2020 - Best LPN Programs in Minnesota
If you’re considering entering the nursing field in Minnesota, you’re in luck: the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects nearly 11% employment growth for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) through the year 2028. 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. LPNs in Minnesota earn approximately $22.61 per hour, which equates to an average annual salary of $47,020. This is roughly $30 per year less than the 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.
- Total Number of State Approved LPN Schools: 26
- Total Number of Test Takers in 2019: 1,101
- 2019 Average Statewide Minnesota NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 88.5%
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 accreditation. Schools and programs can only hold accreditation 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 NLC
Minnesota is currently pending legislation for entrance into the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). The NLC allows nurses to practice in other NLC states, without having to obtain additional licenses. 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-PN 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.
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||9,280||$23.54||$48,960|
|Mankato, North Mankato||330||$22.73||$47,280|
For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our Minnesota LPN to RN/BSN programs page.
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.
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 other healthcare facilities. Students are eligible to take the National Council Licensing Exam-PN following graduation and go on to find rewarding careers in long-term care centers and ambulatory care facilities.
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.
Minnesota West Community & Technical College-Worthington is a comprehensive community and technical college with additional campuses located throughout the state. Minnesota West offers students programs that allow them to achieve an associate's degree, diploma, or career certificate in more than 60 disciplines. Graduates of the practical nursing diploma program are well prepared for gainful employment in the healthcare sector, or for continuation with an associate's degree in 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.
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, including its practical nursing program. SCTCC is a comprehensive technical and community college offering associate's degrees, career certification, and workforce development.
With an impressive 100% NCLEX-PN pass rate as of 2019, Itasca Community College continues to be a leader in nursing education in Grand Rapids. The school's 2-semester practical nursing program can be taken in-person or via web-enhanced delivery. Overall, students complete 45 semester-credits to graduate.
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.
South Central College offers a practical nursing program at campus locations in North Mankato and Faribault. The PN program takes just 2 semesters to finish once prerequisite courses have been completed. Enrolled students move through a comprehensive curriculum which includes courses such as Pharmacology for Practical Nurses, Nursing Interventions, and more.
Riverland Community College is a regional comprehensive community college located in Owatonna, Minnesota, with additional campuses located in Alberta Lea and Austin, inspiring learning through personalized education. Riverland Community College seeks to be recognized for excellence in learning through innovation, resourcefulness, and collaboration.
Continued List of All Programs in Minnesota
1400 Madison Avenue, Mankato, MN 56001
1601 Jefferson St, Alexandria, MN 56308
2022 Central Ave NW, East Grand Forks, MN 56721
2101 15th Ave NW, Willmar, MN 56201
3500 Federal Drive, Eagen, MN 55122
1250 Homer Rd, Winona, MN 55987
1300 145th St E, Rosemount, MN 55068
1250 29th Avenue South, Moorhead, MN 56560
1355 U.S. 10, Anoka, MN 55303
501 W College Dr, Brainerd, MN 56401
905 Grant Avenue SE, Bemidji, MN 56601
8301 93rd Avenue North, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445
1001 Chestnut St W, Virginia, MN 55792
9000 Brooklyn Blvd, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445
2101 14th St, Cloquet, MN 55720
235 Marshall Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
Are we missing your school's program or need to make changes to the information listed? Please contact us.
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 (651) 414-2800
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