10 Best RN to BSN Programs in Minnesota (Online & Campus) – 2024 Rankings

Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

If you are a registered nurse in Minnesota who has considered going back to school for your baccalaureate education, you are certainly not alone. Employers continue to turn to BSN-educated RNs to enhance patient outcomes and provide better overall care. Now more than ever, nurses are attending RN to BSN programs in Minnesota to enhance their knowledge, skills, and salaries. This includes advancing to new positions in supervisory roles, research and education for instance. We have evaluated 16 of these online, on-campus, and hybrid programs scattered across the state and provided you with a list of the top 10.

Online RN to BSN Programs in Minnesota: What You Need to Know?

Online RN to BSN programs in MN give you credit for your previous ADN or diploma education and your work experience, allowing you to earn your bachelor’s degree more quickly and affordably. Thanks to their online nature, you can take courses around your busy schedule, which is excellent if you work full time. Some programs are 100% online, but others may require you to visit a campus for testing or a medical facility to complete your clinical experiences.

ACEN/CCNE Accredited & Approved by Minnesota Board of Nursing: When choosing where to get your RN to BSN degree, it’s important to choose a school that is not only approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing, but also accredited by one of two organizations that set high standards for nursing education: the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Employers prefer to hire nurses who have graduated from programs accredited by these organizations.

Coursework: Courses included in RN to BSN programs build upon your existing knowledge and experience. They focus heavily on community health, nursing leadership and management, and research as it applies to the nursing profession.

Sample Courses
Ethical Theory and Applied Nursing Ethics, The Professional Nurse, Public Health Nursing, Public Health Nursing Clinical, Nursing Informatics, Cultural Diversity in Healthcare, Introduction to Research and Evidence-Based Practice, Application of Research to Practice, Leadership in Nursing, Management in Nursing, and Clinical Care Change Project

Clinical Training: Clinical training is an important part of RN to BSN education. It allows you to put the information you learn in a classroom setting to the test with hands-on patient care. Some schools in MN will require you to participate in unpaid clinicals at a partner medical facility, but others may allow you to earn these credits through your current employer or online projects.

Program Length: The length of the RN to BSN degree varies from one Minnesota school to the next based on the number of credits you transfer and whether you enroll as a full-time or part-time student. In some cases, you can finish the entire program in as little as a year, but in others, you may have an indefinite amount of time to complete all the required credits.

Common Admission Requirements: Admission requirements will also vary depending on the school. The more competitive the program, the stricter these requirements become. Every school will require you to have your ADN or diploma in nursing. Otherwise, you can take a look at the requirements for Winona State University, which is highly competitive and has only limited seating, as an example. Here, you must have:

• An ADN degree;
• An active RN license valid in the state of Minnesota (though you can enroll in electives or the required statistics course before you receive your licensure, if needed); and
• A cumulative GPA of 2.75 based on the most recent five years of college courses or the last 50 semester hours.

What are the 10 Best Accredited RN to BSN Programs in Minnesota for 2024?

(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 10 best RN-to-BSN programs in Minnesota (Online & Campus).)

1) Winona State University, Winona

Type: Online & Hybrid

Program Overview: For more than 40 years, Winona State University has been training nursing students through its high-quality academic programs. The college offers a bridge program for RNs seeking to pursue a BSN. This program on an average takes two years to complete. You can either pursue the online or the hybrid option. Clinical practice experiences require real world visits to community partners, public health departments and schools. If you are opting for the hybrid format, you need to know that the classes are held at multiple locations; Rochester, La Crescent and Red Wing, so you can choose the most convenient campus. The college allows transfer of up to 80 credits from your previous degree towards the BSN. To graduate, completion of 30 credits in nursing core course is required.

Key Highlights

• Prior to starting the BSN coursework, you must complete a course in Statistics.
• As part of the curriculum, a practicum, where you will apply concepts of population health assessments must be completed in a healthcare setting within your own community.

2) The College of Saint Scholastica, Duluth

Type: Online

Program Overview: If serving the community as a professional nurse is your calling, then you must look no further than the College of Saint Scholastica that offers high quality nursing programs consistent with Benedictine values. This completely online program works perfectly for busy working nurses who plan to juggle work along with study. The program trains you with a rigorous curriculum at your own convenient pace and puts you on a fast track for career advancement. You can plan an individualized study plan with a student advisor and get the most suitable path to earn a BSN. Out of the total 128 credits required to graduate, you must complete 42 credits hours in the core nursing courses.

Key Highlights

• To enhance your professional skills, the college offers a hands-on learning experience in Belize and Alaska where you will understand culture relevant nursing.
• A course in statistics which is a usual pre-requisite with most colleges is not a requirement with this program, as the college mainly focuses on the knowledge and skills particularly pertaining to patient care.

3) Saint Catherine University, Saint Paul

Type: Online, Hybrid

Program Overview: Saint Catherine University integrates components of liberal arts and sciences in its nursing programs, thereby offering a well-rounded educational experience. If you are a registered nurse looking at broadening professional skills and knowledge, pursuing an RN to BSN course in Minnesota can add considerable value to your profile. This program is offered by the college in an online and hybrid format. While the online program will have all classes offered via the internet, the hybrid requires you to visit the Saint Paul campus either in the evenings or weekends. Upon completion of the curriculum you will successfully be able to master career enhancing skills such as nursing care of populations and families, biomedical ethics, nursing leadership, nursing research and evidence-based practice.

Key Highlights

• If you are an employee at any of Saint Catherine’s scholarship partners, you are eligible for a 10% reduction in tuition costs.
• With a generous transfer policy, you can put your past nursing degree and experience to good use and transfer up to 90 credits towards the BSN. This leaves you with completing 22 nursing courses in just 10 to 12 months, while working full-time.

4) Minnesota State University Mankato, Mankato

Type: Online

Program Overview: Minnesota State University offers nursing education that mainly focuses on family and community health care. This 100% RN to BSN program is offered in a flexible and convenient format to suit the busy schedules of working nurses. The curriculum trains you to work as a professional nurse in a variety of health settings, including hospitals, clinics, trauma centers and public health centers. Depending on the number of credits you transfer, you can expect to complete this program in around a year of full-time study. Part-timers will take longer and complete the program in four to five semesters. The seven core courses will be offered in 8, 16- and 10-week formats in fall, spring and summer respectively.

Key Highlights

• 25 other adult learners will be pursuing this program along with you. This fosters a healthy online discussion with peers and faculty once a week, but does not bind you to a cohort format, so you enjoy the flexibility of logging in at your convenient time.
• You are required to complete 90 clock hours of healthcare practice within a community setting. For this clinical activity you do not need a preceptor and can also do it within your own community.

5) Bethel University of Minnesota, St. Paul

Type: Online & Campus

Program Overview: Bethel University of Minnesota offers holistic nursing education that is rooted in Christian values of treating the body, mind and spirit. For registered nurses, pursuing RN to BSN education in Minnesota can open up a wide array of opportunities in the healthcare field. This program is offered online and on-campus. For those who are working full-time, the online program suits better as you can take all the classes fully online. One-on-one classes are offered at the college’s St. Paul campus. While you can transfer credits from your past nursing degree, you must complete at least 39 credits from Bethel. The coursework mainly focuses on enhancing holistic nursing and leadership skills.

Key Highlights

• Bethel’s BSN graduates are successfully working in the region’s top health care facilities, such as Regions Hospital, St. Paul Children’s Hospital, United Hospital, Fairview Medical Center, North Memorial Hospital, St. John’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital.
• You will be mentored by a faculty that is vastly experienced and regularly engages in nursing research.

6) Bemidji State University, Bemidji

Type: Hybrid & Online

Program Overview: Bemidji State University trains students with employment ready nursing programs where they enhance their critical thinking and decision-making skills and are prepared to work in any kind of clinical setting. This RN to BSN program is ideally designed for registered nurses who want to widen their knowledge base and skills. It is offered in a hybrid format where classes are available at multiple sites, so you need not travel much to take a class. Campus visits are required only three days per semester, leaving you to take the remaining classes online. In order to graduate you must complete at least 36 credits in core nursing courses and a clinical practicum in community nursing at a healthcare setting close to you.

Key Highlights

• This program is also offered in an online format, where you are required to visit the BSU campus in Bemidji just twice during the entire program.
• The college offers an online as well as on-campus orientation, preparing students to effectively to take classes and make the most of their RN to BSN program. You can choose to attend whichever mode suits you better.

7) Rasmussen College, Bloomington

Type: Online

Program Overview: Rasmussen College is known for its quality affordable education that is primarily student centric. Designed to expand on your past degree, this RN to BSN makes you competent in evidence-based practice, health of population across the life span and use of healthcare technology. It typically takes 12 to 18 months and includes courses in clinical reasoning and judgment, genetics and genomics, emerging healthcare technologies and innovation and achieving excellence in healthcare through innovation. To earn your degree, you must complete a practicum in leadership and public health. For working nurses this can be done at your current workplace.

Key Highlights

• Apart from the 24/7 technical assistance you receive to ease your online study, students are welcome to visit the campus and access resources and receive support from the faculty.
• Making it affordable to pursue adult education, the college offers two convenient options of taking and paying for your BSN courses. You can either pay for a six-month term and complete as many courses as you can during this period or pay per credit. This flexibility allows you to set your own pace and cost of study.

8) Herzing University Minneapolis, Crystal

Type: Online

Program Overview: Herzing University Minneapolis is a top-ranking online college in the nation. It focuses mainly on career ready programs, where students can apply their newly acquired knowledge and skills straight to the workplace. With this online RN to BSN in the ‘North Star State’ you can earn your BSN degree in as little as 12 months. Out of the total 120 credits that you must complete, you can transfer up to 70 credits from your previous degree. To earn your degree, you must complete eight core nursing courses through Herzing. The college has a rolling admission policy, so you have the flexibility of applying any time of the year.

Key Highlights

• The college also offers an RN to MSN, that allows a seamless transfer of four courses from BSN to the MSN, so you earn an advanced academic credential in less time and cost. The specialty MSN tracks offered are Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator and Nursing Leadership.
• Your clinical will be a community-based project where you will collaborate with a community liaison to work on a solution for a community problem. This helps you develop leadership skills and gives you a better understanding of community health issues.

9) Walden University, Minneapolis

Type: Online

Program Overview: Walden University has been committed to providing education that has stayed abreast with changing trends in healthcare. Its RN to BSN program is ideally meant for registered nurses who are working and have a keen desire to expand their professional skills. The curriculum offered is based on real world nursing issues, so all through the program you can apply the knowledge you gain, immediately to your current work setting. The program is completely online and provides easy access to courses via mobile apps and online communication with faculty, so you can study on the go. You will complete ten nursing courses in issues and trends in nursing, health assessment, healthcare informatics, nursing research, evidence-based patient care, advocacy in nursing, global health, clinical nursing and leadership and management in nursing.

Key Highlights

• Out of the total 181 credits required to graduate, the college allows a generous transfer of up to 75% credits from your previous degree. This way you save a lot of time and money.
• You even have an option of enrolling for an RN-BSN-MSN program, where you will earn an advanced degree in a shorter span, taking all the classes online.

10) Metropolitan State University, St. Paul

Type: Online, Hybrid

Program Overview: Metropolitan State University mainly focuses on nursing education that is a fine blend of liberal arts and sciences. If you are registered nurse who is keen on pursuing an advanced nursing degree while juggling with work and family commitments, then you can choose from either the online or hybrid RN to BSN program, offered by the college. While in the online program, all classes are offered completely online, the hybrid requires you to attend some classes on campus, twice a month. For both the programs you will take classes in a cohort format through five semesters, including summers. Graduation requires completing at least 32 credits in core nursing courses that train you to provide holistic nursing care to a diverse and undeserved population.

Key Highlights

• Both the options require you to complete a clinical practicum in community health at a clinical setting.
• The online option is offered twice a year, in fall and spring semesters, while the hybrid starts one once in fall.



Latest on Minnesota’s Push for 80 Percent BSN

In response to the Institute of Medicine’s challenge for all 50 states to have at least 80% of its RN workforce educated at the BSN level by 2020, the state has formed the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE). The alliance’s goal involves increasing the number of BSN-educated RNs statewide through dual-enrollment programs. Four-year universities offering RN to BSN degrees in MN partnered with community and technical colleges offering ADN degrees to provide a seamless transition and reduce barriers that often prevent RNs from obtaining higher education.

Per the 2017 Annual Nursing Education Program Report compiled by the Minnesota Board of Nursing, the state still has a long way to go. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of ADN graduates increased by 1.8% while the number of BSN graduates actually decreased by 2.9%. However, data collected from directors of nursing across the state shows that the number of nurses completing RN to BSN programs continues to increase each year. In 2012, only 687 RNs in MN completed such programs; in 2017, that number climbed to 1129.

Options to Fund Your RN to BSN in Minnesota

Though the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education has worked hard to make BSN degrees more attainable for working nurses – both in terms of time and expense – these degrees are still quite costly. Fortunately, grants, loans, scholarships, and employer assistance programs exist to help lessen the burden.

Grants: Grants exist at both the federal and state level, and you can fill out the FAFSA form, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, to see if you qualify for these. The Pell Grant is one of the most widely-known Federal grants, and it is available to students who demonstrate financial need. At the state level, the Minnesota State Grant is also available to students who need help paying for their education.

Loans: After applying for grants and scholarships, you can also consider student loans to help cover additional expenses. Federal student loans are available for Minnesota students who qualify, and you can determine your eligibility when you fill out the FAFSA form. The Minnesota SELF Loan is another option, and it is offered by the Minnesota Department of Higher Education. You might also opt for private loans from your bank or credit union; in some cases, you may get lower interest rates or more flexible repayment terms.

Scholarships: Hundreds of scholarships at the federal, state, and local level exist for nursing students in MN. Some of the most well-known options in Minnesota are offered by groups like the Minnesota Nurses Association, the Tri-County Hospital Foundation, and the Minnesota Department of Health. Your employer or school may also offer their own scholarships.

Employer Assistance Programs: Finally, employer assistance programs across MN may be another excellent option for paying for your RN to BSN education. These include tuition reimbursement, which involves your employer reimbursing you for a portion of your out-of-pocket tuition over time, or even work-study programs in which your employer pays for your education in exchange for your agreement to work for their company over a period of time.

6 Advantages of Pursuing an RN to BSN in Minnesota

Pursuing and completing your RN to BSN education in Minnesota opens up a brand-new world of opportunities and can provide you with an excellent sense of satisfaction. You can earn more money, enjoy better job security, and even push your education further once you earn your BSN.

1. Expand Your Knowledge, Skills & Abilities: Registered nurses with outstanding skills and abilities are in high demand across the state. Studies and surveys have shown that the more knowledge and skills RNs possess, the better the care they can provide to their patients, and the better the overall outcomes. By earning your BSN degree, you will gain access to the knowledge and skills that make you a competitive part of the MN workforce.

2. Salary Bump: With new skills and abilities comes more responsibility, and this is one of the major reasons why Minnesota employers like hospitals, nursing homes, and even clinics are willing to pay BSN-educated RNs more than their ADN-educated counterparts. Before earning BSN degrees, nurses in MN earn an average of $80,510 each year. After completing their degrees, that salary climbs to $92,390, representing an annual increase of $11,880. If you work in the Minneapolis St. Paul area, that average increase is even higher.

Before RN To BSN After RN to BSN How Much More Will I Earn
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

3. More Job Openings: Because RNs with higher education have been shown to provide better overall care, the demand for baccalaureate-educated nurses will continue to skyrocket across Minnesota. To put this into perspective, there are roughly 1,270 new jobs available each year to nurses who have ADN degrees. For those with BSN degrees, that number climbs to 2,290. Many of these additional jobs have lucrative hours and benefits, too.

Minnesota Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
Annual Openings for BSN Graduates 2,290
Annual Openings for ADN Graduates 1,270
(Source: Compiled using data from careeronestop.org)

4. The Outlook is Brighter for a BSN Graduate: If you are concerned about job security, earning your BSN degree is a great way to ease your mind. Between 2020 and 2030, it is estimated that some 1,040 new jobs for ADN-educated RNs will become available, which represents a growth of just 4.85% - much slower than the average for all professions. However, once you have earned your BSN, this number climbs to 2,880 new jobs each year, representing growth of 7.66%. The significant increase in growth signifies the importance of furthering your education in Minnesota.

10 Year (2020-2030) Job Outlook
Employment New Job Growth
2020 2030 Number %
BSN 37,61040,4902,8807.66%
ADN 21,46022,5001,0404.85%
(Source: Compiled using data from careeronestop.org)

5. Career Advancement: After you receive your baccalaureate degree, not only can you earn a higher salary, but you can also choose a brand-new career path. Courses in RN to BSN programs focus heavily on nursing leadership and management, which means you will have the skills necessary to work as a charge nurse, a director of nursing, or a nurse supervisor. You might also choose to work in nursing research or in education, both of which are in high demand and pay very well.

Advancement Opportunities
Charge Nurse Director of Nursing
Chief Nursing Officer Nurse Educator
Clinical Nurse Specialist Nurse Manager
Clinical Research Nurse Nurse Supervisor

6. Post-RN to BSN Study Options: Though many nurses continue to work as RNs for the rest of their lives and do so happily, others decide to continue their education in Minnesota. If you opt to earn an MSN, which takes about two years, you could earn up to $139,120 a year working as a nurse practitioner, a certified registered nurse anesthetist, or in various other positions. You could even go for your PhD or DNP, which takes four to six years, and earn up to $162,420 working as a health system executive, a college professor, or an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).

Type of Degree Length Roles and Responsibilities Salary
Master’s Degree (MSN/MS)Up to 2 yearsAdministrator, Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Clinical Leader, Clinical Nurse Specialist & Nurse Practitioner$93,830 - $139,120
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree4 to 6 yearsAdvanced Practice Registered Nurse, College Faculty, Nursing School Dean, Health System Executive, Researcher, & Senior Policy Analyst$93,830 $162,420

RN to BSN Programs in Nearby States
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