Nursing is a growing and important profession in the state of Mississippi, one that employs more than 39,000 individuals as registered nurses and licensed practical nurses (LPN). A diverse field, nursing is home to several specializations, such as nursing assisting. Below is a list of 2013 state employment figures by nursing profession in Mississippi, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security:
- Registered nurses: 29,520
- Nursing assistants: 16,700
- LPNS: 10,860
- Nurse practitioners: 1,840
- Nurse anesthetists: 200
The field itself is projected to experience growth across all occupations between 2012 and 2022, which should be good news for prospective nursing students. As seen above, the varied nature of nursing means students have multiple potential educational and subsequent career paths to choose from.
Types of Online Nursing Programs in Mississippi
Universities and community colleges alike in Mississippi offer prospective students a variety of online educational programs in nursing, ranging from diplomas to graduate degrees. Although students may typically complete the entirety of their textbook-based instruction through Web-learning formats, nursing programs usually require a hands-on, clinical practicum. Depending on the university and program, students work with a track coordinator on a clinical placement in their local area, whether in Mississippi or not.
Through online programs, students are able to complete their studies at their own pace. Online nursing programs in Mississippi are generally delivered in one of two learning formats: synchronous and asynchronous. Although students may access their course materials at any time, from any location in both formats, the central difference is the requirement for live, scheduled course sessions in asynchronous formats.
Below are examples of online nursing degree paths found at colleges in Mississippi:
Online nursing diploma. The nursing diploma can be completed in as little as one year to 18 months of study and are typically designed for individuals pursuing licensure as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
Online associate in nursing. For students seeking entry-level employment as a registered nurse, the associate degree is a common first step. Designed to be completed in as little as two to three years of study, associate degree programs set the course for students to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).
Online bachelor's in nursing. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is the most common and widely selected nursing degree, the one that provides students with a comprehensive understanding of both theory and nursing practice. Curriculum focuses on building the critical thinking and patient care skills of future nurses, offering them an opportunity to develop practical leadership skills.
Online master's in nursing. For nursing professionals, the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is a graduate-level degree that can prepare them for specialized, advanced positions such as nurse practitioner. Within this field of study, students may select from a range of specializations, including pediatrics or psychiatry.
In 2013, 22 universities and community colleges graduated more than 5,000 students in nursing degree programs in Mississippi, according to the National Center for Education Statistics**. The two most popular degrees included nursing associate (2,798 degrees) and bachelor's of nursing (1,922 degrees). Within that group of degree paths, popular specializations included nursing research, clinical nursing and nursing administration.
Below is a list of the 10 universities and community colleges that awarded the most nursing degrees in Mississippi in 2013:
|Institution||Nursing Degrees Conferred (2013)|
|Mississippi University for Women||836|
|University of Southern Mississippi||511|
|Hinds Community College||404|
|William Carey University||344|
|University of Mississippi Medical Center||322|
|Meridian Community College||290|
|Northwest Mississippi Community College||244|
|Northeast Mississippi Community College||238|
|Holmes Community College||238|
|Pearl River Community College||218|
**NCES does not report data for online degrees, instead includes them in an aggregate total of degrees conferred.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2013
Career Opportunities Nursing Graduates in Mississippi
Employment opportunities are projected to be solid across all nursing occupations in the state of Mississippi between 2012 and 2022, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. In the state, the largest nursing occupations fields include nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, and registered nurses. All three, are projected to experience double digit employment growth between 2012 and 2022.
|Occupation||Projected Employment Growth in Mississippi (2012-2022)|
|Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses||18.7%|
For potential earnings, the best paying nursing occupation in Mississippi is nurse anesthetist, followed by nurse practitioner and registered nurse. In turn, the level of pay is directionally proportionate to the educational investment -- both nurse anesthetists and nurse practitioners require an advanced graduate degree for employment.
|Occupation||Average Salary in Mississippi (2013)|
|Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses||$35,910|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Mississippi, Occupational and Wage Estimates, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ms.htm
"May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates - Mississippi," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013 http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ms.htm
"MDES - Occupational Projections," Mississippi Department of Employment Security, January 2015, http://mdes.ms.gov/information-center/labor-market-information/occupational-projections/
"Projections Central - State Occupational Projects," Projections Central, January 2015, http://projectionscentral.com/
National Center for Education Statistics, January 2015, http://nces.ed.gov/