s checklist of items required for licensing provides a rundown of the licensing process and requirements beyond the NCLEX. For example, all applicants must undergo background checks that can be scheduled before taking the NCLEX. Use this checklist to make sure you meet all of Mississippi’s requirements.

Step 5

Renew Your License

Licenses must be renewed every two years. Registered Mississippi nurses can apply for license renewal in even-numbered years, September 1st through December 31st. The Board of Nursing requires 20 contact hours of continuing education credits every three years, and they can be completed in person or online at any accredited school.

Job Outlook for RNs in Mississippi

According to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, registered nursing jobs will increase by almost 12% from 2018 to 2028. That’s an average annual job opening rate of 2,100 jobs. According to Glassdoor, top organizations in Mississippi hiring nurses include the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Baptist Memorial Health Care, North Mississippi Health Services, US Department of Veterans Affairs, Mississippi Baptist Health Systems, Oxford HealthCare, St. Dominic’s, and Cross Country Nurses.

Employment Projections for RNs in Mississippi

New Jobs
(2018-2028)
Job Growth Rate
(2018-2028)
Average Annual Openings
(2018-2028)
Mississippi 3,650 11.9% 2,100
United States 371,500 12.1% 210,400

Sources: Projections Central; Mississippi Department of Employment Security

Nursing Salaries in Mississippi: How Much You Could Make as an RN

While nursing salaries in Mississippi are lower than the national average, the cost of living in the state is also considerably lower than the national average. Nurses still make a respectable wage in Mississippi with those in Jackson earning over $65,000 on average and top earners making over $90,000.

Annual Earnings for Registered Nurses in Mississippi


10th Percentile Mehian Earnings 90th Percentile
Mississippi $42,740 $59,850 $82,260
United States $53,410 $75,330 $116,230
Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS $45,940 $62,810 $85,450
Hattiesburg, MS $41,710 $54,260 $69,250
Jackson, MS $43,950 $65,290 $90,280

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020