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    Best Nursing Schools in Minnesota for 2024: Online & Campus

    Learn about the top nursing schools in Minnesota, including those with convenient online programs, and see which one best meets your needs.

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    Whether you’re a high school graduate interested in starting your RN career or an experienced nurse looking to move up the ranks for more pay and responsibilities, Minnesota has many quality nursing programs to meet your needs. This guide breaks down the various nursing degrees Minnesota has to offer and highlights schools that stand out in terms of affordability, flexibility, academics, student support, and other criteria. It also reviews the process for securing your RN license and provides a list of essential resources for Minnesota-based nurses. Keep reading to learn more about 2024’s top schools in Minnesota and find the one that best fits your individual needs.

    or
    About the ranking

    X

    Base Methodology for EduMed’s Best Online College Rankings for the ’23-’24 school year.

    One: Create list of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on data pulled from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which was self-reported by the schools themselves.

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least 1 online component in a program within the ranking-subject area.

    Two: Assign Weighting

    After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of metrics, which were all self-reported by the schools themselves to the U.S. Department of Education and IPEDS. 

    The metrics are listed below in order of most- to least-heavily weighted. 

    Online Programs – Number of online programs in the relevant subject area.

    Online Student % – Number of total students who are enrolled in at least 1 distance-learning course in the relevant subject area.

    Tuition – The average in-state tuition for undergraduate students studying full-time, as self-reported by the school.

    Institutional Aid – Percent of full-time undergraduate students who are awarded institutional grant aid, as self-reported by the school.

    Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    Career Placement Services – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    Student/Faculty Ratio

    About Our DataEduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2023

    #School NameTypeTuitionOnline ProgramsMore DetailsSchool InformationOnline StudentsAcademic CounselingCareer PlacementStudents w/Institutional AidMedian Earnings 10yrs After EntryAccreditation
    1Winona State UniversityWinona, MNPublic$12

    Winona State University's online RN to BS program allows students that are currently RNs, or have finished an associate nursing degree, to apply previously earned credits toward a BS in Nursing. The program is asynchronous, allowing students to complete their work at a time that's best for them. This program prepares students to apply for a PHN certification and/or a school nurse license. Nursing graduates from WSU have a 96% job placement in their field after graduation.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelors of Science in Nursing

    • Credits: 57 program credits; 120 total
    • Length: varies
    • Cost: $4,193.75/semester (Minnesota resident); $7,559.85/semester (non-resident)
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: CCNE
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    16/1
    Online
    Student %
    56%
    2Minnesota State University MoorheadMoorhead, MNPublic$3

    Minnesota State University-Moorhead's nursing program offers a competitive hybrid BSN program, an online RN to BSN program, and online graduate nursing degrees. A unique aspect of MSUM's nursing college is the opportunity for students to study abroad and gain experience among different populations, environments, and healthcare systems. Students that pursue the hybrid BSN program will attend school year-round for 8 semesters, which allows them to complete their degree in just under 3 years.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelors of Science in Nursing

    • Credits: 120
    • Length: 8 semesters
    • Cost: $285.80/credit
    • Mode: Hybrid
    • Accreditation: CCNE
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    18/1
    Online
    Student %
    76%
    or
    About the ranking

    X

    Base Methodology for EduMed’s Best Online College Rankings for the ’23-’24 school year.

    One: Create list of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on data pulled from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which was self-reported by the schools themselves.

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least 1 online component in a program within the ranking-subject area.

    Two: Assign Weighting

    After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of metrics, which were all self-reported by the schools themselves to the U.S. Department of Education and IPEDS. 

    The metrics are listed below in order of most- to least-heavily weighted. 

    Online Programs – Number of online programs in the relevant subject area.

    Online Student % – Number of total students who are enrolled in at least 1 distance-learning course in the relevant subject area.

    Tuition – The average in-state tuition for undergraduate students studying full-time, as self-reported by the school.

    Institutional Aid – Percent of full-time undergraduate students who are awarded institutional grant aid, as self-reported by the school.

    Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    Career Placement Services – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    Student/Faculty Ratio

    About Our DataEduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2023

    #School NameTypeTuitionOnline ProgramsMore DetailsSchool InformationOnline StudentsAcademic CounselingCareer PlacementStudents w/Institutional AidMedian Earnings 10yrs After EntryAccreditation
    1Northwest Technical CollegeBemidji, MNPublic$1

    Northwest Technical College has a nursing assistant certificate, LPN diploma, an LPN-RN program, and a traditional ADN that students can then transfer to Bemidji State University if they wish to pursue their BSN. All nursing programs are offered in a hybrid format with lectures viewable online and labs/clinicals available on-site. Students are able to stack their credentials as they work toward their associate degree. Students wishing to pursue the LPN diploma or the traditional ADN will need to complete the nursing assistant course in order to be accepted into the program.

    Program Highlights:

    Associate of Science in Nursing

    • Credits: 64
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $208.95/credit
    • Mode: Hybrid
    • Accreditation: ACEN

    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    16/1
    Online
    Student %
    74%
    2Minnesota West Community and Technical CollegeGranite Falls, MNPublic$1

    Minnesota West Community and Technical College has an LPN to ASN program for practical nurses looking to earn their associate in nursing degree. All coursework is available online, but students will need to plan on traveling to their assigned clinical sites to complete hands-on learning requirements. Admission requirements include an LPN license, cumulative GPA of 3.0 in general education courses, no grade lower than a C, and a minimum decision score of 80 on the National League for Nursing (NLN) NACE I Foundations entrance exam.

    Program Highlights:

    Associate of Science iin Nursing

    • Credits: 64
    • Length: 2-3 semesters
    • Cost: $194.94 - $207.44/credit
    • Mode: Partially online
    • Accreditation: ACEN
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    17/1
    Online
    Student %
    48%

    Popular Minnesota Nursing Schools and Programs

    These popular nursing schools in Minnesota are CCNE accredited and provide an affordable nursing program with the support you need to start a nursing career or build upon existing skills for career advancement. The three standout nursing programs in Minnesota highlighted below will give you a more detailed perspective of what to expect and look for during your own program search.

    University of Minnesota

    The University of Minnesota hosts one of the state’s premier Bachelor of Nursing programs that boasts a 2019 NCLEX-RN pass rate of 97%. Utilizing a collaborative environment, this undergraduate track offers traditional classroom experiences bolstered by research opportunities and hands-on simulations. Students also gain vital clinical experiences through the school’s professional healthcare network. During this four-year program, students complete core nursing classes that include topics like taking ethical action in healthcare, nursing care across the lifespan, and public health nursing. Students also complete a specialty-focused practicum and a degree-culminating senior project.

    Before gaining admission into UMN’s BSN program, students must complete 17-19 credits of foundational coursework in chemistry, psychology, biology, anatomy, and physiology.

    Rochester Community and Technical College

    Rochester Community and Technical College offers an Associate Degree in Nursing that full-time students can complete in two years. The program supplies students with the theoretical and clinical skills they need to begin their professional nursing careers. By highlighting professionalism, critical thinking, and essential nursing skills in a collaborative environment, students are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam.

    Throughout this 64-credit ASN, students complete 30 credits of general education requirements and 34 credits of nursing coursework. Core nursing requirements include fundamentals of nursing, maternal newborn nursing, and leadership and management in nursing.

    Prospective students need high school diplomas or GEDs. Applicants must also complete the ATI Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) with a score of 58.7% or higherSouthwest Minnesota State University

    Southwest Minnesota State University

    Designed for students holding RN licensure and ASNs, Southwest Minnesota State University offers an RN to BSN nursing program that students can complete in 12-18 months. The curriculum supports a working understanding of the healthcare issues facing underserved rural populations and places a strong emphasis on the practical application of clinical knowledge in complex environments. RN to BSN students complete core nursing classes like chronic illness in rural settings, transcultural nursing, and healthcare policy and informatics in addition to a community health clinical experience.

    Applicants must hold current and unencumbered RN licenses with minimum 2.75 GPAs for all prior nursing coursework.

    Types of Nursing Programs Available in Minnesota

    Nursing schools in Minnesota provide academic and technical training at every level, from ADN to graduate programs. We’ve highlighted the most popular nursing options currently available in the state below and given examples of quality schools offering them.

    Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Minnesota

    ADN Programs

    Designed for individuals seeking nursing licensure, these programs are traditionally offered at community and technical colleges. They are popular options for students not wanting a four-year undergraduate commitment. Full-time students usually complete ADN programs in about two years.

    Examples of Minnesota Nursing Schools with this Program

    Traditional BSN Programs

    A traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing leads to nursing licensure and takes full-time students four years to complete. Offering expanded career options and earning potential, a BSN is often prized by employers because of its rigorous and in-depth curriculum.

    Examples of Minnesota Nursing Schools with this Program

    Accelerated BSN Programs

    An accelerated BSN is a practical option for individuals with unrelated bachelor’s degrees who want to pursue nursing careers. Having already completed general education requirements, accelerated BSN students focus entirely on nursing-related requirements to finish their degrees in just 18 months.

    Examples of Minnesota Nursing Schools with this Program

    Nursing Bridge Programs in Minnesota for Current Nurses

    LPN to RN and LPN to BSN Programs

    LPN to RN and LPN to BSN programs offer a clear academic path towards RN licensure. An LPN to RN program usually takes 18-24 months to complete while an LPN to BSN track typically takes 3-4 years.

    Examples of Minnesota Nursing Schools with this Program

    RN to BSN Programs

    Accelerated RN to BSN programs offer working RNs a convenient path to complete their bachelor’s degrees. These programs build upon prior coursework and focus on augmenting nursing knowledge and clinical skills. These degrees traditionally take about two years to complete and are often offered online, including some programs in Minnesota.

    Examples of Minnesota Nursing Schools with this Program

    RN to MSN Programs

    An RN to MSN bridge program offers working RNs with ADNs the opportunity to earn master’s degrees in a shorter amount of time. Bridge programs are both online and in-person and usually take between 30-36 months.

    Examples of Minnesota Nursing Schools with this Program

    Advanced Nursing Programs in Minnesota

    MSN Programs

    MSN programs are available for both working nurses with BSNs and students holding unrelated bachelor’s degrees. Students complete various core requirements and often specialize in areas like nursing leadership, informatics, and other areas of clinical practice. Depending on prior academic experience, this degree takes between two and three years.

    Examples of Minnesota Nursing Schools with This Program

    DNP and PhD Doctoral Programs

    A DNP degree further hones clinical skills and leads to various nursing leadership positions. For students interested in research and teaching at the collegiate level, a PhD focuses on the skills needed to transition into an academic setting. Depending on previous academic experience, these degrees take three to six years to complete.

    Examples of Minnesota Nursing Schools with This Program

    Post-Graduate Certificates

    For working RNs holding MSN degrees, post-graduate certificates give expert knowledge in specific areas of the nursing field. Students access post-graduate certificate programs both online and on-campus, tackling specialization areas like nursing management, gerontology, and nurse education.

    Examples of Minnesota Nursing Schools with This Program

    A Look at Online Nursing Programs in Minnesota

    Online nursing programs in Minnesota have become popular in recent years, especially for working students. Keep in mind, however, that while certain programs offer online components, you’ll still meet any clinical requirements in person. At the same time, there are many programs fully online with clinical requirements met through your current nursing job. Online programs boast flexibility, but the coursework requires self-discipline, commitment, and time management. Some students struggle with these on their own and thrive better within in-person settings.

    To help you learn more about what you should look for in an online program, take a look at the profile below.

    St. Catherine University

    St. Catherine University offers an online Master of Science in Nursing Nurse Educator program comprised of 32 credits students typically take fewer than two years to complete. In addition to developing critical thinking and leadership skills, students tackle emerging issues in the nursing field while studying healthcare trends. They also assess various learning styles and instructional techniques in a nurse education setting. Coursework in this master’s degree covers topics like foundations of nurse educator practice, basic graduate nursing informatics, advanced pharmacology across the lifespan, and physiology and pathophysiology across the lifespan.

    Prospective students need BSNs from regionally accredited institutions and active nursing licenses. They also must have minimum cumulative GPAs of 3.0 or higher.

    Financial Aid Opportunities for Nursing Students in Minnesota

    While nursing programs in Minnesota offer a variety of flexible and affordable academic options, securing a degree can get expensive at any level. Fortunately, loans, scholarships, grants, and tuition reimbursement programs can lighten your financial burden and allow you to graduate from nursing school debt free.

    When searching for financial aid resources, start with your school’s financial aid department. Additionally, professional organizations like the Minnesota Nurses Association Foundation offer various annual scholarships. Other funding sources include private foundations, school nursing programs, and various healthcare organizations.

    For more resources and advice on funding your nursing degree in Minnesota, review our scholarships and resources page for online RN students and our guide to paying less for education.

    How to Become an RN in Minnesota: Licensing Information and Requirements

    You must attend a program approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing to become an RN in Minnesota. Approved programs offer you the academic and clinical skills needed to secure your nursing license and provide competent and compassionate care. RN licensing information and requirements vary among states, so we’ve highlighted the steps you’ll need to take to secure your RN license in Minnesota.

    Step 1

    Complete Your Degree

    Whether you’re attending an ADN or BSN program, it needs to be a board-approved nursing program. During your last semester, you can begin the process of securing your RN licensure through Minnesota’s Board of Nursing.

    Step 2

    Submit Application and Fees

    Your application needs to be complete and correct since any omissions or mistakes can delay the licensure process. Submit your application before you sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. This process also includes a criminal background check.

    Step 3

    Register and Schedule Your Exam

    Pearson Vue administers NCLEX-RN exams nationwide, and you’ll need to register and pay all associated fees to schedule your exam. Upon receipt of payment, Pearson Vue will send you an Authorization to Test (ATT). Once received, you can schedule your test. Your ATT is valid for 90 days. If the test isn’t taken during that time, you’ll need to restart the process from Step 2.

    Step 4

    Prepare and Take Your Exam

    While many programs assist with NCLEX test prep, taking the time to study independently can help ensure you pass on the first attempt. Various test prep options are available online, and studying with your cohort may also be beneficial. Once you pass the NCELX-RN exam, expect to receive your RN license in the mail in approximately ten business days.

    Step 5

    Renew Your License

    Once you receive your Minnesota RN license, you’ll need to renew it every two years. In addition to completing a renewal application, RNs in Minnesota must complete at least 24 contact hours of continuing education.

    Job Outlook for RNs in Minnesota

    Similar to national metrics, RN jobs in Minnesota are projected to grow 12.4% by 2028. That translates to nearly 9,000 new jobs for RNs. These long-term employment numbers also project an average of 4,900 annual job openings for RNs in Minnesota.

    While the RN employment forecast is positive, these statistics alone can undersell the value of a nursing degree. Along with a growing job market, nursing provides a stable and in-demand career that’s underscored by an above-average annual salary.

    Employment Projections for RNs in Minnesota

    New Jobs
    (2018-2028)
    Job Growth Rate
    (2018-2028)
    Average Annual Openings
    (2018-2028)
    Minnesota8,79012.4%4,900
    United States371,50012.1%210,400

    Source: Projections Central

    Nursing Salaries in Minnesota: How Much You Could Make as an RN

    Not only are Minnesota nurses in demand, but they also earn an annual salary that exceeds the national average by more than $4,000. Additionally, RNs in more populated areas like Minneapolis and St. Cloud make around $10,000 more per year than national median earnings.

    When considering your academic path in nursing, look at what top earners make in Minnesota. With the 90th percentile of RNs making over $100,000 annually, experienced nurses with advanced degrees and those in leadership roles tend to make the most.

    Annual Earnings for Registered Nurses in Minnesota


    10th PercentileMedian Earnings90th Percentile
    Minnesota$57,730$79,540$107,000
    United States$53,410$75,330$116,230
    Duluth, MN-WI$52,710$69,630$91,650
    Mankato-North Mankato, MN$60,040$84,100$108,790
    Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI$61,900$86,290$111,500
    Rochester, MN$56,770$71,870$89,720
    St. Cloud, MN$64,280$86,750$110,090
    Duluth, MN-WI$52,710$69,630$91,650
    Mankato-North Mankato, MN$60,040$84,100$108,790
    Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI$61,900$86,290$111,500
    Rochester, MN$56,770$71,870$89,720
    St. Cloud, MN$64,280$86,750$110,090

    Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020