Missouri has one of the highest per capita rates of nurses in the country with more than 70,000 employed in the profession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And with job growth well over the national average for advance practice nursing, opportunities for both RNs and APRNs in the state are high. Additionally, due to nursing shortages across the country, job opportunities are expected to continue growing. To help address the need for more qualified professionals, colleges and universities across the state are expanding their nursing program options. Here you'll find information to explore nursing schools in Missouri as well as important details regarding state licensure.
- Top Nursing Schools in Missouri
- Search Nursing Schools
- State Licensing Requirements
- Nursing by the Numbers
- Resources & Associations
Top Nursing Schools in Missouri
To be considered for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria:
- Accredited at the institutional level
- Private nonprofit or public school
- Minimum of 1 bachelor's or master's degree in subject area for 4-year schools
- Minimum of 1 associate degree or certificate program in subject area for 2-year schools
Schools were then scored on factors such as:
- Cost & Financial Aid
- Number and variety of program offerings
- Student-teacher ratios
- Graduation rates (4-year schools only)
- Placement and support services offered
- Academic/Career counseling services
- Employment services
- Loan default rates
These factors were assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or "bang for your buck" of a college or degree program.
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Getting Your RN License in Missouri
Nurses must earn the appropriate license to practice in the state of Missouri, and that starts by choosing a school that's approved by the Missouri State Board of Nursing. This government agency issues licenses and monitors the professionalism of the field and those practicing in an effort to protect the public and enforce state laws and regulations. The Board also sets the requirements for nursing professionals and ensures practicing nurses are properly fulfilling their professional obligations. First-time RN licensing applicants who are seeking licensure by examination should expect to fulfill the following requirements:
- Complete an associate or bachelor's degree from an approved college or university. (Nurses who have a current license in another state may apply for an RN license by endorsement).
- Fill out the required licensure by examination forms with the Board of Nursing, which includes a $45 fee for RNs or $150 for advance practice recognition. Applications must be sent to the Board no later than three months before graduation.
- As a Nurse Licensure Compact state, nurses hold a compact license from the applicant's home (primary) state. Applicants must fill out a declaration of primary state of residence form with their licensing application.
- Submit a 2” by 2” signed photograph with your notarized application
- Complete a criminal background check at least two weeks after submitting an application to the Board
- Register to take the NCLEX and pay the accompanying fee to Pearson Vue
- Once you receive an Authorization to Test, complete NCLEX registration and take the exam (three months to four weeks prior to graduation)
- Request your nursing school transcripts be sent to the Board of Nursing.
- Enroll in the e-Notify system to receive notifications about changes in your license or discipline status
RN Renewal Information
Nurses in Missouri must renew their licenses every two years to continue practicing. Licenses expire on April 30 of every odd-numbered year and those with current licenses receive renewal notices about two months before the expiration date. Missouri does not require nurses to take continuing education hours to renew a nursing license; however, that doesn't necessarily mean that RNs will not need to fulfill these credits – many health care employers mandate that nurses and other health care professionals complete some form of CE on a regular basis. For more information, it's best to speak with your current or potential employer.
Becoming an Advance Practice Nurse in Missouri
Many RNs in Missouri choose to continue their education to advance – and specialize – their careers as advance practice nurses. These specialty nurses include nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners.
Like other specialists in the health care field, advance practice nurses must obtain additional certification. In addition to typical RN licensure requirements, advance practice nurses must also:
- Hold a current Missouri or Compact Registered Nurse (RN) license
- Complete all field experience requirements for the specialty license for which you are applying
- Hold a master's degree or higher in the nursing field for which you are applying
- Complete the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Application and pay all required non-refundable fees
- APRNs must re-certify with their certifying body at least three months before expiration. A copy of your re-certification must be sent to the Missouri Board of Nursing.
Advance practice requirements vary depending on the individual specialty. For more details on current licensing and renewal information, visit the Missouri Board of Nursing.
Missouri Nursing Stats
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that, across the country, the need for registered nurses will increase 16 percent between 2014 to 2024, while growth for advanced practice nurses is expected to be 31 percent during the same time period. Nurses in Missouri enjoy a salary that is in line with the cost of living for each geographic area. Take a look at the stats below to get an idea of salary and employment outlook for nurses in Missouri.
Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Missouri
|Area||Hourly Median Wage||Annual Median Wage|
|Kansas City MO-KS||$30.44||$63,310|
|St. Louis MO-IL||$27.64||$57,490|
|Central Missouri nonmetropolitan area||$25.27||$52,560|
|Southwest Missouri nonmetropolitan area||$25.13||$52,260|
|Southeast Missouri nonmetropolitan area||$23.65||$49,190|
|Cape Girardeau-Jackson MO-IL||$23.62||$49,130|
|North Missouri nonmetropolitan area||$23.46||$48,800|
Missouri vs. National Numbers
Missouri Nursing Resources
Missouri League for Nursing
The Missouri League for Nursing provides continuing education opportunities for nurses who wish to continue their education.
Missouri Nurses Association
Organized in 1906, the Missouri Nurses Association advocates for registered nurses and their patients and provides tools to help support the profession. It provides professional development, continuing education and lobbying on behalf of nurses.
Missouri Nursing Students' Association
The Missouri Nursing Students' Association helps to enhance current students' education in an effort to graduate nurses who can provide the best quality of care possible to the public.
St. Louis Nurses in Advanced Practice
The St. Louis Nurses in Advanced Practice aims to promote a positive image of health care by influencing policy makers, providing research on best practices and encouraging quality and effective care. It offers a career center, educational meetings and advocacy for its members.
State of Missouri Board of Nursing
The State of Missouri Board of Nursing is issues and renews the licenses of nurses in the state. It also develops and enforces state laws that govern the practice of nursing in an effort to protect the general public.