Online RN to MSN Programs in Missouri
Missouri universities are willing and able to offer online RN to MSN programs, but there are certain quirks to each degree. You can get the full picture by reading the profiles in our school listings. Here’s a quick summary of important points:
- Research College of Nursing: RCON states that most of the undergraduate coursework at RCON is completed online—you may wish to ask about any mandatory campus visits and practicum requirements. Once you reach the graduate level, the MSN in Executive Practice Healthcare Leadership is 100% online. However, the MSN FNP is hybrid, with a combination of on-campus and online courses. We also want to note that RCON only accepts MSN students living in ~13 states (listed on the program page) and all NP clinicals must occur in the greater Kansas City area.
- University of Missouri-Columbia: Mizzou’s RN-MSN for Nurse Educators—which includes the earning of a BSN—is almost 100% online, with only 1-2 mandatory on-campus dates over the course of the program (e.g. Advanced Health Assessment and Promotion may require a visit). Be sure to check the page on State Authorization before you commit. There are a small number of states where Mizzou’s program is not available.
Cheapest RN to MSN Programs in Missouri
This ranking of the most affordable Missouri RN to MSN programs is based on per credit graduate tuition rates. But it’s just to get you started! The final price will depend on a number of factors, including the total number of credits, tuition discounts or scholarships (see the ideas in our school listings), and any additional fees.
Overall, it’s hard to compare apples to oranges. Mizzou and RCON don’t offer the same specialties. RCON’s FNP concentration is much longer than its leadership option. Mizzou’s 56-credit program includes the earning of a BSN. And both Mizzou and RCON charge separate tuition rates for undergraduate bridge coursework.
Missouri’s Healthcare Landscape
Missouri is in a bit of a mess. According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), it usually has high rates of many lifestyle-related causes of death (e.g. heart disease, cancer, stroke, kidney disease, etc.), excessive drinking, and adult obesity. Low birthweight rates are up. The Missouri Opioid Crisis is a constant battle. And it’s subject to violent crime—St. Louis is often one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S.—and deaths from firearms & homicides can be almost twice the national rate.
Part of the problem, according to America’s Health Rankings, is low per capita public health funding. One healthcare leader noted that from 2002-2018, the line item in the state budget that provides support to local public health agencies fell from almost $10 million to just over $3 million.
Worse still, Missouri often does poorly in the Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance, with bottom-ranked indicators for hospital re-admission rates and children without a medical or dental care preventive visit. Access to care is a serious problem. As of 2019, the state had not expanded Medicaid, an issue that has put extra pressure on hospitals.
Things are particularly tough in rural counties:
- In the 2018 U.S. Rural Health Report Card, Missouri received an overall grade of D and failing grades for all-cause mortality, cancer rates, mental health, physical health, uninsured rates, and access to care. 23% of its rural residents lived in poverty.
- From 2014-2019, six rural hospitals in Missouri closed, with three closing between 2018 and 2019. Almost all rural counties are classified as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) for primary and mental health care.
- If you look at the map for County Health Rankings, you’ll see that most of the counties with the lowest rankings in health outcomes & health factors are in the southeast corner.
Missouri Nursing Challenges & Opportunities
In other words, experienced healthcare professionals are desperately needed, especially in the realms of public health, rural care, primary care, and psychiatry. Nurse midwives could also help to remedy the issues surrounding prenatal care.
Yet the Missouri Nurses Association (MONA) is quick to point out that Missouri’s APRN scope of practice laws are some of the most restrictive in the nation. As of 2019, Missouri NPs needed to have a written collaborative practice agreement with a physician and were not recognized as primary care providers.
Nurses who are willing to go to battle on this issue can find up-to-date details on APRN practice regulations on the Missouri Board of Nursing website.
Jobs for Missouri RN to MSN Graduates
Career Outlook for RN to MSN Graduates
You’ll find all kinds of useful data about Missouri’s job market on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)’s pages for Nurse Practitioners and Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary. We particularly like the employment & wage maps, since they allow readers to compare regions and states—hover over an area to view the data points.
- Because of their hospitals, universities, and population sizes, St. Louis and Kansas City are the obvious centers of activity for experienced nurses. Almost 50% of Missouri’s NPs and 36% of its nursing instructors work in St. Louis.
- And there are even more nurse educators in Kansas City, home to UMKC and the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.
You’ll also find a lot of the Best Hospitals in Missouri and Magnet Facilities in these metropolitan areas, including Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Mercy Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and the Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis. Kansas City has St. Luke’s Hospital, North Kansas City Hospital, and the Children’s Mercy Hospital. And the best hospital in Columbia is—by most standards—Boone Hospital Center.
But big cities aren’t your only options. Thanks to Missouri State University & Drury, Springfield employs a fair number of nurse practitioners (e.g. 12%) and nursing instructors (e.g. 17%) and Joplin often has one of the highest concentrations in NPs in the country. You can explore your options with Missouri Health Career’s searchable list of hospitals and medical centers in Missouri.
Willing to fight the good fight? Missouri runs a Nurse Loan Repayment Program that awards funding to licensed Missouri RNs and APRNs who are willing in underserved areas (i.e. HPSAs). As we mentioned in our coverage of Missouri’s healthcare landscape, many of these are rural areas.
- You can get in touch with potential rural employers by searching the Missouri Office of Rural Health’s Health Care Facilities Map.
- Or you can network at the annual Missouri Rural Health Conference.
Career Resources for Future APRNs
Missouri Nursing Job Boards
- MONA Career Center: Job listings for Missouri nurses, including NPs and nurse leaders
- AMNP Career Center: Job listings for Missouri NPs
Missouri APRN Salary & Wage Data
- Annual Mean Wages for Missouri Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: Categories can include “Nurse Practitioners,” “Nurse Midwives,” and “Nurse Anesthetists”
- Annual Mean Wages for Missouri Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary
- AANP National Compensation Survey: Available to AANP members
Missouri Nursing Organizations
State Board of Nursing
Missouri Nursing Associations & Coalitions
- Association of Missouri Nurse Practitioners (AMNP)
- Missouri Hospital Association (MHA)
- Missouri Nurses Association (MONA)
- National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN): Missouri Chapter
- National Black Nurses Association (NBNA): Missouri Chapters
Missouri Nursing Specialty Organizations
- American College of Nurse-Midwives – Missouri Affiliate (Missouri ACNM)
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses – Missouri (AWHONN Missouri)
- Missouri Association of Nurse Anesthetists (MoANA)
- Missouri Association of Occupational Health Nurses (MAOHN)
- Missouri Association of School Nurses (MASN)
- Missouri Emergency Nurses Association (Missouri ENA)
- Missouri-Kansas PeriAnesthesia Nurses Association (MOKAN PANA)
- Missouri League for Nursing (MLN)
- Missouri Nursing Students’ Association (MONSA)
- Missouri Organization of Nurse Executives and Leaders (MONL)
Nursing School Overview
RCON is a small private college in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area that offers undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. In this case, small means around 500 students and a student-faculty ratio of 13:1. In Missouri, it's known for having a particularly strong relationship with HCA Healthcare. The college is part of the HCA Research Medical Center. Students complete their clinical experiences and find jobs in HCA Mid American Health facilities. And HCA employees receive a significant tuition discount on MSN tuition rates (50% off for full-time employees and 25% off for part-time employees). FNP students are also encouraged to make an impact in the local community through community-based leadership activities. Above all, we give RCON props for publishing student achievement info on its website, including MSN certification exam pass rates, completion rates, and retention statistics. If you'd like more insight into the program, degree handbooks are also publicly available.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
This accelerated RN-MSN is aimed at RNs with an associate degree or diploma in nursing from an accredited school or program. No BSN is earned in this pathway - just the MSN. Candidates should have a current RN license, a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher on undergraduate work, and no more than 9 credit hours of prerequisites (e.g. general electives) left to complete. The application should also include 3 references, a resume, and a personal essay. After most prerequisites have been completed, students in the RN-MSN pathway take 6 undergraduate bridge courses (14 credits). Most of the coursework is completed online, but there may be practicum requirements for courses such as Community Health Nursing. The length & format of the MSN will depend on the specialty. The 100% online MSN in EPHL is 36 credits, including 360 hours of clinical experience. It can be finished in 28 months (5 semesters + 2 summers), with the final semester devoted to a seminar & practicum. But the hybrid FNP is a mixture of online coursework and on-campus classes and it's 46 credits, including 660 clinical practicum hours. On a full-time schedule, students can finish the MSN FNP in 2.5 years (5 semesters + 3 summers). On a part-time schedule, it might take 3.5 years (7 semesters + 3 summers).