Overview of Missouri Nursing Needs
Throughout its history, Missouri has broadened focus in order to help navigate the tides of economic change. Once the meat-packing mecca for Texas cattlemen, the “Show-Me State” still has deep roots in agriculture, yet has also expanded into industries such as aerospace engineering, wine and beer production, as well as printing and publishing.
Despite forward momentum in many industries, the non-profit watchdogs, Trust for America’s Health, state Missouri faced a shortage of 12,900 nurses in 2010. That same year, the local government implemented Caring for Missourians, a $40 million dollar initiative aiding local two and four-year colleges in expanding their healthcare programs.
Missouri is now home to 81 nursing programs throughout the state, many of which are well-regarded. In 2011, the U.S. News & World Report listed Goldfarb School of Nursing in St. Louis one of the top 100 grad schools in the nation. In addition, many organizations such as the Missouri Public Health Association (MPHA) offer financial assistance to help encourage students to pursue various degrees in nursing.
With an abundance of nursing programs, nursing jobs, and even financial incentives to study there, Missouri has quite a bit to offer to those pursuing education and careers in healthcare.
Job Outlook for Missouri Nurses
The US Department of Labor predicts a national surge of 26% for RN jobs (approx. 711,900 positions between 2010 and 2020). There is a need for nurses of all skill and education levels throughout the country, though RNs with BSN degrees and higher will be particularly prized as more and more states begin implementing healthcare reform suggestions set forth by the Institute of Medicine.
In St. Louis, Nurse Practitioners rank in the top 10 as some of the most hires in the country (some of the top paid, too, at an annual mean wage of $79,680). At an annual mean wage of $56,990, Missouri RNs are paid better than all neighboring states, with the exception of Illinois. Kansas City, Missouri ranks second as hiring the most Nurse Anesthetists in the country, and at an annual mean wage of $157,076 in KC ($185,040 in non-metropolitan MO), an advanced degree in nursing proves it can be quite lucrative in the state of Missouri.
Average Nursing Salaries in Missouri
|Data from BLS 2011||10th Percentile||25th Percentile||50th Percentile|
|Licensed Practical Nurses||$27,890||$32,580||$37,050|
|Home Health Aides||$16,070||$17,180||$19,020|
Licensing for Nurses in Missouri
To legally practice nursing in Missouri, all practitioners must be licensed, either in-state or in a state that is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). In the Missouri region, compliant states include Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky.
To become licensed in Missouri, graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), or the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN), depending on their nursing title. Advanced care nurses, such as NPs and Anesthetists require additional certifications; Nursing Aides and Orderlies require their own specialized certifications, as well.
For specific information regarding licensing, please refer to the Missouri Board of Nursing website.
Nursing Programs in Missouri
In choosing an accredited nursing program there are many factors to consider, many which are unique to each individual student. A new high school graduate may have the luxury of time that a mid-career nurse looking to further his or her education does not. Some students will weigh intrinsic values like campus life more heavily than others, while others, still, prefer to avoid a brick-and-mortar institution altogether. There are also tuition expenses and scholarship possibilities to consider.
Whenever possible, get the best education you can afford, at the highest ranking program in your specific nursing field. Remember to look into NCLEX pass rates for graduates, as well as hospital affiliations that can provide hands-on training, as well as invaluable networking opportunities.
The state of Missouri offers 81 nursing programs. Degrees and certifications range from LPN to RN, and offer RNs the opportunity to seek Baccalaureate and Doctoral degrees, as well. Many schools within Missouri rank well, according to the US and World News Report, including Mayville University, Goldfarb School of Nursing, St. Louis University, and the University of Missouri. With close to 100 to choose from, a nursing student should find everything they need to pursue a first-rate nursing education in Missouri.