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. In Minnesota, LPNs earn an average hourly wage of $20.97, which equates to an average annual salary of $43,620. To reap the benefits of this rewarding career pathway, you must first find the right LPN program for you.

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2018 Best LPN Programs in Minnesota

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

Accreditation

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.

Admission Requirements

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

LPN Salary in Minnesota By Area

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.

AreaTotal EmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington9,070$21.42$44,560
St. Cloud1,160$19.85$41,280
Duluth1,110$19.55$40,660
Rochester790$21.98$45,710
Mankato, North Mankato310$20.33$42,280

For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our Minnesota LPN to RN/BSN programs page.

Top Ranked Minnesota LPN Programs

1

Rasmussen College – St. Cloud

226 Park Avenue South, St. Cloud, MN 56301 - (320) 251-5600 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 98.67
2

Minnesota State Community & Technical College

900 Hwy 34 E, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501 - (877) 450-3322 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 95.57
3

St. Cloud Technical & Community College

1540 Northway Dr, St Cloud, MN 56303 - (320) 308-5000 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 94.53
4

Rochester Community & Technical College

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

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.

Overall Score: 94.15
5

Ridgewater College

2101 15th Ave NW, Willmar, MN 56201 - (320) 222-5200 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 92.99
6

Minnesota West Community and Technical College

1450 College Way, Worthington, MN 56187 - (507) 372-3400 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 92.94
7

Rasmussen College – Mankato

1400 Madison Avenue, Mankato, MN 56001 - (507) 625-6556 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 91.00
8

Lake Superior College

11501 State Highway 23, Duluth, MN 55808 - (218) 733-1074 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 89.74
9

Alexandria Technical & Community College

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

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.

Overall Score: 89.33
10

Pine Technical & Community College

900 4th St SE, Pine City, MN 55063 - (320) 629-5100 - Visit Homepage

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.

Overall Score: 89.09

Continued List of All Programs in Minnesota

RankedProgramScoreDetails
#11 Anoka Technical College
1355 U.S. 10, Anoka, MN 55303
(763) 576-4700
88.69
#12 Northland Community and Technical College
2022 Central Ave NW, East Grand Forks, MN 56721
(218) 793-2800
86.72
#13 Rasmussen College – Eagan
3500 Federal Drive, Eagen, MN 55122
(651) 687-9000
86.57
#14 Rasmussen College – Moorhead
1250 29th Avenue South, Moorhead, MN 56560
(218) 304-6200
85.81
#15 Riverland Community College
965 Alexander Dr SW, Owatonna, MN 55060
(507) 455-5880
85.66
#16 Central Lakes College
501 W College Dr, Brainerd, MN 56401
(218) 855-8000
85.38
#17 Rasmussen College – Brooklyn Park/Maple Grove
8301 93rd Avenue North, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445
(763) 493-4500
82.64
#18 Dakota County Technical College
1300 145th St E, Rosemount, MN 55068
(651) 423-8000
82.43
#19 Itasca Community College
1851 U.S. 169, Grand Rapids, MN 55744
(218) 322-2300
81.45
#20 Minnesota State College Southeast
1250 Homer Rd, Winona, MN 55987
(507) 453-2700
79.11
#21 South Central College
1920 Lee Blvd, North Mankato, MN 56003
(507) 389-7200
79.10
#22 Mesabi Range College
1001 Chestnut St W, Virginia, MN 55792
(218) 741-3095
77.38
#23 Hennepin Technical College
9000 Brooklyn Blvd, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445
(952) 995-1300
76.16
#24 Northwest Technical College - Bemidji
905 Grant Avenue SE, Bemidji, MN 56601
(218) 333-6600
74.41
#25 St. Paul College
235 Marshall Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 846-1600
74.23
#26 Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College
2101 14th St, Cloquet, MN 55720
(218) 879-0800
57.39

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