Updated: November 25, 2021

Overview of Nursing Schools in North Dakota

  • There are 13 nursing schools in North Dakota. The CCNE accredits 4 nursing schools and the ACEN accredits 6 schools in North Dakota.
  • Typically, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) will take between 18 to 24 months to complete, and a Bachelor Degree in Nursing (BSN) will take about 4 years to complete.
  • The average NCLEX passing rate range for ADN students in North Dakota is between 75.00% and 96.21%.
  • The average NCLEX passing rate range for BSN students in North Dakota is between 84.56% and 93.51%.
  • The average annual salary for registered nurses is between $52,080 to $111,220 a year.
  • Registered Nurses (RN) throughout the country and in North Dakota can expect a favorable job growth of 15 percent from 2016 to 2026 which much faster than the average for all occupations.

Online Nursing Programs Liked by North Dakota Nurses

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities beloww.

About Nursing Schools in North Dakota

North Dakota is well known for designing and implementing nursing practice initiatives that are intended to enhance healthcare and the nursing profession. North Dakota is the only state to require a bachelor’s degree before being admitted into the field. In 1987, legislation was passed that requires all newly hired registered nurses to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. However, due to popular demand, the law was repealed in 2003. Despite the repeal, North Dakota and state nurse associations continue to encourage a BSN education. Nurses who are willing to advance their education, know that now is a great time to earn their RN or BSN degree from an accredited institution.

In our North Dakota RN program guide, find rankings for both ADN and BSN Degree programs, tuition costs, NCLEX passing rates, and more. Research key North Dakota RN Program information to help you compare program metrics and to apply to best RN program for your career in nursing.

In the State of North Dakota, nurses are helping to change the face of healthcare. To ensure that they have the best education and preparation for future health care challenges, registered nurses need to graduate from a state-approved associate's degree in nursing program or a BSN degree program.

Nurses who graduate from an RN program can obtain certification in over 100 nursing specialties, go on to earn an RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree.

BSN degree holders have options to earn an Advance Practice Register Nursing (APRN) degree and become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or earn an advanced degree for a career in any number of nursing leadership roles such Nurse Educator or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

North Dakota RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN Programs ADN BSN
Number of Nursing Programs 5 6
Average NCLEX Passing Rate 89.19% 90.08%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range 75.00% to 96.21% 84.56% to 93.51%

Best Ranked RN Programs in North Dakota

Best Nursing School Programs State

To help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at RNCareers.org publish their annual findings of the best nursing schools for both North Dakota and the country. Schools ranked on our list have proven their ability to educate highly competent nurses.

To create our rankings, we evaluated 5 ADN degree programs and 5 BSN degree programs in North Dakota. We obtained each institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, the program nursing accreditation and more. We then compared the results against other nursing programs in North Dakota to provide our state rankings. View our methodology


Bismarck State College

  • 1500 Edwards Ave., Bismarck, ND - 58506-5587
  • (701) 224-5400
  • Grade: (A) 97.10%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Bismarck State College is located in Bismarck, North Dakota.  Through the Dakota Nursing Program, a collaboration of several community colleges, a standardized nursing program allows students to earn their LPN and then their RN in a stepwise fashion.  They are also eligible for bridge programs for RN to BSN/RN to
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North Dakota State College of Science

  • 800 N 6th St, Wahpeton, ND - 58076-0002
  • (701) 671-2403
  • Grade: (A) 97.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
North Dakota State College of Science is located in Wahpeton, North Dakota.  They offer several options for their nursing students; they offer an LPN diploma, an LPN AAS, which is designed for students who will eventually seek to obtain their ADN, and an ADN degree.

University of Mary

  • 7500 University Dr, Bismarck, ND - 58504
  • (701) 255-7500
  • Grade: (A) 96.39%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, BSN to DNP, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP, RN to MSN

University of North Dakota

  • 264 Centennial Drive, Stop 8193, Grand Forks, ND - 58202-8193
  • (800) 225-5863
  • Grade: (A) 96.37%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
University of North Dakota is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota.  They offer several options for their nursing students - a traditional BSN degree, an accelerated BSN for students with a prior bachelor's degree and an RN to BSN track.  The RN to BSN program is utilizes "distance learning" and
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Dakota College at Bottineau

  • 105 Simrall Blvd, Bottineau, ND - 58318-1198
  • (701) 228-2277
  • Grade: (A) 95.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Dickinson State University

  • 291 Campus Drive, Dickinson, ND - 58601-4896
  • (701) 483-2507
  • Grade: (A) 93.52%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
Dickinson State University is located in Dickinson, North Dakota.  They offer an associate of applied science practical nursing (AASPN) program and a BSN program.  Unique to their program is the BSN completion program, which is actually an LPN to BSN program, designed with their LPN students in mind.

Williston State College

  • 1410 University Avenue, Williston, ND - 58801
  • (701) 774-4200
  • Grade: (A) 93.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Williston State College is located in Williston, North Dakota.  Their program is considered a 1+1 program, where the first year earns the student an LPN certificate and license, and the second year earns the student an RN degree.  Their program is designed under the Dakota Nursing Program.

North Dakota State University (Combined NDSU Fargo campus and NDSU Nursing at Sanford Health Bismarck)

  • 1301 12th Avenue North, Fargo, ND - 58108-6050
  • (701) 231-8011
  • Grade: (A) 92.93%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, BSN to DNP, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP
North Dakota State University is located in Fargo, North Dakota.  They offer a BSN degree with two options: a pre-professional option and a professional option.  The pre-professional option is for new students, whereas the professional option is for students who already have their RN license.

North Dakota Rank
88.90 Lake Region State College 5 ADN

Become an Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in North Dakota

RNs who wish to become advanced practice registered nurses will want to pursue any number of avenues to earn Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing consists of graduate-level coursework and clinical practice for those nurses who wish to direct patient roles such as a nurse practitioner. You can also pursue indirect patient roles such as teaching or leadership roles, or become involved in policy, state-wide health initiatives or community engagement. There are many clinical and non-clinical avenues that an RN with MSN can pursue.

Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in North Dakota

Learn how to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and research schools in North Dakota offering the following high paying nurse practitioner specialties:

Learn about Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree.

MSN Programs Recommended by Our Education Experts

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

North Dakota  RN Licensing Requirements

North Dakota State Board of Nursing
919 South 7th Street, Suite 504
Bismark, ND 58504
(701) 328-9777

Initial licensing fee, RN: $110
License renewal (every two years), RN: $90

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs and LPNs: 12 contact hours every renewal period

RN Licensure by Exams

Upon completing a degree program, nursing candidates will begin the steps toward licensure. If the steps are completed in a timely manner so that he/she will be eligible to work as a graduate nurse while the steps are being completed and the paperwork is being processed. The license application fee is $130 and can be found online. Official transcripts need to be sent to the Board. Before North Dakota can issue a 90-day work authorization, the candidate must also register for the NCLEX exam through the Pearson VUE website and pay the $200 fee. When authorization to test has been issued, the candidate can schedule the computer-based test. Candidates are required to apply for the CHRC within 60 days of graduation in order to obtain temporary work authorization. There is no limit on exam retakes however, there is additional paperwork required.

RN Licensure by Endorsement

Registered nurses who have obtained licensure in one of the other 50 states can apply for licensure by endorsement. In addition to the application, candidates must submit a criminal background check, official transcripts, and license verification. There will be a refresher course required if the candidates is not a recent graduate and has not practiced at least 400 hours within the past four years.

RN License for Nurses Educated Abroad

Nurses who completed an education program abroad are required to have their coursework evaluated by a professional evaluation service such as CGFNS. The certificate should be submitted with the licensure for examination. A social security number is also required for licensure. Applicants from Canada need not provide a CGNFS certificate.

RN Salaries in North Dakota

North Dakota has been suffering from a nursing shortage for almost five years. A lot of hospitals in North Dakota are hiring traveling nurses, which is apparent with the lack of qualified nursing personnel in the hospitals across the state. The median annual salary in the state of North Dakota is $53,300. The top end of the range is $70,000 and is dependent on the nurse’s experience, education, and practice setting. Pursuing higher education can help nurses to expand the setting in which they can practice and open up career possibilities that did not exist with an associate’s.

North Dakota Registered Nursing Salaries

Overall, the amount of registered nurses in North Dakota is on the low end. However, Fargo has the highest amount of registered nurses across the nations. It should come to no surprise that Fargo also has the highest hourly wage and annual median wage.
Source: BLS, Department of Education, State Board of Nursing, Nursing School Websites.

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