Best Nursing Schools in Missouri

Updated on April 8, 2024

At a Glance

  • Missouri offers over 75 nursing schools with various nursing programs
  • Top nursing schools in Missouri based on academics, affordability, and reputation include Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, University of Missouri – Columbia, and Maryville University
  • Other notable nursing schools in Missouri include University of Missouri – Kansas City, St. Louis University, and Missouri State University
  • Different types of nursing degrees available in Missouri include LPN certificates, ADN, BSN, MSN, and DNP

Missouri has over 75 nursing schools that offer various nursing programs, from licensed practical nurse (LPN) credentials to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees. With so many options to choose from, narrowing down the top nursing schools in Missouri can be challenging. This guide profiles 10 of the best nursing schools in Missouri based on academics, affordability, reputation, and more.

Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College

Location: St. Louis, MO

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 75%

Tuition: $30,000 per year

Avg Salary: $65,000


The Goldfarb School of Nursing is affiliated with Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Its BSN program focuses both on direct patient care as well as community health nursing. Unique offerings include clinical rotations abroad and an accelerated BSN for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree.

University of Missouri – Columbia

Location: Columbia, MO

Rating: 8.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 79%

Avg SAT Score: 1210

Tuition: $9,072 per year (in-state)

Avg Salary: $60,000


Mizzou’s Sinclair School of Nursing is one of their most competitive programs, with less than half of applicants admitted. Their direct entry MSN program allows those with a non-nursing bachelor’s to become an advanced practice nurse. They also offer an online RN to BSN completion program.

Maryville University

Location: St. Louis, MO

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 73%

Tuition: $30,450 per year

Avg Salary: $65,000


Maryville University’s College of Health Professions School of Nursing emphasizes hands-on practice in their simulation labs. Small class sizes allow students to work closely with nursing faculty. ABSN cohorts begin three times per year to accommodate working students and career changers.

University of Missouri – Kansas City

Location: Kansas City, MO

Rating: 7.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 78%

Avg SAT Score: 1140

Tuition: $9,000 per year (in-state)

Avg Salary: $62,500


The Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN) program offered by University of Missouri-Kansas City prepares nurses to provide direct patient care, educate the public about health and teaches collaborative leadership skills. Students gain invaluable experience through the accelerated 16-month Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. UMKC also offers a separate 16-month accelerated BSN program for veterans.

St. Louis University

Location: St. Louis, MO

Rating: 7.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 66%

Avg SAT Score: 1310

Tuition: $44,000 per year

Avg Salary: $68,000


The College for Public Health and Social Justice at Saint Louis University offers traditional and accelerated BSN programs spanning 16 to 24 months. Students gain clinical experience at health institutions across Missouri as well as the option to complete a summer practicum abroad. SLU also offers an online RN to BSN completion program and MSN tracks.

Missouri State University

Location: Springfield, MO

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 81%

Avg SAT Score: 1060

Tuition: $8,655 per year (in-state)

Avg Salary: $58,000


Missouri State University provides a traditional four-year BSN program with the option to study abroad. Their online RN-BSN allows working nurses to further their education while maintaining their career. The DNP program prepares nurses for advanced roles as nurse practitioners and leaders.

Research College of Nursing

Location: Kansas City, MO

Rating: 6.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 72%

Tuition: $12,975 per semester

Avg Salary: $62,000


With small class sizes, Research College of Nursing students receive individualized attention and extensive clinical experience. Their ASN and BSN programs place emphasis on hands-on learning in simulation labs and healthcare settings. They also offer LPN to RN and RN to BSN options.

Cox College

Location: Springfield, MO

Rating: 6/10

Acceptance Rate: 72%

Tuition: $415 per credit hour

Avg Salary: $60,000


Cox College is affiliated with CoxHealth, allowing students to learn from working professionals across medical specialties. Their ASN, BSN, accelerated BSN, LPN to RN, and MSN programs provide flexible learning options. New simulation labs and classrooms further enhance the educational experience.

Central Methodist University

Location: Fayette, MO

Rating: 5.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 58%

Tuition: $24,950 per year

Avg Salary: $55,000


Central Methodist University’s nursing programs emphasize holistic, patient-centered care and community health. Their traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, RN-BSN, and MSN tracks incorporate clinical rotations at regional medical centers. Small class sizes allow for individualized learning.

State Fair Community College

Location: Sedalia, MO

Rating: 5/10

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Tuition: $3,690 per year (in-state)

Avg Salary: $45,000


For an affordable path to becoming an LPN or RN, State Fair Community College is a top choice. Their nursing diploma and associate degree programs offer flexible schedules, with some evening and weekend courses. Graduates have high pass rates on the NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN licensing exams.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of nursing degrees in Missouri?

The main nursing credentials offered in Missouri include LPN certificates, associate degrees (ADN), bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degrees, master of science in nursing (MSN) degrees, and doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degrees. LPN and ADN prepared nurses provide frontline patient care, while those with BSN and higher qualify for advanced roles in nursing education, leadership, research and more.

How long does it take to become a registered nurse in Missouri?

An associate degree in nursing (ADN) takes about 2 years, while traditional BSN programs take 4 years. Accelerated BSN options for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree can be completed in 12-18 months. Upon graduating, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam for licensure as an RN. With an active RN license, many nurses then pursue BSN and higher degrees while working.

What is the average RN salary in Missouri?

The average registered nurse salary in Missouri is $63,800 annually, which is above the national average, according to the Missouri Center for Nursing. Salaries vary by location, experience level, specialty, and highest nursing degree earned. The top 10% of RNs earn over $90,000 per year in Missouri.

How competitive is nursing school in Missouri?

Nursing schools in Missouri typically have highly competitive admission, with some schools having less than a 50% acceptance rate. Applicants are evaluated holistically on GPA, test scores, interviews, essay responses, relevant experience and more. It helps to have related healthcare experience and shadowing. Maintaining a B+ average greatly improves your chances.

What are the prerequisites for nursing school in Missouri?

Common prerequisites include anatomy & physiology I and II, general biology I and II, microbiology, organic chemistry, nutrition, statistics, and psychology. Specific requirements vary among Missouri nursing schools. Completing prerequisites at accredited community colleges can minimize costs before transferring to complete a BSN.

Are there BSN programs for LPNs or RNs in Missouri?

LPNs can enroll in LPN to RN bridge programs, allowing them to advance with their existing knowledge and skills. Once licensed as an RN, many schools like Maryville University and University of Missouri – Kansas City offer RN to BSN programs for licensed nurses. Online RN to BSN programs offer flexibility for working nurses.

How much clinical experience is required for a BSN degree in Missouri?

BSN programs in Missouri require between 700-1000 supervised clinical hours within patient care settings. Clinical rotations make up a key component of BSN curriculums, allowing students to apply classroom learning. Clinical sites may include hospitals, community clinics, long-term care facilities and more across a range of specialties.

Does Missouri offer accelerated BSN programs?

Accelerated BSN options are available to those who hold a bachelor’s degree in another field and want to make a career change to nursing. Programs like those at Barnes-Jewish College and Maryville University offer 12-18 month ABSN tracks to help expedite degree completion. Core nursing curriculum is covered in an intensive format.

Can I work while completing a BSN in Missouri?

Many nursing students work part-time while enrolled, especially in traditional BSN programs. Accelerated tracks move at an intensive pace, making working more difficult. Seeking a balance between work and rigorous nursing curriculums helps prevent burnout. Saving up before starting an ABSN allows more focus on nursing studies.

Do I need a Bachelor’s degree to become an RN in Missouri?

You can become an RN in Missouri through a diploma program, associate nursing degree (ADN), or Bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). While BSN degrees are preferred for advanced nursing roles, ADN graduates still qualify to sit for RN licensure after passing the NCLEX-RN exam. Many hospitals now require newly hired RNs to earn their BSN within 5 years.

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