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 (

Minnesota is fostering the move toward a higher standard of patient care by encouraging advanced nursing degrees and professional development for registered nurses. In fact, the growth in the job market is estimated to require 2,000 new qualified nurses a year over the next 5 years. Educational opportunities abound in the state for both new nursing students, as well as registered nurses (RNs) looking to advance their careers. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting the average RN salary at $72,310 in Minnesota, it's easy to see why it's gaining popularity as a lucrative and rewarding career choice.

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ADN Programs in Minnesota

An Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) program prepares graduates to provide quality, patient-centered care in a variety of 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 the state of Minnesota.

What to Look For in an ADN Program in Minnesota

To ensure that you choose the right program for you, 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 that it is properly 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 that are 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 completion of 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 important exam. A 2015 report by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing states that 83.7% of new nurse grads passed the NCLEX and received RN licenses that year.

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

  • Completion of ATI TEAS exam with 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 give you sticker shock at first, but consider the fact 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 along with 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 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

For those in Minnesota who are currently Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), registered nursing is within reach. Specialized programs, called LPN to RN programs, give practical nurses the education and training need to become RNs without having to enroll 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. The LPN to ADN is the shortest route, typically requiring just a few semesters to complete. For example, Hibbing University offers an LPN to ADN program that requires 64 total credits. There are also slightly longer LPN to BSN programs for nurses who wish to earn a bachelor's degree. Herzing University's Minneapolis campus offers an LPN to BSN where students take courses in nursing informatics, applied pathophysiology, and more.

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

For a more advanced option than an ADN, consider a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN). This 4-year degree is usually offered at larger, traditional colleges in more urban settings. A BSN degree can lead to such nursing careers as school nurse, ER nurse, critical care nurse, and more. This more advanced nursing degree also comes with 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 that you need to find a school and BSN program that's 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 in to completing the program. If you already hold a bachelor's degree or higher in another field, you will want to look for a school that offers an accelerated BSN program for just 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 school in the state that offers 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 4 years to complete. Accelerated BSN programs for those who are eligible 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 completed.

BSN Program Admission Requirements in Minnesota

Each school will have their own set of entrance requirements, so inquire with your school or contact an admissions counselor from your program of choice to make sure 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 of the fee categories are the same. You'll need to account for tuition, mandatory school fees, uniforms, books, and more. Keep in mind that tuition tends to be more expensive if you are an out-of-state student. Room and board also tends to be a separate expense, so check with your school if this is something you require.

To provide a cost example, the tuition for the BSN program at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul is roughly $286.02 per credit for Minnesota residents, not including additional mandatory fees.

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 full 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 earned a degree in another subject. It's also an excellent jumping off point if you want to eventually pursue a graduate degree in nursing.

MSN Programs in Minnesota

A Master's 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. In fact, aside from a general MSN degree, many schools offer specialized MSN degrees where you can choose your nursing focus.

There are roughly 3 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 type of specialty chosen as well as the type of coursework schedule offered; many schools offer part-time, online, or night courses to accommodate busy working nurses. Minnesota also offers a few MSN programs designed for those who already hold 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 it's a good idea to be certain that you meet all the entrance requirements. An example of requirements 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
  • 2 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 will need to account for tuition, fees, clinical components, textbooks and more. 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 on cost, the tuition rate for the 57-credit entry-level MSN at St. Catherine University is approximately $782 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 2018: 3,487
  • 2018 Average Statewide Minnesota NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.4%

2019 Best RN Programs in Minnesota


3003 Snelling Ave N, St Paul, MN 55113 (651) 631-5100

St. Paul’s University of Northwestern offers an excellent BSN program that boasts a staggering 100% employment rate within 6 months of graduation. The curriculum includes academically rigorous courses in foundational nursing, pathophysiology, pharmacology, and much more in order to educate the next generation of nurse generalists. Students complete 134-138 total credits to complete the program.

Score: 98.85| Programs: BSN

5700 West Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55428 (414) 271-8103

Herzing University, located in Minneapolis, offers a BSN program that can be completed in just 3 years or less, depending on transfer credits/prior learning. In addition to the traditional BSN option, Herzing also offers an accelerated BSN for those who have a bachelor’s in a non-nursing area, as well as bridge programs for paramedics, LPNs, and other medical professionals who wish to enter the nursing arena.

Score: 94.88| Programs: BSN

901 8th St. S., Moorhead, MN 56562 (218) 299-4000

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

Score: 92.57| Programs: BAN

3300 Century Ave N, St Paul, MN 55110 (651) 779-3200

Century College in St Paul, Minnesota offers a flexible blend of daytime, evening, and online classes and clinics to accommodate the lives of busy area students. Graduates incorporate knowledge of the diversity of human populations as they enter the broader workforce.

Score: 92.38| Programs: Associate in Nursing

2500 80th St E, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076 (651) 450-3000

Inver Hills Community College in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota is home to a rigorous nursing curriculum. Students learn to collaborate with patients and health care practitioners to identify illness and promote wellness.

Score: 91.12| Programs: Associate in Nursing

175 W Mark St, Winona, MN 55987 (507) 457-5000

Winona State University is found in Winona, Minnesota. With a high degree of proficiency, faculty ensures that their BSN and MSN students can assess and intervene for patient care in a timely, effective and compassionate manner.

Score: 90.51| Programs: BSN

1049 University Dr, Duluth, MN 55812 (800) 598-8636

The University of Minnesota in Duluth compels students to complete their BSN or MSN nursing degree with an exemplary degree of ethics. The variety of clinical appointments available to students greatly broadens their professional experience.

Score: 90.36| Programs: BSN, MSN

2004 Randolph Ave, St. Paul, MN 55105 (651) 690-6000

St. Catherine University (also known as St. Kate’s), is located in St. Paul and offers a popular BSN degree program. This ACEN-accredited program includes courses in anatomy, chemistry, psychology, research methods, and more, taught by caring industry professionals. In addition to the classroom courses, students learn via hands-on clinical experiences to gain technical skills.

Score: 90.25| Programs: BSN

720 4th Ave S, St Cloud, MN 56301 (320) 308-0121

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 their BSN or MSN degree and stand ready to change the face of patient care.

Score: 89.74| Programs: BSN

1601 Jefferson St, Alexandria, MN 56308 (888) 234-1222

Alexandria Technical & Community College can be found in the beautiful community of Alexandria, Minnesota. Students learn to provide compassionate and evidence-based care to a diverse population.

Score: 88.59| Programs: Associate in Nursing

2101 Trinity Rd, Duluth, MN 55811 (218) 733-7600

Lake Superior College in Duluth prepares registered nurses via their associate degree program. This competitive program teaches students to utilize critical thinking skills alongside evidence-based practice to provide quality care to individuals across the lifespan. Most students complete the degree in just two years and are ready for employment in the field.

Score: 88.27| Programs: Associate in Nursing

8700 College View Dr, St Bonifacius, MN 55375 (952) 446-4100

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.

Score: 88.01| Programs: BSN

700 7th St E, St Paul, MN 55106 (651) 793-1300

Located in picturesque Fremont on San Francisco Bay's interior, Ohlone College produces first-rate nursing graduates year after year. With solid clinical and theoretical training, nurses provide evidence-based advocacy to meet patient need.

Score: 87.66| Programs: BSN, MSN

7411 85th Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445 (763) 424-0702

North Hennepin Community College is an integral part of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Faculty shapes nursing education by placing special emphasis on service to persons with disabilities, complex care cases, and a diverse population.

Score: 87.55| Programs: Associate in Nursing

1540 Northway Dr, St Cloud, MN 56303 (800) 222-1009

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.

Score: 87.28| Programs: Associate in Nursing

37 South College Avenue, St. Joseph, MN 56374 (800) 544-1489

CSB/SJU offers a stellar BSN program that produces grads who currently boast a 90% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam. The program also offers a unique cultural immersion experience which students can complete locally or internationally.

Score: 87.12| Programs: BSN

360 Wissink Hall, Mankato, MN 56001 (507) 389-6022

Minnesota State University - Mankato has an acclaimed nursing program. With BSN and MSN degree options, nurses spend a portion of their time learning how critical inquiry relates to effective practice.

Score: 86.89| Programs: BSN

851 30th Ave SE, Rochester, MN 55904 (507) 285-7210

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.

Score: 86.80| Programs: Associate in Nursing

3900 Bethel Dr, St Paul, MN 55112 (651) 638-6400

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.

Score: 86.62| Programs: BSN

1515 E 25th St, Hibbing, MN 55746 (800) 224-4422

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

Score: 86.47| Programs: Associate in Nursing

Continued List of All RN Programs in Minnesota

2101 15th Ave NW, Willmar, MN 56201
(320) 222-5200
Programs: Associate in Nursing, BSN
9700 France Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55431
(952) 358-8200
Programs: Associate in Nursing
1400 Madison Ave, Mankato, MN 56001
(888) 549-6755
Programs: Associate in Nursing
900 4th St SE, Pine City, MN 55063
(320) 629-5100
Programs: Associate in Nursing
1200 Kenwood Ave, Duluth, MN 55811
(800) 447-5444
Programs: BSN
1250 29th Ave S, Moorhead, MN 56560
(888) 549-6755
Programs: Associate in Nursing, BSN
4400 W 78th St 6th Floor, Bloomington, MN 55435
(952) 545-2000
Programs: Associate in Nursing, BSN
226 Park Ave. South, St. Cloud, MN 56301
(320) 251-5600
Programs: Associate in Nursing
1414 College Way, Fergus Falls, MN 56537
(877) 450-3322
Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to ADN
1101 MN-1, Thief River Falls, MN 56701
(218) 683-8800
Programs: Associate in Nursing
1920 Lee Blvd, North Mankato, MN 56003
(507) 389-7200
Programs: Associate in Nursing
1500 Birchmont Dr NE, Bemidji, MN 56601
(218) 755-2001
Programs: BSN
905 Grant Ave SE, Bemidji, MN 56601
(218) 333-6600
Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to ADN
1450 College Way, Worthington, MN 56187
(507) 372-3400
Programs: Associate in Nursing
1501 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 659-6000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
11200 Mississippi Blvd NW, Coon Rapids, MN 55433
(763) 433-1100
Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to RN
501 W College Dr, Brainerd, MN 56401
(218) 855-8000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
3629 95th Ave. NE, Blaine, MN 55014
(763) 795-4720
Programs: Associate in Nursing
115 South Park Street, Suite 105, Fairmont, MN 56031
(507) 235-4658
Programs: BSN, LPN to BSN
1900 8th Ave NW, Austin, MN 55912
(507) 433-0600
Programs: Associate in Nursing
2101 14th St, Cloquet, MN 55720
(218) 879-0800
Programs: Associate in Nursing
1520 St. Olaf Avenue, Northfield, MN 55057
(507) 786-2222
Programs: BSN
1282 Concordia Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104
(651) 641-8230
Programs: BSN
800 West College Ave, Saint Peter, MN 56082
(507) 933-8000
Programs: BSN

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

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