Over the last decade, health professions have become one of the most in-demand careers in the United States. Since 2007, the number of bachelor’s degrees conferred in health-related fields has more than doubled. In 2013, more than 100,000 bachelor’s degrees were awarded in nursing, making it the third-most popular degree nationwide. Approximately 14% of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in the state are in a health-related field, second only to business.
The elevated interest and growth in nursing programs and nursing schools in North Dakota is due to a combination of high salary potential and projected growth in the field. The median salary for nurses is more than $68,000. Due to an aging population, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that positions in nursing will grow 15% from 2016 to 2026, a rate that is much faster than the U.S. average. By 2020, North Dakota is projecting nearly 4,500 open nurse positions. With less than 900 degrees awarded from nursing schools in North Dakota each year, the projected shortage of registered nurses will continue to make nursing an attractive option for aspiring professionals.
How to Become a Nurse in North Dakota
The process to become a nurse is similar in most states, but licensing and costs may vary. After graduating from an accredited online nursing degree program, all prospective North Dakota nurses must pass their nursing licence exam. If the licensing is done in North Dakota or within a state that issues a nurse licensure compact multi state license, applicants pay their licensure fee to the North Dakota Board of Nursing. If the applicant is licensed in a state that is not part of the NLC, prospective nurses must also submit a license by endorsement application to the board of nursing.
Choose the Path That's Right for You
When deciding what online nursing degree to choose, it’s important to know which careers each degree level prepares you for. The most important prerequisite for becoming a nurse is the NCLEX-RN exam. In order to qualify, students must graduate from a nursing school in North Dakota with at least an associate degree in nursing. Students can also earn a bachelor’s degree from one of the BSN programs in North Dakota. An online nursing degree from one of the online BSN programs in North Dakota prepares students for careers as travel nurses or nurse anesthetists. A master’s degree from one of the online MSN programs in North Dakota prepares students to become advanced practice nurses and nurse practitioners. The doctoral degrees in nursing are designed for professionals who wish to lead or teach in the field.
Earn Your Nursing Degree
In nursing schools in North Dakota, 37% of nursing students take some online classes, with 17% completing their entire degree online; both numbers are above than the national average. Many nursing colleges in North Dakota require students to complete upper-level biology and/or chemistry credits before applying. Similarly, each school and online nursing degree boasts unique experience requirements for completion, though most have a set number of clinical or practicum hours that must be completed prior to graduation. Degree lengths fluctuate as well, especially for online accelerated nursing programs in North Dakota, but most associate degrees are less than two years long. Bachelor’s degrees take four years to complete, master’s degrees two to three years, and doctorates can be completed within three to six years.
Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
The NCLEX is the examination put forth by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Successful completion of this exam is required by all practicing nurses in the United States. The exam requires knowledge within four major areas of nursing: safe, effective care environment; psychosocial integrity; health promotion and maintenance; and physiological integrity. The exam fee is $200 per attempt, and each candidate is required to answer a minimum of 75 multiple choice questions and up to a maximum of 265 within a six-hour period. The exam is designed to measure the minimum knowledge and abilities of an entry-level nurse, so it ends once an accurate level of competence is determined in the candidate. An online nursing degree will help prepare candidates for the NCLEX exam, but candidates are strongly advised to pursue additional preparation studies.
Nursing Licensure in North Dakota
The first step to obtain licensure is to register for and schedule the NCLEX-RN test. This exam was created by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to determine entry-level standards of knowledge and ability. To qualify, candidates must have an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Upon completion of the NCLEX-RN exam, nursing candidates must register with the state they wish to practice in for licensure. Once graduates are registered with the North Dakota Board of Nursing, they are eligible to practice within the state. Members of the original Nurse Licensure Compact who register with the NDBON are granted a multistate licence, which allows them to practice in any of the other 26 NLC member states.
Nursing Licensing Costs in North Dakota
Exam Fee $130
Background Check $40
Career Outlook for Nurses in North Dakota
The demand for nurses is growing in North Dakota. In 2016, there were more than 700 nursing openings, many of which were left unfilled. Some hospitals in North Dakota even offer signing bonuses for qualified registered nurses.
Candidates from nursing schools in North Dakota that hold a bachelor’s degree have even more career options available to them, including nurse anesthetist and nurse practitioner positions. Nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists often earn higher salaries than registered nurses, with mean annual salaries of $95,000 and $180,000 respectively. Over the next decade, these careers are projected to grow 31% nationwide, more than double that of registered nurses.
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Biggest Hospitals in North Dakota
There are 38 rural hospitals and 47 licensed general care hospitals in North Dakota, all of which offer nursing positions. For graduates from online RN to BSN programs in North Dakota, this creates more opportunity for internships and work experience. Many state hospitals recruit graduates from online RN programs in North Dakota.
- Sanford Medical Center: The Sanford Medical Center in Bismarck is part of the Sanford Health network. The network includes 39 hospitals and 225 clinics across nine states. Sanford Health employs 26,000 professionals. The Bismarck Medical Center sees more than 11,000 admissions last year.
- St. Alexius Medical Center: Founded in 1895, the St. Alexius Medical Center is one of the largest hospitals in the state, treating more than 10,000 admissions in the last year. St. Alexius Health is consistently one of the top performing hospitals for patient satisfaction.
Additional Nursing Resources in North Dakota
North Dakota Board of Nursing
The North Dakota Board of Nursing is part of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. The NDBON is dedicated to providing state licenses, standards, and general information to nurses and nurse candidates in North Dakota. All information regarding testing, licensure, practice, and compliance for nursing in North Dakota is available through the NDBON.
North Dakota Department of Health
The North Dakota Department of Health website hosts a wealth of information specific to North Dakota health initiatives. The site provides access to publications, regional data, and health standards to prepare nurses for a career in North Dakota.
North Dakota Nurses Association
The North Dakota Nurses Association is an organization that represents registered nurses in the state. The NDNA promotes safety and welfare and advocates on all healthcare issues related to nursing. The NDNA also provides members with access to helpful resources, professional development opportunities, and career assistance.
North Dakota Nurse Practitioner Association
The North Dakota Nurse Practitioner Association is a professional organization that promotes nurse practitioners. The association provides support, resources, and professional development opportunities for its members, as well as advocacy and leadership in the community.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in North Dakota