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Nursing Schools in Kansas City: Top Online & Campus Programs

Explore top-ranked programs from accredited nursing schools in the Kansas City area, and see how they can help you begin or advance your RN nursing career.


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Like the rest of the country, there’s a high demand for registered nurses and nurse practitioners in Kansas City, driven by a retiring workforce and an aging population – and recently intensified by the pandemic. As a result, nurses of all kinds are seeing a wave of salary increases and signing bonuses. If you’re in the Kansas City area and want to start or advance your nursing education and career, now’s the time to do it.

This guide highlights the best online and campus nursing programs in Kansas City to get you started on your school search. You’ll also learn about the different nursing degree paths, job opportunities for nurses in Kansas City, and how much you could earn once you graduate. Keep reading to find your Kansas City nursing school match.

Best Nursing Schools and Programs in Kansas City for 2024

The six best nursing schools in Kansas City spotlighted below give you an idea of what to look for when searching for a nursing program, both online and in-person formats, to start or advance your nursing career. Our selections are based on important factors like accreditation, affordability, study flexibility, curriculum, and access to valuable student support services. See which nursing schools in Kansas City stand out for 2022.

Best Overall Nursing Schools in Kansas City

University of Missouri – Kansas City

UMKC’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences is home to one of the most comprehensive nursing schools in the Greater Kansas City, Missouri area. There are three BSN options available at UMKC. The Pre-Licensure BSN is a traditional program for students without bachelor’s degrees or RN licenses. The curriculum includes general education and nursing coursework combined with the clinical rotation hours needed for eligibility to take the NCLEX-RN. Program length is four to five years full-time, depending mainly on transferrable college coursework.

Applicants with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees can obtain their BSNs in five semesters of full-time study through the Accelerated BSN option. Finally, the RN to BSN program is for current registered nurses with either a nursing diploma or ADNs. Full-time and part-time options are available.

Graduate nursing programs at UMKC include MSN and post-graduate certificate programs, both with several specialization tracks. Doctorate programs include DNP and PhD in Nursing programs, each with entry points for applicants with either BSNs or MSNs.

University of Kansas Medical Center

The KU’s School of Nursing offers a pre-licensure BSN for students with 58 credits (equivalent to the first two years of a four-year bachelor’s program) of humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences coursework. Students also complete four semesters of nursing theory courses and 678 hours of clinical practice and lab experience. Graduates are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN.

Other nursing options at KUMC include an online RN to BSN that can be completed in a year of full-time or up to five years of part-time study and in-person MSN specialization tracks in nursing education, organizational leadership, and public health nursing. There are also DNP and PhD programs for both post-BSN and post-MSN students and post-graduate certificates in health educator, health informatics, and five advanced practice clinical specializations.

Metropolitan City College

Metropolitan Community College offers two ADN track options. The Professional Nursing program is for prospective RNs with little or no previous college or nursing experience. The two-year, full-time curriculum combines general education, foundational nursing courses, and hands-on labs, all taken on MCC’s Penn Valley campus, plus approximately 16 clinical practice hours each week at local hospitals and community healthcare facilities. Students must complete 14 to 18 prerequisite science courses before enrollment. Graduates are awarded an AAS in Nursing.

MCC’s LPN to ADN Bridge program allows current licensed practical nurses to earn their associate degrees in nursing with an additional three full-time semesters of general education, nursing coursework, and clinicals beyond the LPN program course of study. MCC also offers a 12-month Practical Nursing Certificate that qualifies graduates to sit for the NCLEX-PN.

Best Online Nursing Programs in Kansas City

Graceland University

Graceland University, a private institution affiliated with the Community of Christ, offers several online nursing degrees through its School of Nursing. Undergraduate options include a fully-online RN to BSN program for current registered nurses seeking to advance their careers by earning a BSN. Students can transfer in up to 28 semester hours of nursing coursework. General education credits can also be transferred in, completed with online classes, or awarded through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). Graceland also offers an 18-month BSN to RN program that is campus-based. However, students can complete many general education courses online.

Online graduate nursing programs at Graceland include MSN degrees in Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Acute Care FNP, and Psychiatric Mental Health FNP specialization tracks. A Doctor of Nursing Practice is also available.

Rockhurst University

Private, Jesuit-affiliated Rockhurst University offers several online nursing programs through its Saint Luke’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences. The RN to BSN program is notable for its convenience and study options designed to accommodate working RNs. Coursework is 100% online, and there are no required campus visits. Both full-time and part-time formats are available, and full-time students can complete all degree requirements in three semesters. Students can transfer in up to 90 credits and may take any prerequisite courses concurrently with their BSN program.

Graduate-level options at Rockhurst include MSN programs with Adult-Gerontology Acute Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Educator specializations. Current RNs without a nursing bachelor’s can pursue both their BSN and MSN degrees simultaneously through the RN to BSN to MSN Bridge program. The MSN programs are mostly online but include on-campus immersion courses of two or four days. Both full-time and part-time formats are available.

MidAmerica Nazarene University

MidAmerica Nazarene University offers students with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees or who are LPNs or paramedic/MICTs with 60 hours of college credit an Accelerated BSN program. The 64-credit hour program is primarily on-campus but includes some hybrid courses. Students complete clinical hours at any of several affiliated healthcare facilities in the greater KC metro area. The program length for this full-time program is 12 months. Current RNs interested in earning their BSNs can do so through the RN to BSN program. Full-time students can complete the fully-online curriculum in as few as 12 months full-time but have the option of studying at their own pace.

MNU’s online graduate nursing options include MSN degrees and post-graduate certificates, both with four specialty tracks. There’s also an RN to MSN program that allows students to earn both their BSN and MSN in as little as 36 months.

Types of Nursing Programs Available in or Near Kansas City

Nursing schools in Kansas City offer a wide range of degree and certificate options. To help you choose the right one for you, we’ve overviewed the most common options currently available. We’ve also linked to nursing schools in Kansas City with each program type.

Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Kansas City

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

An ADN offers an affordable and time-efficient path to becoming an RN to students with little or no nursing or college experience. Curriculums include general education and foundational nursing courses along with substantial clinical practice hours resulting in NCLEX-RN eligibility. Most ADN programs require two years of full-time study.

Examples of Kansas City Nursing Schools with this Program

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (Traditional BSN)

The traditional BSN is for students with no nursing experience who want to become RNs but with the additional advantage of a bachelor’s degree. Traditional BSN programs are offered in either four-year standard or two-year formats with two-year programs typically requiring applicants have all general education and lower-division nursing courses before enrolling. All traditional BSN programs provide the nursing theory and clinical practice hours needed to qualify for the NCLEX-RN.

Examples of Kansas City Nursing Schools with this Program

Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSN (Second Degree) programs allow students with a non-nursing bachelor’s to apply coursework from that degree to their BSN programs, significantly cutting completion times and tuition costs. Program lengths are one to two years based on full-time or part-time study.

Examples of Kansas City Nursing Schools with this Program

Nursing Bridge Programs in Kansas City for Current Nurses


Current LPNs can move up the career ladder by earning their ADNs and becoming licensed RNs through an LPN to RN bridge program. LPN to RN programs account for the knowledge and skills possessed by LPNs and allow them to complete all associate degree requirements in as little as one year.

Examples of Kansas City Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to BSN Programs

RN to BSN programs are popular because they provide a convenient way for current RNs with ADNs or nursing diplomas to advance their careers by earning bachelor’s degrees. Often 100% online, full-time students may be able to complete all degree requirements in as few as 12 months. Part-time options accommodating working RNs are also available.

Examples of Kansas City Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to MSN Programs

The most direct path for current RNs without BSNs and who want career advancement into leadership and specialized practice roles is through an RN to MSN program. These programs often allow nurses to earn their BSNs and MSNs at the same time in as little as three years.

Examples of Kansas City Nursing Schools with this Program

Advanced Nursing Programs in Kansas City

Traditional MSN Programs (Master of Science in Nursing)

An MSN degree is necessary for nurses intending to move into leadership or advanced practice roles. Traditional MSNs are for current RNs with BSN degrees and typically require 18 to 24 months to complete. Most are offered with leadership, education, and/or advanced nurse practitioner concentrations, and many feature 100% online coursework.

Examples of Kansas City Nursing Schools with this Program

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and PhD Doctoral Programs

Nursing doctorates are strictly for experienced nurses intent on reaching the uppermost reaches of their profession. DNPs prepare graduates for senior positions in advanced practice and healthcare administration, while PhDs are for nurses seeking top-level jobs in scientific research and post-secondary education. Program lengths vary from two to six years or more depending on credential type.

Examples of Kansas City Nursing Schools with this Program

Post-Graduate Nursing Certificates

Nursing graduate degree holders can expand their professional knowledge bases and career prospects by earning post-graduate nursing certificates in one of several specialized fields. Common specializations include nursing administration, nursing education, and a range of advanced nurse practitioner subjects. Many graduate certificates are 100% online.

Examples of Kansas City Nursing Schools with this Program

Financial Aid Opportunities for Nursing Students in Kansas City

Nursing programs in Kansas City, and everywhere else, can seem expensive at first glance. Fortunately, there are a lot of financial aid opportunities available, including scholarships, grants, fellowships, assistantships, employer tuition reimbursement, and work study programs.

The most common funding source is the student loan, available from many public and private lenders, the biggest being the U.S. government. The federal government is also a great source for loan repayment opportunities. Other great financial aid resources are the Kansas and Missouri state governments.

To learn more about funding your nursing program in Kansas City, check out these nursing scholarships, financial aid, and graduating from nursing school debt-free guides from EduMed.

How to Become an RN in Kansas City: Licensing Requirements

Both Missouri and Kansas are members of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). If you possess a license from a compact member state or territory, you won’t need to obtain an additional RN license to practice in member states. If you don’t, you’ll need to apply for RN licensure to the board of nursing in the state in which you intend to practice, either the Missouri State Board of Nursing or the Kansas State Board of Nursing. You’ll use the state’s license by endorsement process if you currently hold RN licensure in a non-NLC state or territory. If you’re applying for your first RN license, you’ll use your state’s license by examination process.

For a review of the specific steps you’ll take to obtain your RN license by examination, visit EduMed’s guides to nursing schools in Missouri and nursing schools in Kansas.

Job Market and Earnings for RNs in Kansas City

The employment outlook for nursing professionals in the Kansas City area is healthy. According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), for example, employment of registered nurses in Kansas City and its surrounding communities will grow by 12.9% through 2028. In addition, job growth for Kansas City area nurse practitioners is expected to be particularly strong at 29.5% through 2028. Nursing salaries in Kansas City are healthy, too, with some hourly wages well above $30.

How Much You Could Make as an RN or Advanced Practice Nurse in Kansas City

Median Hourly WageAvg. Hourly WageAvg. Annual Wage
Registered Nurses$34$34$70,240
Nurse Practitioners$52$53$110,650
Nurse Anesthetists$77$84$174,490

Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020