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Nursing Schools in Missouri: Campus & Online

Explore top-ranked online and traditional nursing programs and find your Missouri nursing school match.

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With jobs for all types of nurses in Missouri set to quickly grow anywhere from 7% to 48% from 2020 to 2030, nursing can give you lasting job stability and competitive pay. It also allows you to make a critical difference in the lives of patients.

Whether you’re just starting your journey into nursing or thinking about next steps after working as an RN, this guide can help you find the Missouri nursing school that best meets your needs. You’ll learn about the various types of nursing programs offered by top-ranked schools, how to earn a license in the state, and where to find academic support and professional resources along the way.

Best Online Nursing Programs in Missouri for 2024

To help you find the best nursing schools in Missouri, we reviewed available programs and assessed them based on factors like affordability, accreditation, and student support services. Whether you’re interested in starting as an ADN-prepared registered nurse or earning a DNP to practice nursing at the highest levels, online nursing schools in Missouri can help you achieve your goals. See who topped our list for best online programs for the ’23-’24 school year:

or
About the ranking

X

Base Methodology for EduMed’s Best Online College Rankings for the ’23-’24 school year.

One: Create list of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on data pulled from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which was self-reported by the schools themselves.

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least 1 online component in a program within the ranking-subject area.

Two: Assign Weighting

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of metrics, which were all self-reported by the schools themselves to the U.S. Department of Education and IPEDS. 

The metrics are listed below in order of most- to least-heavily weighted. 

Online Programs – Number of online programs in the relevant subject area.

Online Student % – Number of total students who are enrolled in at least 1 distance-learning course in the relevant subject area.

Tuition – The average in-state tuition for undergraduate students studying full-time, as self-reported by the school.

Institutional Aid – Percent of full-time undergraduate students who are awarded institutional grant aid, as self-reported by the school.

Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Career Placement Services – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Student/Faculty Ratio

About Our DataEduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2023

# School Name Type Tuition Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 University of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbia, MO Public $$ 3

The RN-to-BSN program at the University of Missouri Online has all its lecture courses available entirely online. The only exception is the Nursing in Communities class that requires 45 hours of preceptor assisted practicum, but these hours can be completed in the student's local area. The RN-to-BSN program only consists of 30 credits and can be completed in 4 semesters of part-time study. Students will need to transfer previously earned college credits and complete general education courses and electives to earn the required 120 credits for a bachelor's degree.

Program Highlights:

RN to BSN

  • Credits: 26-30
  • Length: 4 semesters (part-time)
  • Cost: $692/credit
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: CCNE
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
18/1
Online
Student %
62%
or
About the ranking

X

Base Methodology for EduMed’s Best Online College Rankings for the ’23-’24 school year.

One: Create list of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on data pulled from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which was self-reported by the schools themselves.

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least 1 online component in a program within the ranking-subject area.

Two: Assign Weighting

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of metrics, which were all self-reported by the schools themselves to the U.S. Department of Education and IPEDS. 

The metrics are listed below in order of most- to least-heavily weighted. 

Online Programs – Number of online programs in the relevant subject area.

Online Student % – Number of total students who are enrolled in at least 1 distance-learning course in the relevant subject area.

Tuition – The average in-state tuition for undergraduate students studying full-time, as self-reported by the school.

Institutional Aid – Percent of full-time undergraduate students who are awarded institutional grant aid, as self-reported by the school.

Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Career Placement Services – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Student/Faculty Ratio

About Our DataEduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2023

# School Name Type Tuition Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Missouri State University-West PlainsWest Plains, MO Public $ 1

Missouri State University-West Plains offers two tracks to earn an associate nursing degree. The first is the Regular Track, which is a competitively ranked program and takes about two years to complete. The program consists of courses in nursing, sciences, and the liberal arts. It also includes lectures, on-campus labs, and clinical practicums at healthcare facilities in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. In addition, the school offers a year-long LPN to RN bridge program.

Program Highlights:

Associate of Science in Nursing Curriculum Regular Track

  • Credits: 66
  • Length: 2 years
  • Cost: $141/credit (resident), $282/credit (nonresident)
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Accreditation: ACEN
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
13/1
Online
Student %
62%

Northwest Missouri State University

Northwest Missouri State University offers several undergraduate nursing programs to meet the varied needs of its students. The pre-nursing track functions like an associate degree and prepares students for transfer into a degree completion program. The online RN to BSN takes as little as one year to complete and consists of 30 credits. Post-graduate online master’s programs include an MSN with concentrations in nurse educator or nurse executive/administrator.

The School of Health Science and Wellness offers scholarships for first-time, transfer, students, and graduate students. Students can also participate in living-learning communities that allow them to both live with and study alongside others in healthcare majors.

University of Missouri – St. Louis

The College of Nursing at the University of Missouri – St. Louis provides undergraduate and graduate programs to meet varied academic needs. The traditional BSN is either full-time or part-time on evenings and weekends, while the accelerated BSN supports those with unrelated bachelor’s degrees or who have already completed all general education and science prerequisites. The RN to BSN is available both online and in-person and takes two years to complete.

Post-graduate certificates are available in adult/geriatric nurse practitioner family nurse practitioner, pediatric acute care nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner, psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, and women’s health nurse practitioner. The school also offers both DNP and PhD nursing programs for students interested in earning a doctoral nursing degree.

Find Missouri Nursing Schools in a City Near You

Types of Nursing Programs Available in Missouri

You can find nursing schools in Missouri offering degrees at various academic levels, making it easy to find a program that meets you where you are professionally and academically and helps propel you to the next level. This section provides you with a good sense of the most common options currently available for those looking for quality nursing programs in Missouri.

Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Missouri

ADN Programs

ADNs often serve as entry points for many students and are commonly offered by community colleges and vocational schools. With curriculums consisting of approximately 60 credits, ADN programs usually require two years of full-time study and allow graduates to seek licensure as RNs after meeting state requirements.

Examples of Missouri Nursing Schools with this Program

Traditional BSN Programs

Traditional BSN programs provide the best pathway for first-time nursing students who know they want to earn bachelor’s degrees. These programs usually include 120 credits, which includes in-person clinical training components. Most traditional BSN programs take four years to complete. Graduates can seek licensure as RNs.

Examples of Missouri Nursing Schools with this Program

Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSN programs consist of the same number of credits and set the same graduation requirements as traditional BSNs but allow students to graduate more quickly. The accelerated nature of these programs means you can earn your credentials in as few as three years.

Examples of Missouri Nursing Schools with this Program

Nursing Bridge Programs in Missouri for Current Nurses

LPN to RN and LPN to BSN Programs

After working as an LPN for a time, some nurses decide they want to update their credentials and qualify for higher-paying jobs by completing LPN to RN or LPN to BSN programs. An LPN to RN program usually takes 12-18 months to finish and results in an associate degree. An LPN to BSN can take longer, typically 24-36 months, as graduate will earn aa bachelor’s degree.

Examples of Missouri Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to BSN Programs

Because more employers now expect RNs to hold bachelor’s degrees, RN to BSN programs are becoming popular. Because students in these programs already have extensive clinical training and experience as nurses, these programs are often available completely online. These programs usually consist of roughly 30 credits and take 1-2 years to complete. Schools commonly offer both part-time and full-time learning options.

Examples of Missouri Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to MSN Programs

RNs with associate degrees may decide to bypass bachelor’s credentials altogether and move directly into master’s degrees. RN to MSN programs take approximately three years from start to finish and can commonly be done completely online, depending on the specialization.

Examples of Missouri Nursing Schools with this Program

Advanced Nursing Programs in Missouri

MSN Programs

MSN programs typically come in two forms: a standard MSN for those who already hold BSNs and direct-entry MSNs for students with bachelor’s degrees in fields others than nursing who are looking to transfer into the nursing field. These programs take anywhere from 2-4 years depending on qualifications upon starting the degree.

Examples of Missouri Nursing Schools with This Program

DNP and PhD Doctoral Programs

DNP programs support nurses who want professional degrees that allow them to practice at the highest echelons of the field. These programs take about three years to complete. A PhD in nursing appeals to nurses looking to move into research. A PhD is also helpful for students interested in an academic position, such as teaching the next generation of nursing students at colleges and universities. These doctoral programs usually take between 4-6 years to finish.

Examples of Missouri Nursing Schools with This Program

Post-Graduate Certificates

Designed for MSN-educated nurses, post-graduate certificates give specialized knowledge in niche areas without requiring the completion of another degree. Certificate offerings vary by school but usually include options like nurse-midwifery, nurse educator, and nurse leadership. Post-graduate certificate programs take approximately one year to complete.

Examples of Missouri Nursing Schools with This Program

Inside Look at Online Nursing Programs in Missouri

Most nursing schools in Missouri now offer some level of virtual interaction, and many provide entire classes and degrees online. If you’re looking for an ADN or BSN, these programs always require in-person participation due to required clinicals needed for licensure. To provide flexibility, some schools offer hybrid programs at these levels. For example, Moberly Area Community College provides a hybrid ADN while Southwest Baptist University offers a partially-online BSN for busy students. Clinical requirements can usually be completed at an approved facility near where students live or work.

To help students with personal and/or professional responsibilities outside of school, some programs provide evening or weekend classes to better fit into their schedules. For additional flexibility, online programs often provide asynchronous learning where students can complete work at any time and from any location. We’ve profiled two popular programs below so you can learn more about what you should expect from online nursing programs.

University of Missouri – Kansas City

The University of Missouri’s Kansas City’s School of Nursing and Health Studies provides an online RN to BSN. It also maintains a dual enrollment program with Metropolitan Community College that allows students to earn their ADN and BSN degrees at the same time and graduate more quickly.

At the graduate level, students can choose from online MSN programs in adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, nursing educator, psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner, and women’s health nurse practitioner. Students can also select from the BSN to DNP or MSN to DNP pathways, each of which offers several concentrations. Lastly, the school offers a BSN to PhD as well as a standalone PhD in nursing.

University of Central Missouri

The University of Central Missouri’s School of Nursing has held continuous accreditation since 1978 and began expanding its online offerings several years ago. The school provides an online RN to BSN with eight-week course formats, making it possible for eligible students to earn bachelor’s degrees in just two semesters. To ensure learners receive the support they need, the department provides several mentorship opportunities for in-person and online students. Students can also join the Student Nursing Organization (SNO) to interact with other nursing students and build strong networks before graduating.

At the graduate level, students can enroll in an online MSN with tracks in nurse educator (33 credits) or family nurse practitioner (44 credits). Those who already have master’s degrees but want to learn skills in a specific area can undertake post-graduate certificates in nurse educator or simulation education in health science.

Financial Aid for Missouri Nursing Students

With the cost of higher education continuing to climb each year, finding ways to lessen the financial burden of earning a nursing degree is much appreciated. In addition to nursing scholarships offered by individual schools and programs, you can also look for awards provided by professional associations, hospitals and healthcare companies, and private foundations. These are commonly awarded as grants or scholarships.

The Missouri Department of Health is another financial aid resource. Although it does not offer any scholarships, it does provide the Missouri Nurse Student Loan Repayment Program. for the program works by requiring nurses to work in a health professional shortage area after graduating. Eligible RNs receive up to $10,000 per year in forgiveness while those with master’s degrees receive up to $20,000 in forgiveness per year.

Make sure you understand the ins and outs of financial aid before enrolling and consider whether you could graduate nursing school debt-free.

How to Become an RN in Missouri

You’ll want to understand what’s required to become an RN in Missouri before you enroll in nursing school. The last thing you want to do is spend all the money, time, and effort on a degree you can’t use. For example, attending a nursing program in Missouri that doesn’t hold state approval may bar you from earning a license. Below, we look at the specific licensure requirements as outlined by the Missouri Board of Nursing.

Step 1

Attend a state-approved nurse training program

Whether pursuing an ADN or BSN, any program you decide to enroll in should hold approval via the Missouri Board of Nursing and accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Failing to complete this step can result in trouble getting a license.

Step 2

Apply to the Missouri Board of Nursing

In addition to supplying a completed application, first-time nursing license applicants must also submit final college transcripts, proof of a background check with fingerprints, and proof of U.S. citizenship or a work visa. Once these are provided, students receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) from PearsonVue.

Step 3

Pass the NCLEX-RN

After receiving their ATT from PearsonVue, students have 90 days to sit for and pass the NCLEX-RN. The Board of Nursing receives your results the following day and will send them to you. If you pass the exam, you are notified that you can begin practicing as a nurse.

Step 4

Keep up with renewal requirements

In Missouri, all RN licenses expire on April 30th of odd-numbered years, but you must start the renewal process at least three days before to avoid any licensing lapse. Missouri does not currently require any continuing education or professional development courses, but nurses do need to pay an $85 renewal fee.

Job Outlook for RNs in Missouri

Employment projections look robust for RNs in Missouri through 2030, outstripping the national average. The need for RNs across the country is expected to grow by 6%, although that rate is 6.5% in Missouri. This growth should result in more than 4,400 new jobs in the state each year.

Employment Projections for RNs in Missouri

New Jobs
(2018-2028)
Job Growth Rate
(2018-2028)
Average Annual Openings
(2018-2028)
Missouri 12,130 16.2% 5,530
United States 371,500 12.1% 210,400

Source: Projections Central

How Much You Could Make as an RN in Missouri

As of May 2022, a registered nurse working in Missouri earned an average annual wage of $71,860. While this number sits below the national average of $89,010, remember that the cost of living in the state is much lower than in many other parts of the country. For example, according to Bestplaces, Missouri has a cost of living that’s about 15% lower than the national average. Just keep in mind that this data represents the entire state, so the cost of living in a rural area of Missouri will probably be even lower, while one of the metropolitan areas in Missouri will be closer to the national average. The table below gives a more detailed sense of how salaries differ around the state and stack up against each other.

Annual Earnings for Registered Nurses in Missouri

10th Percentile Median Earnings 90th Percentile
Missouri $44,060 $64,220 $91,880
United States $53,410 $75,330 $116,230
Cape Girardeau, MO-IL $43,720 $59,290 $83,040
Columbia, MO $45,280 $64,120 $86,050
Jefferson City, MO $44,820 $61,390 $83,660
Joplin, MO $28,920 $46,210 $72,240
Kansas City, MO-KS $53,090 $69,680 $91,300
St. Joseph, MO-KS $45,720 $63,520 $84,490
St. Louis, MO-IL $44,720 $66,250 $97,220

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020