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Nurse Practitioner Programs in Minnesota - 2020 Rankings


Approximately two-thirds of Minnesota’s actively licensed advanced practice nurses are nurse practitioners; they practice mostly in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and the southeast portion of the state. Graduates of accredited nurse practitioner schools in Minnesota have full diagnosis, treatment, and prescription authority once they have completed 2,080 hours of service within the provisions of a collaborative agreement with a licensed physician. NPs in The Land of 10,000 Lakes can expect to make nearly $123,000 a year, and the need for their services is projected to grow by more than 34 percent over the coming ten years. Information about the best nurse practitioner programs in Minnesota for 2020 is presented below.

What are the 5 Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Minnesota (Online & Campus) for 2020?


1) University of Minnesota - Minneapolis


Programs Offered: DNP and Post-Graduate Certificate

The University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing was the first university-affiliated nursing program in the nation. “U.S. News & World Report” rates its Doctor of Nursing Practice program as the 21st best of its kind in the nation. The five NP pathways associated with UMN’s Director of Nursing Practice program are among the best nurse practitioner programs in Minnesota. Four nurse practitioner specialties are offered as post-graduate certificate options.

DNP Concentrations: Adult Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health/Gender-Related Nurse Practitioner

UMN’s DNP program has a BSN to DNP track as well as a post-MSN track. All five of the NP specialties are administered in conjunction with the BSN to DNP track.

Full-time students should be able to complete the course of study in three years; part-time students should plan on completing the program in four years. All students are required to complete a scholarly project in which they apply evidence-based practice to a clinical challenge in their chosen specialty field; they will need to devote 160 clinical hours to this project. Though much of the curriculum is delivered online, students must attend a four-day campus orientation at the beginning of their first year. Beginning in their second year, students can plan on visiting campus twice a semester on campus for one or two days.

The Adult Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner specialty involves 76-semester credits and 840 clinical hours while the Family Nurse Practitioner specialty entails 80-semester credits and 900 clinical hours. The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care specialty consists of 79-semester credits and 840 clinical hours. The Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty requires 81-semester credits and 960 clinical hours. In order to complete the Women’s Health/Gender-Related Nurse Practitioner specialty, students must take 77-semester credits and 840 clinical hours.

Post-Graduate Certificate Concentrations: Adult Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health/Gender-Related Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

UNM’s post-graduate certificate program was set up for DNP-prepared advance practice nurses who are interested in extending their clinical competencies in new ways. Academic requirements for the certificate specializations are similar to the requirements in the BSN to DNP track.

2) Winona State University - Winona


Programs Offered: Post BSN to DNP, Post MSN to DNP, and Graduate Certificate

Winona State University got its start as Minnesota’s first teaching college, back in 1858 when the Minnesota prairies were still the western frontier. Though Minnesota does not have a nursing shortage per se, the state does suffer from a serious lack of primary health care providers, particularly in rural areas, and Winona’s advanced practice programs are designed to help remedy that lack. If you want to become a nurse practitioner in MN, Winona State University allows you choose among three specialties that are associated with the post-Baccalaureate to DNP track, the post-Master’s to DNP track, or the graduate certificate track.

Post-Baccalaureate to DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Students have the option of taking the DNP curriculum through a hybrid course of study that can either be taken online or as a face-to-face course of study on campus. Winona State University is one of the NP schools in Minnesota that requires students to complete a DNP project.

The AGACNP and PMHNP specialties consist of 74-semester credits and 1,260 clinical hours. The FNP specialty requires 73 semester hours and 1,080 clinical hours. You will need to have one year of critical care experience in order to be admitted into the AGACNP specialty.

Post-Master’s to DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Nurses also have the option to join Winona’s Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program after they’ve completed a Master’s Degree in Nursing Science. Requirement for the advanced practice training associated with this track are similar to the requirements for the post-Baccalaureate to DNP track.

Graduate Certificate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), Psychiatric-mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

In order to be accepted into Winona’s NP certificate program, applicants must hold a graduate nursing degree from a nationally accredited university. All three NP certificate specialties call for the completion of 600 clinical hours. The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty entails 18-semester credits; the Psychiatric-mental Health Nurse Practitioner, 24-semester credits; and the Family Nurse Practitioner specialty, 20 credits.

3) Walden University - Minneapolis


Programs Offered: MSN

Walden University is a for-profit educational enterprise that offers online nurse practitioner programs in Minnesota in addition to many other academic degrees that are taught over the internet. Walden is a nationally recognized leader in distance learning. The university’s four nurse practitioner options are offered in conjunction with its Master’s of Nursing Science degree program.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Walden’s MSN program has three tracks: a BSN to MSN track, an RN to MSN track, and an RN to accelerated BSN to MSN track. The latter two options are for nurses who are interested in advanced practice but who have a hospital diploma, an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing.

All three of Walden’s NP programs require the completion of 58 quarter credits and 640 clinical hours. Clinical rotations will be scheduled in the localities where students live and work, and students should identify potential clinical rotation sites before they apply to Walden.

4) Saint Catherine University - Saint Paul


Programs Offered: MSN/DNP

Saint Catherine University is one of the Minnesota nurse practitioner schools that are affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Although St. Catherine is an all-female at the undergraduate level, its graduate programs are open to both men and women. While the university admits members of all faiths, its teaching philosophy reflects a commitment to social justice that is deeply rooted in Catholic values. The two NP specialties associated with its MSN/DNP program emphasize the provision of care to underserved and medically vulnerable populations.

MSN/DNP Concentrations: Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) and Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)

Full-time students can usually complete the DNP degree in three years. Part-time students must complete the required coursework and practicums within seven years. At the 18-month, midway point, students will have completed the classwork and clinical hours necessary to earn a Master’s of Nursing Science degree and are eligible to sit for the national certification examination in their chosen NP specialty. The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and the Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner specialty curricula each consist of 74-semester credits.

5) The College of Saint Scholastica - Duluth


Programs Offered: BSN to DNP and Post-Graduate APRN Certificate

The College Of Saint Scholastica is another one of the nurse practitioner programs in Minnesota that’s affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. The college’s School of Nursing has received several grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) aimed at expanding the number of primary health care providers throughout rural Minnesota. Saint Scholastica offers three NP specialties as part of its BSN to DNP program. Those same three specialties are also available through the college’s post-graduate certificate program.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The BSN to DNP program combines online coursework with campus-based, face-to-face intensives. Clinical rotations are arranged at sites close to where students live and work. The program can generally be completed in four years. The Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner specialty consists of 81-semester credits and the Family Nurse Practitioner specialty entails 79-semester credits; these two nurse practitioner specialties both involve 1,175 clinical hours, including 675 hours of direct patient care. The Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty can be completed with 83 credits and 1,130 clinical hours, including 630 hours of direct patient care.

Post-Graduate APRN Certificate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

MSN- and DNP-prepared nurses who’ve already been certified as advance practice RNs can take on a new set of clinical competencies through Saint Scholastica’s certificate program. Classes are taught mostly online, but some campus visits may be required. The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and the Family Nurse Practitioner specialties can both be completed in four semesters while the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty will require six semesters. The AGACNP specialty consists of 21-semester credits and 450 clinical hours. The FNP specialty requires 25-semester credits and 675 clinical hours while the PMHNP specialty calls for 29-semester credits and 630 clinical hours.

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