Becoming an RN in North Dakota

A person becomes a registered nurse in North Dakota by completing a board of nursing-approved educational program. The state currently has eight BSN (baccalaureate) programs. It has five associate of applied science programs that lead to licensure as an RN. There is also one associate of science (AS) program in nursing that is designed for students wanting to transfer into BSN programs. Generally, the AS is a more diverse degree with more humanities and other general studies.

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In some cases, it is an option to complete a distance program from a school in another state. The Board notes that such programs must include clinical experience across the lifespan. In many cases, the student will complete clinical practice hours at a North Dakota facility, supervised by a nurse who has North Dakota licensure or licensure in another Nurse Compact state. The North Dakota Board will need to be notified before clinical practice takes place. Out-of-state private schools must be authorized to recruit/ operate within the state. Distance programs are generally for people who already have either a license as a practical nurse, a registered nurse license or a degree in another field.

A final step is passing the national board exam, the NCLEX-RN. Candidates can receive an authorization to work in North Dakota, though, as soon as they have their test date scheduled. The authorization is valid for ninety days or until test results have been received. In the event that a candidate fails the first time, they will receive a profile of their performance weaknesses and can retest in 45 days.

Licensure in North Dakota allows an RN to work in any of the Nurse Compact states.

Education Entry Pathways to the Registered Nursing Profession

If a person already has LPN licensing, he/she can expect a shortened path to RN status. The same holds true of post-baccalaureate students with degrees in other fields. The University of North Dakota has an accelerated second degree BSN program. Students complete the same nursing courses as traditional BSN students at the school, but do so in less time. The program is four semesters, but done in a year-round intensive, so it takes less than a year-and-a-half. Prerequisites can increase total program length, but those with a strong science background, including classes in chemistry, microbiology, and statistics, will be at an advantage.

In addition to the one accelerated BSN in North Dakota, there are distance programs in other states that are willing to work with North Dakota students.

Registered Nursing Career Outlook in North Dakota

According to a report prepared by the North Dakota AHEC (Area Health Education Center), the easing of the nursing shortage is only temporary. Recessions do indeed alter the hiring patterns. However, by 2025, the country may have a nursing shortage twice that of any in its history. North Dakota has reason to be concerned about meeting staffing needs in the future. Currently the state has the highest percentage of elderly residents, 85 and older.

Graduates who will be entering the workforce in the near future should realize that job prospects do vary by region and facility type. The most recent AHEC report listed an RN vacancy rate of just 4%. Surprisingly, hospitals had the highest rate, 6%, with public health and home health reporting very few vacancies. Generally, health care facilities in rural areas have a harder time filling RN vacancies than those in urban area.

The Application Process in North Dakota

Universities often have a multi-faceted selection process. Candidates can expect to write an essay and go through an interview. In some cases, students with excellent academic records are admitted without having to go through the full review process. At MedCenter One College of Nursing, for example, students can expect admission if they have an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher and have taken three core science courses with an average grade of 3.5.

North Dakota wants to increase the number of Native American students in nursing. The RAIN program is designed for this purpose.

AAS, ASN and ADN Programs Approved by the North Dakota Board of Nursing

Bismarck State College
PO Box 5587
Bismarck, ND 58506-5587
PH: 800-445-5073
Lake Region State College
1801 N College Drive
Devils Lake, ND 58301
PH: 701-662-1569
Minot State University-Bottineau
105 Simrall Boulevard
Bottineau, ND 58318-1198
PH: 800-542-6866
North Dakota State College of Science
800 6th St N
Wahpeton, ND 58075
PH: 701-671-2967
Williston State College
PO Box 1326
Williston, ND 58801-1326
PH: 701-774-4290

BSN Programs Approved by the North Dakota Board of Nursing

Concordia College
901 South 8th Street
Moorhead, MN 56562
PH: 218-299-4102
Dickinson State University
291 Campus Dr
Dickinson ND 58601-4896
PH: 701-483-2133
Jamestown College
Box 6010
Jamestown ND 58401-6010
PH: 701-252-3467
MedCenter One College of Nursing
512 N 7th St
Bismarck ND 58501-4494
PH: 701-323-6271
Minot State University
500 University Ave W
Minot ND 58701
PH: 701-858-3101
North Dakota State University
Department of Nursing-Dept #2670
PO Box 6050 / 136 Sudro Hall
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
PH: 701-231-7772
University of Mary
7500 University Dr
Bismarck ND 58504
PH: 701-255-7500
University of North Dakota
Box 9025
Grand Forks ND 58202
PH: 701-777-4173