Most Affordable Nursing Schools in Missouri

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that jobs for registered nurses will grow 16% from 2014 to 2024. In the state of Missouri alone, there are an estimated 67,920 active registered nurses (more if you count those professional nurses in advanced practice careers). The mean hourly wage in the state is $29.25, which is $60,830/ year.

As with other states, many nursing schools in Missouri are aligning their BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program offerings to support an initiative started by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which aims to to increase the number of American registered nurses having an BSN to 80% or higher by 2020, from the starting point of 40% at the beginning of the initiative.

So if you have an interest in either starting a nursing career (first or second career) or upgrading your nursing education, this is an ideal time. Some nursing schools are making an investment in upgrading labs with new equipment and technology, to improve the success rate of students in both graduating and writing the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam.

What are the cheapest nursing degrees in Missouri?

This article provides an overview of traditional (and occasionally distance/ online) BSN programs in the state of Missouri. The NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) database lists 31 institutions of higher education as offering one or more BSN programs. We’ve filtered out inactive or defunct programs and schools and listed the 10 most affordable in the state, based on in-state tuition rate. The programs listed in this article, however, have been verified as still active at time of publication.

1

Missouri Southern State University

Average Tuition: $5,877

Program Website

Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) gets institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The Nursing Department of the School of Health Sciences (SHS) offers nursing programs which are additionally accredited by Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). SHS has been offering nursing education programs for nearly half a century.

MSSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. One track is intended for students new to nursing, while the other is an RN completion track. For the latter, students must be currently licensed as a Registered Nurse and hold an associate’s degree in nursing.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Sciences Degree of Nursing
  • RN to BSN

This BSN program prepares students for nursing roles as generalists in a range of health care settings. Areas of career opportunitiy include critical care, infection control neuroscience, obstetrics and gynecology, oncology, pediatrics, women’s health and more. The SHS has a first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate for 100% for 2016. The degree is based on the Betty Neuman Systems Model. No admission exam or minimum ACT score is required, nor are letters of reference, interviews or CNA.

The BSN program has a Fall-only start date. Students need to complete 126-129 credits for completion, with 94-97 credits for Nursing Major course requirements, and 32 credits for General Education, including Pre-Nursing courses.

Sample courses include:

  • Pharmacology in Nursing
  • Health Assessment and Technologies
  • Adult Nursing
  • Nursing Care of the Childbearing Family
  • Mental Health Nursing

Campus or HQ: Joplin, Missouri.

2

Missouri Western State University

Average Tuition: $6,256

Program Website

Missouri Western State University (MWSU) receives institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Undergraduate nursing programs are offered through the School of Nursing and Health Professions (SNHP), which are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The university celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2015. Its students collectively receive over $47M in financial aid yearly.

MWSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. Students new to nursing take the Traditional track. Those who are currently licensed as a Registered Nurse and hold either an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing have the RN completion track.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Traditional BSN (pre-licensure)
  • Diploma/ ADN to BSN (RN-BSN completion program)

This BSN program is based on “standards-based practice and holistic care,” which supplements class learning with clinical experiences. Areas covered in the program include acute care, community health, hospice, and obstetrics. Students have access to SNHP’s Nursing Simulation Lab, which offers mannequins, simulators, recording devices and other equipment — all collectively aiding what the school calls multi-sensory learning. Clinical courses limit the student / instructor ratio to about 10. Once graduated from the BSN, pre-licensure students are eligible for the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam, success of which results in a Registered Nurse designation.

Students will complete 124 credits for graduation, and need to declare and complete a Pre-Nursing major before entry into nursing coursework. General Studies make up for 42-47 credits, with the rest covered by Nursing Major and Support courses. RN track students will complete 31 credits of online nursing courses over two years (five terms, including one Summer).

Sample courses include:

  • Introduction to Standards-Based Nursing
  • Introduction to Clinical Nursing Practice
  • Holistic Assessment
  • Quantitative Analysis for Health Care Research
  • Maternal/ Newborn Nursing

Campus or HQ: Saint Joseph, Missouri.

3

Southeast Missouri State University

Average Tuition: $6,990

Program Website

Undergraduate nursing programs at Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) are offered through the Department of Nursing (DON), which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018. These programs have special accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). SEMO is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission.

SEMO offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. One track is for new nursing students. The other track is an RN completion track for licensed Registered Nurses having an associate’s degree in nursing. The latter track’s courses can be completed online.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN to BSN (online completion)

SEMO’s BSN program prepares students for nursing roles as generalists. The traditional track also readies students to sit for the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam. The RN track is 100% online, and field experiences can be selected close to a student’s home or work region, subject to approval.

A total of 121 credits is required for graduation from the BSN program. The RN track can be completed either part- or full-time and requires 25 credits of nursing courses (six courses), plus any general education and prerequisite/ support courses. Students will receive transfer credits for prior nursing coursework/ licensure.

Sample courses include:

  • Holistic Assessment
  • Research for Professional Practice
  • Professional Practice: Community Health
  • Framework for Professional Nursing
  • Professional Practice: Leadership and Management

Campus or HQ: Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

4

Columbia College

Average Tuition: $6,999

Program Website

Columbia College (CC) offers nursing programs through its Nursing Department, which has special accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Institutional accreditation for CC is provided by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Besides the main campus, the college has 36 additional campuses across the U.S., including military bases (15), in 13 states and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Day Campus (main) has a low student-faculty ratio of 8-to-1. Columbia College has a “covenant” with the Disciples of Christ Church but is nonsectarian.

CC offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. New nursing students take the full BSN track. Students holding an associate’s degree in nursing and who are a licensed Registered Nurse can apply for the RN completion track.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN to BSN (online)

CC’s BSN program has a curriculum based on the concept of patient advocacy, accountability, critical thinking, clinical competence and the overall use of the nursing process. The traditional BSN track is relatively new, with the first cohort having started in Fall 2016. Students who graduate will be readied for the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam. The RN track is fully online, giving working nurses the flexibility to balance studies with their job, while learning the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue nursing management roles. Students have access to the Brouder Science Center, which boasts state of the art equipment including simulators. Clinical experiences have shift times that emulate what a nurse might encounter on the job in a hospital. For students who want to get into the workforce sooner, consider CC’s ASN associate program, after which you can write the NCLEX-RN exam, get licensed, find employment, and return later for the RN track BSN.

The BSN program at Columbia College varies in credit requirements depending on track. The RN requires 120 credits for graduation, while the traditional track requires 125-128 credits. RN track students have the choice of six start dates yearly for class sessions, and have an approximate timeline of around two years. Core requirements for this track consists of 36 credits of courses that are primarily in nursing, plus one course each in Math and Philosophy, and two in Chemistry. BSN track students take 84 credits of Core Requirements courses, which includes Nursing as well as Biology, Chemistry. Courses include a Senior Nursing Practicum and a 1-credit NCLEX-RN Review.

Sample courses include:

  • Nursing Fundamentals
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Pharmacology for Nursing
  • Foundations of Professional Nursing
  • Medical Surgical Nursing

Campus or HQ: Columbia, Missouri.

5

Lincoln University

Average Tuition: $7,042

Program Website

Lincoln University (LU) is an HBCU (Historically Black College/ University) that is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF). It gets institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Undergraduate nursing programs are offered through the School of Nursing (SON), which are additionally accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Students have access to medical services at no cost, at the university’s Thompkins Health Center. (International students must purchase health insurance.)

LU’s SON offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. Students who are licensed Registered Nurses with a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing should apply to the RN completion track. Students new to nursing can apply for the traditional track, or possiby to the school’s ASN (Associate of Applied Science) in Nursing, which automatically accepts the top 30 applicants each year into the BSN traditional track.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN-BSN

The BSN program aligns with BSN education guidelines set out by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), preparing students for a role as a professional nurse. It also incorporates the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that 80% or more of American registered nurses obtain a BSN by 2020. Both of traditional BSN and AAS programs prepare students for the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam. The school’s first-time pass rate for the 2016 NCLEX-RN exam is 100%, compared to a national average of 87.6%. Also, 100% of these graduates (both BSN tracks) found relevant employment after graduation, exceeding an expected 85% level of job placement.

BSN students need to complete 123 credits for graduation. Courses for the traditional track are a mix of on-campus and online (general and nursing). The RN track is a hybrid program with some online courses (general education, practicums) and the rest delivered in on-campus sessions. Students take 60 credits, which includes 32 credits for Nursing courses and 28 for General Education.

Sample courses include:

  • Phamacology in Nursing
  • Gerontological Nursing
  • Psychosocial Nursing
  • Essentials of Health Assessment
  • Medical-Surgical Nursing
  • Nursing of Women and Children

Campus or HQ: Jefferson City, Missouri.

6

Missouri State University-Springfield

Average Tuition: $7,060

Program Website

Missouri State University-Springfield (MSU) is part of the public Missouri State University System. It is institutionally-accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Undergrad nursing programs are offered through the School of Nursing (part of the College of Health and Human Services), which have specialized accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). MSU has enjoyed several awards, including a 2014 HEED award for diversity, a Top Colleges ranking by Forbes, a Best in the Midwest from Princeton Review and a similar Midwest award from U.S. News & World Report, a Military Friendly School award from GI Jobs, amongst several other awards.

MSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two primary programs and several sub-options. One program, the BSN, is designed for new pre-licensure students – either four-year or two-year transfer students. In the former case, students must first be accepted as Pre-Nursing Major students before applying to the BSN. The other program, the BSN-C, is for who have completed an associate’s degree in nursing and are licensed Registered Nurses. A sub-option of the BSN-C exists for “outstanding” students who are currently enrolled in “select” associate’s of nursing programs. These students need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam at some point before or shortly after entry into the BSN program.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) – Four-Year
  • BSN Two-Year Transfer
  • Nursing Completion Program for Registered Nurses (BSN-C, online)
  • ADN/ BSN-C Scholars program for current associate’s nursing students

The offered BSN tracks provide a range of options for different types of nursing students, whether pre-licensure or post-licensure. The BSN-C program is online and can be taken part- or full-time, making it easier for working nurses to complete their BSN degree. Graduates of the four-year BSN program often find careers in as military, school or travel nurses, or in acute care environments such as hospitals and clinics, or in community organizations. Note: The SON’s first-time NCLEX-RN 2016 exam pass rate was 100%.

MSU SON’s Pre-Nursing program is open to eligible students taking general education and nursing prerequisite courses. MSU points out that this is its highest-enrollment pre-major at the Springfield campus. This program must be completed or nearly completed before application to the SON’s Generic BSN program. See site or contact MSU for specific curriculum requirements for each track/ option.

Sample courses include:

  • Health Topics
  • Epidemiology
  • Art and Science of Nursing
  • Population Health: A Local to Global
  • Introduction to Family Health Nursing

Campus or HQ: Springfield, Missouri.

7

Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies

Average Tuition: $7,180

Program Website

Central Methodist University (CMU) has two colleges, the College of Graduate and Extended Studies (CGES) and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CALS), both of which offer nursing and health programs. CMU institutional accreditation is provided by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Undergrad nursing programs are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The university is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Some of the amenities on the main Fayetteville campus include an art gallery, theatre, museum, music conservatory and observatory. In addition, there are 18 CMU learning centers in the region.

CMU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with three entry/ completion paths. Students new to nursing should apply for the traditional track. If you have an associate’s degree in nursing and are a currently licensed Registered Nurse, there is an RN completion track. An accelerated track is available for second-degree students who hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. (This latter program is offered at the Columbia-Forum CMU Center, not at the Fayetteville main campus.)

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN to BSN (online)
  • Accelerated Nursing program

New nursing students will take about four years to complete their BSN. Students who are pursuing a second bachelor’s degree or who are already a licensed Registered Nurse have a shorter timeline to completion for earning their BSN degree. Some of the skills developed in these BSN tracks included nursing leadership and management, as well as typical health care-related skills and knowledge. Students have access to CMU’s Simulation Lab (at Thogmorton Center for Allied Health) as well as real patients. BSN track and Accelerated BSN track students will be prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam upon graduation from the program.

The BSN program at CMU requires a minimum of 124 credits for graduation. The actual number of credits to be completed depends upon the status of a student, with credits granted for relevant courses completed previously (up to 40cr for associate’s degree or diploma in nursing). For the traditional track, a total of 30 credits of upper-division nursing courses need to be completed. Online classes for the completion tracks are either eight or 16 weeks long.

Sample courses include:

  • Professional Nursing Practice
  • Adaptive Health and Assessment
  • Data Analysis for Allied Health
  • Health Informatics for Nursing
  • Business Concepts in Health Care/Case Management

Campus or HQ: Fayette, Missouri.

8

University of Central Missouri

Average Tuition: $7,322

Program Website

Undergraduate nursing programs at University of Central Missouri (UCM) are offered by the Department of Nursing (DON), which is part of the School of Health and Human Performance (SHHP), hosted by the College of Health, Science and Technology (CHST). These programs are specially accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Institutional accreditation is from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The university has ranked on several college review lists published by U.S. News & World Report (USNWR), including several inclusions on the yearly “Best Regional Universities Midwest,” and a similar “Best in the Midwest” list from Princeton Review. An alumni survey indicates that 92% of grads found relevant employment within six months of graduation.

UCM offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. Students with Registered Nurse licensing and an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing take the online RN completion track. New nursing students take the traditional BSN track.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN to BSN (online)

Students in the traditional track get the combined experience of one year of rural and one year of urban clinical practice, to supplement their learning from coursework. RN track students may be exempt from general education requirements if their nursing associate’s degree is from a partner college. Graduates of the BSN program enjoy a 100% job placement level. Registered Nurses may find career opportunities in several areas, including travel, neonatal, pediatrics, surgery and more. Specific nursing roles include: Adult Health Care Nurse, Community Health Nurse, Emergency Surgical Nurse, Midwife, Nurse Practitioner.

A total 120 credits is required for graduation from RN track, and 120-122 for the traditional track. In either case, courses in the category of General Education take up 45 credits. RN track students take 30 credits of online Nursing courses (eight weeks each), plus any necessary General Education credits. Its timeline is one year, and students can start in any semester. Practicums are part of both tracks of this BSN program and take place in Kansas City area health care facilities.

Sample courses include:

  • Health and Physical Assessment
  • Advanced Concepts of Wellness for RNs
  • Socio-Economic Factors Impacting Health
  • Evidence-based Practice/ Research
  • Concepts of Community Health Nursing

Campus or HQ: Warrensburg, Missouri.

9

Truman State University

Average Tuition: $7,456

Program Website

Truman State University (TSU) is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Undergraduate nursing programs are offered through the Department of Nursing, which is part of the School of Health Sciences and Education. These programs are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Truman, which has a tobacco-free campus, received a #1 ranking in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 Best Colleges Midwest list (published Sep 2016). This is the 20th straight year that the university has received this honor.

TSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. Students new to nursing and pursuing their first bachelor’s can apply to the traditional four-year track. If you already have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or will soon complete one, there is an accelerated track.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing

BSN students have access to the Nursing Simulation Center (NSC), to familiarize themselves with high-tech medical equipment, as well as life-sized anatomical manikins. In addition, students will get clinical time with real patients. Graduation from the traditional track prepares students for entry-level nursing roles as generalists. RN track students may have additional career opportunities after graduation from the BSN program. Note: traditional track students have an opportunity to study abroad in the Philippines.

Traditional track students will typically need at least eight semesters to complete the BSN program and earn a bachelor’s degree. Accelerated track students will require less time, which will depend on the number of transfer credits they are awarded, but is approximately 15 months, including both class and clinical experiences. The total credits required for the BSN is 122, including any applicable transfer credits.

Sample courses include:

  • Pharmacotherapeutics
  • Adult Health Nursing
  • Maternal/ Neonatal Nursing
  • Child/ Family Nursing
  • Introduction to Nursing Research

Campus or HQ: Kirksville, Missouri.

10

University of Missouri-Columbia

Average Tuition: $9,509

Program Website

University of Missouri (Mizzou) is part of the public University of Missouri System, and receives institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Undergraduate nursing programs are overseen by the Sinclair School of Nursing (SSON) and specially accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The university enjoys multiple appearances in college review rankings list published by U.S. News & World Report (USNWR), which includes Mizzou itself, the department of medicine, University Hospital, the Sinclair School of Nursing (including online programs, graduate programs, etc.), as well as non-health-related study programs. The department of family medicine has ranked in the top 10 of USNWR’s Best Graduate Schools college review list for over 20 straight years, including achieving #7 in the 2017 edition.

Mizzou offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with three entry/ completion paths. One track is for first-degree pre-licensure students. A second track is for second-degree pre-licensure students who have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. The third track is for post-licensure Registered Nurses who have an associate’s degree in nursing.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • BSN Traditional
  • BSN Accelerated
  • RN to BSN (online)

Nursing education has been part of Mizzou since 1901, though not officially until 1920 (part of School of Medicine). The original BSN program launched in 1940 was a three program, followed by a four-year version in 1950. The SSN launch in 1973. For clinical experiences, nursing students have access to University Hospital, and several medical centers and clinics, all of which are part of the University of Missouri Health Care system. Students in all three BSN tracks occasionally have the opportunity to participate in study trips outside of the U.S. (most recent location: Costa Rica). Those in pre-licensure tracks will be readied to sit for the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam after graduation.

All BSN students complete 120 credits for graduation, including granted transfer credits for relevant prior course work and licensure. The curriculum includes a Capstone and a practicum for all tracks. RN track students need to complete 26 credits of nursing courses plus 34 credits of General Education and Foundation courses, either in a 4-semester or 6-semester timeline. While the RN track courses are online, there are some in-person requirements besides practicum/ clinicals. Accelerated track requirements are 54 credits of nursing courses over four semesters (plus any outstanding general education or foundation courses). Traditional track students start as pre-nursing majors and first complete 60 hours of general education and prerequisites. After acceptance into the BSN program, 60 credits of upper division nursing courses need to be completed.

Sample courses include:

  • Nursing Ethics and the Law
  • Nursing Theory and Research
  • Health Assessment and Pathophysiology
  • Nursing Issues/ Leadership/ Management
  • Nursing in Communities

Campus or HQ: Columbia, Missouri.

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