North Dakota is a rural state and the fourth least populous state in the nation. If you don’t live near one of its few cities, you may want an online nursing program or online options for obtaining specific training for work in a rural clinic or on a reservation. Also, because of the high racial disparity in premature death rates and an increased prevalence of excessive drinking and drug fatalities, there’s an urgent need for healthcare access and providers in North Dakota.
This guide covers the types of nursing programs you’ll find in North Dakota, financial aid options, steps to earning an RN license, and the job outlook. Read on to discover the many options for nursing schools in North Dakota, regardless of where you live.
|Students w/Institutional Aid
|Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry
|University of North DakotaGrand Forks, ND
The University of North Dakota's online nursing program has been 30 years in the making, and they've earned an excellent reputation in the process. UND's programs target working nurses looking to add to their credentials. At the MSN level, students can opt for a family nurse practitioner or psychiatric nursing emphasis. The school also offers a post master's Doctor of Nursing Practice program that can be completed in as few as five semesters.
Family Nurse Practitioner MS
Popular Programs: Nursing Schools in North Dakota
We profiled two popular nursing programs below so you can dig deeper on what to expect from the school you choose by learning about what other students like you look for in a program.
University of Mary
The undergraduate nursing programs at the University of Mary include an LPN to BSN program, an RN to BSN option, and a BSN accelerated second-degree program. These programs are CCNE-accredited and had 100% NCLEX pass rates in 2020 and 2021. Most importantly, the school offers robust online options for nurses trying to fit coursework into their busy lifestyles. The remote options can be completed in as little as one or two years. If you’re interested in an on-campus experience, there’s the opportunity to earn up to $15,000 in scholarships, the equivalent of a free senior year.
Bismark State College
The nursing program at Bismark State College offers students the opportunity to earn their degrees locally without the need to travel. Students in or near Ashley, Harvey, Hazen, Hettinger, and Garrison attend theory classes at a local medical center via in-person instruction and Interactive Video Network (IVN). The school offers an 11-month LPN track and a two-year RN track. Its NCLEX pass rates are above the national average, job placement for graduates is 100%, and financial aid is available. Since the program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education for Nursing (ACEN), quality is assured.
Types of Nursing Programs Available in North Dakota
There are a wide variety of nursing programs in North Dakota. Whether you’re new to the healthcare field or looking to advance your existing nursing skills, there’s a school and a program to fit your needs. Below are some of the most common options currently available in the state.
Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in North Dakota
Nursing Bridge Programs in North Dakota for Current Nurses
Advanced Nursing Programs in North Dakota
What You Need to Know About Online Nursing Programs in North Dakota
Advances in technology have made nursing programs more flexible than ever. Online nursing programs in North Dakota allow you to learn when and where it’s most convenient for you. Many nursing students already work in the field, so flexibility is key for managing existing responsibilities. Whether you’re earning your RN or a BSN or are working on a graduate degree, you can take most or all your lecture classes online. The exact set varies by school and program, but in-person clinical practicum components are still likely required. Online students usually participate in clinical rotations near their school, typically within 50-100 miles. Remote courses are convenient, but they require increased motivation and self-discipline.
University of Mary
The University of Mary offers two online/hybrid undergraduate nursing programs. The LPN to BSN program includes online courses as well as in-person residencies at the school’s Bismarck campus. This option takes about two years to complete. The RN to BSN option is fully online and can be completed in about a year. The programs are intended for busy working nurses who want to advance their knowledge and careers. The university coordinates clinical placement for its students, which is a significant time saver. The program is CCNE accredited and offers one of the most robust graduate nursing departments in the state for continuing your studies.
Mayville State University
The CCNE-accredited RN to BSN online program from Mayville State University offers a solidmix of flexibility and affordability. Students in the online nursing program generally take three to four courses per semester in five-week blocks. Students are also required to take one 10-week clinical course, and some non-nursing classes are also required to complete the bachelor’s degree. You can choose either a full-time (12 months) or part-time (24 months) course of study. This program is a good option for current RNs to advance their career while still working and earning a salary.
University of Jamestown
Students in the University of Jamestown’s online RN to BSN program can earn their degrees on their own timelines while also minimizing costs. The school partners with many junior colleges and offers several credit transfer options. Plus, it keeps its fee structure low. When it comes to coursework, students choose from eight-week or 16-week course options, with cohorts starting each summer. Online BSN students at the University of Jamestown are eligible to complete a certificate in Psychology for Health Care Professionals, which can open further professional pathways. The school is also CCNE accredited, so you know the teaching and curriculum meet national standards.
Funding Your Future: Financial Aid for North Dakota Nursing Students
Students attending a regionally or nationally accredited school are eligible for all types of federal financial aid, from loans that need to be repaid to grants that are basically a gift of free money. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a good place to start when it comes to federal and state aid. Additionally, the North Dakota Center for Nursing has several links and resources for nursing-specific scholarships.
No matter what nursing program in North Dakota you choose, you’ll find this nursing scholarship guide helpful. Also, check out this financial aid guide where you can research all the options available (e.g., grants, loans, scholarships, work-study) regardless of your major.
Preparing for Your RN Career in North Dakota
While nursing licensure requirements are similar from state to state, each has its own specific requirements and fee structure. It’s important to carefully read and follow the steps provided by the North Dakota Board of Nursing to ensure you receive your license immediately. The following steps are needed to obtain an RN license in North Dakota:
Step #1: Complete a state-approved RN degree.
If the nursing program is in-state, it must be approved by the North Dakota Board of Nursing. If it’s out-of-state, it must be approved by another Board of Nursing, include supervised clinical experience, and be roughly equivalent in amount and time to the North Dakota Board of Nursing approved programs.
Step #2: Request transcripts be sent to the North Dakota Board of Nursing.
Graduates should not directly send or fax their transcripts. They should instead make a secure request through the National Student Clearing House, e-script, or Parchment. Students can also ask their school to send a paper copy of their transcripts.
Step #3: Register with NCLEX Candidate Services for testing.
Graduates should register online or by calling 1-866-496-2539. The fee is $200. If something comes up (e.g., illness, schedule conflict, etc.), you must reschedule your appointment at least 24 hours before the appointed exam time.
Step #4: Complete the online RN exam application.
Prospective RNs should complete the exam application online and pay the $145 exam/processing fee. You must then pass the NCLEX to become an RN.
Step #5: Complete a criminal history record check.
Applicants should follow the online instructions for a Criminal History Record Check. Once transcripts, exam application and fee, passing NCLEX results, and criminal history check are completed and received by the nursing board. You’ll receive your RN license within three business days.
Step #6: RNs are required to renew their license every two years in North Dakota.
RNs must complete 12 continuing education hours each year (this is not required for the first renewal after taking the NCLEX and works at least 4oo hours in the preceding four years (this is waived for recent graduates). The renewal fee varies depending on license type and whether it’s a renewal or reactivation.
Bright Horizons Ahead: Job Outlook for North Dakota RNs
The job market for BSN registered nurses continues to grow, especially for those graduating from nursing programs in North Dakota and even for those from out of state. From 2020-2030, the job growth rate for registered nurses is expected to increase by 13.9% in North Dakota compared to just 12.1% nationally. Even after 2030, RNs are expected to be in high demand due to an aging baby boomer population and longer life expectancies, which leads to the need for specialized care. Nurses are so needed that the state of North Dakota has created an incentive program to bolster employment. Healthcare facilities have access to upwards of $4,000 in incentive-matching funds to recruit either out-of-state nurses or North Dakota-based nursing students.
Employment Projections for RNs in North Dakota
Source: Projections Central
Nursing Salaries in North Dakota: How Much You Could Make as an RN
The median salary for an RN in North Dakota is about $73,250. This amount varies depending on location; a nurse in a rural area might have a lower salary, while a nurse near the state’s biggest city, Fargo, can expect to earn over $75,000 annually. Compared to the national average, nurses in North Dakota earn a bit less, but the state’s cost of living is also lower. For nurses interested in advancing their careers and salaries, remember that nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists often earn well into the six figures, even in North Dakota.
Annual Earnings for Registered Nurses in North Dakota
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021