Minnesota Nursing License
The requirements for practicing nursing in Minnesota are similar to those in other states: a current, valid Minnesota nursing license is required, with the license acquired by passing a national test after presenting evidence of graduation from a board-approved nursing program.
Unlike some states, however, the act of practicing nursing is defined by law in a series of state statutes. And only licensed RNS and LPNs can use an abbreviation or the word “nurse” in a way that implies having a license.
Legal issues aside, here are the licensing and education requirements for becoming an RN or LPN in Minnesota.
Becoming an RN
There are two ways to become an RN in Minnesota: by examination or by endorsement.
Examination procedures are identical to those in many states. Applicants must complete and examination and pass the NCLEX-RN exam, which is conducted by Pearson Vue, and they must be able to prove that they graduated from an approved nursing program.
The minimal level of degree required is an associates in nursing from an accredited college or university approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.
As for endorsement candidates, they also must have a degree or certification from an approved RN program, and they must provide proof of licensure along with proof that they have completed an appropriate amount of hours in continuing education.
While Minnesota isn’t a member of the nursing compact organization that allows multi-state license transfers, it does have a “border state” program that provides recognition for those applicants living in neighboring states. These provisions are primarily designed to cover Canadian applicants, and can be found at http://mn.gov/health-licensing-boards/nursing/applicants/border-state-registry/border-state-facts.jsp.
Licensing fees in Minnesota are cheaper than in most other states. The application fee is $115.50 (the amount is the same for endorsement application), and $85 for renewal every two years. All fees are paid to the Minnesota Board of Nursing, and are non-refundable.
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RN Educational Requirements
While an associates degree in nursing is the minimal level of eduction necessary to practice nursing in Minnesota, many nurses with this degree have trouble securing an entry level position without some experience as either a CNA or an LPN. Because of this, many RNS decide to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
In addition, to become a nurse practitioner, Minnesota is like most states in that it requires a masters degree in nursing in the specialty area in which candidates wish to be licensed.
There are many approved and accredited nursing programs in Minnesota. At the associates degree level, the list includes the College of Saint Catherine in Minneapolis, Normandale Community College and North Hennepin Community College.
Bachelors degree programs can be found at St. Cloud State University, Crown College, Concordia College and Ausburg College, among others. A complete list can be found at http://www.degreetree.com/resources/how-to-become-an-rn-in-minnesota, which also contains a list of online RN programs.
The average salary for a nurse in Minnesota is a little over $74,000 which is just outside of the top ten states in the annual rankings for nursing salaries.
Becoming an LPN in Minnesota
With statistics showing an annual rate of increase of 23 percent in LPN jobs per year, becoming an LPN in Minnesota is a more than viable job path.
To get a license, applicants must prove they have not engaged in conduct that results in disciplinary action, and they must submit a Confirmation of Program Completion paperwork from their nursing program. Applicants also must choose a school that meets state requirements, and they must pass the NCLEX-PN to obtain a license.
Following that, they must register with Pearson Vue to take the NCLEX, and schedule and complete the exam within 90 days of receiving the authorization-to-test email (pearsonvue.com). If they pass the exam, they will receive their license withing 10 business days, or receive a request to retake examination packet and a diagnostic profile that analyzes their performance on the examination.
The application fees are the same as those required for RN application, $115.
LPN Education Requirements
The practical nursing program is the fastest path to becoming a nurse, requiring one year of course work as well as a specified amounbt of hands-on practice. LPNs must also obtain a CPR card as part of their educational process.
According to http://www.practicalnursing.org/lpn-programs/minnesota, the three top-ranked programs for an LPN are Minnesota State College/Southeast Technical/Red Wing, Minnesota West Community & Technical College/Pipestone and Anoka Technical College. All three schools have pass rates of over 95 percent for students who take the NCLEX-PN exam. An expanded list of ranked schools can also be found at this site.
Salary and Career Info
The interactive chart above is a visual representation of the annual salary of Minnesota licensed nurse compared to the national annual salaries, all based on the latest May 2013 Occupational Employment Statistics figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
State BSN Requirements
For applicants who already have a bachelors degree, some universities are now offering a two year Bachelor in the Science of Nursing program, which is an ideal path for career changers.
In Minnesota, many of these programs are offered in collaboration with the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing (MANE), which has been nationally recognized as a model for nursing education. Schools that offer this program include Metropolitan State, Minnesota State University at Moorhead and Minnesota State University at Mankato.
To be eligible for an RN-to-BSN program, applicants must have a current Minnesota RN license, a transcript from a diploma or associate degree program, a minimum GPA of 2.0 and a 3.0 in previous nursing courses, and other prerequisite courses. In addition, some colleges require two professional reference forms.