St. Joseph is committed to quality education from K-12 and beyond. Lifelong learning is encouraged with a variety of post-secondary institutions offering associate and bachelor’s degrees, along with several master’s level programs.

Our city’s central location, close proximity to Kansas City and nationally-recognized research focus continues to provide collaborative courses through area universities. Many business professionals and students enjoy the convenience of evening courses at St. Joseph’s Missouri Western State University main campus and the Northwest Missouri State University Downtown Campus, in addition to traditional coursework and distance learning classes. New partnerships through Missouri Western State University’s Craig School of Business with Rockhurst University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City are just one example of how St. Joseph brings the best educational opportunities close to home.

St. Joseph Public School District

  • Serves more than 12,000 students at three high schools, four middle schools and 16 elementary schools, including two newly opened in 2014.
  • Teacher-pupil ratio of 1 to 18 with 55 percent of teachers holding master’s degree
  • High school graduation rate of 88.6 percent; higher than the Missouri state high school graduation rate of 85.7 percent.
  • Strongest and most sophisticated technology program in the state, with a fiber-optic network running through each school in the district.
  • Curriculum features advanced placement, honors level classes, dual credit courses, and articulated classes.
  • Active community/school partnerships feature year-round special committees, public discussions and strategic planning sessions, inviting members of the business community and the workforce to participate

Missouri Western State University

  • Location: St. Joseph, Missouri; enrollment: 6,100 students
  • Degree programs abound from highly technical fields to liberal arts and sciences
  • Multiple graduate degree programs, including courses in collaboration with Northwest Missouri State University and the University of Missouri
  • Selected for Kit Bond Science and Technology Incubator, a $2.5 million, multi-tenant research facility in which MWSU students collaborate with business leaders and area universities
  • Home of the Institute for Industrial & Applied Life Sciences, offering customized animal health training and degree programs, including degrees with a Quality Assurance and Quality Control emphasis as well as additional customized cGMP training for the animal health industry.
  • MWSU’s multi-million dollar Craig School of Business works collaboratively with Rockhurst University and University of Missouri-Kansas City for graduate programs

Universities and Colleges within a Short Drive


Northwest Missouri State University

  • Location: Maryville, Missouri (45 miles north of St. Joseph)
  • Enrollment: 7,200 students
  • Features a St. Joseph Center offering a Master of Business Administration, along with several additional master’s programs, providing convenient evening courses for professionals

Benedictine College

  • Location: Atchison, Kansas (20 miles southwest of St. Joseph)
  • Enrollment: 1,300 students
  • Liberal arts residential university offering Executive MBA in Leadership and Executive Master of Business Administration, among other master’s programs for professionals

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  • Location: St. Joseph, Missouri (Online/Interactive)
  • Offers numerous online-based degree programs, in areas including IT, business administration, criminal justice or medical fields.

Other Educational Opportunities in St. Joseph


Hillyard Technical Center


Hillyard Technical Center is a public school that meets both industrial and individual needs in areas such as architecture, computers, manufacturing, engineering, robotics, automotive, medical technology and dental hygiene. Most classes are articulated and students can earn up to 30 credit hours after successful completion of their program.

  • Location: St. Joseph, Missouri
  • Enrollment: 650 daytime, 1,000 evening
  • Longstanding history as a career center in St. Joseph, meeting both industrial and individual needs in areas such as architecture, computers, business technology, computer-aided drafting, construction technology, precision machine technology, welding and medical technology.
  • Active partner with area high schools, helping establish students on a career path for post-high school.

Vatterott College

vatterottVatterott College offers diploma and degree programs in trades, medical, technical, business, massage therapy and continuing education.  Newer programs include HVAC and personal fitness trainer.

Parochial/Private Grade and High Schools

Many options are available for quality parochial and private education in St. Joseph. St. Joseph’s private educational opportunities include several top-ranked elementary schools, middle schools and high schools, whose students consistently score high in college entrance exams. Parents seeking a private school education for their children may send their kids, pre-kindergarten through high school, to a number of quality schools. Catholic education is offered at Bishop LeBlond High School, Cathedral of St. Joseph, St. Francis Xavier, and St. James schools. Christian education is offered at St. Joseph Christian School, Children First School, St. Paul Lutheran, and South Park Christian Academy.

Western Institute – Missouri Western State University

  • Location: St. Joseph, Missouri
  • Western Institute provides high quality, affordable programs and services for degree and non-degree seeking students. Programs include bachelor’s degree completion, graduate options, professional training, community arts, conferences and scheduling, a law enforcement academy, dual credit and much more.

University of Missouri – Kansas City

  • Location: Kansas City, Mo. (60 miles south of St. Joseph)
  • Enrollment: 15,000 students
  • Offers undergraduate programs as well as schools of law, medicine, business, pharmacy, dentistry for those wishing to pursue higher educations.

Central Missouri University

  • Location: Warrensburg, Mo. (113 miles southeast of St. Joseph)
  • Enrollment: 11,000 students
  • Thirty-four master’s options are available at CMU. Graduate courses are available at more than 20 sites throughout Missouri, including courses on campus, online, summit center, and various locations throughout the state. Several degree programs are available completely online.


Metropolitan Community College

  • Location: five locations in the Kansas City area
  • Enrollment: 18,000
  • MCC is one of the premier community colleges in the nation and offers 80 degree programs, with strong transfer options.