Top North Dakota Nursing Schools and Programs

March 2, 2022 , Modified on May 9, 2022 · 6 Min Read

Nursing schools in North Dakota offer degree paths at all levels – from associate to doctorate. Many programs extend in-state tuition to residents of neighboring states and provinces.

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Top North Dakota Nursing Schools and Programs
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The shortage of medical professionals continues to impact the healthcare community, resulting in a rising need for nurses. North Dakota is projected to see increased growth for RN positions from 2020-2030, making it a compelling state for nurses to consider. Moreover, North Dakota nursing programs produce an above-average NCLEX pass rate.

This guide provides an overview of becoming a nurse in North Dakota, including salary data, job outlook, and the best nursing programs in the state.

The Best Nursing Schools in North Dakota

Learn more about the top nursing schools in North Dakota, including which programs in the state offer the best options for current and prospective nurses.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nursing schools in North Dakota, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

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How to Choose a Nursing Program in North Dakota

Choosing a nursing program can be time-consuming. Applicants should consider a variety of factors depending on their academic and professional goals. To make the selection process easier, prospective students should focus their research on tuition, program length, and financial aid offerings.

Learners should also make sure prospective programs can successfully prepare their students. They can do this by verifying that aninstitution is accredited and reviewing its average NCLEX scores and graduation rates. These numbers help indicate program quality.

Why Become a Nurse in North Dakota

Becoming a nurse in North Dakota comes with a variety of benefits. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects above-average growth for nursing positions in North Dakota from 2020-2030. This, coupled with North Dakota's relatively high NCLEX-RN pass rate of 91.6%, makes the state a great location for nurses.

North Dakota is also part of theNurse Licensure Compact (NLC).As part of the NLC, North Dakota joins 37 other states in agreeing to a set of rules and procedures that all licensed RNs must follow.

The NLC makes it easier for nurses to qualify for state licensure with minimal paperwork. Nurses with an NLC license also do not have to pay license renewal fees, and they can provide telehealth care to patients across state lines.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in North Dakota

Compared to other states, nurses in North Dakota earn slightly below-average wages. Registered nurses (RNs) earned an average annual salary of $71,200 as of May 2021, and nurse practitioners earned $112,720. These earnings fall below the national averages for each position.

That said, North Dakota's cost of living falls slightly below average (96.7% of the national average), according to theEconomic Research and Information Center.

Like most other states, North Dakota should see increased demand for nurses in the coming years. Jobs for registered nurses are projected to increase by 16.5% from 2020-2030. Nurse practitioners can expect a whopping 31.4% job growth in that time frame.

Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses in North Dakota

Nurses in North Dakota earn the highest salaries in the Bismarck (the state's capital) and Fargo metro areas. Both of these cities are located more toward the southern border of the state, with Bismarck centrally located and Fargo on the eastern state line separating North Dakota from Minnesota.

Top-Paying Cities
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Median Salary for RNs
Fargo $72,650
Bismarck $70,740
Source: BLS, 2021

Steps to Becoming a Nurse in North Dakota

North Dakota's process for becoming an RN or advanced practice RN (APRN) is similar to the process required in most other states. Prospective nurses must first complete a nursing program approved by theNorth Dakota Board of Nursing.

After fulfilling their academic requirements, undergraduate students need to pass the NCLEX-RN. Graduate students must gain certification through a nationally recognized certification organization in a specialty of their choosing.

Both RNs and APRNs must satisfy continuing education requirements to maintain licensure and continue working as a nurse in North Dakota.

RN Requirements

When becoming an RN in North Dakota, prospective nurses must first graduate from an accredited nursing program recognized by the state board of nursing. Graduates should earn either anassociate degree in nursing (ADN) or abachelor of science in nursing (BSN).

Upon completing their undergraduate program, graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN exam and submit an application for licensure to the state. The application entails a $130 licensing fee.

RNs in North Dakota must renew their license every two years. To qualify for renewal, RNs must complete 12 contact hours within the licensing period and accumulate 400 hours of practice within the last four years. RNs who are pursuing licensure for the first time do not need to complete the contact hours during their first renewal period.

APRN Requirements

To become an APRN in North Dakota, nurses should hold an unencumbered RN license that allows them to practice in the state. They must also earn a master of science in nursing or a doctorate of nursing practice and qualify for specialty certification through a national nursing certifying body.

When applying for their license, the application includes a $100 initial licensure fee and a $20 processing fee for applicants who answer "no" to the criminal history check question.

APRNs are obligated to renew their RN and certification licenses every two years. To be eligible for renewal, they must complete 12 contact hours during the renewal period and 400 hours of practice within the last four years. APRNs with prescriptive authority must also complete 15 hours of pharmacotherapy education every two years.

Other Top Nursing Programs in North Dakota

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in North Dakota


How much do nurses make in North Dakota?

Nurses in North Dakota earn below-average salaries compared to national data. Registered nurses in the state earned an average annual salary of $71,200 as of May 2021. Nurse practitioners made $112,720 on average.

Are nurses in demand in North Dakota?

Yes, North Dakota projects an increased demand for nurses from 2020-2030. For example, registered nurses in North Dakota can expect a 16.5% increase in jobs during that time frame. Nurse practitioners should see a 31.4% job growth.

How long does it take to become an RN in North Dakota?

How long it takes to become an RN in North Dakota depends on your education and professional goals. Full-time students enrolled in ADN programs can graduate within two years. Those attending BSN programs on a full-time basis can finish in four years.

How do I get a nursing license in North Dakota?

After earning an ADN or a BSN in North Dakota, prospective nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN exam before applying to the state for licensure. Applicants pay a licensing fee before obtaining RN licensure. RNs must renew their licenses every two years.

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NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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