Kansas isn’t the healthiest state, but it’s not the unhealthiest either; in rankings of the healthiest states, Kansas tends to fall right in the middle. Kansas has always been a sort of bellwether for the US – after all, the exact center of the continental United States falls in Kansas – and in healthcare, Kansas is a perfect average for the nation. The national nursing shortage shows clearly in Kansas, where more than 6% of nursing jobs are unfilled and turnover is as high as 14%. There aren’t enough nurses to meet the need, and nursing programs in Kansas are working to keep pace.
Like other states in the Midwest, Kansas’ nursing shortage is felt most significantly in rural areas, where there are fewer educational opportunities for nurses who want to advance. That’s why so many of the best nursing schools in Kansas have fully embraced online RN to BSN programs. With online instruction, schools can reach students anywhere, providing busy working nurses in any town, city, or rural area with the classes they need. TopRNtoBSN is bringing attention to the programs that will make a difference in their careers.
How We Ranked the Best Online Nursing Programs in Kansas
To rank the best online nursing programs in Kansas, TopRN editors researched accredited, reputable RN to BSN degree programs offered fully online and in hybrid format. To order the ranking, we used three equally-weighted data points: Cost, Reputation, and Job Placement. By focusing on these factors, the TopRN ranking helps Kansas nurses find a program that will show a real return on their educational investment.
1. Grantham University – Lenexa
When you are looking for nursing programs in Kansas that fit your schedule, Grantham University in Lenexa offers a solution for your goals. The RN to BSN program at Grantham is fully online and allows a nurse with an associate’s degree to work on a bachelor’s degree when it fits his or her schedule. The online degree program is ACEN accredited and offers an evidence-based nursing education.
Grantham University offers an ACEN accredited program that allows registered nurses to pursue a bachelor’s degree when they have time in their schedule. Since the degree is fully online, you are not required to attend classes at a set time. You can work around your schedule as a nurse to complete your coursework and obtain your degree.
2. Washburn University – Topeka
Washburn University in Topeka is one of the best nursing schools in Kansas with an online RN to BSN program. The degree program builds on your training and education as a registered nurse and helps you gain the skills you need to advance in your career. It is CCNE accredited and allows you to complete your degree in 18 months when you work on classes part-time. As an online program, it gives you the flexibility to work around your schedule as a nurse and complete your degree.
Washburn University stands out by offering an online program that does not have an expiration date for your credits. You can continue to work on your degree part-time until you finish it, even if you are only able to take one class at a time or need to take time off from classes. That flexibility allows you to work on your degree when it fits your schedule and you can complete your degree at an accelerated pace if you have the time for the classes.
3. University of Kansas Medical Center – Kansas City
When you are looking for online nursing programs in Kansas, the RN to BSN program at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City offers a solution for your goals. The online program is CCNE accredited and accessible to students 24 hours per day. That means you can work on your classes when you have time without worrying about fitting it in during a specific time of the day.
The University of Kansas Medical Center offers a program that is fully online and CCNE accredited with a focus on leadership and critical thinking. That focus on leadership offers an opportunity to advance into more leadership roles in your career. It also ensures that you have effective communication skills that allow you to handle the challenges of working with your patients and a team of nurses.
4. Fort Hays State University – Hays
When you are looking for the best nursing schools in Kansas, you may want to consider Fort Hays State University’s online RN to BSN program. The online program allows registered nurses to return to school for a bachelor’s degree without giving up on their current work. You can work around your schedule by taking online classes when you have time. The program is CCNE accredited and offers the training you need to advance in your career.
A key reason the Fort Hays State University stands apart from other programs is the scholarships available to nursing students. The school offers scholarships for students who are taking the RN to BSN program and need assistance with the costs. It also offers other forms of financial aid so students are able to focus on their degree and studies.
5. Wichita State University – Wichita
When you are looking for online nursing programs in Kansas that allow you to take on more advanced roles in nursing, Wichita State University offers programs to help with your goals. Wichita State offers an online RN to BSN program that is CCNE accredited and offers the fundamental training nurses need to take on more advanced roles in nursing. It also sets the foundation for more advanced studies into nurse practitioner degrees, nurse midwife degrees, or nurse anesthetist degrees.
Wichita State University differs from other programs by providing a strong foundation in nursing that prepares students for more advanced studies or for leadership roles in their current career. It is designed for registered nurses who have an associate’s degree and want to pursue a higher level of education for their long-term career goals.
6. Pittsburg State University – Pittsburg
Pittsburg State University (Pittsburg, Kansas, not Pittsburgh PA) offers a fully online RN to BSN program designed for working nurses. The online program allows nurses with an associate’s degree and experience working in their field to obtain a bachelor’s degree at an accelerated pace. You can finish the program in as little as 12 months and move forward into more advanced roles at your job. Since the program is online, you can work at your own pace and finish your degree when it fits your schedule.
The CCNE accredited RN to BSN program at Pittsburg State University stands out for their accelerated classes. You are able to finish the degree in 12 months, which means you are working at a fast pace and can advance to a higher level in your career. While it is possible to work at an accelerated pace, you are also able to work on your classes part-time when you have a complicated or busy work schedule as a nurse.
7. Southwestern College – Wichita
Southwestern College offers an online RN to BSN program that focuses on helping nurses with their career goals. The online degree program is CCNE accredited and teaches students about nursing theory, policies, and trends to prepare for more advanced roles in your career. The degree program also recognizes that nurses may have limited time, so it allows students to work around a personal schedule.
Southwestern College stands apart by offering strategies and tips via online micro lectures on the process of advancing in your career. It not only teaches nursing skills and advances your knowledge in nursing. It also helps you understand how to talk to employers for promotions or how to work on personal growth strategies over time.
8. MidAmerica Nazarene University – Olathe
MidAmerica Nazarene University offers an online RN to BSN program that is CCNE accredited and prepares you for an advanced role as a nurse. The degree program is designed for registered nurses who may be working in a hospital, medical facility, or similar role with limited time for their degree. It offers full-time and part-time classes for online students and allows you to work at an accelerated pace to complete your degree in a short amount of time.
The way MidAmerica Nazarene University stands out from other programs is the option for an accelerated degree and the focus on addressing concerns for working nurses. The online degree gives you flexibility in your schedule and you can take classes when it fits your situation. That means you can take part-time classes if you have limited time or add more classes for a full-time schedule to finish your degree at an accelerated pace.
9. Tabor College – Wichita
When you are looking into online nursing programs in Kansas, you will want to consider Tabor College for their online RN to BSN program. The CCNE accredited program in Wichita is designed for nurses who want to take on a leadership role in their career. The degree program provides a comprehensive education in leadership, management, and community health. Along with leadership education, students also learn about holistic strategies to treat patients in a medical setting.
Tabor College offers an online program that caters to the goals of nurses who want to work in leadership roles. The degree program is designed for registered nurses with an associate’s degree who want to advance in their career. While it does teach students about nursing skills they need for more advanced roles, it also focuses on management and leadership to ensure that students are prepared for the challenges of their long-term career goals.
10. Bethel College – North Newton
When you are looking for an accelerated RN to BSN program online, Bethel College in North Newton offers a program that fits your situation and goals. The online degree program is CCNE accredited and offers accelerated classes. The classes are four weeks long and focus on topics related to evidence-based nursing practices and professional communication as it applies to nursing. You can complete your degree within one year due to the fast-paced classes.
Bethel college differs from other programs by taking an accelerated approach to education and focusing on evidence-based nursing practices. The evidence-based education ensure that nurses have the practical skills to handle the challenges of their career. The accelerated pace allows you to complete your degree in a short amount of time while you are still working as a nurse.
11. Kansas Wesleyan University – Salina
Kansas Wesleyan University offers an online RN to BS degree program that allows students to focus on long-term career goals. The degree program is designed for registered nurses who have an associate’s degree and want to return to college for a higher level of education. It allows you to complete your degree in one year at an accelerated pace or take part-time classes if you have limited time available for your degree.
Kansas Wesleyan University is a CCNE accredited program that offers flexible options for students who want to complete their bachelor’s degree in nursing. The degree program allows students to obtain a scholarship while working on a fully-online program. It also gives students an opportunity to focus on career goals by obtaining the training they need to advance into a leadership role.
12. University of Saint Mary – Leavenworth
The University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth offers registered nurses an RN to BSN program online with a focus on proper support and guidance. The online degree program allows students to connect with professors and faculty to identify the right classes for their goals and plans. It also recognizes that you may be working as a nurse and provides a flexible solution to help you continue your education.
The online degree at the University of Saint Mary stands apart by offering students support from faculty and staff. You have advice available from educators when you are not certain about your classes or need help with decisions about your career. You are not alone when working on a degree from the university.
How Do I Become an RN in Kansas?
Nursing schools in Kansas are found throughout the state and offer programs that meet the required curriculum in order to obtain a Kansas nursing license. Students can find a Kansas nursing program at local community colleges, or at universities where BSN programs in Kansas are offered, students have the option of the following:
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Registered Nurse (RN)
At these institutions, students are provided a curriculum of courses to meet. High school education is the first and foremost requirement before entering a nursing program. Depending on the institution and the program that students desire, there may be additional GPA requirements for previously completed collegiate work that determines program entry. Many accelerated nursing programs in Kansas and LPN to RN bridge programs have these requirements.
In their final semesters, they are required to spend so many hours in a medical facility with hands-on experience and take the NCLEX. Passing this test will determine whether or not they can be licensed as a nurse. Once the student passes the NCLEX, they are able to be licensed. Maintaining Kansas nursing license renewal is important annually for these nurses to continue their careers.
How is the Job Market for Nursing in Kansas?
For those who are seeking nursing jobs in Kansas, they are finding the salaries to be comparable to other states nearby. While some of the more popular states have higher standards, their growth rates and demand do not match what happens in Kansas. The growth of the Kansas nursing jobs reflects that the industry has been on a steady rise over the last decade, with it growing over five percent annually. For those seeking nursing jobs in Kansas, there is a demand that is outgrowing the number of students enrolled or current nurses living in the area, allowing nurses to be more marketable and negotiate salary.
In 2018, Kansas began to rank as one of the leading states seeking new nurses due to the continued growth exceeding the number of enrolled students. The hospital growth and residential care facilities are on the rise in the state of Kansas, requiring a booming demand for nursing in Kansas. Nurses in Kansas are finding that as their experience grows over time, these healthcare facilities are working to grow their salaries in an attempt to retain their employees.
Where is the Best Place to Work as a Nurse in Kansas?
For those looking to enter nursing in Kansas City, they may find the best salaries in Kansas. Higher than other cities, the nurse salary in Kansas City is averaging $67,792 among RNs living and working within the area, or $33. For those who have been nursing for at least a decade, however, their salaries exceed this salary number. For those that are new graduates, the new grad RN salary Kansas City is beginning around approximately $55,000 annually. While these are lower than the national averages, these salaries are some of the highest being obtained on average within the Kansas communities.
Because the need for nurses outweighs the number of nurses in Kansas, many are finding that their salaries in smaller towns are beginning to grow closer to the average. These areas are developing in terms of residential care, which requires nurses for eighty percent of their staff. For those that are new graduates, however, beginning their careers in Kansas City is common in order to maintain a competitive salary at the beginning of their career. What students in the nursing field can expect in Kansas is to receive one of the higher salaries in the medical industry when compared to other medical positions, and expect that salary to continue on its annual rise.