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Kansas Nursing Schools and Programs

| NurseJournal Staff

Schools, Licensing Requirements, and Resources

Nursing ranks among the nation's most rewarding jobs, offering career advancement, competitive salaries, and low unemployment. Currently, over 29,000 registered nurses (RNs) and 1,900 advanced practice nurses (APNs) work in Kansas, and the state projects steady employment growth for both nursing fields. Online nursing programs in Kansas appeal to students just starting their undergraduate studies and nursing professionals seeking advanced training to further their careers.

This guide provides useful information about how to become a nurse in Kansas, online nursing programs available in the state, and career and salary possibilities for different nursing fields. Read on to explore Kansas nursing licensure requirements for certified nursing assistants (CNAs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), RNs, and nurse practitioners (NPs).

Why Attend Online Nursing Programs in Kansas?

According to a recent study by the Kansas Hospital Association, the healthcare sector employs 12% of all job-holders, making it the state's third-largest employer. While Kansas does not anticipate significant nursing shortages, the demand for skilled licensed nurses remains high. The state projects jobs for RNs to grow 10% and jobs for NPs to grow almost 23% from 2016-2026.

Colleges and universities in Kansas charge relatively low in-state tuition fees, maintaining modest increases in educational costs over the past five years compared to schools in other states. The low cost of living and overall affordability make Kansas a good choice for students and nurses establishing their careers.

Featured Online Programs

How to Become a Nurse in Kansas

Each state maintains specific guidelines and pathways to licensure. While the licensing process in Kansas is similar to other states, details such as licensing costs and procedures are specific to the state. The guide below details how to earn your online nursing degree and become a practicing nurse in Kansas.

  • 1. Choose the Path That's Right for You

    An associate degree in nursing (ADN) is the minimum degree required to become a nurse. While ADN programs take 2-3 years to complete, advanced nursing positions may require a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or master of science in nursing (MSN). Those who want to teach nursing at the collegiate level may need a doctor of nursing practice (DNP). Each degree path takes a different amount of time to complete, but each requires a great deal of commitment. Choose the track that aligns with your individual career goals.
  • 2. Earn Your Nursing Degree

    Earning an online nursing degree allows students to maintain flexibility in their schedules and accommodate their work and family life. Graduate-level nursing programs, such as MSN or DNP programs, require a BSN as a prerequisite for admission. Most require clinicals -- in-person work hours performed under supervision -- which can affect degree completion time.
  • 3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License

    Nursing schools in Kansas prepare students to earn nursing licensure and practice nursing professionally in the state. A $200 fee accompanies the NCLEX licensing exam. Passing the exam and earning a nursing license does not guarantee you a job, but licensed nurses with online nursing degrees are among the most competitive candidates.

Online Nursing Degree Programs in Kansas

Nurses have expanded their practice responsibilities in response to the rising demand for primary and preventive care services. Like many other states where nurses have broadened their practice responsibilities, Kansas requires undergraduate and graduate degrees as the minimum educational qualification for licensure.

Whether just starting your education or seeking advanced training to boost your career, online nursing schools in Kansas give you the knowledge and skills to succeed in the field.

What Courses Are Part of an Online Nursing Degree Program in Kansas?

Nursing programs differ considerably by degree level. BSN programs provide students with the core knowledge to move into professional practice or advanced study. In addition to clinical experiences, students in BSN programs complete foundational requirements in areas such as biology and anatomy. See below for common classes in Kansas online nursing programs.

Community Health Nursing

This course synthesizes healthcare theory, public health, and nursing practice, emphasizing health maintenance for the care of communities across socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Students learn about epidemiology, risk assessment, and health maintenance and disease prevention.

Pathophysiology and Pharmacology

Students acquire an understanding of pharmacological principles and applications, and pathophysiological mechanisms across the lifespan. The course emphasizes the major drug classifications, the most commonly prescribed drugs, and the therapeutic and toxic effects of drugs.

Research and Statistics for Evidence-Based Nursing Practice

This course establishes the relationship between research and evidence-based practice. Students learn the basic concepts of research as applied to nursing practice, including statistical applications, data analysis, and hypothesis testing.

How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?

Accredited online nursing programs in Kansas deliver the same quality education as on-campus degrees. They also provide affordable and convenient options for students with family or work responsibilities. Graduates acquire the skills they need for their intended practice roles, fully prepared to pass licensure exams.

While program content differs at each degree level, online degrees generally take the same amount of time to finish as campus-based programs. An ADN takes approximately two years while a BSN requires 3-4 years depending on prior training. An MSN required for advanced nursing roles including NPs, adds two more years of study. Nurses interested in entering research, teaching, and supervisory roles may complete a DNP program in approximately three years.

While many nursing degrees deliver coursework entirely online, some programs require in-person attendance for hybrid classes, tests, and orientations. All nursing programs require onsite clinical experiences.

Nursing Licensure in Kansas

The Kansas State Board of Nursing (KSBN) sets the standards for nursing care, establishes the scope of practice for nurses within the state, and issues and renews licenses. The state formally joined the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) in 2019. The eNLC agreement permits LPNs and RNs licensed in one member state to practice in other compact states without applying for an additional license.

Kansas, like other states, requires LPNs and RNs to pass the appropriate National Council Licensure Examination before they receive approval to practice. CNAs must pass the state competency exam.

Requirements differ somewhat from other states for advanced practice nurse roles. While NPs in many states practice independently, performing many of the same services as physicians, Kansas remains a reduced-practice state. NPs in Kansas must practice under the supervision of a collaborating doctor. State policy does not recognize NPs as primary care providers.

The following section describes licensure requirements in greater detail for each nursing category.

State Requirements by Nursing Type

This table summarizes license requirements for each nursing field. If you plan to apply for a Kansas nursing license, check with the KSBN to verify current requirements.

Certified Nurse Assistant The Kansas Nurse Aide Registry maintains a list of all active CNAs in the state who have met state requirements established by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disabilities Services. Applicants must complete a 90-credit training program consisting of a state-mandated curriculum and 45 hours of clinical experience under the supervision of an RN or LPN. After completing this training, candidates must pass the Kansas Nurse Aide competency test. Test-takers need a minimum passing score of 75%. Candidates who fail the test three times must complete retraining before they can reapply. In addition to the training program and competency test, the application requires a fingerprint-based criminal background check, physical exam, proof of immunizations, negative TB test, and drug screening. CNAs who work at Medicare or Medicaid-funded facilities may apply for reimbursement of the total cost of training and testing within 12 months of receiving their registry approval.

Kansas Licensure Requirements

Licensed Practical Nurse The KSBN requires LPN applicants to complete an approved practical nurse training program and pass the NCLEX-PN test before they can practice in the state. The training programs usually take 12-14 months to complete, including at least 30 credits of core nursing content and seven hours of coursework in human growth and development, anatomy, and physiology. All programs require clinical experiences under the supervision of a licensed nurse. After completing the nursing education program, prospective LPNs apply through the state board for permission to take the NCLEX-PN test. Once they receive the authorization to test from the testing agency, Pearson VUE, applicants must schedule a test date within 90 days. The NCLEX-PN exam assesses knowledge in four broad areas: safe and effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance, psychiatric health and diseases, and physiological care. Prospective LPNs must take the exam within two years of completing their training program. Applicants who fail the exam may retake it after 45 days.

Kansas Licensure Requirements

  • Education: High school diploma and completion of a KSBN-approved practical nurse program
  • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in degree program
  • Exams: NCLEX-PN
  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years
  • Continuing Education: 30 contact hours within the licensing period
Registered Nurse Licensed RNs in Kansas must hold a nursing diploma, ADN, or BSN, and pass the National Council Licensure Exam for RNs. Prospective RNs may begin the application process through the state board either before or after completing their college degree. The application requires a completed fingerprint scan for a criminal background check and official transcripts sent directly from their program. Applicants who wish to take the NCLEX-RN exam before they finish their degree must request a test before transcript authorization from the state board. License-seekers register separately to take the NCLEX-RN test through the Pearson Vue testing agency. Applicants who do not take the exam within two years of their application must reapply for licensing. Nursing graduates who do not pass the exam within five years must repeat a nursing program to reapply. Kansas legislation requires nursing applicants to disclose any professional disciplinary actions, misdemeanors, or felony convictions, and submit an explanatory letter indicating the current status and any completed rehabilitation.

Kansas Licensure Requirements

  • Education: Nursing diploma, ADN, or BSN from a KSBN-approved program
  • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in degree program
  • Exams: NCLEX-RN
  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years
  • Continuing Education: 30 contact hours within the licensing period
Nurse Practitioner APNs in Kansas must hold a valid RN license and a master's degree or higher in a clinical area of nursing. Graduate programs for NPs must receive approval from the KSBN or from a regional or programmatic accreditation agency recognized by the ED. The program must include three hours in advanced pharmacology, three hours in pathophysiology, and three hours in health assessment. The NP application requires a completed fingerprint card for a criminal background check and official transcripts forwarded directly to the KSBN from the degree program. Because Kansas is a restricted-practice state, NP license-seekers must supply an authorization for collaborative practice with a licensed doctor. NPs seeking prescriptive authority to administer drugs must obtain a written protocol from a physician. Kansas, unlike most other states, does not require NPs to take a national certification exam in a patient population specialty. However, acquiring specialized certification from a national credentialing organization may lead to broader career prospects.

Kansas Licensure Requirements

  • Education: Valid RN license, MSN, or DNP from a KSBN-approved program and an accreditation agency recognized by the United States Department of Education (ED)
  • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in degree program
  • Exams: NCLEX-RN, national certification in a specialty from an approved national certification agency recommended but not required
  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years
  • Continuing Education: 30 contact hours within the licensing period

Online Nursing Degree Programs and Licensing in Kansas FAQ

What Nursing Field Makes the Most Money? APNs, including NPs, earn the highest nursing salaries in the U.S. NPs in Kansas earn an average yearly salary over $99,000, significantly above the pay level for other nurses in the state.
Can Someone Become a Nurse in Two Years? LPNs can begin their nursing careers in as little as one year. ADN programs typically require two years to complete.
How Should I Choose What Nursing Field to Go Into? Choosing a nursing field depends on personal interests, temperament, and professional goals. Nursing students should consider the projected demand for their intended field, opportunities for professional growth, and what the work environment is like.
Does an Online Nursing Degree Have the Same Value as an On-Campus Degree? Accredited online nursing programs offer high-quality training that prepares graduates for licensure exams and rewarding careers across nursing specialties. Employers view online nursing degrees as comparable with campus-based programs.
Is Kansas a Nurse Compact State? Kansas joined theeNLC in 2019. Membership allows RNs and LPNs with a multistate license to practice in Kansas and other compact states.

Kansas Nurse Salaries and Employment Trends

Kansas does not anticipate significant nursing shortages and the Department of Labor workforce projections indicate continuing job growth in the state for RNs and NPs from 2016-2026. Nursing salaries in Kansas fall below the national average for all nursing categories. However, both RNs and NPs, who must hold postsecondary degrees for licensure, earn significantly more than CNAs and LPNs, who can enter nursing without a degree.

NPs often earn more than six figures, depending on their employer, experience, and specialization. NPs in Kansas who choose to add a national certification to their credentials earn the highest salaries. Individuals can pursue specializations in gerontology, psychiatric/mental health, neonatology, and pediatrics.

While a college education does not guarantee a well-paying job, a nursing degree leading to licensure can open up an array of rewarding career possibilities and commensurate salaries.

Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in Kansas, by Type

  Annual Mean Wage Projected Job Growth(2016-2026)
Certified Nurse Assistant $26,210 4.9%
Licensed Practical Nurse $43,240 -0.7%
Registered Nurse $61,030 10.0%
Nurse Practitioner $99,430 22.8%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Projections Central

Annual Mean Nurse Wages in Nearby States

  Certified Nurse Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Nurse Practitioner
United States $29,580 $47,050 $75,510 $110,030
Nebraska $28,730 $43,160 $64,470 $103,800
Missouri $25,930 $42,580 $65,130 $102,470
Oklahoma $25,690 $41,260 $63,080 $103,280
Colorado $32,610 $51,210 $74,240 $111,210

Source: BLS

Certified Nurse Assistant


While competitive with neighboring states, CNA salaries in Kansas fall below the national average. However, CNAs can enter the workforce relatively quickly after completing a short training program. The job outlook remains constant and employment does not require a college degree. Kansas, like many other states, requires nurse aids to care for its growing aging population in nursing homes and long-term facilities, and to assist those dealing with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Licensed Practical Nurse


Projected job openings for Kansas LPNs have not kept pace with national trends for this nursing field. The mean salary of $43,240 remains on par with nearby states, with the top-earning LPNs in Kansas making over $53,000 a year. LPNs can expand their career and salary prospects by taking positions in the state's underserved, rural areas or by acquiring certifications in high-demand areas such as intravenous (IV) therapy or gerontological care.

Registered Nurse


Kansas expects to add nearly 3,000 RN positions from 2016-2026. While the mean salary of $61,030 falls more than $14,000 below the national average for RNs, 50% of RNs in Kansas make over $59,000 while the top 10% earn above $80,000. While the employment outlook for the state's RNs is projected to grow steadily, the supply of new nurses in the workforce has increased competition. Graduates of BSN programs enter the job market with advantages over those holding an ADN.

Nurse Practitioner


NPs in Kansas rank among the state's most highly paid workers, earning a mean yearly salary of $99,430 compared to $45,280 for all occupations in the state. In Kansas, graduate-trained NPs earn $38,400 more annually than RNs who enter the workforce with either an ADN or BSN. Compared to neighboring states, NPs in Kansas take home the lowest salaries, although wages vary from $64,250 for the lowest 10% to $130,370 for those in the 90th percentile.

Nursing Resources for Kansas

  • KSNA represents the interests of professional nurses in Kansas and promotes high standards for nursing practice. The association sponsors webinars and conferences, offers discounts on continuing education (CE) courses, and monitors current state legislation impacting the profession.
  • This affiliate of KSNA supports the recognition and acceptance of APNs. KAPN advocates to broaden the scope of practice for these nurses to increase access to cost-effective, high-quality healthcare.
  • The state government office establishes standards and regulations for the nursing profession in Kansas. The board authorizes license applications, renewals, and verifications, and provides information on licensure examinations and CE requirements.
  • This state affiliate of the Emergency Nurses Association advocates for patient safety and excellence in emergency nursing practice. Members receive access to CE opportunities, reference resources, toolkits, and clinical practice guidelines.
  • KANS supports the interests of students planning to enter nursing careers. The association sponsors an annual conference and provides financial aid and scholarship information, networking opportunities, and career and educational resources.

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