Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in Mississippi
Tucked in the heart of the South, Mississippi is home to many excellent and nationally-renowned colleges and universities. Mississippi is also home to plenty of excellent hospitals and healthcare facilities, too.
Before you begin your career as a nurse, you have to take and pass the NCLEX-RN and become a registered nurse (RN). To do so, you must complete a minimum amount of education and experience.
While not (yet) required for RNs, a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) prepares you for the NCLEX and increases your chances of finding a high-paying nursing position. If you plan on working as a nurse in Mississippi, the best move may be to earn a BSN at one of the best Mississippi colleges or universities.
This is a panel-reviewed selection based on a number of factors including,
- NCLEX pass rate
- Acceptance rate, when available
- Only ACEN or CCNE accredited schools are eligible
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, BSN, RN, BA, CBC
- Leah Helmbrecht, BSN, RN
Because nursing careers take different forms, the top 10 Mississippi nursing schools are ranked in no particular order.
Top 10 Nursing Schools in Mississippi
Annual Tuition: $6,112 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 97.37%
It's tough to beat the affordability of Delta State University. The Cleveland-based school of just over 3,000 students offers the same tuition rate to all students meaning there's no out-of-state tuition — a rarity for a public school. Delta State's low cost has no impact on the quality of the nursing program, seeing how well BSN graduates perform on the NCLEX. The BSN takes five semesters to complete full-time, though a part-time option is also available. Delta State also has an online RN-BSN and an online masters of science in nursing (MSN) and doctoral program (DNP).
Annual Tuition: $16,114 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 89.55%
Mississippi College is one of the oldest colleges in the state. With a student body of just over 5,000 students, this Christian school is the epitome of a small school, private education. Nursing students of nearly every background have options at Mississippi College, including a traditional BSN, accelerated second degree BSN, online MSN, and online RN-BSN. If you're a current RN planning on completing the RN-BSN program, your tuition will be charged at a special credit hour rate. Depending on how many courses you need to complete a BSN, this could prove to be more affordable than other options.
Annual Tuition: $5,781 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 99.34%
Created as the first public women's college in the nation, Mississippi University for Women now allows men to apply, too. The majority of classes at MUW have fewer than 20 students, potentially a reason why nursing students have enjoyed so much success. Mississippi University for Women has seen every graduate of the BSN pass the NCLEX over the past three years. In terms of consistency, this could be the best undergraduate nursing program in Mississippi. Also worth mentioning: the RN-BSN charges a flat rate of $10,000 for the entire program, so you can budget for the entire degree upfront.
Annual Tuition: $7,334 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 97.59%
The University of Southern Mississippi is a large public research school spread over two campuses in Hattiesburg and Gulf Park. If you're a student planning on a BSN, you can complete your education at either of the campuses. The BSN allows early admission, so qualified high school students can gain admission to the nursing school prior to starting their freshman year. An online RN-BSN bridge program is also offered for current RNs who have an associate degree in nursing. Graduate nursing students can choose from multiple master's and doctorate programs, including nurse anesthesia, family nurse practitioner, and nursing leadership.
Annual Tuition: $11,700 (based on per-credit tuition rate) | NCLEX Pass Rate: 96.39%
Once known as Mississippi Woman's College, William Carey University adopted its current name to reflect the many changes the school has seen over the past century. The two main campuses are located in Hattiesburg and Biloxi, though nursing students can choose to study at a third campus in Baton Rouge, LA. Nursing school applicants are required to apply to only one of the three campuses, and after being admitted students may only complete courses at that campus. Keep in mind that William Carey University charges a higher per-credit tuition rate for nursing courses, and that can impact your total tuition.
Annual In-State Tuition: $5,792 (based on per-credit tuition rate) | Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $25,596 (based on per-credit tuition rate) | NCLEX Pass Rate: 97.29%
Located in Jackson, the University of Mississippi Medical Center is a local leader in teaching health sciences. The School of Nursing is particularly robust, offering over a dozen nursing degree options. Undergraduate students can choose from a traditional BSN, early-entry BSN, accelerated BSN, or an online RN-BSN bridge program. Additional graduate-level degrees are available, though students should complete a BSN before applying to UMMC graduate programs. Tuition rates vary depending on which degree is being pursued and the student's level of education, so a per-credit tuition rate is used to demonstrate potential costs.
Annual Tuition: $7,290 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 100%
Another affordable state school that offers the same tuition rate to all students, Alcorn State University has three campuses across Mississippi. Nursing students will attend courses at the Natchez Campus. The undergraduate nursing program has three options: an associate in nursing, a two-semester RN-BSN, and a four-semester BSN. Before starting either BSN option, students must complete prerequisites (all of which can be completed through Alcorn). With a low tuition rate and excellent student outcomes, Alcorn is worth considering.
Annual Tuition: $25,826 NCLEX Pass Rate: 79.17%
Founded in 1883, Belhaven University is a nationally-renowned Christian college. Belhaven states that "all programs are taught from a Christian worldview perspective," so students interested in secular nursing education should look elsewhere. If Belhaven fits your wants and needs, then you'll have two nursing options: a traditional BSN and a three-semester online RN-BSN. While the 2018 NCLEX pass rate leaves something to be desired, it doesn't tell the whole story. In the two years prior to 2018, Belhaven grads have NCLEX pass rates of 92.31% and 95%.
Annual Tuition: $2,850 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 100%
As a community college, Coahoma Community College focuses on offering two-year degrees. Students interested in nursing would enroll in the associate degree nursing program, designed for current licensed practical nurses (LPNs). While Coahoma Community College doesn't offer a BSN, every single graduate from 2016-2018 passed the NCLEX. To save some money, students may want to complete an associate degree, become an RN, then complete an RN-BSN program.
Annual In-State Tuition: $2,600 | Annual Out-of-State Tuition: $5,180 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 98.77%
Based in Goodman, Holmes Community College offers one of the least expensive tracks to becoming an RN. Much like Coahoma Community College, Holmes CC doesn't offer a four-year nursing degree; however, a two-year associate degree is available. Graduates of this program have excelled on the NCLEX in the past, and this program is a good way to become an RN and prepare yourself for an RN-BSN.
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),
- Mississippi nurses earn an annual mean wage of $58,490, lower than the national average.
- Mississippi employs 29,860 nurses, a high number relative to the state population.
Compared to the high salaries that nurses earn in other states, Mississippi looks like a low-paying state for nurses. However, there are two things future nurses should consider:
- Mississippi has a relatively low cost of living.
- The BLS reports salary data for all RNs and doesn't differentiate pay based on education.
Not only could BSN holders earn more than the state average, but money earned goes further than in most other states.
Mississippi is one of the top employers for nurses relative to its population. According to the BLS, Mississippi employs 26.57 nurses for every 1,000 workers, the third-highest number in the nation. This could mean that finding a job in Mississippi may be easier than in many other states.
After looking at a mix of public and private schools, create a list of schools that you're interested in applying to. While you may have a clear favorite, applying to multiple schools increases your chances of finding financial aid, getting accepted into the college, and getting accepted into the nursing program.
Before you start submitting applications, here's what to do next:
Contact each school’s admissions offices. Schools have admissions offices, and one role of the admissions office is to assist students who are applying. The admissions office can answer any questions you have about that school's admission process.
Check to see if you meet the nursing school requirements. Nursing schools typically have their own requirements for entry. You may need to take extra courses, have a higher GPA, or even have extracurriculars to get accepted. Personal essays and letters of recommendation aren't uncommon, either.
Submit your application(s). Once you've figured out everything you need for an application, the final step is to gather your materials and turn the application in! Make sure to pay attention to application deadlines. To play it safe, have all of your materials prepared well before the final deadline.
In your application, be prepared to submit:
- High school transcript (GPA)
- ACT and/or SAT scores
- College entrance essay(s)
- Letter(s) of recommendation
Important considerations when comparing schools:
Sometime after you submit your applications, you'll begin receiving college acceptance letters in the mail. Hooray! Now the only thing left to do is pick the school where you'll earn your degree. There are plenty of factors to consider when comparing schools, including:
- Tuition cost and cost of the nursing program
- Type of school (public or private)
- Financial aid, scholarships, and grants offered
- Cost of living on-campus or in the area
- Distance from home
- School and nursing program acceptance rate
- Program outcomes (NCLEX pass rate and job placement)
- Accreditation (regional and programmatic)
Why you should care about the nursing program’s accreditation
National, regional, and programmatic accreditation are used to verify the quality of schools and programs. Make sure every school you apply to in Mississippi is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition, make sure the nursing program has received programmatic accreditation.
The two nursing accreditation organizations to look for are
- Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
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.
Getting a License in Mississippi
Mississippi is part of the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC), meaning the process for nursing licensure meets a national standardization. As a result, a license in Mississippi allows you to work as a nurse in every other eNLC member state.
To become licensed in Mississippi, you must:
- Earn a degree from a Mississippi-approved nursing program (CCNE and ACEN programs meet this criterium)
- Take and pass the NCLEX-RN
- Submit electronic fingerprints and pass a criminal background check
- Pay an application fee and mail your application to the Mississippi Board of Nursing
Mississippi is home to some of the most affordable colleges and universities in the nation. Despite the low relative cost, many of these schools have excellent nursing programs with incredible outcomes for graduates. Once you've earned a nursing degree, the process for becoming licensed in Mississippi is straightforward. Thanks to the eNLC, your Mississippi nursing license will be accepted in most other states.