Minnesota is fostering the move toward a higher standard of patient care by encouraging advanced nursing degrees and professional development for registered nurses. The growth in the job market is estimated to require thousands of new, qualified nurses in the coming years. Educational opportunities abound in the state for new nursing students and registered nurses (RNs) looking to advance their careers. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting the average RN salary at just over $80,000 in Minnesota, it's easy to see why it's gaining popularity as a lucrative and rewarding career choice.

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Cities in Minnesota

2024 Best RN Programs in Minnesota

Selecting the best nursing school in Minnesota can be difficult. To make the process easier first look for a school that supports students towards licensure and beyond. A great way to measure this is through NCLEX-RN "pass rates." We have ranked the top 20 nursing schools in Minnesota by analyzing current and historical NCLEX-RN "pass rates", meaning the percentage of graduates who pass the exam, out of the 44 RN programs in the state. Programs reviewed include schools that offer an Associate in Nursing (ADN/ASN), BSN, or Direct-Entry MSN Degree.

For more information on our top nursing school rankings, see our Methodology Page (https://www.registerednursing.org/rn-ranking-methodology/).


901 8th St. S., Moorhead, MN 56562

Score: 93.41

Located in the beautiful community of Moorhead, Minnesota, Concordia College is where the art and the science of nursing are combined into an effective B.A. degree in nursing program. Both traditional and transfer options exist, and graduates are welcomed into the ranks of professional nurses after graduation and examination.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (218) 299-4000

9700 France Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55431

Score: 93.38

Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota is home to an excellent associate degree nursing program. Students focus on how to help communities and individuals improve health outcomes through patient-centered care.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (952) 358-8200

720 4th Ave S, St Cloud, MN 56301

Score: 93.13

St. Cloud State University is located in St. Cloud, Minnesota. With advanced simulation labs and special emphasis placed on applied learning, St. Cloud graduates have earned a quality BSN degree and stand ready to change the face of patient care.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (320) 308-0121

8700 College View Dr, St Bonifacius, MN 55375

Score: 92.75

Crown College’s St. Bonifacius campus offers a Christian-based BSN degree program that weaves together spiritual studies, general education, and core nursing studies. This program is typically completed in four years and requires roughly 127 credits to complete. Graduates are well prepared to provide compassionate care in a variety of global environments.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (952) 446-4100

3003 Snelling Ave N, St Paul, MN 55113

Score: 92.43

St. Paul’s University of Northwestern offers an excellent BSN program for aspiring RNs. The curriculum includes academically rigorous courses in foundational nursing, pharmacology, and much more in order to educate the next generation of nurse generalists. Students complete 134-138 total credits to complete the program.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (651) 631-5100

3900 Bethel Dr, St Paul, MN 55112

Score: 91.58

St. Paul's Bethel University serves students via its popular BSN program. Bethel's nursing program teaches students through community engagement, study abroad opportunities, and through its 40+ connections with healthcare facilities in the area.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (651) 638-6400

900 4th St SE, Pine City, MN 55063

Score: 90.88

Pine Technical and Community College is home to an associate's degree nursing program that prepares nurses for many different roles and environments. The school boasts an 80% employment rate within 6-12 months after graduating from the nursing program.

Program Details

  • Programs: LPN-RN AS Mobility
  • Phone: (320) 629-5100

1601 Jefferson St, Alexandria, MN 56308

Score: 90.36

Alexandria Technical & Community College can be found in the beautiful community of Alexandria, Minnesota. Students enrolled in the school's associate degree in nursing program learn to provide compassionate and evidence-based care to a diverse population.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (888) 234-1222

5-140 Weaver-Densford Hall, 308 Harvard Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Score: 90.17

The University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus invites students to complete a traditional BSN degree with a strong ethical backbone. The variety of clinical appointments available to students greatly broadens their professional experience and prepares them for future graduate-level studies.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN, MSN
  • Phone: (800) 598-8636

851 30th Ave SE, Rochester, MN 55904

Score: 89.90

Rochester Community & Technical College in Rochester, Minnesota is located south of Minneapolis. RCTC graduates are a welcome addition to the medical landscape both locally and in distant communities, thanks to the school's comprehensive ADN program.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (507) 285-7210

1282 Concordia Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104

Score: 89.37

Concordia University's St. Paul campus is home to a sought-after BSN program. The program is designed to be completed over 5 semesters in the fall and spring (no summer courses). Students start clinical experiences in their first semester of the program and complete over 180 lab hours.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (651) 641-8230

1414 College Way, Fergus Falls, MN 56537

Score: 87.77

Minnesota State Community & Technical College is located in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. They offer a generic, 64-credit ADN program as well as an ADN Advanced Standing option for practical nurses (LPN to ADN). Experienced faculty mold students into effective, caring communicators who can manage the patient dynamic effectively.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to ADN
  • Phone: (877) 450-3322

1520 St. Olaf Avenue, Northfield, MN 55057

Score: 87.62

St. Olaf College's holistic approach to nursing gives students a well-rounded education. The school's BSN program has a strong base in ethics and trains students to deliver competent care to a variety of patients in both urban and rural settings. Graduates ar well-prepared for the NCLEX examination.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (507) 786-2222

1540 Northway Dr, St Cloud, MN 56303

Score: 87.30

St. Cloud Technical & Community College offers an associate degree pathway in nursing. The curriculum combines classroom academics with labs and clinical opportunities to give students the skills needed to find success as RNs. The program can be completed in just 2 years and boasts a 100% 3-year placement rate.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (800) 222-1009

1515 E 25th St, Hibbing, MN 55746

Score: 86.89

Hibbing Community College in Hibbing, Minnesota provides an ADN program that ensures that students have the capacity to provide empathetic, evidence-based care for patients in clinical practice. Area medical facilities welcome HCC graduates to employment.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (800) 224-4422

175 W Mark St, Winona, MN 55987

Score: 86.78

Winona State University is located in lovely Winona, Minnesota. With a high degree of proficiency, caring faculty ensures that their 4-year BSN students can assess and intervene for patient care in a timely, effective and compassionate manner.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (507) 457-5000

7411 85th Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445

Score: 86.25

North Hennepin Community College is an integral part of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. The faculty shapes nursing education in a caring and compassionate manner. The school is also a Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE) partner, meaning that its ADN degree is designed to align with the Metropolitan State University BSN program.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (763) 424-0702

37 South College Avenue, St. Joseph, MN 56374

Score: 85.47

CSB/SJU offers a stellar BSN program that produces grads who consistently score high pass rates on the NCLEX-RN exam. The program also offers a unique cultural immersion experience that students can complete locally or internationally.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (800) 544-1489

1500 Birchmont Dr NE, Bemidji, MN 56601

Score: 85.41

Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota has exemplary nursing faculty who devote time to the mentorship of individual BSN and MSN students. The nursing program provides the support and skills for students to graduate ready to launch their career.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (218) 755-2001

700 7th St E, St Paul, MN 55106

Score: 85.22

Metropolitan State University serves students through several renowned nursing programs. They are a partner for the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE), providing a BSN degree in conjunction with several community colleges. They also offer an entry-level MSN program for those who hold a non-nursing bachelor's degree.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN, MSN
  • Phone: (651) 793-1300

ADN Programs in Minnesota

An Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) program prepares graduates to provide quality, patient-centered care in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and care facilities. This 2-year program is commonly offered at smaller institutions such as community and/or technical colleges. Many students choose this route to their RN license because it is relatively quick and tends to be less expensive than other options.

More than 25 schools/campuses offer a fully accredited and approved ADN program throughout Minnesota.

What to Look For in an ADN Program in Minnesota

To ensure you choose the right program, you'll want to compare schools and ADN programs thoroughly. There are a few key components to look for that will help you pick a quality program:


One of the best ways to check that your program of choice is worthy of your time and money is by ensuring it is appropriately accredited. Accreditations are bestowed upon ADN programs that meet rigorous standards of quality by organizations like the Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). On the local front, you will want to look for programs approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.


To officially become a registered nurse, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for registered nursing upon completing your ADN degree. It's a good idea to review any prospective school's curriculum and NCLEX-RN pass rates to make sure you will be prepared for this critical exam.

Program Outcomes

Schools typically provide statistical reports on outcomes based on prior graduates of their ADN programs. These reports are a great window into the school's success. Be sure to check for favorable results regarding the following:

  • Graduation rates
  • NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Graduate satisfaction
  • Employment rates

One example of a school offering a fully accredited ADN program in the state is Minnesota State College Southeast.

ADN Program Admission Requirements in Minnesota

Entrance requirements vary from school to school and are subject to change, so review your school of choice's requirements before applying. Below is a sampling of the types of conditions that ADN programs in the state can have:

  • Completion of the ATI TEAS exam with a score of 420 or above
  • Completion of all prerequisite courses
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0

Tuition and Costs of ADN Programs in Minnesota

The cost of your ADN degree can shock you at first, but consider that the median wage for registered nurses in Minnesota is a bit higher than the national average. In general, you'll need to pay for tuition and any mandatory fees, and don't forget to factor in indirect costs such as textbooks and transportation. Most schools have financial aid departments that can help if you are worried about being able to pay for your preferred program.

For example, the estimated total tuition and fees for the ADN program at Lake Superior College in Duluth is $16,000 for Minnesota and out-of-state residents.

Advantages of ADN Programs

ADN programs are great because they will lead to highly desired registered nursing jobs in roughly half the time it takes to get a more advanced nursing degree. Plus, the shortened time frame combined with the prevalence of the program at smaller colleges means that it's typically less expensive than other programs. These two factors alone make it an increasingly popular choice for those wanting to start a career in registered nursing.

LPN to RN Programs in Minnesota

Registered nursing is within reach for those in Minnesota who are currently Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). Specialized programs, called LPN to RN programs, give practical nurses the education and training to become RNs without enrolling in a traditional RN program.

LPN to ADN/BSN Programs

The most popular pathways for practical nurses are the LPN to ADN and LPN to BSN programs. Schools tend to offer an LPN to ADN program that requires around 60 total credits. There are also slightly longer and shorter LPN to BSN programs for nurses who wish to earn a bachelor’s degree.

LPN to RN programs in the state often require the following:

  • Current LPN license
  • Proof of graduation from an accredited LPN program
  • Minimum overall GPA (usually 2.5 or higher)
  • Completion of any prerequisite courses

BSN Programs in Minnesota

Consider a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) for a more advanced option than an ADN. This 4-year degree is usually offered at more prominent, traditional colleges in more urban settings. A BSN degree can lead to such nursing careers as a school nurse, ER nurse, critical care nurse, and more. This more advanced nursing degree also comes with a higher salary potential.

Approximately 20 schools in the great state of Minnesota offer accredited BSN programs.

What To Look For in a BSN Program in Minnesota

Many recent nursing graduates will tell you you must find a school and BSN program right for you. Factor in the main things like cost, accreditation, and program outcomes, but don't forget to give equal weight to location and how transportation might factor into completing the program. If you already hold a bachelor's degree or higher in another field, you will want to look for a school offering an accelerated BSN program for this scenario. Also, if you are already a registered nurse via a diploma/certificate program, check to see if your school of choice offers an RN to BSN program.

Gustavus Adolphus College, located in St. Peter, MN, is an excellent example of a state school offering an accredited and approved BSN program.

BSN Program Length in Minnesota

A standard BSN program (sometimes referred to as "Generic BSN" or "Pre-licensure BSN") will take four years to complete. Accelerated BSN programs for eligible people typically take a little over a year to complete, depending on the school. Lastly, an RN to BSN bridge program will take 1-2 years to complete, depending on the program and the prior coursework conducted.

BSN Program Admission Requirements in Minnesota

Each school will have its own entrance requirements, so inquire with your school or contact an admissions counselor from your program of choice to ensure you fully meet the requirements before applying. As an example, BSN programs in the area tend to require things such as:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.85
  • Completion of all prerequisite courses with a grade of C or higher
  • Personal essay and interview required

Tuition and Costs of BSN Programs in Minnesota

While each school offering a BSN program in Minnesota will have different costs, most fee categories are the same. You must account for tuition, mandatory school fees, uniforms, books, etc. Remember that tuition tends to be more expensive if you are an out-of-state student. Room and board are also separate expenses, so check with your school if you require this.

To provide a cost example, the tuition for the BSN program at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul is roughly $358 per credit for nursing courses.

Advantages of BSN Programs

There are so many reasons why students choose the BSN route to become an RN. Some pre-licensure students choose it because they want the whole 4-year university experience, while others want it so that they can hold higher and more skilled nursing positions. It's also a versatile degree; you can earn a BSN after completing an ADN or if you have already made a degree in another subject. It's also an excellent jumping-off point if you want to pursue a graduate degree in nursing eventually.

MSN Programs in Minnesota

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is a graduate-level degree for those wanting to further their nursing skills beyond an ADN and BSN. This advanced program is required for nursing jobs such as Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Midwife, Family Nurse Practitioner, and other nursing specialties. Aside from a general MSN degree, many schools offer specialized MSN degrees where you can choose your nursing focus.

There are roughly three schools in the state that offers some form of an MSN degree (either direct entry or for those who already hold non-nursing degrees).

MSN Program Length in Minnesota

The length of an MSN program in the state is typically 2-3 years from start to finish. This can fluctuate based on the specialty chosen and the type of coursework schedule offered; many schools offer part-time, online, or night courses to accommodate busy working nurses. Minnesota also provides a few MSN programs designed for those with a non-nursing bachelor's degree. These intensive programs tend to last around 16 months.

MSN Admission Requirements in Minnesota

Admission to MSN programs can be very competitive, so ensuring you meet all the entrance requirements is a good idea. An example of conditions you will face for most MSN programs in the state include:

  • Official transcripts from every post-secondary school attended
  • A completed bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Current unencumbered nursing license
  • Two years of recent clinical practice as an RN

Tuition and Costs of MSN Programs in Minnesota

While MSN programs can be expensive, the caliber of nursing jobs they lead to can make up for it quickly. You must account for tuition, fees, clinical components, textbooks, etc. Most grad students are eligible for financial aid to help pay for their MSN degree, typically in the form of student loans. Your school of choice can give you more information if you qualify. As an example of cost, the tuition rate for the 57-credit entry-level MSN at St. Catherine University is approximately $975 per credit. This does not include additional fees.

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Getting a Minnesota Nursing License

Minnesota regulations for becoming a licensed nurse require specific information for application by examination or endorsement. These requirements include:

  • Completed application with fees paid
  • 'Confirmation of Program Completion' - top portion by candidate, bottom portion 'Affidavit' completed by nursing program
  • Register for NCLEX
  • Provide proof of moral character - if required

To apply for licensure by endorsement include the following information:

  • Completed application and fees
  • Verification of licensure - request form or NURSYS (if applicable)
  • 'Confirmation of Nursing Employment for Licensure by Endorsement' - top portion completed by candidate, remainder completed by current employer

Accelerated Nursing Programs in Minnesota

You can earn a degree or bridge your existing degree into a nursing MSN degree in 12 to 18 months, depending on program and prerequisites required. Candidates that hold a BA in another field can change direction and move into a BSN or MSN degree, programs of this nature are offered in a few colleges within the state. Candidates will find that the nature of these programs is intense as both clinical and course loads are run concurrently. Some bridging programs do allow for continued employment, while the accelerated programs recommend not working outside of the program requirements. Tuition for these programs varies depending on additional courses required, as well as other various factors.

Latest Minnesota NCLEX-RN Pass Rates and Statistics

  • Total Number of State Approved Schools: 44
  • Total Number of Test Takers in 2022: 3,902
  • 2022 Average Statewide Minnesota NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 75.8%

Continued List of All RN Programs in Minnesota

Here is a continued list of all RN Programs a continued list of all RN Programs a continued list of all RN Programs a continued list of all RN Programs a continued list of all RN Programs a continued list of all RN Programs.

Thief River Falls, MN 56701 | Phone: (218) 683-8800
Programs: LPN to ADN
Austin, MN 55912 | Phone: (507) 433-0600
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Bemidji, MN 56601 | Phone: (218) 333-6600
Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to ADN
Brainerd, MN 56401 | Phone: (218) 855-8000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Duluth, MN 55811 | Phone: (218) 733-7600
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076 | Phone: (651) 450-3000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Minneapolis, MN 55403 | Phone: (612) 659-6000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
White Bear Lake, MN 55110 | Phone: (651) 779-3200
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Coon Rapids, MN 55433 | Phone: (763) 433-1100
Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to RN
St. Paul, MN 55105 | Phone: (651) 690-6000
Programs: BSN
Mankato, MN 56001 | Phone: (507) 389-6022
Programs: BSN
Duluth, MN 55811 | Phone: (800) 447-5444
Programs: BSN
Willmar, MN 56201 | Phone: (320) 222-5200
Programs: Associate in Nursing, BSN
Mankato, MN 56001 | Phone: (888) 549-6755
Programs: Associate in Nursing, BSN
North Mankato, MN 56003 | Phone: (507) 389-7200
Programs: Associate in Nursing
St. Cloud, MN 56301 | Phone: (320) 251-5600
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Worthington, MN 56187 | Phone: (507) 372-3400
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Mankato, MN 56001 | Phone: (800) 944-3066
Programs: BSN
Bloomington, MN 55435 | Phone: (952) 545-2000
Programs: Associate in Nursing, BSN
Moorhead, MN 56560 | Phone: (888) 549-6755
Programs: Associate in Nursing, BSN
Cloquet, MN 55720 | Phone: (218) 879-0800
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Moorhead, MN 56563 | Phone: (218) 477-2161
Programs: BSN
Rochester, MN 55904 | Phone: (877) 280-4699
Programs: BSN
Saint Peter, MN 56082 | Phone: (507) 933-8000
Programs: BSN

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