How to Become an RN in Minnesota – A Simple Guide

How to Become an RN in Minnesota - A Simple Guide

If you’re wondering how you can apply to become a registered nurse in Minnesota, then you’ve come to the right place. 

Becoming a registered nurse is always a good idea, given that it is a very fulfilling job and there are a lot of work opportunities!

But if you’ve been searching for guidelines on how to become an RN in Minnesota, you already know that there are a lot of requirements you need to complete, not to mention the required nursing education program.

You might be feeling a little overwhelmed.

But that’s precisely why we are here! 

We’re going to help you with the process by breaking it down into 4 simple steps. 

We’ve also provided a FAQ section at the end to help you with some common questions. 

How to Become a Registered Nurse in Minnesota in 4 Steps

There are four major steps to becoming an RN in the state:

  1. Graduate from a Nursing Education Program
  2. Complete the Online Application
  3. Pass the Criminal Background Check
  4. Pass the NCLEX

These steps, while many, aren’t complicated. 

If you already have a license from another state, you can just skip the following step-by-step guide and go to the section named ‘License by Endorsement”.

How to Become an RN in Minnesota Step #1: Graduate from a Nursing Education Program

The first step to becoming an RN in Minnesota (or any other state) is to graduate from a state-approved nursing education program. 

In Minnesota, you can do that by taking either ADN or BSN programs. 

Associate Degree in Nursing

ADN is short for an Associate Degree in Nursing. This two-year program focuses on clinical tasks, patient monitoring, and chart updating. As you will notice, the courses under the ADN are more for technical aspects of the nursing job. 

The ADN is much more affordable than a BSN degree and it lets you get a job faster since you only need to study for two years. 

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

BSN is short for Bachelor of Science in Nursing. It is a four-year program that covers the ADN courses plus the more medical aspects of nursing. It also has general subject courses, including management. 

With that, nurses who graduate with a BSN degree can take on managerial roles, effectively increasing the career opportunities they may have. 

Of course, the longer the nursing education program, the more expensive it will be. But despite that, we recommend taking the BSN since it allows you to have better career opportunities. 

Just remember that, whether you choose an ADN or a BSN, the program should be approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing. You can check out the list of approved programs here.

How to Become an RN in Minnesota Step #2: Complete the Online Application

After you graduate from a nursing education program, you are then eligible to apply for an RN license online at the Minnesota Board of Nursing

Take note, this step is only to give you an ATT or Authorization to Test for the NCLEX. This isn’t the final license application yet. 

In the link above, you need to create an account by providing your email and password for you to access the application packet. Once you are logged in, follow the instructions for getting a license by examination

In the online application process, you will be asked to give your basic information and a Confirmation of Program Completion. The latter has to be filled up by your previous school where you took your nursing education program. You may let the school fill this up online. 

You will also be asked a few good moral character questions. If there are any questions that you answer yes to, make sure to upload supporting documents.

At the end of the registration, pay the application fee of $105 and the Criminal Background Check of $33.25. You can pay this online through the portal or by depositing a cashier’s check addressed to the Minnesota Board of Nursing. 

How to Become an RN in Minnesota Step #3: Pass the Criminal Background Check

After paying the criminal background check (CBC), wait for the CBC Office to send you a CBC packet. This packet will include fingerprint copies. 

Once you receive this packet, complete the requirements and needed documents right away, then send it to the CBC Office. 

Without the CBC packet submitted, you won’t be given an Authorization to Test (ATT).

Once the packet is submitted, wait for the ATT to be mailed or emailed, and then apply for the NCLEX. 

How to Become an RN in Minnesota Step #4: Pass the NCLEX

The final step to completing your RN license application is to take the NCLEX. Those who already have a license don’t need to retake this test. Proceed to the license by endorsement requirements in the section below. 

When you’re given an ATT via mail or email, you may now schedule an exam at NCLEX via Pearson Vue. Pick a testing date within 90 days of receiving your ATT. Otherwise, it will be forfeited. 

There is also a testing fee that you should pay directly to PearsonVue, the company that holds the NCLEX. The fee is $200. 

After scheduling your exam, all you need to do is prepare for the exam day. Check this website to help you prepare for exam day. There’s also a practice exam that you can use to feel how the test will be. 

Come the testing day, arrive early and prepared and try your best to pass the exam. 

After the exam, just wait for 10 business days to receive your license if you pass. If you don’t, you will also be notified to take a retest. 

Those retaking the NCLEX will have to take the exam 45 days after the first attempt. 

License by Endorsement

Minnesota allows those who already have an RN license from a different state to apply via endorsement. This application process exempts you from taking the NCLEX and nursing education program again. 

Follow the steps below:

  1. Create an account at the Minnesota Board of Nursing.
  2. Choose ‘license by endorsement’ and follow the instructions.
  3. Fill out the application form.
  4. Submit a verification form from the state with which you have an active RN license. You may apply for a verification document through Nursys.
  5. Print the Confirmation of Nursing Employment form. This form has to be filled up by your past or current employer. Once filled up, this has to be submitted to the Board office.
  6. Pay the application fee and the CBC. 
  7. Wait for the CBC packet to arrive and complete it as soon as possible. Submit the completed form to the CBC Office. 
  8. Wait for the license approval online. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Registered Nurse in Minnesota

How much does it cost to become an RN in Minnesota?

The application fee for first-time licensees is $105, and the CBC packet is $33.25. Both are paid to the Minnesota Board of Nursing. 

The NCLEX is $200, which is paid directly to PearsonVue. 

How long is a Minnesota nursing license good for?

It’s valid for two years before you are required to renew it. 

How long does it take to become a nurse in Minnesota?

If you’re taking the ADN, you can complete the program in 2 years. You also need to allot a few weeks or months for the application process and for taking the NCLEX. If you’re taking BSN, that’s four years plus the few weeks or months to apply for and take the NCLEX.

Helpful Resources for Minnesota RNs

List of Associate Degree Programs (ADNs) in Minnesota

Here’s a list of ADN programs approved by the Minnesota BON:

Alexandria Technical College
(Admits LPNs only)
1601 Jefferson Street
Alexandria, MN 56308

Community College
11200 Mississippi Boulevard NW Coon Rapids,
MN 55433-3470

Central Lakes College
501 West College Drive
Brainerd, MN 56401-3900
+1 218-855-8000

Century College
3300 Century Avenue N
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
651-779-3300 | 800-228-1978

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
Associate Degree
Nursing Program (Approved with Conditions)
2101 14th Street
Cloquet, MN 55720
+1 218-879-0800

Inver Hills
Community College
2500 80th Street E
Inver Grove Heights,
MN 55076

Lake Superior College
2101 Trinity Road
Duluth, MN 55811-3399
(218) 733-7600

Minneapolis Community and Technical College
1501 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403-1779

Minnesota North College
1515 East 25th Street
Hibbing, MN 55746
+1 218-293-6850

Minnesota State
College Southeast
Red Wing Campus
308 Pioneer Road
Red Wing, MN 55066-3964
507-453-2700 | 877-853-8324

Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Fergus Falls Campus
1414 College Way
Fergus Falls, MN 56537
Wadena Campus
+1 218-736-1500

Minnesota West Community and Technical College
Worthington Campus
1450 Collegeway
Worthington, MN 56187-3024
800-658-2330 | 800-627-3539

Normandale Community College
9700 France Avenue South
Bloomington, MN 55431-4399

North Hennepin
Community College
7411 85th Avenue North
Brooklyn Park,
MN 55445-2299

Northland Community and Technical College
(Admits LPNs only)
Thief River Falls Campus
1101 Highway One East
Thief River Falls,
MN 56701-2598
218-683-8800 | 1-800-959-6282

Northwest Technical
College, Bemidji
905 Grant Avenue SE
Bemidji, MN 56601
(218) 333-6600 | (800) 942-8324

Pine Technical and Community College
(Admits LPNs only)
900 4th Street SE
Pine City, MN 55063
+1 320-629-5100

Rasmussen University (Approved with Conditions)
4400 W. 78th Street – 6th Floor Bloomington, MN 55435
+1 952-545-2000

Rasmussen University
– Mankato
1400 Madison Avenue
Mankato, MN 56001
+1 507-625-6556

Rasmussen University
– Moorhead
1250 29th Avenue S
Moorhead, MN 56560
+1 218-304-6200

Rasmussen University
– St. Cloud
226 Park Avenue S
St. Cloud, MN 56301
+1 320-251-5600

Ridgewater College
Willmar Campus
2101 15th Avenue NW
Willmar, MN 56201-0797
Hutchinson Campus
2 Century Avenue SE
Hutchinson, MN 55350

Riverland Community College
1900 Eighth Avenue NW
Austin, MN 55912-1470

Rochester Community and Technical College
851 30th Avenue SE
Rochester, MN 55904-4999
507-285-7557 or 1-800-247-1296

St. Cloud Technical and Community College
(Admits LPNs only)
1540 Northway Drive
St. Cloud, MN 56303
1 (800) 222-1009

South Central College
Faribault Campus
1225 Third Street SW
Faribault, MN 55021

Visit the Minnesota BON website for updates.

List of Baccalaureate Degree Programs (BSNs) in Minnesota

Here’s a list of BSN programs approved by the Minnesota BON:

Bemidji State University
1500 Birchmont Dr NE
Bemidji, MN 56601-2699
(218) 755-2001 | (800) 475-2001

Bethany Lutheran College
700 Luther Dr
Mankato, MN 56001

Bethel University
3900 Bethel Drive
St. Paul, MN 55112-6999

College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University
37 College Avenue South
St. Joseph, MN 56374-2099
320-363-5011 | 320-363-2011

College of St. Scholastica
(Admits students to two tracks:
1. no baccalaureate degree
2. baccalaureate degree in another field)
1200 Kenwood Avenue
Duluth, MN 55811-4199

Concordia College
Nursing Program
(Admits students to two tracks:
1. no baccalaureate degree
2. baccalaureate degree in another field)
901 8th Street South
Moorhead, MN 56562

Concordia University St. Paul
1282 Concordia Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55104

Crown College
8700 College View Drive
St Bonifacius, MN 55375-9002

Gustavus Adolphus College
800 W College Avenue
St. Peter, MN 56082

Herzing University
435 Ford Road
St. Louis Park, MN 55426
(800) 596-0724

Metropolitan State University
700 East Seventh Street
Saint Paul, MN 55106-5000

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Wissink Hall 360
Mankato, MN 56001-8400

Minnesota State University, Moorhead
1104 7th Avenue South
Moorhead, MN 56563

Rasmussen University
– Bloomington Campus
4400 West 78th Street
Bloomington, MN 55435
+1 952-545-2000

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
700 Terrace Heights
Winona, MN 55987-1399

St. Catherine University
2004 Randolph Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105-1794

St. Cloud State University
228 Brown Hall
720 4th Avenue S
St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498
(320) 308-0121

St. Olaf College
1520 St. Olaf Avenue
Northfield, MN 55057-1098

University of Minnesota
Twin Cities Campus
5-160 Weaver-Densford Hall
308 Harvard Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0342
Rochester Campus

University of Northwestern – St. Paul
3003 Snelling Ave. N
St. Paul, MN 55113

University of St. Thomas
Morrison Family College of Health, School of Nursing
1000 LaSalle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403
+1 651-962-4000

Winona State University
College of Nursing and
Health Sciences
Department of Nursing
175 W Mark St.
Winona, MN 55987-5838
507-457-5000 | 800-342-5978

Visit the Minnesota BON website for updates.

In Summary

There are many steps to take before becoming a registered nurse in Minnesota. While this will take you a few years, getting a license in the state opens you up to many career opportunities. 

We hope this step-by-step guide has helped you understand all the requirements and processes so that you can embark on your nursing journey with ease. 

Whether you are applying by examination or endorsement, we hope you can get your RN license in Minnesota! 

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