Best Online RN to BSN Nursing Schools in Minnesota

Minnesota has long been one of the healthiest states in the US, but population health at the state level is a slippery slope. That’s why it’s so important for Minnesota to train and education qualified nurses, and online RN to BSN programs are a central part of the effort. At times, Minnesota has ranked #1, but even while it remains in the top 10, the North Star State faces healthcare risks, including alcohol and drug abuse. On the upside, though, Minnesota has high rates of health insurance coverage and a strong supply of nurses.

Working registered nurses in Minnesota who want to increase their pay and move into more specialized roles can find the means to change their lives in an online RN to BSN program. Minnesota is one of the best states to be a nurse, and one of the best states for nursing education, with a wealth of top nursing schools. In fact, the best nursing schools in Minnesota count among some of the best nationwide. The convenience and flexibility of online programs only adds to Minnesota’s status for nursing education.

How We Ranked the Best Nursing Schools in Minnesota for Online Students

The process for ranking the best online RN to BSN programs in Minnesota was simple; round up all of the nursing schools in the state, narrowed them down to those with online RN to BSN programs, and ranked them according to criteria important to working nurses: cost, student satisfaction, and salary potential. For our data, we consulted IPEDS, College Scorecard, and Niche.

1. Winona State University – Winona

Winona State University’s online RN to BS Completion program provides working nurses an opportunity to finish their degree in just twelve months from one of the best nursing schools in Minnesota. The University does require students to have already earned the associate’s degree in Nursing or a diploma similar to RN requirements; in addition, the student must hold RN licensure for the state. Nursing students who enroll in the program will learn holistic nursing, concepts in nursing, and evidence-based practices. The RN to BS completion program is accredited by the CCNE. The program is 120 credits, with 80 transfer credits accepted.

Winona State University opened its doors in 1858, with classes starting in 1860. However, due to the Civil war, classes were canceled for three years, coming back in 1864. Over the next several decades and into the early twentieth century, the college began to grow. By 1975, the college earned University status and now has five schools that students can choose.

Format: Online/Hybrid
Accreditation: CCNE

2. Minnesota State University Mankato – Mankato

The online RN Baccalaureate Completion Program at Minnesota State University in Mankato offers nursing students a CCNE accredited degree that builds on ideas of evidence-based care to individuals, families, and communities. Students will demonstrate nursing skills that provides quality care results and knowledge of healthcare systems. The curriculum is 120 credits with a 2.8 GPA or higher required for completion. Nursing students must have a RN License to start the program. The online RN Baccalaureate completion program at MSU is very affordable and is one of the best nursing schools in Minnesota. However, there are scholarship opportunities for some eligible students.

MNSU offers over 130 undergraduate programs and over 75 graduate areas of study for applying students. There are also over fifty degrees available online. Last year, Minnesota State University of Mankato celebrated 150 years of academic excellence. Located only 85 miles from the Twin Cities, Minnesota State University’s Mankato campus sits on over 300 acres of the beautiful valley of the Minnesota River.

Format: Online
Accreditation: CCNE

3. Minnesota State University Moorhead – Moorhead

Minnesota State University in Moorhead offers an online RN to BSN degree that is designed for students with career advancement in the nursing field in mind. The program is CCNE accredited and provides a curriculum full of real world experiences and the flexibility to learn at your own pace. The faculty is always there to guide the nursing student through student-centered learning and provides clinical studies that focuses on building a strong community. Courses include public health nursing, applied pathophysiology, and care of diverse populations. The RN-BSN degree is a 120-credit program with 40 credits of upper division classes. Tuition at UNUM is very affordable compared to most state universities throughout the state of Minnesota, and several scholarships make it even more affordable for some students.

Earning a RN to BSN degree at MSUM allows nursing students to make a higher salary rate and prepare students for graduate school. MSUM started with only twenty-nine students and five faculty members in 1888. Today, the Minnesota University State of Moorhead is one of the best nursing schools in Minnesota with 146 majors from five colleges and serving almost 6,000 students since its beginning.

Format: Online
Accreditation: CCNE

4. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota – Minneapolis

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers a RN to BSN program that is CCNE accredited and available completely online. The Fast Track program take as little as twelve months. In addition, the program will improve the quality of care to their patients. According to the school’s website, 80% of nurses need to have a BSN degree to practice in the state. The RN to BSN degree program also prepares the nursing student for leadership in the nursing industry. Each student will learn courses in health informatics, finance basics, and healthcare systems.

Saint Mary’s is committed to research and innovation, designed for working professionals, and affordable to most nursing students within the state. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota ranks as one of the top 50 best universities in the Midwest region and among the best nursing schools in Minnesota itself.

Format: Online
Accreditation: CCNE

5. Southwest Minnesota State University – Marshall

The online RN to BSN program at Southwest Minnesota State University offers students a curriculum that is engaging and built on principles of evidence-based practices. The program is also endorsed by the AACN and accredited by the CCNE. Studies include health informatics, ethical decision-making, healthcare delivery systems, and professionalism in the nursing workplace. Skills needed for the nursing student are leadership and management. The importance of patient care and safety is part of the curriculum as well. The RN to BSN program will provide a strong foundation in nursing abilities. Critical thinking is also a trait worth having when enrolling in the program.

The Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshal is a public college that provides a high quality education to all its students. It strives to be a center of excellence, civic duty, and improves each year on community engagement to their surrounding areas. An appropriate motto for their school is Respect for All.

Format: Online
Accreditation: CCNE

6. Bemidji State University – Bemidji

The RN to BSN program at Bemidji State University offers a blended and hybrid curriculum, designed specifically for working nurses who have a job or family obligations. The degree program combines both on-campus learning and online courses that build on skills and experience needed for the nursing field. Students only have to come to the campus once a week or month, depending on the instructor’s requirements and flexibility. Bemidji State University comes with an affordable tuition cost as well. The RN to BSN degree helps students that acquired a RN diploma or an ADN to increase their chances in the healthcare industry and brings a wider skill set for easy understanding of what is expected in the nursing student. The program is CCNE accredited as well.

Ranked as one of the top Green colleges in 2017, Bemidji State University also is one of the best nursing schools in Minnesota, according to the US News and World Report. This year, 2019, it celebrates 100 years of education excellence by inspiring students toward higher learning. The school also has a low Student to Faculty ratio.

Format: Blended
Accreditation: CCNE

7. St. Cloud State University – St. Cloud

The Online RN to BS Completion program at St Cloud State University provides nursing students with a firm foundation of professionalism in nursing field. The core courses include anatomy, microbiology, developmental psychology and sociology. The RN to BS program, designed for nurses seeking to complete their baccalaureate degree in nursing, is a 30-credit course load. It can easily be completed within a year. The course program is open to all ADN’s or nurses that earned a RN licensure. Students in the program will develop critical thinking skills and learn to become connected to their patients by providing the best quality care they deserve.

Tuition is affordable to many nursing students. Many consider the program as part of the best nursing schools in Minnesota. Graduates of the RN to BS completion program at SCSU is eligible for a public health certificate. The program is CCNE accredited and approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.

Format: Online
Accreditation: CCNE

8. College of St Scholastica – Duluth

The College of St. Scholastica’s RN to BSN online nursing program provides flexible scheduling options for students that desire to work at their own pace. The students can complete the program in just one year. The total degree program is 128 credits with 42 credits for the RN to BSN program. Tuition is one of the lowest in the state of Minnesota. The program dives into the importance of quality care to patients, teaches the need for healthcare policies, and works among a diverse population to enhance the health and wellbeing of all.

The College of St. Scholastica is CCNE accredited and one of the best nursing schools in Minnesota. The St. Cloud campus was established in 2002. The college has several other campuses throughout the state and has been around for 100 years. The college also provides state-of-the-art facilities to better serve each students’ needs. To this day, they are still empowering students to be successful.

Format: Online
Accreditation: CCNE

9. Bethel University of Minnesota – Saint Paul

Bethel University in St. Paul is one of the best nursing schools in Minnesota that offers a RN to BSN program. The school is CCNE accredited and is one of the colleges approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing. The Curriculum uses holistic healing measures when treating patients. The purpose of the RN to BS program is to assist working nurses to provide the best care to a diverse group of individuals, families, and communities at large. Course Studies include ethical theory, public health nursing, research and evidence-based practice, and nursing informatics.

Bethel University of Minnesota’s programs looks at each person’s situation as a whole. Based on strong Christian views, the RN to BSN program is designed to educate nursing students in treating patients in a Christ-like matter. The nursing degree is only 39 credits long and can be complete in as little as 10 months. Tuition costs at Bethel is also affordable, compared to other state universities.

Format: Online
Accreditation: CCNE

10. Augsburg University – Minneapolis

Augsburg University’s Bachelors of Science in Nursing program is at one of the best nursing schools in Minnesota. The program is an online/hybrid style format that assists working professional nurses that live in the Rochester and Minneapolis areas. The BSN helps nurses in completing their undergraduate degree, while still working as a nurse. Studies include trends in nursing, family and life cycle, and transcultural healing practice. Nursing students will learn The nursing program is a total of 32 semester credits long and can be completed in one year. The program is also CCNE accredited.

Augsburg University, founded in 1869, provides students with over fifty majors and several graduate degree programs. Known as the “Augies”, the school has close to 3,500 students and provides a safe campus life for all that choose on-campus learning. The college is within minutes of downtown Minneapolis and provides lots of entertainment and attractions for students to feel at home. The Augsburg University also has a low student to faculty ratio.

Format: Hybrid
Accreditation: CCNE

How Do I Become a Nurse in Minnesota?

Healthcare Industry jobs are now more than ever in demand. According to the BLS, RN nursing careers are expected to grow by 15% by 2026. This statistic is primarily due to the older population living longer. In the state of Minnesota, the call for nurses are also rising. In fact, most of Minnesota’s fastest growing careers in 2019 are, in some form, healthcare-related. The actual RN job description is not on this list; however, nurse practitioner, home health aid, and physician assistant are among the top five.

To become a nurse in the state of Minnesota, a nursing student must first earn a RN licensure with the state. The NCLEX-RN exam is also required to practice in the state. According to the Minnesota nursing board, most universities in Minnesota hold a pass rate of 98 percent for the NCLEX-RN test. Minnesota does accept border state recognition, that is, if the nurse is licensed in one of its bordering states (Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, or South Dakota), then the licensed RN is allowed to practice in Minnesota. However, there may be some requirements to the clause.

It is also recommended that the RN earn a BSN degree as well. A bachelor’s degree provides more knowledge and skills in nursing; it also helps in career advancement. To register as an RN in Minnesota, there is a $50 fee. In addition, a $115.50 fee is paid to the Minnesota Board of nurses and $200 towards Pearson.

How’s the Job Market for Nurses in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, nursing careers are on the rise. In 2018, the BLS also reports that there were approximately 69,000 registered nurses in the state. By 2026, the amount of registered nurses in the state is expected to be around 72, 600 employed. According to the Minnesota Nurses Association, there are plenty of job opportunities for a licensed RN to find employment in the state of Minnesota. The site predicts that approximately 1,800 jobs will be needed to fill opening RN positions throughout the state by 2020 and over 20,000 by the year 2025. These statistics are due to the nurses that plan to retire over the next five years or so.

Most job positions for RN’s in Minnesota can be found at hospitals, medical clinics, and home health care services. However, some will find more opportunities as a traveling nurse. Other positions for registered nurses are in mental health facilities.

How Much Do Nurses Make in Minnesota?

The average RN salary for the state of Minnesota is $78,920, according to the BLS. However, it may vary, depending on education level, location, job position, and employers. In metropolitan cities, the pay rate for nurses can be as high as $85,000. On the low end, the Minnesota LPN makes around $45,000 annually. However, a nurse anesthetist in Minnesota can bring in $185,000 a year. In addition, salaries for RN’s are continuing to rise.

Healthcare providers offer better incentives for nurses to join their team as well. With the salary increasing each year, it’s no wonder more nurses are moving to the Midwestern states for employment opportunities. Most employers do still require RN’s to have at least a Bachelor’s degree in nursing to practice in the state. Earning your RN to BSN degree provides more opportunities to advance in the nursing industry and helps create a portfolio that interests employers to feel the RN is worth investing in. Nursing students are sometimes also encouraged to go for an MSN degree once established in their career.

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Sandra Janowicz

Keeley Jones
Registered Nurse

Carrie Sealey-Morris