5 Best ADN Programs in North Dakota – (2-Year RN Programs)

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

Want to become a registered nurse without incurring a load of student debt? Look into enrolling in one of the ADN programs in North Dakota. Most associate degrees in nursing in the Peace Garden State only take 24 months or less to complete, making them a lot less expensive than a four-year bachelor’s program. With an ADN, you’ll be able to earn $75,000 a year in North Dakota, plus your services will be in such hot demand that your employment opportunities will increase by 14 percent within the next 10 years. This guide to the 5 best ADN programs in North Dakota will give you a lot more information.


Based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the 5 best nursing schools for ADN programs in North Dakota. You can complete most of these programs in 2 years.

1. Bismarck State College - Bismarck

Program Details: Bismarck State College’s 2-year RN program in North Dakota is a 60-credit Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) track. Some courses utilize an online format. The program is offered at the college’s main campus in Bismarck as well as via Interactive Video Network hookups at satellite sites in Hazen, Harvey, Garrison, Ashley, and Hettinger.

Lecture courses like “Professional Role Development,” “Maternal Child Nursing,” and “Health Promotion and Psychosocial Nursing” will sharpen your ability to think critically, while two preceptorships, “Clinical Application I & II,” use nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities throughout Bismarck and surrounding communities to teach you how to deliver patient care.

Why Choose This Program

• At the end of your first year, you’ll have the option of taking the NCLEX-PN exam and becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or continuing on to become a registered nurse.
• Bismarck State College offers an RN Bridge program for paramedics and LPNs who wish to become registered nurses.
• Bismarck State College is affiliated with the North Dakota University System, which means graduates of its ADN program in North Dakota can transfer their credits easily and attain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with a minimum of fuss.

2. Lake Region State College - Devils Lake

Program Details: Lake Region State College’s ADN program in North Dakota includes 31 credits of core nursing classes in addition to general education and prerequisite coursework. You can pursue this degree at the college’s campuses in Devil’s Lake, Grand Forks, and Mayville.

You’ll learn basic hands-on nursing skills alongside community healthcare workers and first responders at Lake Region State College’s simulation lab. You’ll enroll in courses like “Professional Development,” “Alterations in Health I & II,” and “Role Transition.” Your study plan will also include two clinical preceptorships during which you’ll participate in supervised patient care at healthcare facilities throughout Devil’s Lake and other communities in Ramsey, Shoshone, and Traill Counties.

Why Choose This Program

• You can also enroll in a Mobility option that will enable you to complete your nursing theory courses online, although you will have to make some campus visits to participate in in-person labs. All clinical rotations must be performed in person.
• Once you’re enrolled at the college, you can take “early start courses” (prerequisites) such as “Introduction to Pharmacology” and “Anatomy and Physiology I & II” while waiting for your nursing courses to start.
• At the end of your first year of classes, you’ll have the option of taking the NCLEX-PN and becoming an LPN or continuing on with the second year of ADN coursework.

3. Williston State College - Williston

Program Details: Williston State College’s ADN program is the only one of the ADN programs in North Dakota that’s offered online. However, you’ll have to participate in person in clinical rotations, which will be scheduled at CHI St. Alexius Health-Williston, various local clinics, Northwest Human Services Center, Upper Missouri District Health Unit, and other specified locations in Williston and other communities throughout southern North Dakota.

Your ADN coursework will consist of classes like “Practical Nursing I, II, & III” and “Introduction to Maternal-Child Nursing.” The college received funding from the North Dakota state legislature to build a state-of-the-art simulation center where they can practice their hands-on skills before they begin delivering patient care. Applicants to this program must be CPR-certified before they will be considered for admission.

Why Choose This Program

• Williston State College is part of the North Dakota University System. That makes it one of the best ADN programs in North Dakota if you want to earn your BSN because you can seamlessly transfer credits to the University of North Dakota in Fargo or Minot State University.
• Completing this ADN program’s first year meets the requirements for a practical nursing certificate in Idaho.
• Williston State College offers advanced placement to LPNs admitted into its ADN program.

4. Dakota College at Bottineau - Bottineau

Program Details: Dakota College at Bottineau offers its ADN program at campuses in Bottineau, Minot, and Valley City. Its curriculum was developed through the joint efforts of a consortium of Idaho colleges, including Dakota College, Bismarck State College, Lake Region State College, and Williston State College.

You’ll take courses like “Professional Role Development,” “Alterations in Health I & II,” and “Role Transitions.” Dakota College instructors will teach some course content, but some content will be taught by instructors at other consortium colleges and delivered online using an Interactive Video Network system. All skills training and clinical rotations will be offered locally. You’ll have the opportunity to perfect your clinical competencies through simulation labs and participate in two supervised clinical rotations at healthcare facilities throughout Bottineau and nearby communities.

Why Choose This Program

• You’ll have the option of pursuing LPN certification after you complete the first 11 months of this program.
• Dakota College at Bottineau is part of the North Dakota University System, so graduates of this 2-year nursing program in North Dakota can transfer credits comparatively effortlessly to NDU’s online RN-to-BSN program.
• This college sponsors a bridge option that gives advanced placement to LPNs and paramedics admitted into its ADN program.

5. North Dakota State College of Science - Wahpeton

Program Details: North Dakota State College of Science’s two-year ADN program in North Dakota is available as a classroom option at the college’s campuses in Wahpeton and Fargo, but some coursework will be delivered online. The actual degree you’ll earn after you graduate from this program is AAS (Associate in Applied Science.) General education classes and core nursing coursework are both included in the program’s curriculum.

You’ll take classes like “Essentials for Registered Nursing,” “Complex Nursing Care Concepts I & II,” and “Preventative Community Health.” Many of your demographically focused nursing courses will be paired with clinical classes where you’ll learn pertinent hands-on skills at the college’s state-of-the-art nursing simulation laboratory and provide supervised patient care at healthcare facilities throughout Wahpeton and Fargo.

Why Choose This Program

• Graduates of North Dakota State College of Science consistently score NCLEX-RN pass rates of higher than 90 percent.
• North Dakota State College of Science offers an Associate in Science in Nursing (ASN) degree for LPNs who want to become registered nurses.
• North Dakota State College of Science offers an online RN-to-BSN degree for ADN graduates who wish to continue their nursing education.


Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.

ADN Programs in Other States