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Steps to Becoming an APRN in Minnesota

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Advanced practice registered nurses, or APRNs, are registered nurses with advanced training in health assessment, physiology and pharmacology. The Minnesota Board of Nursing (612-617-2270 or nursing.board@state.mn.us) holds the responsibility for regulating APRNs working within the state.

The Board recognizes four APRN certifications: Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse-Midwife, and Nurse Practitioner.

Before applying for Minnesota’s APRN registry, you must hold an unencumbered, current Minnesota RN license.

Minnesota Job Statistics

  • 2015 mean salary for NPs in MN: $104,390
  • 2013 NCLEX-RN pass rate for Minnesota: 80.5%
  • 2016 active APRNs in Minnesota: 7576
    • CNPs: 4821
    • CCNSs: 498
    • CRNAs: 1946
    • CNMs: 311
  • As of 2015, APRNs in Minnesota require a separate APRN license

Once you have your Minnesota RN license, follow these steps to obtain placement on Minnesota’s APRN registry:


 

Step 1. Get Your Graduate Degree

You must complete a formal course of study in advanced practice registered nursing in order to be placed onto the Minnesota APRN registry. This usually results in at least a master’s degree or a post-master’s certificate.

Qualified Graduate Programs

The Minnesota Board of Nursing holds APRN national certification organizations responsible for ensuring that the APRNs they certify have completed the necessary advanced practice training. Therefore, no educational standards for APRNs are written into the Minnesota statutes, and you need not send any advanced practice/graduate training transcripts to the Board when you register as an APRN. Once your national certification organization has certified you as qualified to practice within your APRN title, the Board accepts this certification as proof that you have completed the necessary training. The educational standards for national certification agencies for various APRN titles are as follows:

  • Nurse Practitioner: your advanced practice registered nursing program must be accredited by one of the national accreditation agencies for nurse education schools recognized by the U.S. Department of Education [such as the National League for Nursing Accrediting commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)]. If your program is nationally accredited, it meets the educational standards of these Minnesota Board of Nursing-approved national certification agencies for NPs: American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB), National Certification Corporation (NCC), American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), and the American Association of Critical Care -Nurses Certification Corporation (AACN).
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist: your advanced practice registered nursing program must be accredited by one of the national accreditation agencies for nurse education schools recognized by the U.S. Department of Education [such as the National League for Nursing Accrediting commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)]. If your program is nationally accredited, it means that it meets the educational standards of these Minnesota Board of Nursing-approved national certification agencies for CNS: American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Association of Critical Care -Nurses Certification Corporation (AACN).
  • Nurse Anesthetist: your advanced practice registered nurse anesthetist program must be accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs to meet the standards of the National Board of Certification & Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists, the certification organization for NAs that is approved by the Michigan Board of Nursing.
  • Nurse Midwife: your graduate nurse midwifery program must be accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education to meet the standards of the American Midwifery Certification Board, the certification organization for NMs that is approved by the Michigan Board of Nursing.

Course Requirements

The courses that you will take in your graduate advanced practice nursing program will correlate with the expectations of your national certification agency, as well as with the scope of practice for your APRN role specified by the Minnesota Board of Nursing. They should include:

  • Nurse Practitioner:
    • Diagnosis, direct management, and prevention of acute and chronic disease and illness
    • Wellness promotion
    • Non-pharmacologic treatment options
    • Advanced pathophysiology
    • Advanced health assessment
    • Advanced pharmacology
    • Specialized courses for your area of certification (in Minnesota, you must be nationally certified in a specific NP field in order to be placed upon the APRN registry). Concentrations include:
      • Adult health
      • Acute care
      • Pediatric
      • Neonatal
      • Women’s health care
      • Family
      • Geriatrics
    • Practicum/clinical experience (most programs require at least 500 hours of supervised clinical experience within your specialty area)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist:
    • Diagnosis of illness and disease
    • Advanced health assessment
    • Advanced pathophysiology
    • Advanced pharmacology
    • Non-pharmacologic treatment options
    • Psychotherapy
    • Health and wellness promotion
    • Disease and illness prevention
    • Specialized courses for your area of certification (in Minnesota, you must be nationally certified in a specific CNS field in order to be placed upon the APRN registry). Concentrations include:
      • Adult or child/adolescent psychiatric/mental health:
        • This specialization requires at least 30 hours of coursework in prescribing psychotropic medications and medications and in treating their side effects. This will include coursework in:
          • Health assessment
          • Psychotropic classifications
          • Psychopharmacology
          • Indications
          • Dosages
          • Contraindications
          • Side effects
          • Evidence of application
    • Other specializations, such as geriatrics or pediatrics, require:
      • 30 hours of coursework  including:
        • Health assessment
        • Medication classifications
        • Indications
        • Dosages
        • Contraindications
        • Side effects
        • Supervised practice
        • Competence evaluation
        • Application of knowledge about prescribing and therapeutic management of your clinical type of patients the certified clinical nurse specialist’s practice
    • Practicum/clinical experience (most programs require at least 500 hours of supervised clinical experience within your specialty area)
  • Nurse Anesthetist:
    • Providing anesthesia care
    • Anesthesia physiology/pathophysiology
    • Chemistry/physics of anesthesia
    • Health assessment for anesthesia
    • Selection and administration of drugs and therapeutic devices under a physician’s orders
    • Practicum/clinical experience (most programs require at least 500 hours of supervised clinical experience)
  • Nurse Midwife:
    • Management of primary health care of women
    • Pregnancy
    • Childbirth
    • Postpartum period
    • Newborn care
    • Family planning
    • Gynecological needs of women including:
      • Diagnosing
      • Providing non-pharmacologic treatment
    • Practicum/clinical experience (most programs require at least 500 hours of supervised clinical experience)

Prescriptive Authority

All certified APRNs in Minnesota have prescriptive authority (that is, the authority to prescribe drugs and therapeutic devices within your scope of practice). The coursework included in the above role descriptions will prepare you for this responsibility. Other aspects of prescriptive authority will be explored in the “Apply for Your Registration” in Step 3 of this document.

Specialization for APRNs

In addition to specialization in a patient population field (such as psychiatric/mental health, geriatrics or pediatrics), many APRNs study other aspects of advanced practice nursing during their graduate training. This may include nurse education, nurse leadership, nurse management, nurse informatics or nurse administration.

Graduate Status

If you are Minnesota registered nurse who recently graduated from advanced practice training and are in the process of becoming nationally certified, under Minnesota statutes, you may practice as an APRN for up to six months before passing the national certification exam. If you fail the exam, however, you must stop practicing as an APRN. You may not prescribe drugs or therapeutic devices before passing the national certification exam.


Step 2. Earn Your National Certification

The Minnesota Board of Nursing recognizes four APRN certifications. Becoming nationally certified by an approved organization within your certification area is vital to achieving placement on Minnesota’s APRN registry. National certification validates your APRN training and tells the Board that you have met educational, experiential and examination standards for your APRN role. You may choose to become nationally certified in one or more specialized areas, but under Board statutes if you are a NP or CNS you must become nationally certified in at least one specialty area.

Advanced Practice Registered Nursing Certifications

The Minnesota Board of Nursing recognizes the following APRN certifications:

  • Certified nurse practitioner (CNP)
  • Certified nurse-midwife (CNM)
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Certified clinical nurse specialist (CNS)

Certification Programs

These national certification agencies have been approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing to set standards and bestow certification upon APRNs who will practice within the state:

You must achieve national certification with one of the agencies listed above before going further in Minnesota’s APRN registration process. Contact the appropriate agency for more details.


Step 3. Apply for your License

As an advanced practice registered nurse in Minnesota, you must notify the Minnesota Board of Nursing each time you achieve national certification in an APRN area. The Board does not require filing of an application form in order for you to do so. You must simply mail the Board a copy of your national certification in order to register. If you fail to register as an APRN in Minnesota, you may be subjected to a penalty, disciplinary action and/or fee. The penalty for practicing as an APRN without filing your national certification with the Board as listed in the Minnesota statutes is $200 for the first month of unregistered practice, and an additional $100 for each subsequent month of unregistered practice.

Each time you receive national certification, a copy of your national certificate must be sent to Minnesota Board of Nursing, 2829 University Avenue SE, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55414-3253. There is no fee to register your certificate with the Board.

You will not receive a separate license or certificate from the Board reflecting your APRN registration.  It is your responsibility to keep your national certification current and notify the Board of any changes. Under Minnesota statutes, you are only permitted to practice within your area of APRN certification.

Collaborative Management Plan

As an APRN practicing in Minnesota, you are expected to have a Collaborative Management Plan with a physician. This does not have to be in writing. The collaborative management plan is a system whereby you and one or more physicians (which may be physicians, surgeons, dentists, chiropractors or podiatrists) agree upon the scope of the collaboration that will occur between the two (or more) of you. You must collaborate with a physician who cares for the same population in which you are nationally certified. For example, if you are a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, you should collaborate with a physician who specializes in Geriatrics. In this instance, you may not collaborate with a physician who treats another specialty, such as a Pediatrician.

If you are a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, your collaboration may be in conjunction with any type of physician, including dentists, podiatrists, and surgeons. It need not be a collaboration with an anesthesiologist. However, you must be providing anesthesia services within the same physical location/setting as the physician with whom you collaborate. The collaborating physician does not have to be present in the actual building in which you are providing anesthesia services while you are doing so.

Your Collaborative Management Plan does not require physician supervision of your APRN duties. In fact, under Minnesota law, APRNs may be independent contractors, own their own businesses, or serve as corporate partners with other health care professionals. The Collaborative Management Plan is simply a mutual understanding between you and a collaborating physician (or physicians). You do need a written agreement with a physician in order to prescribe medicine, however (unless you are a Certified Nurse-Midwife).

Written Prescribing Agreement

All registered and certified APRNs in Minnesota have prescriptive authority, under Minnesota statutes. The authority to prescribe drugs and other therapeutic devices must be within your scope of practice. The Memorandum of Understanding, conceived by the Minnesota Nurses Association in collaboration with the Minnesota Medical Association, lists the rationale and standards for prescribing agreements. As an APRN working with staff privileges in a hospital, you may also legally give verbal or telephone orders for medications and other therapeutic treatments.

Each APRN role has varying requirements for maintaining prescriptive authority, as follows:

  • Certified Nurse-Midwife:
    • The only requirement to maintain prescriptive authority is to maintain your national certification with the American Midwifery Certification Board
  • Certified Nurse Practitioner:
    • You must maintain national certification with an organization approved by the Board
    • You must maintain a written Prescribing Agreement with a collaborating physician. This agreement must define the responsibilities you are delegated regarding prescribing drugs and therapeutic devices. Use this Model Form for a Prescribing Agreement, developed by the Minnesota Nurses Association in conjunction with the Minnesota Medical Association, to assist you in producing your own agreement.
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist:
    • You must maintain national certification with the National Board for Certification & Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists
    • You must maintain a written Prescribing Agreement with a collaborating physician. This agreement must define the responsibilities you are delegated regarding prescribing drugs and therapeutic devices. Use this Model Form for a Prescribing Agreement, developed by the Minnesota Nurses Association in conjunction with the Minnesota Medical Association, to assist you in producing your own agreement.
  • Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist in Psychiatric/Mental Health:
    • You must maintain national certification with an organization approved by the Board
    • You must have completed 30 hours of coursework in the prescribing of psychotropic medications and medications to treat their side effects (as specified in Course Requirements in Step 1)
    • You must maintain a written Prescribing Agreement with a collaborating physician. This agreement must uphold the Memorandum of Understanding for PMHCNS and must define the responsibilities you are delegated regarding prescribing drugs and therapeutic devices. Use this Model Form for a Prescribing Agreement, developed by the Minnesota Nurses Association in conjunction with the Minnesota Medical Association, to assist you in producing your own agreement
  • Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist in Other Areas:
    • You must maintain national certification with an organization approved by the Board
    • You must have completed 30 hours of coursework in medication and health assessment (as specified in Course Requirements in Step 1)
    • You must maintain a written Prescribing Agreement with a collaborating physician. This agreement must define the responsibilities you are delegated regarding prescribing drugs and therapeutic devices. Use this Model Form for a Prescribing Agreement, developed by the Minnesota Nurses Association in conjunction with the Minnesota Medical Association, to assist you in producing your own agreement.


Step 4. Renewing Your License

The Minnesota Board of Nursing does not require you to renew your APRN registration with them, but you are expected to maintain your national certification and report any new national certificates you earn to the Board.

Continuing Education

The state of Minnesota does not require APRNs to satisfy continuing education requirements to keep your registration active. You must satisfy any continuing education requirements of your national certification agency, however, to keep your national certification active. Each national certification organization sets and imposes its own renewal fees. Your national certification agency can provide more details on its requirements:

It is your responsibility to keep up with your national certification requirements and maintain national certification.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Associations in Minnesota

Consider joining one of the many professional associations that support advanced practice nursing in Minnesota:


Minnesota Nurse Practitioner Salary

According to a 2011 survey conducted by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, NPs practicing in the Great Plains region, including Minnesota, earned some of the highest total incomes in the country, where the average was $124,550. Minnesota NPs saw an increase in average salary from $93,400 in 2010 to $97,726 in 2011, an increase of 1.7% according to the National Salary Survey conducted by Advance for NPs & PAs, a peer reviewed health industry journal. Nurse practitioners in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul earned an average of $99,613, while NPs in Rochester earned an average of $103,750.

Registered Nurse Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Duluth MN-WI
3690
71000
Fargo ND-MN
1130
64180
Grand Forks ND-MN
930
Estimate Not Released
La Crosse WI-MN
2200
55090
Mankato-North Mankato MN
1010
65950
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI
34060
75810
Rochester MN
6660
79460
St. Cloud MN
2140
74600
Northwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
3530
64890
Northeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
900
65080
Southwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
1950
62110
Southeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
2430
62970

Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Grand Forks ND-MN
30
43520
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI
310
76680

Nursing Instructors and Teachers Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual median wage
Duluth MN-WI
Estimate Not Released
55680
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI
770
66390
St. Cloud MN
80
71560
Northwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
120
58090
Southeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
130
61230

Nurse Administrator Salary
(Includes Nurse Managers, Directors, and Chief Nursing Officers)

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Duluth MN-WI
420
91810
Fargo ND-MN
180
77610
La Crosse WI-MN
250
87600
Mankato-North Mankato MN
130
76840
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI
3740
104530
Rochester MN
340
115590
St. Cloud MN
170
105300
Northwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
420
81140
Northeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
100
81460
Southwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
220
73200
Southeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
340
80820

These tables provide salary and employment information compiled by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2011. The data contained herein does not include self-employed nurses in independent practice.

When responding to the salary survey, some advanced practice registered nurses identified themselves as RNs while others identified themselves as health diagnosing and treating practitioners. When available, both sets of data were included for comparative purposes.

* These figures represent earnings that are at or above $90.00 per hour or $187,199 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish earnings beyond $90.00 hourly or $187,199 yearly.

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