November 4, 2022

Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in Kansas

Nurses know that a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) is the best way to kickstart a long, successful nursing career. 

Earning a BSN increases nurses' chances of finding a high-paying job, and BSN holders earn an average of $30,000 more a year than non-BSN-holding registered nurses (RNs). 

But simply earning a BSN isn't enough. Nurses should complete a BSN from a regionally accredited school, and the better the school they attend, the more likely they are to find a high-paying position after graduation.


This is a panel-reviewed selection based on a number of factors including,

  • Reputation

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate

  • Tuition

  • Acceptance rate, when available

  • Only ACEN or CCNE-accredited schools are eligible 

Nurse Panel

Our selection panel includes 4 Registered Nurses with over 55 years of combined nursing experience and 7 nursing degrees.

  • Tracy Everhart, MSN, RN, CNS

  • Tyler Faust, MSN, RN

  • Kathleen Gaines MSN, RN, BA, CBC

  • Leah Helmbrecht, BSN, RN

Because nursing careers take different forms, the top 10 Kansas nursing schools are ranked in no particular order.

Top 10 Nursing Schools in Kansas

1. Emporia State University

Annual In-State Tuition: $6,934 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 84.78%

Traditional: Yes

Online: No

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

Emporia State University was founded in 1863, but the school has seen massive changes over the past few decades. Today, Emporia offers all students a flat tuition rate, meaning the cost of attending the university is the same regardless of how many courses you take. Starting in Fall 2023, in-state tuition will be available to students from 48 states.  This means that there are no hidden costs to the 128-credit nursing program, a four-year program that leads to a BSN. Nursing students are placed in various clinical sites across Kansas, many of which are in Emporia, Wichita, and Topeka. 

2. Hesston College

Annual Tuition: $29,472 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 89.13%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

Hesston College is a two-year school that has recently started adding full four-year programs, including a complete BSN. As a recent program, Hesston is still growing its program. Hesston boasts a 100% overall pass rate for the 2020 and 2021 classes with 100% job placement for graduates. Nursing students at Hesston also focus on supporting the surrounding community. Most recently, junior and senior nursing students raised money for the local unhoused population. 

3. University of Kansas Medical Center

Annual In-State Tuition: $9,724.50 (based on a per credit charge) | NCLEX Pass Rate: 92.48%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

As one of the premier schools in Kansas, the University of Kansas is likely to be on any Kansas residents' list of potential schools. Founded in 1866, KU is the centerpiece of Lawrence, a modern college town known for its liveliness. Nursing students get to enjoy the campus and college town vibe when they aren't studying at one of the top schools in the region. Most students enroll in the traditional BSN, though an online RN-BSN option is also available.

4. University of Saint Mary

Annual Tuition: $31,450 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 94.83%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

Located in Leavenworth and Overland Park, the University of Saint Mary has just 1,240 students spread across two campuses. USM is a Catholic school, though the nursing program doesn't emphasize religion. Incoming nursing students can either apply to the traditional BSN after one year of schooling or gain direct entry into the program after high school. While the tuition may be steep,  students at the University of Saint Mary’s are offered generous scholarships upwards of $16,000 per academic year. The accelerated program offers a BSN to students in only one year and is one of the most affordable accelerated options available in Kansas.

5. MidAmerica Nazarene University

Annual Tuition: $40,192 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 83.11%

Traditional: Yes

Online: No

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

MidAmerica Nazarene University is a private, faith-based school with a 40,000 sq foot campus in Olathe. The large campus and tight undergraduate community are draws for incoming students and help MNU retain students. While MNU isn't the largest school in Kansas, the traditional nursing program is among the largest in the state. Since 2016, the pass rate for the NCLEX-RN® exam for first-time Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates from MNU has exceeded the state and national averages.

6. Baker University

Annual Tuition: $31,620 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 95.71%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

Despite calling the unassuming Baldwin City home, Baker University has produced some incredible graduates — likely because Baker is Kansas' first-ever university. However, students pursuing a BSN aren't going to spend their whole college experience in Baldwin City. The Baker University School of Nursing is based in Topeka, much closer to many of the top healthcare facilities in the region. After finishing two years in Baldwin City, nursing students must relocate to Topeka to start the two-year BSN. The program is slightly unconventional, but the results speak for themselves. The cost of Baker University may be steep but more than 98% of students receive financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants. 

7. Pittsburg State University

Annual In-State Tuition: $17,970 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 82.56%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

With nearly 5,900 students enrolled, Pittsburg State University is one of the smaller public schools in Kansas. Of course, studying at a small school has its benefits, from easy class-to-class commuting to smaller class sizes. Small schools also tend to have lower student-to-faculty ratios, one reason why recent BSN grads passed the NCLEX at such a high clip. Other nursing options offered through the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing include an RN-BSN, MSN, BSN-DNP, and MSN-DNP. 

8. Washburn University

Annual In-State Tuition: $9,660 (based on a per credit charge) | NCLEX Pass Rate: 83.22%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

Not only is Washburn University's annual in-state tuition low, but students from Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas all receive in-state tuition. This makes earning a BSN through the School of Nursing incredibly affordable for many incoming students. The traditional BSN is one of the largest programs in Kansas. For some traditional BSN students, additional tuition assistance may be available. Current BSN holders can also complete their DNP entirely online through Washburn. 

9. Newman University

Annual Tuition: $32,400 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 70.73%

Traditional: Yes

Online: No

Accelerated: No

Bridge: Yes

Based in Wichita, Newman University has sites across the state, including in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Colorado Springs, Colorado. As a private Catholic school, students at Newman won't have access to low in-state tuition rates. However, the BSN is well worth the cost, and while the most recent NCLEX pass rate leaves something to be desired, the NCLEX pass rate was 100% in years past. Current high school students can apply for direct entrance, guaranteeing a spot in the nursing program. For any nurses looking to continue their education, Newman offers a master's of science in nurse anesthesia (MSNA), a degree that leads to a high-paying field. 

10. Wichita State University

Annual In-State Tuition: $6,842.70 (based on a per credit charge) | NCLEX Pass Rate: 80.92%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yess

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: No

Wichita State University has received tons of positive news in recent years, a big reason why the school is seeing massive growth. Located just outside of downtown Wichita, Wichita State offers a lively college campus with the appeal of city life nearby. Through the School of Nursing, students can complete their BSN in three ways: an online RN-BSN, an accelerated BSN, and a traditional BSN. The traditional option allows for high school students to be directly admitted to the program, too. 

Show Me Kansas Nursing Programs

4 Key Factors That Affect Nursing School Tuition

Keep in mind that colleges and universities reserve the right to change tuition rates at any time. The yearly tuition rates listed here will vary for each student depending on various factors including,

  • Transfer credits

  • Completed competency exams

  • Amount of credits taken per year

  • Financial aid awards

Check with the specific school for current tuition rates.

Nurse Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

  • Kansas nurses earn an annual mean wage of $66,560, lower than the national average.

  • Kansas employs 21.64 nurses for every 1,000 employees, on par with the national average. 

  • 28,980 nurses are employed in Kansas

Compared to the national mean wage of $77,600, Kansas's mean wage for nurses is lower. Unfortunately, the BLS does not differentiate between different nursing specialities so it is possible for nurses to earn substantially more in Kansas.  seems low. However, the cost of living in Kansas is much lower than the national average. The cost of living in Kansas is 83.1 on a scale of 100. An amount below 100 means Kansas is cheaper than the US average. 

According to BestPlaces, the median home cost in Kansas is just $177,400, compared to the national average of $291,700. If your goal is homeownership, you could achieve that goal easily in Kansas.

Next Steps:

Choose a few schools that you're interested in and learn more about the nursing program. If each school fits your wants and needs, the next steps are to begin the application process, prepare your application, and apply.

Here are the next steps broken down:

Contact each school’s admissions offices. Every school has an admissions office, and you should get in touch with each admissions office before beginning your application. The admissions office will answer any questions you have about the school's application process.

Check to see if you meet the nursing school requirements. In addition to college admission requirements, nursing students must meet the requirements of a nursing program. Some prerequisites to nursing programs can be completed while in college, so don't stress if you aren't currently eligible. 

Submit your application(s). After you've gathered your application materials and ensured eligibility for each school and nursing program, the final step is to submit each school's application. 

Common application requirements include:

  • High school transcript (GPA)

  • ACT and/or SAT scores

  • College entrance essay(s)

  • Letter(s) of recommendation

Show Me Kansas Nursing Programs

Important considerations when comparing schools: 

Picking schools to apply to is easy, but picking the school you choose to attend can be much more difficult. Fortunately, if you've only applied to accredited schools then there's no "wrong" answer. The only thing to do is to find the perfect fit for your personal situation.

When comparing schools, consider the following:

  • Total cost of the program

  • Financial aid, scholarships, and grants offered

  • Cost of living on-campus or in the area

  • School and nursing program acceptance rate

  • Difficulty of the program

  • Commute to school/hospital for clinicals

  • Length of program

  • Program outcomes (NCLEX pass rate and job placement)

  • School accreditation (regional and national)

Why you should care about the nursing program’s accreditation  

When a school and/or program is accredited, it means the academic quality of that school or program meets the rigorous standards of a government-recognized accrediting institution. In Kansas, look for schools that are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Also, make sure the nursing program has programmatic accreditation. 

The two nursing accreditation organizations to look for are

If you earn a degree from an unaccredited school, you may have trouble securing federal financial aid and finding work as a nurse after graduation. Furthermore, if you plan on attending a graduate or doctoral program, a prerequisite is a BSN from an accredited nursing program. 

Show Me Kansas Nursing Programs

Getting a License in Kansas

As part of the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC), earning a nursing license in Kansas guarantees licensure in most other states, including all of Kansas' neighbors. Fortunately, this also means that becoming licensed in Kansas is relatively straightforward. 

To get a license in Kansas, you'll need to:

  • Study at a state-approved nursing school

  • Take and pass the NCLEX-RN

  • Pass a criminal and mental health background check and submit fingerprints. 

  • Apply through the Kansas Board of Nursing website.


With a low cost of living and plenty of nursing positions, Kansas is an excellent place for nurses to start their careers. First, nurses should earn a BSN from one of the many great private or public programs in Kansas. Once the BSN is finished, nurses just need to pass the NCLEX-RN and become licensed. This license transfers easily to most other states, so Kansas nurses could find a position in a nearby state.

Find Nursing Programs



Kansas Board of Nursing