2 Year Nursing Programs in Minnesota – Associate’s Degree in Nursing

Lindsay Smith
Last updated at February 28, 2023

Registered Nurses in Minnesota must hold a minimum of an associate degree from an educational institution approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing and pass the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. However, Minnesota is encouraging the move towards Registered Nurses obtaining a higher degree and many ADN nursing programs in the state are structured to allow a seamless transition from an associate degree to a bachelor’s degree.

With approximately 28 ADN programs across Minnesota, there are plenty of options for students to explore. Community and technical colleges host the majority of associate degree programs in the state. Students can expect to spend between two and three years studying for their ADN in Minnesota although some of the longer programs conveniently incorporate completion of pre-requisite courses within their program schedule.

Minnesota is not a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact. Residents of a non-compact state are not eligible for a multistate license. This may restrict career mobility for RNs registered in the state in the future.

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Featured Programs

Century College

Located in St Paul, Century College has a strong record in preparing candidates for the NCLEX-RN examination with recent pass rates consistently above the state and US average. In fact, Century College has been named the #1 ranked associate degree nursing program in Minnesota by registerednursing.org on the strength of its NCLEX-RN first-time success rates over four years. Century College is also fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.

The nursing program at Century College is a five-semester course of studies that is offered through a mix of face to face and blended online classes and clinical experiences. The first two semesters are devoted to pre-requisite/preparatory courses required for admission to the nursing program. Successful completion of all five semesters leads to an award of Associate of Science (AS) in Nursing.

3300 Century Avenue North

St Paul, MN 55110


Website: https://www.century.edu/programs/nursing

Hibbing Community College

The 64 credit nursing program at Hibbing leads to an award of Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN). Completion of the program within four semesters requires completion of courses over the summer periods. Hibbing is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing. The nursing program sets out to prepare students who are eligible to sit the NCLEX-RN licensure examination and are ready to take up entry-level nursing positions while fostering a commitment to lifelong learning and professional growth. Previous first-time pass rates for Hibbing graduates on the NCLEX-RN examination comfortably exceed the state and US average.

The curriculum includes nursing theory and clinical practicum experiences. Knowledge from the humanities and the behavioral, physical, and social sciences are incorporated throughout the nursing curriculum and the required non-nursing support courses to develop the student’s holistic understanding of their field.

1515 E 25th Street

Hibbing, MN 55746


Website: http://hibbing.edu/academics/areas-of-study/medical-/-dental/nursing-as-degree-(traditional-program-plan)

Lake Superior College

Nursing programs at Lake Superior College in Duluth start with the basics. Students initially study theory and do clinical coursework in a lab setting on campus. They then follow this with work in a clinical environment such as local hospitals, healthcare agencies, and long-term care facilities. Alongside nursing concepts and practical skills, the program aims to develop a student’s critical thinking skills and confidence in their own judgment.

The nursing program at Lake Superior College is a 64 credit course leading to an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree. Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take the NLCEX-RN licensure examination. Entrance to the program is competitive and is based upon completion of pre-requisites, previous GPA, and performance on the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS). The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.

2101 Trinity Road

Duluth, MN 55811


Website: https://degrees.lsc.edu/rn/

Ridgewater College

ADN students at Ridgewater College are entered into a dual-enrollment program with Metropolitan State University and are encouraged to continue coursework to complete their BSN after the completion of associate degree requirements. The program is arranged around four years of full-time study, with the first two semesters allocated to pre-requisite courses. After successful completion of five semesters, students are awarded an Associate of Science in Nursing degree (ASN), and eligible to take the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. Three further semesters of study are required to complete the BSN qualification.

Ridgewater College is proud of its small faculty to student ratio and offers to learn experiences in classrooms, labs, and clinical. The entire program, including the additional semesters to complete a BSN, can be undertaken at either the Willmar or Hutchinson campuses. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.

2101 15th Avenue NW

Willmar, MN 56201


Website: https://www.ridgewater.edu/academics/areas-of-study/health-care/nursing-associates-degree-and-bachelor-of-science/

Rochester Community and Technical College

The 64 credit associate degree nursing program at Rochester Community and Technical College provides students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to practice as a Registered Nurse. The program seeks to integrate concepts of professionalism, critical thinking, caring, collaboration, and nursing interventions into each nursing course. Core nursing courses cover nursing fundamentals, adult nursing, maternal and newborn nursing, mental health, pediatrics, and leadership and management in nursing. Coursework includes 30 credits of general education and 34 nursing credit requirements. Students learn in the classroom, laboratories, and clinical settings.

Successful completion of the program leads to an award of Associate in Science in Nursing (ASN) and eligibility to take the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. Potential students considering studying at Rochester Community and Technical College can be confident in their choice as the program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.

851 30th Avenue SE

Rochester, MN 55904


Website: http://www.rctc.edu/program/nurs/

Benefits of Associate Degree Programs

For nursing students who are motivated to get into the workforce quickly, an associate degree is a smart choice. These types of degrees can often be completed more quickly than a bachelor’s degree and graduates of both types of degree will sit exactly the same examination for state licensure at the completion of their studies.

ADN programs are commonly delivered by community and technical colleges who are often closely connected to local healthcare networks and recruit nurse educators with extensive practical knowledge. This means associate degree students at these sorts of educational institutions are likely to benefit from hands-on clinical placements and laboratory practicums mentored by experienced professionals eager to share their learnings with students.

Accreditation and Licensing in Minnesota

Educational institutions use accrediting organizations to demonstrate that their programs meet and achieve educational standards. The two accrediting organizations for ADN programs are the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

The Minnesota Board of Nursing is responsible for approving nursing education programs within the state. To meet the education requirements for an RN license in Minnesota, you must graduate from a nursing education program that meets the requirements set by the Board

In addition to educational institutions requiring licensure, RNs must obtain an individual license in order to practice in the state. ADN graduates obtain a license by passing the NCLEX-RN examination at the end of their program of study.

Overview of Associate Degree Programs in Minnesota

There are almost 30 ADN programs running across the state, and entry to many of these programs is competitive. A number of the available programs are dual-entry, enrolling candidates for both an associate degree alongside a bachelor’s degree. Applicants are frequently asked to complete pre-requisite courses, admissions tests and achieve minimum GPAs. And if they need to order an essay, they know for sure that essayswriting.org is the best service where professional writers work.

There are a number of different ways of referring to associate degrees in nursing. These include ADN, for Associate Degree, Nursing; AN, for Associate of Nursing; ASN, for Associate of Science in Nursing; and AAS, for Associate of Applied Science in Nursing. As long as the institution granting the degree is fully accredited by either ACEN or CCNE and approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing, graduates of all of these types of associate degrees are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN examination to obtain a license to practice as a Registered Nurse in the state.

Choosing an Associate Degree Program in Minnesota

The most important factor in choosing an institution is that it is fully accredited by either ACEN or CCNE, and approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing. After this has been checked, some of the other factors worth considering include:

  • The admissions process and pre-requisites
  • Curriculum, educational philosophy and quality of the teaching;
  • Length and format of program;
  • Clinical hours and where these take place;
  • Program outcomes such as the pass rates for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam compared to the state and nationally, student course completion rates, student satisfaction rates, and graduate hiring data;
  • Tuition and additional costs.