Nursing, which encompasses several careers, forms a critical component of the medical field. Nursing assistants support other health professionals and provide basic care to patients. Registered nurses direct patient care and communicate with doctors and families to ensure patients receive appropriate medical attention. Nurse practitioners often diagnose patients and provide treatment.
An aging U.S. population drives the growing demand for nurses. The Census Bureau projects the number of Americans aged 65 or older will double from 2012 to 2050. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the nursing profession will grow 15% by 2026 — a rate much faster than the national average for all occupations.
A recent BLS reports names healthcare as one of the most important industries in Missouri, which means graduates of nursing colleges in Missouri can expect ample job opportunities in the field.
How to Become a Nurse in Missouri
The Missouri Board of Nursing oversees nursing licensure in the state. All nursing professionals follow the same general process to obtain licensure, but costs and procedures vary by license type and candidate background. Missouri follows procedures associated with the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), which are set by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Nursing professionals licensed in eNLC states can practice in all states that have adopted these licensure standards.
Choose the Path That's Right for You
Applicants for nursing licensure must have completed a recognized nursing degree program. Candidates can apply for registered nurse licensure with an ADN degree or a BSN degree, offered by most nursing colleges in Missouri. After obtaining an online nursing degree and licensure, RNs may aspire to specialized or advanced nursing roles, such as nurse practitioner or nurse midwife, which require MSN degrees. Experienced nurses who want to train nursing students at the college level should pursue a doctor of nursing practice.
Earn Your Nursing Degree
Admissions and program requirements vary by the type of online nursing degree. Basic RN programs in Missouri granting ADN degrees generally require high school transcripts and ACT scores. Most ADN programs take two years to complete, but some accelerated nursing programs in Missouri allow students to graduate in one year. Practicing nurses who wish to continue their studies can complete online RN to BSN programs in Missouri. Advanced MSN and DNP degrees require previous nursing training and take two to four years to complete. All online nursing degree programs require students to participate in clinicals, and some programs place candidates in fellowships and internships.
Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
Nursing candidates in Missouri must take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. The NCLEX tests for competency in basic standards of care and treatment. The NCLEX costs $200, and test takers have five hours to complete the exam. Online RN programs in Missouri prepare students to pass the NCLEX, but most candidates spend additional time becoming familiar with the test format. Although a nursing license does not guarantee a job, passing the NCLEX is necessary to obtain RN licensure and apply for nursing positions.
Nursing Licensure in Missouri
The Missouri Board of Nursing oversees nursing licensure in the state and follows licensing standards set by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. After completing an online nursing degree, candidates must pass the NCLEX, which ensures nurses possess the knowledge and skills to work in entry-level nursing roles.
Candidates must earn an ADN or BSN degree to be eligible to take the NCLEX, which costs $200 and takes up to five hours to complete. While ADN and BSN programs in Missouri prepare students for the exam, most candidates dedicate several weeks to additional studies.
Since Missouri adheres to nationally accepted nursing license standards, RNs with Missouri licenses can easily apply for licensure in other states. Although each state possesses the authority to set its own nursing regulations, the movement toward standardization allows RNs to work in other states obtaining additional licenses.
Nursing Licensing Costs in Missouri
App. Fee $45
Career Outlook for Nurses in Missouri
Graduates of nursing programs in Missouri enter several related career paths, but most online nursing degree holders work as registered nurses. More specialized roles command higher pay, but often require additional nursing degrees. Online MSN programs in Missouri prepare students to fill advanced roles, such as nurse midwife, nurse practitioner, and nurse anesthesiologist.
The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center reports a high demand for healthcare professionals throughout Missouri, especially in the Kansas City and St. Louis metro areas. Demand for qualified nurses is projected to grow, so for students attending nursing school online, Missouri will continue to offer employment opportunities.
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Biggest Hospitals in Missouri
The Missouri economy depends on the healthcare industry, and many quality hospitals operate in the state, especially in urban areas and in the central region. Nursing candidates should identify the largest health institutions in Missouri. Larger hospitals need many qualified nurses, and hire far higher numbers of RNs than smaller institutions. Online nursing degree candidates can find valuable internship opportunities at large hospitals, often operated in partnership with local nursing schools and medical colleges.
- Barnes-Jewish Hospital: Located in St. Louis, this 1,365-bed hospital is among the biggest medical facilities in the region. The hospital employs 9,620 people, including 3,347 RNs. Barnes-Jewish serves the St. Louis area, with more than 50,000 inpatient visits and 80,000 emergency room visits per year. It is also the teaching hospital for Washington University, home to one of the most respected nursing schools in Missouri.
- St. Luke’s Health System: Based in Kansas City, this health system has ten campuses and serves patients in 67 counties throughout Missouri and Kansas. St. Luke’s employs more than 9,500 people and maintains some of the most specialized medical facilities in the region. St. Luke’s prioritizes nursing research, making the system an important resource for students attending nursing schools in Missouri.
Additional Nursing Resources in Missouri
Missouri League for Nursing
This professional organization of practicing nurses and healthcare workers provides updated information about the nursing field. The organization promotes collaboration among nursing professionals and provides students in online nursing degree programs with opportunities to earn scholarships and to network at conferences and workshops.
Missouri Nurses Association
This membership-based group promotes the interests of nurses in Missouri through political engagement and education. MONA publishes information about legislation relevant to nursing in Missouri and shapes policy through lobbying efforts. MONA influences public opinion through media outreach efforts and strives to uphold the professional reputation of the state’s nurses.
Missouri Nursing Students’ Association
MONSA is a student organization that enhances the state’s quality of nursing education. All students enrolled in nursing schools in Missouri are eligible to join. MONSA shapes nursing education through its input to universities and influences laws related to nursing through lobbying efforts.
Missouri State Board of Nursing
The Board of Nursing oversees nursing licensure in Missouri. The department’s website provides information regarding obtaining and maintaining nursing licenses and about laws related to nursing practice in Missouri. The Board of Nursing holds regular conferences to teach best practices in the nursing field.
National Council of State Boards of Nursing
All students enrolled in nursing schools in Missouri should explore the information and resources available from NCSBN, as these shape licensing policies in the state. NCSBN provides preparatory materials for the NCLEX, which graduates of nursing schools in Missouri must pass to earn licensure.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in Missouri
Missouri is home to a variety of reputable online nursing degree programs. Students choose the degree and school that best fits their career goals. The following database of Missouri nursing schools details all accredited online nursing degree programs in the state, including ADN, BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, and DNP programs.