Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in North Dakota [2022 Guide]

Updated November 4, 2022

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The need for nurses in the rural state of North Dakota is high, and the expected shortage of 260,000 nurses across the country by 2025 suggests that the state will continue to be in need of qualified RNs and APRNs in the coming decade. Additionally, because North Dakota has one of the lowest salaries for the profession − likely due to the state's low cost of living − the pool of nursing candidates isn't large, which means there should be plenty of opportunities for aspiring and current nurses in the state. Get more information on nursing schools in North Dakota and learn how to obtain a state license to start practicing.

Top Nursing Schools in North Dakota

Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College New Town, ND
Bismarck State College Bismarck, ND
University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
Dickinson State University Dickinson, ND
Minot State University Minot, ND
North Dakota State University Fargo, ND
University of Mary Bismarck, ND 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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Top Nursing Schools in North Dakota


Methodology +


The top nursing programs listed in this state's ranking were determined by comparison of three primary, equally-weighted criteria including

  • Student-to-faculty ration
  • In-state tuition
  • Graduation rate

Additional details for each school were included:

  • Count of programs available
  • Public and not-for-profit schools
  • Normalized on a 100 percent curve

The methodology used for tie-break is as follows...

  • Ties are broken based on lowest average net price for full-time, first-time undergraduates paying in-state tuition (average cost of tuition and expenses after grants and scholarships).
  • If necessary, the lowest in-state tuition rate is used as a second tie-break

4-Year Schools

Find the Right Nursing School in North Dakota

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nursing schools in North Dakota served almost 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students in Fall 2014, which lead to 647 graduates across all degree levels. A closer look reveals that nursing schools in North Dakota enrolled 261 advanced practice students. To find a school that matches your unique career goals and education needs, use the search tool below:

Nurse Licensure in North Dakota

The North Dakota Board of Nursing regulates the field by setting the expectations and standards for nursing education programs as well as ensuring active nurses remain compliant with the laws and rules. It also provides resources for continuing education units to help nurses renew their licenses and keep their skills relevant.

Like RNs in other states, those in North Dakota must satisfy specific guidelines to earn a license and practice in the state. A list of first-time application procedures is provided below, along with renewal information.

Initial License by Exam in North Dakota

  • Graduate from a Board-approved in-state nursing education program or an out-of-state program that is approved by another board of nursing. The program must include clinical experience across the life span and be equivalent in the amount and time mandated in North Dakota in-state programs.
  • North Dakota is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact. If you reside in another Compact state, you are not eligible for an ND license and must obtain a multi-state license in your home state. If your home state is not another Compact state, you may apply for a single-state license in North Dakota.
  • Once you complete the nursing school program, request that official transcripts be sent directly to the Board of Nursing
  • Register to take the NCLEX through PearsonVue and pay the $200 required fee
  • Complete the online nursing license application
  • After receiving an Authorization to Test from PearsonVue, schedule a test date
  • If you graduated within 60 days of applying for licensure, you'll receive a Work Authorization after passing the test and once the results have been submitted to the Board. This notice will only be posted online; no paper authorizations will be sent.

License Renewal Process

The North Dakota Board of Nursing expects active registered nurses to stay up-to-date on best practices and new technologies. As a result, all nurses must renew their licenses on a regular basis, which involves fulfilling both continuing education and practice hours. This includes at least 12 contact hours of continuing education in the two years before the license expires and at least 400 hours of nursing practice within the last four years.

Active ND licenses have an expiration date of December 31 of the current year and the state enforces a $120 renewal fee for RNs (fees vary for advanced practice RNs, depending on authorization and circumstance).

Licensing Process for Advanced Practice Nurses

Advanced practice nurses pursue additional education in order to work as nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. North Dakota mandates APRNs meet all the licensure requirements for registered nursing, as well as meet a few additional requirements such as:

  • Hold a current RN license in North Dakota or another Compact State
  • Complete an advanced practice education program that's accredited by a national accrediting body and provide proof of completion
  • Submit proof of certification by a national nursing certifying body in a specialty that is directly relevant to the completed education program. Verification must be sent directly from the certification organization.
  • Complete an Initial Advanced Practice License application, indicating whether prescriptive authority is needed
  • Verify that the Scope of Practice fits the requirements for the application
  • Complete a criminal history check if one has not been completed within the last 90 days

For more information about licensure for advanced practice nurses in North Dakota, visit the North Dakota Board of Nursing.

RN and APRN Stats in ND

Being a rural state, finding qualified nurses in some areas of North Dakota is a challenge. In fact, in 2013, there were less than 20 certified nurse midwives and even fewer nurse practitioners, according to the Board of Nursing's 2012-2013 Annual Report. And while wages are not quite on par with the national average, there are some highly lucrative areas. Taking into account the low cost of living in across the state, North Dakota nursing salaries are comparable to other areas in the US. Take a closer look at the state's salary and employment outlook for registered nurses and advanced practice nurses.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in North Dakota

AreaHourly Median WageAnnual Median Wage
Fargo ND-MN$28.61$59,510
Grand Forks ND-MN$27.37$56,930
Far Western North Dakota nonmetropolitan area$27.00$56,160
Far Eastern North Dakota nonmetropolitan area$26.97$56,090
East Central North Dakota nonmetropolitan area$26.81$55,770
West Central North Dakota nonmetropolitan area$25.97$54,020

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

State vs. National Numbers

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North Dakota Nursing Resources

North Dakota Board of Nursing

The North Dakota Board of Nursing regulates the standards for nursing education, licensure and practice.

North Dakota Center for Nursing

The North Dakota Center for Nursing began in 2011 as a community for nurses to become more involved in their profession and as a bank of resources that can help nurses further their careers and the practice of nursing.

North Dakota Legendary

Developed by the North Dakota Center for Nursing, this website provides resources for students, nurses and nurse faculty members. In addition to other nursing organizations, it also provides information about career tracts and job openings across the state.

North Dakota Nurses Association

The North Dakota Nurses Association is a professional association affiliated with the American Nurses Association that represents all registered nurses in the state.

North Dakota Nurse Practitioner Association

The North Dakota Nurse Practitioner Association promotes quality health care in the state through advocacy and continuing education for nurse practitioners.

Popular Resources

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