Mississippi’s economy changed drastically after the Civil War. Once one of the richest states in the nation, The Magnolia State now ranks as one of the poorest. It also ranks as one of the unhealthiest states in America and receives consistently low scores in health care. Mississippi’s cost of living is proportional to income, though the local unemployment rate of 9.6% is quite a bit above the national average. Despite such struggles, or possibly because of them, Mississippi is fertile ground steeped in culture and history. It is also a region showing job growth in healthcare—nothing particularly newsworthy but it is progress, nonetheless. The state of Mississippi also has a fair bit to offer students seeking an education in nursing.
With 27 state-approved schools, a student can become a Licensed Practical Nurse and then go on to become an RN with a Baccalaureate degree. There are also programs for advanced degree nurses seeking Master’s degrees and specialized certifications, such as the ability to prescribe medications and to anesthetize patients prior to surgery.
On the job front, Registered Nurses in Mississippi can expect to earn an hourly mean wage of $27.76, which is slightly higher than in Arkansas, Alabama, and Tennessee.
Job Outlook for Mississippi Nurses
The US Department of Labor predicts major growth in healthcare jobs by the year 2020. This is particularly good news for RNs who will see a 26% increase in employment, 711,900 new jobs between 2010 and 2020.
As mentioned, Mississippi’s unemployment rate is 9.6% but has actually gone down since 2011.The US Labor of Bureau Statistics shows Mississippi healthcare jobs were on the rise in 2012 for a variety of positions. RN jobs were up by 3.4%, LPN positions were up by 3.0%, and Nursing Assistants were up by 4.3% in 2012. Those pursuing advanced degrees should be happy to note that jobs for Nurse Practitioners rose 7.8% in Mississippi and Nurse Anesthetists saw a dramatic 13.0% rise in employment.
Larger cities such as Jackson, Gulfport and Hattiesburg should be at the top of the job search for nursing grads looking to stay local. However, the more rural, underserved pockets of the state may offer opportunities for nurses with educations over and beyond BS degrees.
Average Nursing Salaries in Mississippi
|Data from BLS 2011||10th Percentile||25th Percentile||50th Percentile|
|Licensed Practical Nurses||$25,490||$29,250||$34,090|
|Home Health Aides||$15,870||$16,700||$18,080|
Licensing in Mississippi for Nurses
In order to practice in Mississippi all Practical Nurses and Registered Nurses must be licensed. To become licensed, graduates need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), or the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN), respectively.
Thus state is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, which allows nurses licensed in other compliant states to also practice in Mississippi. Nearby states part of the NLC include Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and South Carolina. For a list of other states, look here.
If an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse hopes to have the ability to prescribe medications then specific guidelines must be met, including special certification, 720 hours in a monitored residency program, as well as license renewal every two years. The Mississippi Board of Nursing website can provide you with more detailed information regarding all nursing licenses.
Nursing Programs in Mississippi
According to the U.S. News and World Report, the University of Mississippi’s School of Nursing ranked in the top 100 for 2012. The school ranked well with Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy programs, as well. William Carey University provides programming for nursing educators with Master’s degrees to become certified to lead lab clinics. Or if a faith-based education is preferred then Mississippi College—a private Christian university–may be the best fit. With 27 schools approved by the state of Mississippi, new and returning nursing students should have no trouble fulfilling their education needs.