How To Become A Nurse In North Dakota

North Dakota has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation due to an oil boom and has a steady demand for trained nurses. The population also has boomed in the oil fields in the western part of the Midwestern state on the Canadian border.

However, this isolated part of the state now needs nurses who are willing to work in rural environments because most of the state’s nurses now work in the cities and towns.North Dakota is sparsely populated, ranking 47th out of the states in population density.Only 683,932 people live in the sprawling state, compared with 680,000 residents in 1930.

For many years college graduates left the state because of the lack of skilled jobs for those with degrees, but that is not the case with nurses in North Dakota. The job demand is good and expected to rise as the population ages. Already North Dakota has the highest proportion of residents aged 85 and older in the nation.

Booming Economy Attracting Nurses

The population is edging up again due to the recent boost in jobs resulting from the oil-shale industry and a lot of workers are coming from bordering South Dakota, including nurses. North Dakota is a nursing compact state in the national Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) as well as neighboring South Dakota and nurses can practice across state lines without having to be licensed in each state.

In North Dakota as in other states prospective nurses must pass the standard National Council Examination (NCLEX) before obtaining their license to practice.

It takes a minimum of an associate’s degree in nursing from an accredited college or university approved by the North Dakota Board of Nursing to become a registered nurse (RN) in North Dakota. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the state has about 6,880 registered nurses with an annual salary of about $57,000, which represents relatively high pay compared to national salaries, given the state’s lower cost of living.

North Dakota Nurses Well-Paid on Average

About a fourth of all the RNs, about 2,000, are employed in Bismarck where the mean average salary is $54,160. Those in the top ten percent of their field make more than $75,220. However, studies show that RNs with just an associates’ degree may find it harder to find entry level jobs without experience as a certified nursing assistant or a licensed practical nurse (LPN), so many go on to get their bachelor’s degree in nursing.

A nursing needs study authorized by the North Dakota Legislature showed the highest vacancy rates for nurses were for LPNs, especially in hospitals. Right now North Dakota meets or exceeds the national ratio for primary healthcare providers, but is still looking for nurses willing to work in rural areas.

The state has a network of 11 public colleges and universities and several community colleges offering nursing programs. North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota are the largest.

Nursing Schools in North Dakota

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Nursing School Locations

Dickinson State University
291 Campus Drive
Dickinson, ND 58601
(701) 483-2089

North Dakota State College of Science
800 Sixth Street
Wahpeton, ND 58076
800) 342-4325

North Dakota State University
1401 Albrecht Boulevard
Fargo, ND 55102
(701) 231-7395

University of North Dakota
264 Centennial Drive
Grand Forks, ND 58202
(701) 777-2011

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