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.
If you're considering becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in the state of Minnesota, choosing a school that meets state requirements is important. Community colleges, private career schools, and vocational education centers across the state can provide the necessary education for licensing. With almost 25 schools in cities like Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Duluth, we've sifted through them all, comparing test scores and NCLEX-PN pass-rates. After evaluating the data, we've put together a list of the top 10 LPN schools in Minnesota. For more information on school 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rasmussen College is located in Mankato, Minnesota, with additional campuses located in Bloomington, Moorhead, Eagan, Lake Elmo, St. Cloud, Blaine, and Brooklyn Park, as well as many other locations across the United States. Rasmussen College offers exceptional student support services, as well as multiple degree options and certifications to ensure student success in the workplace.
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.
Anoka Technical College (ATC), located in Anoka, Minnesota, offers project-based learning utilizing hands-on skills and training. ATC offers small classrooms and an expert faculty designed to see to student success, providing all of the necessary knowledge and skills to acquire an associate degree, career certification, or workforce development training.
Central Lakes College’s Practical Nursing Program is a comprehensive nursing program that can be completed in two semesters, after completing pre-requisites. The program, which has been in existence for 57 years, has had a long history of success. Graduates’ MN State Board of Nursing pass-rates are above the state and national averages, and the employment rates are nearly 100% with students either finding employment as an LPN or continuing their education.
Continued List of All Programs in Minnesota
1250 Homer Rd, Winona, MN 55987
1300 145th St E, Rosemount, MN 55068
900 4th St SE, Pine City, MN 55063
11501 State Highway 23, Duluth, MN 55808
9000 Brooklyn Blvd, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445
1851 U.S. 169, Grand Rapids, MN 55744
235 Marshall Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
2022 Central Ave NW, East Grand Forks, MN 56721
2101 14th St, Cloquet, MN 55720
905 Grant Avenue SE, Bemidji, MN 56601
1101 Minnesota 1E, Thief River Falls, MN 56701
1001 Chestnut St W, Virginia, MN 55792
1920 Lee Blvd, North Mankato, MN 56003
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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