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Minnesota Nursing License Requirements

Licensed nurses in Minnesota are overseen by the Minnesota Board of Nursing, which works to ensure that all nurses practicing in Minnesota are appropriately qualified to provide quality nursing care. Among the categories of nurse practice recognized in Minnesota are licensed practical nursing, registered nursing, and nurse practitioners. Continue learning about how to become a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, or nurse practitioner by reading below.

» How to become a licensed practical nurse (requires completion of a training program)
» How to become a registered nurse (requires an associate’s or bachelor’s degree)
» How to become a nurse practitioner (requires a master’s degree)

3 Steps to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Minnesota

1. Complete a Practical Nursing Program.

Completing a program in practical nursing is the first step to becoming a licensed practical nurse in Minnesota. The program completed must be accredited by an organization recognized by the United States Department of Education to qualify for licensure.1 A list of programs that have been approved to prepare practical nurses in Minnesota is available through the Minnesota Board of Nursing.2 Data on historical pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination is also available.3

2. Submit an Application for LPN Licensure by Exam.

After graduating from a practical nursing program candidates should submit the Licensed Practical Nurse by Examination Application to the Minnesota Board of Nursing.4 The practical nursing program must submit a Confirmation of Program Completion to support the application.5 If the program completed is located in the state of Minnesota, the confirmation may be completed online by a school official.5 A paper Confirmation of Program Completion form is included in the application packet.4 After an application is submitted candidates can check application status through the Minnesota Board of Nursing website.4

3. Register For and Take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses.

The Minnesota Board of Nursing uses Pearson VUE, a third party company, to deliver and score the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses(NCLEX-PN).5 Registration can be completed on the Pearson VUE website.6 Once the Minnesota Board of Nursing has reviewed the examination and determined eligibility to test, an Authorization to Test will be issued.5 This authorization allows the candidate to schedule and attempt the NCLEX-PN. The authorization is valid for 90 days, though the exam may be scheduled for after the 90-day window provided the exam attempt occurs within one year of the authorization.5

If a candidate does not attempt the NCLEX-PN within the first year of application, the application will be retired by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.5 Once an applicant earns a passing score on the NCLEX-PN, a license in practical nursing will be issued within approximately 10 business days.5 If the examination is not passed, applicants must submit a request to re-take the examination within eight months to keep their application active.4

3 Steps to Become a Registered Nurse in Minnesota

1. Complete a Program in Professional or Registered Nursing.

To become licensed as a registered nurse in Minnesota, candidates must complete an approved program in professional or registered nursing.1 The majority of approved programs lead to the award of either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.7 A list of approved programs can be accessed on the Minnesota Board of Nursing website.7 Candidates planning their education track can also view historical pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination.3

2. Submit an Application for RN Licensure by Exam.

Following graduation, candidates should forward to the Minnesota Board of Nursing a completed Registered Nurse Licensure by Examination Application.8 In lieu of official transcripts, the school of nursing from which the candidate graduated should submit the Confirmation of Program Completion form.8 This form is included in the application packet. Schools of nursing within the state of Minnesota may submit the confirmation online.9 Applicants can check the status of their application through the Minnesota Board of Nursing website.8

3. Register For and Take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

To earn a license in registered nursing candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The Minnesota Board of Nursing has contracted with a third party test administrator, Pearson VUE, to deliver and score the NCLEX-RN.9 Candidates should register with Pearson VUE to take the exam after the application for a license has been submitted to the Minnesota Board of Nursing.6 After application review, the Minnesota Board of Nursing will issue an Authorization to Test that is valid for 90 days.9 Candidates can then schedule the NCLEX-RN exam at any date within a year from receiving the authorization.9 Note that the Authorization to Test is only valid for 90 days, and to keep the application for licensure active candidates must attempt the NCLEX-RN within a year of applying.9

An applicant who earns a passing score on the NCLEX-RN will typically be issued a license within 10 days of a passing exam score being posted.9 Candidates who do not pass the exam may re-schedule a second attempt, and must do so within eight months of the first attempt to keep their application status active.8

6 Steps to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Minnesota

1. Obtain a Minnesota License in Registered Nursing.

Prospective nurse practitioners must first obtain licensure as a registered nurse in the state of Minnesota.10 Prospective nurse practitioners must, therefore, complete an acceptable professional nursing program and pass the NCLEX-RN before submitting to the Minnesota Board of Nursing to practice as a nurse practitioner.

2. Become Certified As a Nurse Practitioner.

Prospective nurse practitioners must become certified as nurse practitioners before practicing as such in the state of Minnesota.10 To obtain the required national certification, completion of a program in advanced practice nursing is typically necessary, such as a master’s degree.11 A list of master’s degree programs approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing is available to help candidates choose an appropriate education.7 A copy of national certifying organizations recognized by the Minnesota Board of Nursing is also available.10

3. Submit Certification to the Minnesota Board of Nursing.

The Minnesota Board of Nursing does not license nurse practitioners as it does registered nurses.10 However, to legally practice as a nurse practitioner a nurse practitioner must be licensed as a registered nurse and submit to the Minnesota Board of Nursing a copy of his or her national certification as a nurse practitioner.10 Such certification must be maintained as current according to the requirements of the certifying body in order to comply with Minnesota law.10 A current copy of the certification must be on file with the Minnesota Board of Nursing at all times, but is the only documentation beyond registered nurse licensure required in most circumstances.10

4. Engage in a Collaborative Management Plan.

Nurse practitioners in Minnesota must work “within a health care system that provides for consultation, collaborative, management, and referral as indicated by the status of the patient.”10 This means that nurse practitioners must have a collaborative agreement to practice with or as an employee of such a health care system.10 The collaborative agreement is not required to be in writing unless the nurse practitioner has prescriptive authority.10,11 The collaborating physician(s) should always have a care specialty that is the same or similar to the care provided by the nurse practitioner.10

5. Develop a Collaborative Agreement for Prescriptive Authority.

Under Minnesota law, a nurse practitioner who has satisfactorily submitted to the Minnesota Board of Nursing evidence of current registered nurse licensure in Minnesota and national certification as a nurse practitioner is automatically granted prescriptive authority for non-controlled substances.10 However, in order to exercise this authority, a nurse practitioner must have a written collaborative agreement with a physician executed as a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines the role and responsibilities of the nurse practitioner in prescribing drugs and therapeutic devices.10

6. Request Prescriptive Authority for Controlled Substances, If Desired.

Nurse practitioners may request authority to prescribe controlled substances by applying to the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and to the Minnesota Board of Nursing.12 A DEA control number is requested by completing an online application on the DEA website.13 The nurse practitioner must also submit the number to the Minnesota Board of Nursing.14 This will allow the Minnesota Board of Nursing to verify to the DEA the nurse practitioner’s eligibility for a controlled substances registration number and the subsequent authority to prescribe controlled substances.14 If the form is not submitted, a DEA number can not be issued.14

Minnesota Nursing Associations

The numerous nursing associations in Minnesota can help current and future nurses access a variety of opportunities, including professional networking, employment, and continuing education.

Minnesota Nursing Salary

Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Nursing Assistants 29,620 $27,220
Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses 17,110 $40,620
Registered Nurses 54,940 $70,780
Nurse Practitioners 2,710 $94,330

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

References:
1. Minnesota Board of Nursing: Rules
2. Minnesota Board of Nursing: Minnesota Approved Practical Nursing Programs
3. Minnesota Board of Nursing: Data on Approved Nursing Programs
4. Minnesota Board of Nursing: Licensed Practical Nurse by Examination Application
5. Minnesota Board of Nursing: LPN Licensure By Exam Requirements
6. Pearson VUE: The NCLEX Examination https://portal.ncsbn.org/
7. Minnesota Board of Nursing: Minnesota Approved Professional Nursing Programs
8. Minnesota Board of Nursing: Registered Nurse Licensure by Examination Application
9. Minnesota Board of Nursing: RN Licensure by Exam Requirements
10. Minnesota Board of Nursing: Advanced Practice Registered Nursing
11. Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes: 2013 Minnesota Statutes 148.284: Certification of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
12. Minnesota Board of Nursing: How to Obtain a DEA Number
13. US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Diversion Control: Application for Registration Under Controlled Substance Act of 1970
14. Minnesota Board of Nursing: How to Obtain a DEA Number