8 Best ADN Programs in Missouri – (2-Year RN Programs)

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

Want a quick way to launch your registered nursing career in the Show Me State? ADN programs in Missouri can prepare you to become an RN in two years or less! An associate degree in nursing will provide you with all the clinical instruction and foundational nursing education you need to take the NCLEX-RN exam. Once you attain your RN license, hospitals, clinics, and physician practices throughout Missouri will be eager to employ you. Your employment opportunities are projected to increase by 7 percent in just one decade, and Missouri RNs with associate degrees in nursing pull in annual salaries of $71,860 a year on average. Here’s a look at the 8 best ADN programs in Missouri.


Based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the 8 best nursing schools for ADN programs in Missouri. You can complete most of these programs in 2 years.

1. State Fair Community College - Sedalia

Program Details: Among the best ADN programs in Missouri, State Fair Community College’s associate degree in nursing follows a ladder format, allowing you to first complete the PN courses, followed by the ADN coursework. The program is delivered in a hybrid format, with most courses delivered online. The coursework is competency-based, meaning you can move faster through courses you already know about. The coursework includes foundational nursing courses, anatomy & physiology, health assessment, adult health nursing, surgical nursing, mental health nursing, and community health nursing.

Why Choose This Program

• State Fair Community College’s ADN program is not only affordable but also high-quality.
• State Fair Community College’s ADN program has earned recognition as one of the top-rated ADN programs in Missouri.
• State Fair Community College’s ADN program boasts a team of excellent faculty members who are dedicated and committed to students’ success.
• State Fair Community College’s ADN program includes a state-of-the-art simulation that allows students ample practice in a safe and controlled environment.
• State Fair Community College’s ADN program offers a free application process.

2. St. Charles Community College - Cottleville

Program Details: St. Charles Community College’s ADN program in Missouri has a traditional associate nursing degree track and an LPN-to-RN track. The programs are housed in the community college’s Center for Healthy Living and accept new students in the spring and fall.

The 73-credit curriculum includes general education requirements and core nursing courses like “Fundamentals of Professional Nursing” and “Professional Nursing Across the Lifespan I, II, & III.” Lecture courses are paired with lab classes and practicums where you’ll be introduced to hands-on skills and real-world clinical experiences associated with the nursing theory you’re learning; thus, you’ll take “Professional Nursing Across the Lifespan,” “Professional Nursing Across the Lifespan Lab,” and “Professional Nursing Across the Lifespan Clinical” in the same semester.

To be considered for acceptance, all applicants must take the HESI exam and score at least 75 percent in reading comprehension, vocabulary, math, and anatomy & physiology. You’ll acquire confidence in your clinical techniques by practicing them in the college’s nursing simulation lab and participating in supervised patient care at healthcare facilities throughout Cottleville and other parts of the Greater St. Louis Metro area.

Why Choose This Program

• This 2-year RN program in Missouri has a three-year NCLEX-RN pass rate of over 97 percent.
• St. Charles Community College partners with Central Methodist University to offer a BSN-to-RN program on its campus.

3. Jefferson College - Hillsboro

Program Details: Jefferson College’s associate nursing program makes it easy for working students to earn their RN degree. This program offers both a full-time track with daytime classes and a part-time track with evening and weekend classes that’s ideal for students with professional obligations. This is another one of the 2-year RN programs in Missouri designed as a tiered progression: Once you complete your first year of nursing coursework, you’ll have the opportunity to sit for the NCLEX-PN exam and apply for LPN licensure. You must meet progression requirements to advance to the second year of the ADN pathway. Jefferson College also offers an LPN-to-RN Bridge program.

The entire associate degree program requires between 56.5 and 58.5 credits to complete. You can start in the fall or spring semester. In addition to prerequisites, your coursework will include “Medical-Surgical Nursing I & II,” “Psychiatric Nursing/Clinical,” and “Pediatrics & High Risk OB Nursing/Clinical.” Your first and second year of core nursing coursework will culminate with a 10-week capstone, during which you’ll complete a 72-hour clinical practicum and a four-day review for the NCLEX-RN exam.

Jefferson University’s Nursing Educational Simulation Technologies lab is a sophisticated facility with equipment and fixtures that replicate practice settings where you can learn the hands-on basics. You’ll be required to complete one 12-hour practicum per week at a medical facility within 60 miles of the Hillsboro campus. Daytime students attend practicums on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while evening/weekend students attend practicums on Mondays, Fridays, or Saturdays/Sundays.

Why Choose This Program

• Nursing students at Jefferson College are eligible to apply for Missouri’s Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant, which will cover tuition, fees, and related educational costs.
• Want to continue your nursing education? Jefferson College has teamed up with Central Methodist University on an RN-to-BSN program offered five times a year with both online and evening classes at several different locations in St. Louis, Jefferson, and St. Charles Counties.
• On average, 92 percent of Jefferson College ADN graduates pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

4. SoutheastHEALTH College of Nursing & Health Sciences - Cape Girardeau

Program Details: SoutheastHEALTH College of Nursing & Health Sciences’ affiliation with Southeast Missouri Hospital, a regional medical complex that serves more than 600,000 people in 22 counties in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois, means it can offer its nursing students outstanding clinical opportunities. Full-time students should be able to complete their 72-credit associate nursing degree program in two years, while part-time students will be able to complete it in two and one-half years. This two-year nursing program in Missouri also offers an accelerated LPN/paramedic-to-RN pathway and a part-time LPN/paramedic-to-RN pathway.

Applicants to the traditional associate degree program must take the ACT, ATI TEAS, or NACE exams for consideration. You must complete 34 credits of general education classes and prerequisites and 38 credits of core nursing coursework. Core nursing coursework includes courses like “Nursing Assessment,” “Medical Surgical Nursing I, II, & III,” and “Nursing Care of the Child and Family.” You’ll also take skills-specific lab courses like “IV Therapy.”

The college maintains an excellent nursing lab with state-of-the-art simulated hospitals, operating rooms, and emergency rooms equipped with programmable manikins. You’ll participate in clinical experiences at Southeast Missouri Hospital, Mercy Hospital Southeast, and other healthcare facilities associated with the SoutheastHEALTH medical system.

Why Choose This Program

• Eligible SoutheastHEALTH medical system employees get a 20 percent break on tuition at SoutheastHEALTH College of Nursing & Health Sciences.
• SoutheastHEALTH ADN graduates have impressive NCLEX-RN pass rates greater than 93 percent.
• The college offers a hybrid RN-to-BSN program customized to the learning needs of its ADN graduates, with full-time and part-time tracks.

5. Lincoln University-Missouri - Fort Leonard Wood

Program Details: Lincoln University’s ADN program in Missouri is offered at the Fort Leonard Wood military base in the Missouri Ozarks. While you don’t need to be a member of the military to be accepted into this program, its part-time evening curriculum was specifically designed to meet the educational needs of active-duty military personnel and their families. The 71-credit program admits 40 students each fall and is designed to be completed in three years. Lincoln University-Missouri also offers an LPN-to-RN pathway.

You’ll spend four to eight weeks each week in the classroom, taking such courses as “Nursing Process I, II, & III,” “Psychiatric/Geriatric Nursing,” and “Maternal-Child Nursing.” You’ll spend 12 hours a week pursuing clinical experiences at healthcare sites such as clinics, nursing homes, and hospitals throughout the Rolla, Lebanon, and Waynesville areas. Lincoln University-Missouri’s simulation lab is equipped with high-tech medical manikins, allowing you to learn and perfect your hands-on skills before you begin providing direct patient care.

Why Choose This Program

• Lincoln University-Missouri awards scholarships to every student with a 2.5 GPA or higher.
• 100 percent of Lincoln University-Missouri’s ADN graduates find employment within a year of graduating and passing their NCLEX-RN exams.
• Want to keep learning? Lincoln University-Missouri offers a hybrid RN-to-BSN program for ADN graduates and diploma-certified RNs who want to keep climbing the nursing professional ladder.

6. East Central College - Union & Rolla

Program Details: East Central College offers a traditional 2-year ADN program in Missouri at its campuses in Union and Rolla and an LPN-to-RN Bridge program at its campus in Rolla. All applicants must complete prerequisites and score 75 percent or higher on the HESI A2 exam before they can be accepted into the program. Applicants to the traditional program must also spend at least eight hours shadowing a registered nurse at a hospital or long-term care facility.

The 72-credit associate nursing degree curriculum comprises prerequisites, corequisites, and five foundational nursing courses, including “Nursing of Adults & Children I, II, & III.” Laboratory and clinical components are integrated into lecture courses. Traditional ADN students begin the curriculum in the fall, while LPN-to-RN Bridge students begin in the spring, joining the traditional cohort for “Nursing of Adults & Children II.”

East Central College’s nursing simulation labs utilize medical manikins and other cutting-edge technology to assist students in learning the essentials of bedside care. Clinical rotations are scheduled at Mercy Hospital Washington, Phelps Health, and other rural and urban practice settings throughout Franklin and Phelps Counties.

Why Choose This Program

• East Central College’s “Earn While You Learn” program lets ADN students earn a paycheck while completing clinical experiences at hospitals in return for agreeing to work at those hospitals once they graduate and attain their RN licensure.
• East Central College maintains an articulation agreement with the University of Missouri that guarantees the acceptance of 94 ADN credits earned at ECC toward completing a UM BSN degree.
• 96 percent of East Central College’s ADN graduates find registered nursing jobs within 12 months of RN licensure.

7. Crowder College - Cassville

Program Details: Crowder College offers its traditional 2-year RN program in Missouri at its campuses in Neosho, Cassville, and McDonald County. Students in McDonald County begin the program in August, while students in Neosho and Cassville begin in January. Qualified students can also enroll in Crowder College’s LPN-to-RN and Paramedic-to-RN Bridge programs.

All prerequisites must be completed before you begin this 73-credit program. Classes take eight weeks to complete, and there are two eight-week terms per semester. Your primary nursing coursework will be a seven-part “Nursing Concepts” class and a three-part “Professional Concepts” class. Your fourth semester will conclude with a capstone class during which you’ll examine state licensure processes and engage in clinical simulations that will test your critical thinking and decision-making capabilities.

Crowder College ADN students will have the opportunity to perform supervised patient care at medical facilities associated with the Freeman Health System and other healthcare agencies within the college’s service area. Before they do, though, they’ll hone their nursing skills in Crowder College’s simulation lab, equipped with two virtual hospital rooms and life-like manikins that allow students to practice new techniques safely.

Why Choose This Program

• The “Nursing Education Incentive Program Grant” allows selected Crowder College nursing students to be paid for participating in clinical rotations.
• Crowder College collaborates with the University of Missouri on a program that allows you to transfer seamlessly into the third year of the University of Missouri’s online BSN program once you complete your ADN at Crowder.
• Crowder College’s nursing graduates have had a 100 percent pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam for several years in a row.

8. Bolivar Technical College - Bolivar

Program Details: As a student in Bolivar Technical College’s 2-year nursing program in Missouri, you’ll spend 585 hours pursuing clinical experiences. You’ll shadow professional RNs in specialties like pediatrics, labor and delivery, ambulatory care, oncology, and dialysis. You’ll participate in practicums and other patient care experiences at Central Care Cancer Center, Columbia Memorial Health Medical-Surgical Hospital, Columbia Memorial Health Parkview Wellness, and other medical and long-term care facilities throughout Bolivar and Central Missouri. Before you do so, however, you’ll have the opportunity to engage in simulation training, working with high-fidelity manikins that can model real-life clinical parameters and illnesses.

The associate degree involves completing 73 credits, but not all of these will be core nursing credits. The foundational nursing curriculum, which includes classes like “Fundamentals of Nursing,” “Medical Surgical Nursing I, II, & III,” and “Management & Leadership,” will take four semesters to complete. Students are admitted in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Bolivar Technical College also offers LPN-to-RN and paramedic-to-RN bridge programs.

Why Choose This Program

• Bolivar Technical College is a small school with small class sizes, so you’ll get plenty of individual attention from your nursing instructors.
• This ADN program in Missouri has its own online RN-to-BSN completion program, which the college’s associate degree nursing students can complete in just one year.
• RNs with associate nursing degrees from Bolivar Technical College have a 100 percent employment rate upon attaining their RN licenses.


Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.

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