When Kansas homesteaders started plowing the state’s virgin prairies in the mid-1800s, the field of nursing was still in its infancy. Early Kansans relied on ingenious and hard-working pioneer women such as Sara Lawrence Robinson and Mary Stewart for aid. Women routinely handled the various ailments that plagued these bold homesteaders, from colds and broken bones to infectious diseases, wounds and delivering babies.

The population of Kansas has grown to nearly 3 million and these residents rely on the state’s nursing workforce for many of their healthcare needs. As of May 2018, there are nearly 28,000 registered nurses (RNs) working in Kansas, along with 2,270 nurse practitioners (NPs) and more than 7,500 licensed practical nurses (LPNs), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. These highly skilled nursing professionals, which include licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), can be found in a variety of workplace settings, from hospitals and residential care facilities to elementary schools and private or public health offices.

Keep reading to learn more about Kansas nursing schools and the educational and licensing requirements to become an RN, LPN or advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARPN) in Kansas.

Best Nursing Schools in Kansas

Kansas Badge ImageWe’ve compiled the latest data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System to create two distinct rankings of the top nursing programs in Kansas. One list is for students pursuing undergraduate RN and LPN degrees, while the other is for graduate students pursuing advanced nursing degrees.

There are 46 nursing schools in Kansas [A1] where students can complete the educational requirements of their degree plan. Students can use these rankings to make informed choices about tuition costs, acceptance rates, and other important information, as well as see how the leading nursing schools in Kansas stack up against each other. Additional details about how these rankings were created can be found at the bottom of this page.

Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$1,952
Undergraduate graduation rate
31%
Undergraduate retention rate
67%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
94%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$1,470
Undergraduate graduation rate
42%
Undergraduate retention rate
53%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
89%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$2,304
Undergraduate graduation rate
31%
Undergraduate retention rate
56%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
90%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,580
Undergraduate graduation rate
27%
Undergraduate retention rate
60%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
75%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$1,952
Undergraduate graduation rate
40%
Undergraduate retention rate
57%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
87%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$1,920
Undergraduate graduation rate
22%
Undergraduate retention rate
43%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
78%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$5,548
Undergraduate graduation rate
47%
Undergraduate retention rate
74%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
88%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$1,500
Undergraduate graduation rate
28%
Undergraduate retention rate
56%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
95%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$1,952
Undergraduate graduation rate
35%
Undergraduate retention rate
56%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
97%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,900
Undergraduate graduation rate
44%
Undergraduate retention rate
71%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
97%
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Graduate Tuition
$3,900
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
4
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Graduate Tuition
$9,716
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
2
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$5,302
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$6,392
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$3,497
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$8,492
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$9,864
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$11,070
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$12,000
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0

Nursing Accreditation in Kansas

Students who complete a properly accredited nursing program are allowed to sit for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX). This standardized test is used by every state’s nursing regulatory board to make certain candidates have the necessary education and experience to work as licensed nurses.

Accrediting bodies for Kansas nursing programs can include:

  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission

Students should note that every institution featured in our rankings is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting body. Accreditation is important because it means that a college’s educational program adheres to nationally accepted standards.

Kansas Nursing Licensure

Licensure is a mandatory requirement for nurses working in Kansas, including LVN/LPNs, RNs and nurse practitioners. Regardless of their professional designation, nurses in Kansas are required to renew their licenses biennially. Kansas nursing licenses expire on the final day of the nurse’s birth month on either odd or even years depending upon the year in which they were born.

The Kansas State Board of Nursingin Topeka administers licensure requirements. It can also offer nurses resources for continuing education, NCLEX preparation and much more. To obtain a nursing license in Kansas, the process usually involves submitting official college transcripts to the state board, an authorized fingerprint card, and paying a fee for a background check. Students can take the NCLEX through PearsonVue, a company that offers computer-based testing.

Kansas Nursing organizations

There are several organizations in Kansas dedicated to the nursing profession. These groups support Kansas-based nurses with career and personal development through networking opportunities, continuing education, meetings, and conventions, as well as other resources. Below are a few of the professional organizations dedicated to nurses working in Kansas.

  • Kansas State Nurses Association:

    This organization has worked to enhance the nursing profession in Kansas for more than 100 years through nursing advocacy, promotion of ethical standards, legislation, and research, professional development and continuing education opportunities. The association also is a member of the American Nurses Association.

  • Kansas Association of Nursing Students: 

    This student-centric organization can help students find job opportunities, scholarships and nursing programs available throughout the state. Another primary mission of the organization is to convey the ethical standards students that are needed to be successful nurses. KANS also hosts an annual state convention in Wichita.

  • Kansas Advanced Practice Nurses:

    This group dedicated to licensed nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives promotes nursing excellence within those fields through education, research and leadership opportunities.

Kansas-Specific Continuing Education

Even nurses who earn a Doctor of Nurse Practicing degree never stop learning — continuing education is a requirement to maintain an active nursing license in Kansas. Continuing education helps nurses build upon the educational foundation gained through college and in the workplace.

Typically, LPNs, RNs and advanced practice nurses must complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education within a given licensure period. Nurses can check with the Kansas State Board of Nursing for the most up-to-date continuing education requirements, as well as a wealth of resources to complete their continuing education requirements.

Hospitals in Kansas

Many nursing students in Kansas are likely to find themselves working in one of the state’s hospitals once they complete their degree requirements and earn state licensure. According to the BLS, 60 percent of RNs work in hospitals. Below are three of the major hospitals in Kansas that can provide nurses with employment opportunities to gain experience in the field.

  • The University of Kansas Hospital (Kansas City):This hospital is the state’s premier medical institution for complex care. In 2018, the hospital added 118 beds with the completion of Cambridge Tower A in 2017, bringing the facilities total number of licensed beds to 910.
  • Ascension Via Christi St. Francis (Wichita):This faith-based Catholic hospital was founded more than 100 years ago and serves Kansas as well as northeast Oklahoma. Ascension Health also operates facilities in Manhattan and Pittsburg and is one of the larger medical facilities in the state.
  • Wesley Medical Center (Wichita): In 2016, Wesley Medical Center opened the Wesley Children’s Hospital, the only pediatric-exclusive hospital and ER facility in the Wichita region. The main hospital has 593 beds and includes a coronary intensive care unit. Wesley Healthcare also operates an ER in Derby.
Sources & Methodology

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we gathered data for 6,758 United States institutions. We then filtered that list of schools by state and analyzed the data for each state with two different methodologies, in order to create two different lists: our undergraduate list, based on 11 ranking criteria, and our graduate list, based on 9 ranking criteria.

Final data for the 2016-17 school year was used for these rankings. Schools that did not provide data for all of the required ranking criteria were disqualified from that ranking.

The 11 criteria for the undergraduate school ranking were as follows:

  1. Number of associate- and bachelor’s-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of associate- and bachelor’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of associate- and bachelor’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Average amount of federal grant aid awarded to full-time first-time undergraduates
  8. Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
  9. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  10. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  11. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

The graduate school ranking scored schools based on 9 criteria, different from the undergraduate list. These 9 criteria were as follows:

  1. Number of master’s- and doctoral-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of master’s- and doctoral-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of master’s- and doctoral-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  8. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  9. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools’ tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

 

Sources

  • About Us, University of Kansas Health System, https://www.kansashealthsystem.com/about-us
  • About, Wesley Medical Center, https://wesleymc.com/about/
  • History of Via Christi, Ascension Via Christi, https://www.viachristi.org/about-via-christi/history
  • Hospital Profiles, American Hospital Directory, https://www.ahd.com/
  • Initial Application Checklist, Kansas State Nursing Board, https://ksbn.kansas.gov/initial-application/
  • Kansas Association of Nursing Students, http://www.kansasnursingstudents.org/
  • Kansas Population, United States Census Bureau QuickFacts, https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/KS
  • Kansas State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, May 2018, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ks.htm#29-0000
  • Lamps on the Prairie, Kansas State Nurses Association, 1942, http://www.ksnurses.com/wp-content/uploads/Lamps_On_The_Prairie.pdf
  • Mission and History, Kansas State Nurses Association, http://www.ksnurses.com/about/mission-history/
  • Mission, Kansas Advanced Practice Nurses, https://kapn.enpnetwork.com/page/21831-mission
  • Registered Nurses Work Environment, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm?view_full#tab-3
  • Top of the List: KU Hospital Rockets Higher, Kansas City Business Journal, Oct. 26, 2018, https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2018/10/26/biggest-hospitals-and-health-systems-in-kc-metro.html
  • Wesley Children’s Hospital, Wesley Medical Center, https://wesleymc.com/about/newsroom/wesley-children-s-hospital-the-region-s-first-and-only-dedicated-children-s-hospital-now-open

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