Best Nursing Schools And Programs in Missouri


In Missouri, 75% of its licensed nurses work in the state as registered nurses. Others work in metropolitan counties. However, its workforce now has nurses at the age of 55 years and older. Soon, these RNs will retire, leaving a huge demand for new nurses.

If you are looking for an opportunity to practice your chosen career in a state with a high demand for nurses, Missouri shouldn’t be out of your list. Below is a quick guide on how to be an RN in the state.

Requirements: How to Become an RN in Missouri

The requirements to becoming a registered nurse in the state are similar to others. You need to complete three steps and below is a quick look at each one:

Complete an Accredited Nursing Program

With so many options, it’s easy to feel confused and overwhelmed. If you want to make sure you end up with the right school and program, take a look at their accreditation status first.

Some of the big ones you should look out for are the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Commission for Education in Nursing. Another thing you should look out for is the approval of the Missouri State Board of Nursing.

Pass the NCLEX

The NCLEX serves as a way to determine the competencies of people aspiring to get licensed in the state. It helps make sure that nurses at the entry level are able to perform their duties and responsibilities safely and adequately.

The exam runs anywhere between 75 to 145 items. The questions belong to four different domains: Physiology Integrity, Psychosocial Integrity, Health Promotion and Maintenance, and Safe and Effective Care Environment.

After taking the exam, you’ll know your score within two days of your test date. If you want your official results, you’ll have to way for about six weeks.

Get your License

To apply for an RN license in Missouri, you’ll need to present proof of your lawful residence status or citizenship. You may also be asked to submit your fingerprints for criminal background checks as well as your official transcript from the program you graduated from.

You can find out all the details here.

ADN Programs in Missouri

ADN programs in Missouri offers one of the quickest ways to be an RN in the state. Lasting for two years, enrolling in an ADN program allows you to build on your education without burning holes in your wallet. It’s the ideal route for budget-conscious people who want an affordable nursing program.

The requirements to getting admitted to an ADN program in Missouri vary. However, in general, expect the following to be required:

  • Official transcripts
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.8 or higher
  • ACT score as well as HESI A2 Entrance Exam of no less than 75%
  • Completion of prerequisite courses

LPN to RN Programs in Missouri

If you are an LPN wanting to be an RN in Missouri, the fastest route you can take is the LPN to ADN program.

In general, this kind of program takes around three semesters to complete. They are shorter compared with other programs.

However, if you want a higher-level pathway, you should consider getting into an LPN to BSN bridge program. Although it takes longer to complete, you’ll end up with a bachelor’s degree in nursing which most employers prefer these days.

To quality, you’ll need to have an active Missouri LPN license. You must also show proof of completion of the prerequisite courses and be a graduate of an approved LPN program.

BSN Programs in Missouri

best nursing schools and programs in missouri

BSN programs in the state can take around four years to finish. If you are already a registered nurse aiming to have a BSN degree, you may need less time to finish the program.

There are more than 25 schools in Missouri offering BSN programs. With so many options, you have to know what to look for.

For your career, you must look for a program that’s highly accredited. You should also look into the cost as BSN programs aren’t cheap. Apart from the tuition, you’ll need to pay for other fees, including uniforms, textbooks, and housing.

Most BSN programs require applicants to have a high school GPA of 3.2 and above and an ACT composite score of 24. Others require a SAT score of 1160 and above. You must also show your high school diploma.

MSN Programs in Missouri

If you air aiming to advance your career, look into MSN programs in the state. After completing them, you can work on specialized nursing jobs such as being a Family Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist or Nurse Midwife. These positions come with great responsibilities as well as salaries.

Accelerated Nursing Programs in Missouri

After 12 to 18 months, completing an Accelerated Nursing Program in the state can give you better opportunities career-wise. This type of nursing program requires full-time clinical hours and studies, making them not that ideal for nurses who are currently employed.

Best Nursing Programs in Missouri

Southeast Missouri State UniversityView School Profile
University of Missouri - ColumbiaView School Profile
Maryville UniversityView School Profile
Hannibal-LaGrange UniversityView School Profile
Avila UniversityView School Profile
University of Missouri - Kansas CityView School Profile
Truman State UniversityView School Profile
St. Louis UniversityView School Profile
Missouri State UniversityView School Profile
University of Missouri - St. LouisView School Profile

A Closer Look at the Best Nursing Programs in Missouri

There are tons of options in Missouri. To help you pick the best nursing program in the state, the following schools have been ranked based on NCLEX pass rates, satisfaction of both students and graduates, and post-graduate employment rates.

1. Southeast Missouri State University

southeast missouri state university

Southeast Missouri State University is located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Established in 1958, it offers the traditional BSN and master of science in nursing or MSN programs. It also has an online RN-BSN program you can enroll in.

In 2020, its nursing graduates had an impressive 97% employment rate right after graduation. Its BSN NCLEX-RN first-time pass rate is also impressive at 94%.

The program allows students to experience hands-on learning from primary care and medical centers. About 70% of its faculty has doctoral degrees, ensuring quality education to anyone who wishes to earn their degree in this university.

2. University of Missouri – Columbia

university of missouri - columbia

University of Missouri – Columbia is a public research school. It offers affordable education with excellent output.

The university offers degrees at different levels: bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral. Studying and earning your degree here gives you the opportunity to connect with the top facilities in the state.

3. Maryville University

maryville university

Maryville University takes pride in its rigorous curriculum. Its nursing program prepares its students to be efficient and effective nursing professionals.

The average class size is 14. This allows the faculty to pay close attention to the educational needs of its students. Plus, the career outcome is at 98%.

In addition to its traditional nursing program, it also offers online nursing degree options as well as an Accelerated BSN to DNP program.

4. Hannibal-LaGrange University

hannibal-lagrange university

Hannibal-LaGrange University is a small school and a small student body. This allows students to learn more from their mentors through focused education.

Most of its nursing graduates have been able to find a job right away. In fact, around 90% of them had a job offer after they graduated.

The university offers a 3+1 associate-BSN program that allows students to complete their bachelor’s degree and become registered nurses in just four years. The program involves completing an ASN or Associate of Science in Nursing for three years and finishing a BSN degree in the additional one year. This allows students to take out fewer loans and earn faster.

5. Avila University

avila university

Avila University is another school with a low student-to-teacher ratio. With small class sizes, the faculty are able to prepare their students not just for their NCLEX but their roles as professional nurses in the future too.

Admission is quite limited so expect the competition to the tough. However, considering that its graduates are able to find employment quickly after graduation and its curriculum reflects the current trends and meets the needs of today’s healthcare, the school definitely deserves a spot in your list.

6. University of Missouri – Kansas City

university of missouri - kansas city

If you are looking for low in-state tuition, don’t miss out the University of Missouri-Kansas City. If you are a resident of Kansas to Heartland, you’ll get to enjoy significant tuition discounts.

Looking at the programs it offers, you definitely have a lot of options. However, its most popular program is the traditional BSN. The pre-licensure program is focused on a 4 to 5-year traditional degree plan. There’s also an RN to BSN program which you can look into.

7. Truman State University

truman state university

Truman State University is based in Kirksville, Missouri. Most students who choose to attend its 4-year BSN program are attracted by the wide array of clinical experiences it offers. Plus, the reputation of the school is quite excellent.

In addition to the 4-year program, you can also check out its Accelerated BSN program that can be completed in just 18 months. It’s a good choice if you already have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.

Most of its graduates land jobs in the University of Missouri Hospital, Mayo Clinics, and Children’s Mercy Hospital.

8. St. Louis University

st louis university missouri

In Missouri, St. Louis University is one of the oldest Catholic schools. However, even though it’s been around for several years already, its nursing programs are seriously good. Ever since it’s been around, it has served as a leader in nursing education in the region.

It offers three BSN options. There’s the traditional BSN program and the Accelerated BSN and RN-BSN programs. You can also check out its certificate programs that allow those who have an MSN to get into coursework that’ll let them assume a nurse practitioner role.

9. Missouri State University

missouri state university

Missouri State University can be found in Springfield, Missouri. With its experienced nursing educators, its students are able to develop the skills and knowledge they need for their professional growth.

The university follows a community-based program that focuses on one-on-one learning. It’s supposed to help students have hands-on experience.

In addition to that, its tuition is also low. And with its high NCLEX pass rate, there’s no reason for you to skip this university in your hunt for the best nursing program in Missouri.

10. University of Missouri – St. Louis

university of missouri - st louis

St. Louis has one of the largest nursing programs. Since class sizes are small, getting accepted isn’t that hard.

Its pre-licensure program requires a minimum of 120 credit hours. It’s approved by the Missouri State Board of Nursing and accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

In addition to the traditional BSN program, it also offers an Accelerated BSN program. It consists of 12 months of nursing coursework. It’s open for those with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline.