Becoming an LPN in Minnesota
If you’re considering entering the nursing field in Minnesota, you’re in luck: the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects nearly 12% employment growth for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) through the year 2026. With the national nursing shortage, LPNs continue to be a hot commodity in hospitals and other healthcare environments. To reap the benefits of this rewarding career pathway, you must first find the right LPN program for you. Minnesota LPNs earn around an hourly wage of $20.40 or annual salary of $42,440, which is roughly $1,590 less per year than national average.
Are you looking to become a licensed practical nurse in Minnesota? The school you choose is important when it comes to getting your license. Approved programs in Minnesota are offered at community colleges, technical centers, and private career schools - we list 26 schools across the state. After careful review of NCLEX-PN exam first-time pass rates over the past several years, we have ranked the top 10 programs. For more information on our LPN program rankings, see our Methodology page.
To see all the top ranked LPN programs in Minnesota click here.
Details on Minnesota LPN Schools & Classes
Whether you choose to attend an LPN program at one of Minnesota’s community colleges or vocational schools, there are options available all over the state. LPN programs typically require around 40 credits to complete, and can take 1-2 years from start to finish (total program length depends on part-time or full-time attendance).
Prospective students are often curious about what kind of classes they will be taking in an LPN program. The curriculum of most programs consists of core nursing courses, some electives, and labs. Common course titles may include:
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Dosage Calculations for Health Care Professionals
- Foundations of Nursing
- Health Promotion Across the Lifespan
- Psychosocial Nursing
- Maternal-Child Nursing
The key to picking a quality LPN program is to find a school that holds proper accreditations. Schools and programs can only hold accreditations if they meet specific requirements, so you can rest assured that they are academically up to par. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing is one to look for, though regional accrediting organizations may also be available. You should also ensure that your LPN program is approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.
It is imperative for all LPN program applicants to make sure that they meet all of their school of choice’s admissions requirements. These requirements will vary, but most include:
- Must be a high school graduate or equivalent
- Must have completed all prerequisite courses
- Nurse Assistant/Medical Assistant certification may be required
- Accuplacer and TEAS test scores
- Must provide proof of up-to-date immunizations
- CPR certification
Tuition and Costs
There are many factors that impact the total cost of an LPN program: where it is located, what type of school it’s offered at, and others. In all cases, students are expected to cover the costs of tuition, mandatory fees, and course materials like books and supplies. The complete cost of the LPN program at Dakota County Technical College, for example, is estimated at $11,611. For those concerned about paying for their LPN program, most schools have financial aid options available and are happy to provide information.
Minnesota LPN Licensing Requirements
Completion of a state-approved nursing program is required in the state of Minnesota as well as a satisfactory score on the NCLEX-PN exam.
Minnesota LPN licenses expire every 2 years. An application must be submitted for each license renewal with renewal fee and proof of completed continued education requirements of 12 contact hours during the registration period. If practicing less than the full 2 years, the continued education ratio is 1 contact hour for each 2 months of registration.
NCLEX Exam Information
The NCLEX-PN is the exam that all prospective LPNs must take and pass to officially gain licensure. It is comprised of roughly 100 nursing-based questions from a variety of categories. For detailed information on the exam, check out our comprehensive NCLEX-PN overview here. In addition to this, students can also hone their skills by taking the NCLEX-PN practice test, designed to help students study and prepare for the real exam.
LPN Reciprocity and eNLC
Minnesota is not currently an Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) state, so those rules do not apply, and those with out-of-state nursing licenses must apply for a Minnesota license by endorsement.
To apply for a Minnesota license via endorsement, a completed application must be submitted with the following:
- Evidence of passing state-approved nursing program and NCLEX.
- Credentials evaluation report.
- Evidence of state licensure (home state).
- Proof of employment as an LPN—if not employed in the last 24 months, proof of continued education must also be submitted.
Foreign educated or licensed individuals looking to receive a license in the state of Minnesota, can qualify to take the NCLEX by submitting transcripts and passing an English proficiency exam. The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) must perform a full course-by-course review and the applicant must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam.
For more information on Minnesota LPN license by endorsement, visit https://mn.gov/boards/nursing/licensure/apply-for-a-license/lic-by-end-process.jsp
The table below lists career information organized by the BLS for licensed practical nurses in Minnesota. The table is sorted by total employment, with the largest metropolitan areas listed first.
|Area||Total Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington||9,070||$21.42||$44,560|
|Mankato, North Mankato||310||$20.33||$42,280|
For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our Minnesota LPN to RN/BSN programs page.
The St. Cloud campus of Rasmussen College offers an excellent practical nursing program that provides students with real-world nursing skills. The program can be completed in just 12 months, and they also offer a “Flex Choice” option which allows students to combine traditional classes with self-directed assessments. Graduates are well prepared for the NCLEX-PN examination and for successful employment in a variety of healthcare settings.
The 40 credit Practical Nursing program at Minnesota State Community and Technical College prepares students to practice nursing under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN), providing direct patient care in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and home- and community-based facilities. Students are eligible to take the National Council Licensing Exam-PN following graduation. Upon completion of the Practical Nursing program, students are prepared to apply for licensure as a practical nurse and careers in long-term care centers and ambulatory care facilities.
St. Cloud Technical & Community College (SCTCC), located in St. Cloud, Minnesota, is committed to meeting the community's needs through its 90 programs of study, matching local job needs. SCTCC is a comprehensive technical and community college offering associate's degrees, career certification, and workforce development.
Rochester Community & Technical College (RCTC), located in Rochester, Minnesota, provides accessible, affordable, quality learning opportunities to a growing community. RCTC encourages students to develop professional attitudes and behaviors, apply critical thinking, demonstrate understanding and respect for human diversity, and take the responsibility to achieve their academic and personal goals.
Ridgewater College is a community and technical college located in Willmar, Minnesota, with an additional campus located in Hutchinson. Ridgewater offers more than 100 educational programs, some unique to the state and nationally, with small class sizes and advanced technology, providing a student-centered learning environment dedicated to providing accessible, affordable, and supportive setting for all students.
Minnesota West Community & Technical College-Worthington is a comprehensive community and technical college located in Pipestone, Minnesota, with additional campuses located in Canby, Granite Falls, Jackson, and Pipestone, and centers located in Fairmont, Marshall, Luverne, and Redwood Falls. Minnesota West offers Student programs that allow them to achieve an associate's degree, diploma, and career certificates in more than 60 disciplines.
Rasmussen College’s Mankato campus offers a quality, affordable practical nursing program. Small class sizes, experienced nurse faculty, and an emphasis on hands-on care set this program apart from the rest. The career-focused curriculum gives students the skills they need to succeed in the industry.
Duluth’s Lake Superior College offers a practical nursing program designed to be completed in just two semesters. The curriculum emphasizes critical thinking and evidence-based medicine, and tuition is the same for in-state and out-of-state students. This program is both board-approved and ACEN-accredited.
The Practical Nursing program at Alexandria Technical and Community College is designed to prepare future LPNs in the care of patients experiencing injury, in need of rehabilitation, and in the prevention of illness. Graduates of the program are prepared to enter the workforce as LPNs or continue with their education to pursue registered nursing.
Pine Technical and Community College, located in Pine City, boasts a practical nursing program aimed at those who want a fulfilling healthcare career. Enrolled students learn problem solving, ethics, and communication skills in addition to nursing skills. Both classroom and clinical coursework are weaved into the curriculum to give students a well-rounded nursing education.
Continued List of All Programs in Minnesota
1355 U.S. 10, Anoka, MN 55303
2022 Central Ave NW, East Grand Forks, MN 56721
3500 Federal Drive, Eagen, MN 55122
1250 29th Avenue South, Moorhead, MN 56560
965 Alexander Dr SW, Owatonna, MN 55060
501 W College Dr, Brainerd, MN 56401
8301 93rd Avenue North, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445
1300 145th St E, Rosemount, MN 55068
1851 U.S. 169, Grand Rapids, MN 55744
1250 Homer Rd, Winona, MN 55987
1920 Lee Blvd, North Mankato, MN 56003
1001 Chestnut St W, Virginia, MN 55792
9000 Brooklyn Blvd, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445
905 Grant Avenue SE, Bemidji, MN 56601
235 Marshall Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
2101 14th St, Cloquet, MN 55720
Additional MN Nursing Resources
- Minnesota Board of Nursing
2829 University Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Phone: (612) 617-2270
- Minnesota Nurses Association
345 Randolph Avenue, Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55102
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