How to Become a Registered Nurse in Minnesota

Minnesota State Sign
Minnesota State Sign

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nursing is among the top occupations in job growth through 2029. The American Nurses Association states that by 2022, there will be far more registered nurse jobs available than any other profession, at more than 100,000 per year.


It's a Great Time to Become a Nurse in Minnesota

The time is right to become a nurse in Minnesota. According to Wallethub, Minnesota is among the top 15 states to work as a nurse. Minnesota also is ranked in the top five states with the most health care facilities per capita, including the top-ranked hospital, Mayo Clinic. The job market is booming, leading to opportunities across the specialty. The vast number of job opportunities better allows the nurse to find a job they are passionate about, leading to greater job satisfaction. 

According to U.S. News and World Report, Minnesota is ranked #2 as the Best State in the United States when taking into account its health care, education, economy, infrastructure, public safety and the opportunity it affords its residents. This balance of citizen outcomes means you can enjoy a better work-life balance as a nurse, leading to greater job satisfaction and success in your career. 

Need for nurses in the midwest

Learn More About Elmhurst's Online Accelerated Nursing Programs



There are a couple different pathways to become a nurse. Of course, once you receive your degree, you can always return to school and advance your nursing education. 


Education including prerequisites


Average Annual Salary

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Certificate:


Must have a High-school diploma or GED to apply.

On average, it takes 1 year to complete schooling for your LPN certificate. You must then pass the NCLEX-PN before you can practice.

LPNs work alongside the RN and doctors to directly provide care to the patient. LPNs administer certain medications, take and record vital signs, and complete other nursing tasks to ensure the best possible outcomes for the patient.


$48,820 per year

$23.47 per hour

* Salary Reference From BLS

Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN):


Must have a High-school diploma or GED to apply.

On average, it takes 2 years to complete your ADN. You must pass the NCLEX-RN before you can practice as an RN.

RNs work alongside and oversee LPNs as well as other health care aids such as CNAs. The RN focuses on technical, clinical skills to ensure the delivery of high-quality care through assessment, treatment and evaluation of their patients. They also administer medications and develop/follow care plans. The RN coordinates care and works closely with the physicians and interdisciplinary team in the delivery of care.


$67,019 per year

$32.00 per hour

* Salary Reference From Ziprecruiter

Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN)


Must have a High-school diploma or GED to apply.

On average, it takes 4 years to complete a traditional BSN program.* You must pass the NCLEX-RN before you can practice.

 *However, Elmhurst University offers an Accelerated BSN program that only takes 16 months to complete.

A BSN-prepared nurse has the same duties as the ADN nurse. Increasingly, hospitals prefer to hire nurses who have at least a bachelor’s in nursing degree. The BSN-prepared nurse may have more autonomy in the delivery of care. They will be more likely to move into management and leadership roles, including research.




$75,330 per year

$36.22 per hour

* Salary Reference From BLS

Direct-Entry Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Must have a bachelor’s degree to apply.

On average, it takes 2-3* years to complete. 

*Elmhurst University offers an online Master’s Entry in Nursing Practice program that can be completed in 20 months. 


A graduate of a direct entry MSN program will be eligible for the same RN roles as a BSN-prepared nurse. However, MSN-prepared nurses receive additional clinical experience during their program and leadership training that positions them to quickly move up the clinical ladder. In many cases, they are also prepared to sit for the Clinical Nurse Leader(CNL) exam. In addition, an MSN degree offers a quick pathway toward continuing education as an advanced practice nurse (APRN).


$86,000 per year

* Salary Reference From NurseJournal


As you can see, there are options when choosing a path to complete your nursing degree. Nursing is also a great second career for many people. There are regular and accelerated nursing programs in Minnesota, and Elmhurst University offers an accelerated online nursing (BSN) program and an online Master’s Entry in Nursing Practice (MENP), which is one of the first of its kind in the country.




Obtaining a nursing license in Minnesota

Are you now wondering how to become a registered nurse in Minnesota? In the state of Minnesota, there are two ways to apply for nursing licensure that are discussed below. For additional or more specific information or if you have further questions, visit the Minnesota State Board of Nursing.

  • RN Licensure By Exam
    • Submit an application for licensure by examination, including any fees that may be due.
    • If you answer yes to any of the questions in the Grounds for Denial section of the application, you must provide evidence you have not engaged in conduct warranting disciplinary action.
    • Complete criminal background check.
    • Request your School of Nursing submits a completed Confirmation of Program Completion form.
    • Register to take NCLEX® (National Council Licensure Examination).
    • Notify the state board of nursing as soon as possible if any change occurs in your name, address, or any other application information after you submit the application.
    • Wait to receive your authorization to test (ATT) by email.
    • Schedule to take the NCLEX® after you receive your ATT from the test service.
    • Pass the NCLEX®.
    • After you pass the NCLEX®, watch for your nursing license.
  • RN Licensure By Endorsement—this is required for nurses who have been licensed in another state and desire licensure in Minnesota. 
    • Complete and submit a Licensure by Endorsement Application form, including the required fees due.
    • Submit at least one Verification of Licensure form.
    • Complete and submit a Confirmation of Nursing Employment for Licensure by Endorsement form.
    • Complete criminal background check.
    •  Watch for a letter from the Minnesota State Board of Nursing informing you if you need to report continuing education hours or take a refresher course. 


Benefits of Online Nursing Education

Online nursing programs, including accelerated nursing programs, are gaining significant popularity. The curriculum of online nursing programs is rigorous, and the student will complete clinical experiences near their home. Online nursing programs also offer:

  • Flexibility: Online nursing programs offer flexibility to the student. While many courses have weekly synchronous sessions on Zoom, these sessions are typically only one to two hours. While students in accelerated nursing programs are generally not able to work while enrolled due to the rigor of the program, many students appreciate having day-to-day flexibility over their schedules. 
  • Accessibility: The accessibility of an online nursing program is a significant advantage for many nursing students. This allows for the student to attend excellent nursing programs even when they do not live close enough to regularly visit campus. 
  • Online support: It is often thought that attending a school online is isolating with few resources. This cannot be farther from the truth. Most online programs offer a variety of opportunities to interact with classmates, including discussions, synchronous sessions (i.e., Zoom meetings) and small group projects. The instructors are very accessible through email and/or the educational platform and often the students are paired with a student success advisor.


Why students in Minnesota are choosing Elmhurst

The high-quality education a student receives is just one of the many reasons aspiring nurses from Minnesota choose to complete their CCNE-accredited nursing degree at Elmhurst. The Accelerated BSN program and Master’s Entry in Nursing Practice (MENP) program provide rigorous professional preparation accompanied by clinical skills development to ensure the student is prepared after graduation. 

For more information and the ability to connect with an admissions counselor, please visit Elmhurst University

Learn more to see if this program is right for you.


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