Top Missouri Nursing Schools and Programs

September 29, 2021 , Modified on April 28, 2022 · 6 Min Read

Nurses are in high demand in Missouri. Learn about Missouri's top nursing programs and nurse licensing, typical salaries, and job outlook.

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NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Top Missouri Nursing Schools and Programs
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With almost 70 associate nursing or bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs in Missouri, learners can find an option that meets their career goals, background, and personal preferences.

This guide explores the best nursing programs in Missouri, how to earn your registered nurse (RN) or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license, and salary and job growth prospects.

The Best Nursing Schools in Missouri

The best school depends on the criteria that matter most to you. This guide can help you select the best online or on-campus nursing program in Missouri for your needs.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nursing schools in Missouri, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Featured Online MSN Programs

How to Choose a Nursing Program in Missouri

When choosing from the many nursing schools in Missouri, consider the type of degree you want, cost and financial aid, admission requirements and acceptance rates, the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN) pass rate, and program logistics. If you choose to attend classes online, find out about clinical placement options in your community.

Because nursing accreditation is the most important indicator of program quality, this guide only lists accredited programs.

Why Become a Nurse in Missouri

Attending nursing school in Missouri is an excellent investment. Missouri is a Nurse Licensure Compact state, which means you can apply for a multistate license once you graduate. The first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate is 90%, compared to 86.6% nationally.

Missouri offers a mix of midwestern and southern cultures, with both big cities and small rural communities. The food and music scenes are strong and growing, and the state is full of outdoor recreation opportunities. The high RN job growth and low cost of living make the state an excellent option for nurses.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in Missouri

The average salary for RNs in Missouri is $65,900, and the salary for nurse practitioners (NPs) is $106,870. The state cost-of-living index is 89.8%, compared to the national average of 100.

In addition to a low cost of living, Missouri offers government scholarships and financial aid for nurses and other primary care providers. If you commit to working in one of Missouri's medically underserved areas after graduation, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness for nurses or full nursing scholarships, which can make your salary go farther.

Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses in Missouri

The highest-paying cities for RNs all have academic medical centers, as well as other hospitals and healthcare settings.

Missouri offers music for every taste. Kansas City and St. Louis are famous for blues, and the St. Louis Symphony is one of the oldest orchestras in the country. Additionally, St. Louis and Jefferson may appeal to foodies for their famous southern barbecue culture.

Highest-Paying Cities
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Median Salary for RNs
Kansas City $70,240
St. Louis $68,230
Columbia $65,270
St. Joseph $64,560
Jefferson City $63,560
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Steps to Becoming a Nurse in Missouri

Once you meet the nurse licensing requirements in Missouri, you can apply for a state or multi-state nursing license. You must pass a criminal background check with fingerprinting to receive your license.

RN Requirements

The Missouri State Board of Nursing requires RNs to graduate from an approved professional nursing program. The board approves associate nursing and bachelor's nursing programs that meet set criteria for curriculum and exam pass rates.

Prospective students can check with the board for approved programs and detailed information on education requirements. Before graduating, students may apply to sit for the NCLEX-RN. Candidates may take the test once they are approved by the board. Before receiving official scores, students may practice for up to 90 days on a temporary nursing license.

Nurses do not need to complete continuing education requirements to renew their licenses. RNs renew their licenses on April 30 of each odd-numbered year.

Nurses should check with their employer for any workplace-based continuing education requirements not imposed by the state.

APRN Requirements

In Missouri, APRNs must complete a graduate nursing program intended to prepare students for advanced practice. This includes nursing master's and nursing doctoral programs that meet the minimum educational standards set by the state nursing board.

Many graduate nursing schools require each student to hold an RN license in good standing before beginning a program.

Missouri requires APRNs to hold and maintain a valid RN license and a national certification provided by an approved certifying body. Each certifying body holds different requirements for certification and renewal. Nurses must provide the board with ongoing proof of maintaining an active certification.

NPs in Missouri work under restricted-practice status, requiring a collaborative practice agreement with a licensed physician to prescribe medications and provide certain patient treatments. APRNs without national certification may get and maintain licensure under different regulations.

Other Top Nursing Programs in Missouri

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Missouri


How long does it take to get an RN license in Missouri?

This depends on several factors. Prospective nurses must apply and submit necessary documents, including transcripts, test scores, and background checks. The time it takes to earn a license can vary from applicant to applicant.

What are the top employment settings for nurses in Missouri?

As of 2021, the majority of Missouri RNs (60.4%) worked in hospital inpatient care, according to the state board of nursing. Another 6% worked in physicians' offices or other ambulatory primary care, 5% worked in long-term care, and 3.5% in home health.

How many times can you take the NCLEX in Missouri?

Candidates can take the NCLEX-RN up to eight times per year, but with at least 45 days between attempts. You must apply and pay for the examination each time.

The average NCLEX-RN pass rate for nursing schools in Missouri is 90%, which is above the national average.

What is the median salary for nurses in Missouri?

The BLS reports the median RN salary nationally as $75,330. The average salary in Missouri is $65,900 for RNs and $106,870 for NPs. The city with the highest average salary for RNs in Missouri is Kansas City at $70,240.

What is the most common degree for nurses in Missouri?

As of 2021, the state board of nursing reports that the most common degree for RNs in Missouri is a BSN, with 53.8% of nurses having earned the degree. Another 31.2% hold an associate degree in nursing, and 7.1% have a master's. Nurses with a doctorate are rarer at 0.1%.

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