How to Become a Registered Nurse in Missouri

Missouri map

Located in the heart of the country, Missouri has plenty of medical professional employment opportunities for graduating students.

However, steps must be taken to reach that point, starting with enrolling and completing a state-accredited nursing program.

Missouri’s 2020 Workforce Report found that over 100,000 registered nurses (RNs) currently work in the state.

This number is projected to grow by around 16.2% into 2030.

Available degrees include:

  • ADN – associate degree in nursing
  • BSN – Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • MSN – Master of Science in Nursing
  • Doctoral programs

If this sounds like a field you’re interested in, please keep reading to learn more about the schools that offer different degrees!

5 Registered Nurse Schools in Missouri

Missouri has a variety of top-notch schools that will help propel the careers of graduates, including:

Avila University

Avila University Logo

With only 1,200 undergraduate students, this Catholic school boasts a 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio.

The nursing program prepares graduates for a prosperous nursing career and has a national examination licensure exam passing rate of over 97%.

Given the small student body, only 54 nursing students are admitted each year, so competition is high.

The annual tuition is $21,100 but includes all campus fees and books.

Hannibal-LaGrange University

Hannibal-LaGrange University Logo

Located in Hannibal, Missouri, Hannibal-LaGrange University is a small school of around 1,000 students.

However, with such a small student population, nursing candidates receive a focused education with a personal touch.

In 2021, 100% of nursing graduates found a job, and 90% had an offer at graduation.

The degree programs include a 3+1 associate-BSN so that you can become an RN in four years.

The annual tuition cost is expensive at $22,000 and there is no in-state tuition since it’s a private university.

Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Missouri State University Logo

With low-annual in-state tuition of around $8,500 and a student body of 12,000, SMSU falls between a small and large college.

In the Old Mississippi River banks, SMSU has the most storied nursing program in the state.

Launched in 1058, the Department of Nursing offers an MSN, RN-BSN, and traditional BSN program.

For those who have already begun their college career, the BSN is a transfer-friendly option that accepts many core classes from other degrees.

University of Missouri – Columbia

University of Missouri – Columbia Logo

Nicknamed Mizzou, the University of Missouri – Columbia is considered one of the top public research institutions in the U.S.

What’s even more impressive is that half the student graduate with little to no debt because the annual in-state tuition is around $12,000.

Since the school is top-notch and affordable, the Sinclair School of Nursing has no problem attracting new students.

Candidates can pursue doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s-degree level programs and have access to some of the top healthcare facilities in the state.

University of Missouri – Kansas City

University of Missouri – Kansas City Logo

UMKC boasts an incredibly affordable in-state tuition of $9,400 since it’s a public university.

The school manages to maintain a 14:1 student-to-teacher ratio, despite the 16,000 students that attend.

Those interested in a BSN can choose a traditional or accelerated BSN, RN-BSN, MSN, DNP (doctor nurse practitioner), and Ph.D. in nursing.

Over 94% of students passed the national licensure exam in 2021, a testament to the quality of education.

Registered Nurse Schools in Missouri – Summary Table

Top 5 Schools in Missouri

School NameAddress
Avila University11901 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO 64145
Hannibal-LaGrange University2800 Palmyra Rd, Hannibal, MO 63401
Southeast Missouri State University1 University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
University of Missouri – ColumbiaColumbia, MO 65211
University of Missouri – Kansas City5000 Holmes St, Kansas City, MO 64110


Becoming a nurse in the U.S. can be a highly lucrative and rewarding career, with an average national salary of $83,000 and a range between $59,500 to $106,800.

The average nursing salary in Missouri is a little lower at $77,800, ranging from $55,700 to $99,900.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Registered Nurse (RN)s in Missouri

City NameSalary
Kansas City$65,130
St. Louis$65,390
St. Joseph$64,550
Lee's Summit$64,880
St. Charles$65,030
St. Peters$64,890
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Missouri

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Cape Girardeau, MO-IL1,680$65,250$31.37$76,640$51,180
Columbia, MO3,440$70,710$34$91,790$51,650
Jefferson City, MO1,250$63,920$30.73$77,460$48,940
Joplin, MO2,460$67,670$32.53$81,570$53,760
Kansas City, MO-KS26,620$76,580$36.82$97,110$60,140
St. Joseph, MO-KS1,180$71,640$34.44$83,340$56,720
St. Louis, MO-IL32,240$75,170$36.14$98,980$58,330
Springfield, MO6,470$63,500$30.53$80,590$50,810
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Registered Nurses, OCC Code 29-1141, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the steps to being admitted into a Missouri nursing program?

The first step is to determine several schools you wish to attend and contact their admission offices.

The administration can provide you with the application details and requirements.

Next, you must ensure you meet those requirements so you aren’t wasting your time.

Finally, if you meet or exceed the school’s admission requirements, submit the application.

When applying to different schools, always pay close attention o the deadlines since they vary.

How do you get a Missouri nursing license?

Missouri follows the standard requirements for obtaining a nursing license that follows the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact.

Requirements include:

  • Take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam.
  • Pass mental health and criminal background check
  • Complete a notarized application, then apply for licensure through the state

What accreditation should you look for in a Missouri nursing school?

The two nursing accreditation organizations in the U.S. are also recognized at the state level by the ACEN (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing) and CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education).

If you earn an unaccredited degree, you could have difficulty finding work post-graduation and challenges securing federal financial aid.

What should you consider when comparing Missouri nursing programs?

Factors when comparing schools include:  

  • Accreditation
  • Annual tuition
  • Cost of living near campus
  • The daily commute to class
  • Direct entry vs. a separate nursing school application
  • Grants, financial aid, and scholarships offered
  • Job placement and NCLEX passing rate
  • Program acceptance rate
  • Program length

What materials will you need for your Missouri nursing program application?

All Missouri schools require the GPA from your high school transcript, letters of recommendation, ACT or SAT scores, and college entrance essays, which vary based on the school.

Also, you will be required to pay application fees, which are specific to the institution.

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