Colleges and Universities in Missouri: Career Training & Education

Education in Missouri

Students interested in pursuing higher education in Missouri, as opposed to other states, have a wealth of educational options to choose from. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) currently lists 204 colleges, universities, technical schools, career academies and other types of institutions of higher education in the state. The NCES also breaks degree-granting schools in Missouri down by type:

  • Public 4-year: 13
  • Public 2-year: 17
  • Private 4-year, nonprofit: 54
  • Private 2-year, nonprofit:7
  • Private 4-year, for-profit: 27

Number of Institutions in Missouri

As you can see, many different kinds of institutions are represented in the state in addition to four-year, public schools. Many of these schools provide career training instead of a traditional degree program with the goal of helping students earn a certificate of achievement. Beauty schools, barber colleges and technical schools are good examples of institutions that fit this description. Additionally, many colleges in Missouri focus on teaching students technical skills like automotive repair, carpentry, welding and plumbing. No matter what type of education you want to pursue in Missouri, you will have a variety of options to choose from.

According to a 2014 NCES report, federal financial aid-eligible colleges and universities in Georgia granted 102,944 degrees and certificates to 99,570 graduating students in 2011-12. Among those students, 78 percent earned their degrees at four-year institutions and 19 percent earned two-year degrees. The remaining 3 percent, a total of 3,666 graduates, earned certificates or diplomas from schools that offered less than two-year degrees.

As it currently stands, colleges in Missouri educate a considerable amount of the state’s students. Here are some total enrollment numbers collected from major public universities in Missouri, as of Spring 2013:

  • Missouri Southern State University: 5,616
  • Missouri State University- Springfield: 21,271
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology: 8,129
  • Missouri Western State University: 5,795
  • Northwest Missouri State University: 6,485
  • Southeast Missouri State University: 11,767
  • Truman State University: 6,225
  • University of Central Missouri: 12,513
  • University of Missouri-Columbia: 34,616
  • University of Missouri-Kansas City: 15,718
  • University of Missouri-St. Louis: 16,809 

Online education in Missouri

The addition of online degree programs and courses at colleges and universities in Missouri has enhanced students’ overall learning experience as well as coursework flexibility. Since online degrees make it easier for non-traditional students to return to college, the addition of so many new programs has meant more educational opportunity as well. Now that online degree programs are becoming more commonplace, it’s much easier for students with families, students who need to continue working while they study, and students who can only attend school part-time to earn a degree. Meanwhile, online education has also made it easier for students to earn an advanced degree while remaining in the workforce.

Fortunately, colleges in Missouri have stepped up to the plate in terms of their online offerings. In fact, multiple colleges and universities in Missouri have been recognized by national ranking agencies for certain programs in their online catalog. Here are a few of the well-regarded online degrees offered by Missouri colleges and universities, alongside their national rank as calculated by U.S. News & World Report:

Missouri Southern State University

  • Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (2015): No. 158

Missouri State University

  • Best Online MBA Programs (2015): No. 87

Southeast Missouri State University

  • Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (2015): No. 68
  • Best Online MBA Programs (2015): No. 89
  • Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA) (2015): No. 49
  • Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs (2015): No. 15
  • Best Online Graduate Education Programs (2015): No. 142

University of Central Missouri

  • Best Online Graduate Education Programs (2015): No. 107

University of Missouri

  • Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (2015): No. 98
  • Best Online Graduate Education Programs (2015): No. 94
  • Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs (2015): No. 48

University of Missouri- St. Louis

  • Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (2015): No. 50
  • Best Online Graduate Education Programs (2015): No. 68

University of Missouri- Kansas City

  • Best Online Bachelor’s Programs (2015): No. 34
  • Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs (2015): No. 18

It’s important to note not all types of online programs are ranked in U.S. News & World Report, and many smaller colleges in Missouri have programs that weren’t considered for these rankings. Many other colleges in Missouri have online degree programs that are both high in quality and flexible, so be sure to research other programs that may be available.

Top jobs and careers in Missouri

Thanks to Missouri’s robust economy, there are plenty of careers offering both high pay and excellent job prospects. Here’s a table of some of the top careers in Missouri along with information about each and some degree programs that could potentially help you get your foot in the door:

OccupationTop RegionsWhy It’s HotNecessary skillsRelevant Degrees
Diagnostic Medical SonographyKansas City, St. Louis, SpringfieldBureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor data indicates that employment for diagnostic medical sonographers could surge as much as 36 percent in Missouri from 2012 to 2022.

Since students can typically begin this career with an associate degree, this field is seen as one with both quick entry into the workforce and high pay.

Interpersonal skills, the ability to communicate effectively, physical stamina, hand-eye coordination, technical skills, attention to detail, a caring bedside manorAs the BLS reports, most diagnostic medical sonographers begin their careers with either an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography or a bachelor’s degree in sonography. In some cases, students also begin this career with a professional certificate.

Students interested in this field can gauge their abilities by taking courses in anatomy, physiology and science.

Interpreters and TranslatorsKansas City, St. Louis, ColumbiaU.S. Department of Labor data shows that jobs for interpreters and translators in Missouri could increase by as much as 33 percent throughout the next decade.

An increase in the use of diverse languages is likely a driver in the growth of this field. High pay and excellent career prospects contribute to the popularity of this career path.

Cultural sensitivity, absolute fluency in at least two languages, excellent written and verbal communication skills, computer skills, comfort with the use of technology, business skills, listening skills, the ability to concentrate for long periods of timeAs the BLS notes, many professionals in this field get their start by earning a bachelor’s degree in English or a foreign language. However, any bachelor’s degree is helpful in securing one of these positions as long as the candidate is fluent in at least two languages. Courses in English, literature and computers can help any student get started in this field. Meanwhile, studying abroad is a good way for students to learn the nuances of a foreign language while also embracing a culture that uses it.
Food Scientists and TechnologistsSt. Louis, Kansas City, St. JosephBecause of the demand in this industry, U.S. Department of Labor figures show employment for these workers in Missouri could increase by as much as 30 percent from 2012 to 2022. That is almost three times as much growth as what is predicted for all occupations combined. Meanwhile, relatively high pay keeps this job at the top of many student’s lists.Excellent comprehension of basic scientific principles, communication skills, decision-making skills, knowledge of advanced math, data analysis and critical thinking skillsAccording to the BLS, food scientists need at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field to get started. However, many pursue advanced degrees in related sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, and even engineering.

Most food scientists can begin by building an educational foundation in the sciences with courses in biology, chemistry, botany and plant conservation.

Medical Equipment RepairersSt. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, ColumbiaAs technology becomes more prevalent in health care, more professionals will be needed to maintain and repair the various types of medical equipment that will soon be commonplace. Because of this demand, the BLS predicts employment for medical equipment repairers in Missouri could increase by as much as 29 percent during the decade leading up to 2022. Since this career usually begins with an associate degree, many students see it as a way to enter the workforce quickly.Mechanical skills, the ability to read and comprehend operating manuals, manual dexterity and aptitude for the sciences, troubleshooting skills, critical thinking skills, physical staminaMost medical equipment repairers get started in this field by earning an associate degree in biomedical technology or biomedical engineering. Some workers, however, also pursue bachelor’s degrees for certain positions.

Since technology changes frequently, medical equipment repairers also need to stay abreast of updates and breakthroughs by taking continued education, attending seminars, or participating in self-study.

Occupational Therapy AssistantsSt. Louis, Kansas City, SpringfieldAs the baby boomer population continues to age, occupational therapists will be required to help them continue leading active lives. Become of the anticipated surge in demand for this field, the BLS predicts employment for occupational therapy assistants in Missouri could increase by as much as 28 percent from 2012 to 2022.

The fact that most workers in this field only need an associate’s degree coupled with high pay, helps this career choice remain popular with students.

Compassion, flexibility, a caring bedside manner, attention to detail, excellent time management skills, interpersonal skillsAs the BLS reports, most workers in this field begin their careers by earning an associate degree from an accredited occupational therapy assistant program.

Although these programs vary in length, most take around two years of full-time study to complete. Taking courses in anatomy, physiology and biology can help you learn the underlying science of this exciting career. Most occupational therapy assistants also complete some hands-on training at an occupational therapist’s office as part of their educational requirements.

While no degree can guarantee any of these careers, a college education makes a big difference in the eyes of employers. For certain careers, a college degree may even be a requirement. Before you set your sights on any particular field, make sure to research any educational requirements beforehand. Honing in on a specific degree and skill set can help you get your foot in the door with your desired career.

Missouri financial aid info

Researching the cost of a college degree in Missouri can be extremely confusing. A lot of factors come into play when determining tuition and a lot of it depends on the school you choose and the type of degree you ultimately pursue. Furthermore, the cost of college tuition has increased considerably over the years, and continues to increase today. A 2014 study from the College Board shows just how much tuition has skyrocketed over the last decade.

To illustrate how college tuition has surged over the years, here’s a list of average tuition figures at colleges and universities in Missouri:

  • Public 2-year in-state
    • 2004-05: $2,707
    • 2014-15: $3,096
  • Public 4-year in-state
    • 2004-05: $7,464
    • 2014-15: $8,383
  • Private 4-year nonprofit
    • 2004-05: $21,576
    • 2014-15: $26,623

Missouri Tuition and Fee Costs

As a student seeking financial aid, one of the first things you will need to do is fill out a Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Doing so may open the door to both federal financial aid and state aid as long as you meet certain criteria and eligibility requirements. Types of federal aid that may be available can include Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, among other types.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education aims to provide students with state-specific aid. For example, students who attend universities in Missouri could find that they qualify for various local aid offered through the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Missouri Department of Safety, Missouri Department of Social Services, or Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education. Various types of school-specific aid may be available too, which is why it’s important to check with the school of your choosing for information. If you do qualify for any combination of federal, state, or school aid, you could potentially save a significant amount of money on the total cost of your degree.

While some types of aid don’t need to be paid back, other types come in the form of low interest loans. Make sure you know the difference before moving forward with any type of college aid.

To find out more about some of the schools and programs available in Missouri, be sure to check out the ones featured in our school listings below.

Article Sources


  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition: “Agricultural and Food Scientists,”, “Interpreters and Translators,”, “Medical Equipment Repairers,”, “Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides,”, “Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists,”
  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013: “Diagnostic Medical Sonographer,”, “Food Scientists and Technologists,”, “Interpreters and Translators,”, “Medical Equipment Repairers,”, “Occupational Therapy Assistants,”
  3. U.S. News & World Report: “Missouri Southern State University, Online Programs,”, “Missouri State Universty, Online Programs,”, “Southeast Missouri State University, Online Programs,”, “University of Central Missouri, Online Programs,”, “University of Missouri, Online Programs,”, University of Missouri – Kansas City, Online Porgrams,”, “University of Missouri – St. Louis, Online Programs,”
  4. Fastest Growing Occupations, CareerOneStop,, College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, Completers and Completions: 2011-12, Web Tables, U.S. Department of Education, March 2014,
  5. “Resources for Missouri Students,” Missouri Department of Higher Education,
  6. “Tuition and Fees by Sector and State over Time,” Trends in Higher Education, The College Board,

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