The state of North Dakota routinely ranks high in its number of nurses per capita, but across the state’s many rural counties there are still significant nursing shortages, mainly created by an aging population. In order to meet the shortage, the nursing workforce would need to increase by 200 percent every year up to 2026.

North Dakota’s organic growth of nurses is not high enough to meet such a high demand for new nurses. To help meet workforce needs, state legislators have launched the Non-Resident Nursing Employment Recruitment program in 2019 that pays healthcare facilities a matching grant to attract nurses from other states. These non-resident nurses should have a license to practice in North Dakota and be willing to relocate and work in the state for at least four years.

Whether you are a resident or non-resident of North Dakota, the state offers plenty of opportunities for employment and career growth for those interested in nursing. Nurses in North Dakota can find employment in hospitals, long-term care facilities and private practice offices, to name a few. Keep reading to learn more about top nursing schools in North Dakota, state licensing requirements and professional nursing organizations that can help lift the careers of aspiring North Dakota nurses.

Best Nursing Schools in North Dakota

North Dakota Badge ImageChoosing the right school is an important decision for prospective nursing students. Since North Dakota has 18 nursing schools, we dug deep into statistics compiled by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to create two sets of rankings for the top North Dakota nursing programs. Students can find rankings for both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs in North Dakota.

Aspiring nurses can use the data compiled here to make more informed choices about the best nursing colleges for their needs. Learn more about how these rankings were created by checking our methodology at the bottom of this page.

Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$4,188
Undergraduate graduation rate
51%
Undergraduate retention rate
67%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
90%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$5,255
Undergraduate graduation rate
35%
Undergraduate retention rate
56%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
95%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
0
Undergraduate tuition
$1,776
Undergraduate graduation rate
25%
Undergraduate retention rate
92%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
94%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,459
Undergraduate graduation rate
50%
Undergraduate retention rate
58%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
93%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$16,470
Undergraduate graduation rate
54%
Undergraduate retention rate
75%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
100%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$5,400
Undergraduate graduation rate
37%
Undergraduate retention rate
69%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
89%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$5,344
Undergraduate graduation rate
32%
Undergraduate retention rate
64%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
93%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,535
Undergraduate graduation rate
39%
Undergraduate retention rate
59%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
97%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$6,946
Undergraduate graduation rate
54%
Undergraduate retention rate
81%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
91%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$7,201
Undergraduate graduation rate
58%
Undergraduate retention rate
79%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
91%
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$5,793
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$7,688
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
2
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Graduate Tuition
$14,500
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
3

Nursing Accreditation in North Dakota

Students researching prospective nursing programs in North Dakota should pay attention to accreditation — it’s one of the most important aspects of any reputable program. Accreditation by a nationally recognized accrediting body is intended to reflect how well a college’s nursing program meets American academic standards. Every public and private institution in the rankings we’ve displayed has earned national accreditation, and their nursing programs have been accredited by official organizations such as:

  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA)

Students can check on the official accreditation status of a school’s nursing program with the North Dakota State Board of Nursing.

North Dakota Nursing Licensure

All nurses seeking employment in North Dakota must be licensed. Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses must complete a board-approved nursing program or an out-of-state program that’s approved by another state board of nursing, as well as pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) through test administrator PearsonVue.

The North Dakota Board of Nursing oversees nurse licensing across the state. Nurses seeking to renew their licenses must have a minimum of 400 practice hours in the preceding four years. However, nurses who complete a refresher course during the preceding 12 months and recent graduates can renew their licenses without meeting the minimum practice requirement.

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) who wish to prescribe medications must have completed 30 hours of continuing pharmacology education in the past three years prior to obtaining initial licensure.

For up-to-date information on nurse licensure requirements in North Dakota, check with the state’s Board of Nursing.

North Dakota Nursing organizations

There are several organizations in North Dakota dedicated to advancing professional and ethical standards for the nursing profession. These groups can provide support to North Dakota nurses through career and personal development opportunities, networking events and annual meetings, and many other resources. Below are three of the primary professional nursing organizations in North Dakota:

  • North Dakota Nurses Association (NDNA). 

    This group represents RNs in North Dakota by promoting standards of care, professional development, workplace safety and advocating for policy and healthcare issues that affect the state’s registered nurses. NDNA also publishes the quarterly North Dakota Nurse newsletter.

  • North Dakota Nurse Practitioners Association (NDNPA). 

    This group functions as the voice for nurse practitioners in North Dakota through advocacy in legislative and public policy matters. It also hosts an annual convention and other networking opportunities for NPs throughout the year. The NDNPA offers two annual scholarships of $1,000 each for North Dakota residents pursuing graduate degrees with a focus on nurse practitioner.

  • Nursing Students Association of North Dakota (NSAND). 

    The premier pre-professional organization for North Dakota nursing students. NSAND can help students polish their resumes with leadership, volunteering and networking opportunities, as well as help with eligibility requirements for scholarships. The organization also holds an annual state convention that draws together students and nursing leaders throughout the state.

North Dakota-Specific Continuing Education

Nurses never stop learning, both from on-the-job experiences and through continuing education. The North Dakota Board of Nursing stipulates that nurses must have 12 or more contact hours of continuing education within the preceding two years in order to renew their licenses. APRNs, meanwhile, must complete 15 contact hours of continuing education in pharmacology to renew their prescriptive authority.

The state Board of Nursing has detailed information on contact hours and other continuing education requirements on its web site.

Hospitals in North Dakota

The majority of graduates of nursing programs in North Dakota work in hospitals — about 60 percent of all RNs are employed by hospitals, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Below we’ve spotlighted three of the main hospitals in the state that may hold ample employment opportunities for new nurses, as well as opportunities for career growth for nurses who earn advanced practice graduate degrees.

  • Sanford Medical Center Fargo (Fargo) : This hospital serves as the regional healthcare hub for residents in and around Fargo. The 1 million-square-foot facility opened in 2017 with 284 beds and 27 technically-advanced operating rooms. Specialties include general surgery, infectious disease, critical care and neurosurgery, among others. Sanford has the region’s only Level I adult trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center.
  • Trinity Hospital (Minot) : Trinity Hospital is the primary care facility for the Trinity Health organization. It offers a Level II trauma center with several surgical specialties. The hospital’s critical care helicopter, NorthStar Criticair, transports patients within a 150-mile radius of Minot.
  • Altru Hospital (Grand Forks) : Altru Health operates its main hospital facility at Grand Forks as well as a specialty center and 12 regional clinics. As of 2019, the system employs more than 230 physicians. The system was founded in 1892 when St. Luke’s Hospital opened in downtown Grand Forks. Altru Health expects to open a new $250 million hospital in Grand Forks in 2022.
Sources & Methodology

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we gathered data for 6,758 United States institutions. We then filtered that list of schools by state and analyzed the data for each state with two different methodologies, in order to create two different lists: our undergraduate list, based on 11 ranking criteria, and our graduate list, based on 9 ranking criteria.

Final data for the 2016-17 school year was used for these rankings. Schools that did not provide data for all of the required ranking criteria were disqualified from that ranking.

The 11 criteria for the undergraduate school ranking were as follows:

  1. Number of associate- and bachelor’s-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of associate- and bachelor’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of associate- and bachelor’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Average amount of federal grant aid awarded to full-time first-time undergraduates
  8. Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
  9. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  10. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  11. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

The graduate school ranking scored schools based on 9 criteria, different from the undergraduate list. These 9 criteria were as follows:

  1. Number of master’s- and doctoral-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of master’s- and doctoral-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of master’s- and doctoral-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  8. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  9. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools’ tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

 

Sources

  • About, Sanford Medical Center Fargo, https://www.sanfordhealth.org/locations/sanford-medical-center-fargo, accessed November 2019
  • About, Trinity Hospital Minot, https://www.trinityhealth.org/locations/trinity-hospital/, accessed November 2019
  • About Us, North Dakota Nurse Practitioner Association, https://www.ndnpa.org/about, accessed November 2019
  • American Hospital Directory, https://www.ahd.com/, accessed November 2019
  • FAQ, Nursing Students’ Association of North Dakota, http://www.nsand.net/faqs-frequently-asked-questions.html, accessed November 2019
  • Non-Resident Nursing Employment Recruitment Program, North Dakota Department of Commerce, https://www.workforce.nd.gov/workforce/NonResidentNursingEmploymentRecruitmentProgram/, accessed November 2019
  • North Dakota Nurses Association, https://ndna.nursingnetwork.com/, accessed November 2019
  • Quick Facts, Altru Health System, https://www.altru.org/app/files/public/7519/Quick-Facts.pdf, accessed November 2019

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