Getting Started


Steps to becoming a nurse

Do you want to be a nurse and don’t quite know where to begin? This page will help you get started. You’ll learn about the nursing profession and the educational requirements. If you love helping others and really want to make a difference in the lives of others, nursing may be for you.

What is the difference between an LPN, RN and BSN?

  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) – This degree can be obtained through the Dakota Nursing Program by completing an 11-month program.
  • Associate Degree Nursing Program (RN) – This degree can be obtained after completion of the DNP Practical Nursing Program or if you already have an active and unencumbered license to practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse in the United States and is a 9-month program through the Dakota Nursing Program. The AD RN Program provides preparation for the full scope of RN responsibilities.
  • Bachelor of Sciences in Nursing (BSN) – A Bachelor of Sciences in Nursing requires graduation from a traditional 4-year college or university. Although the Dakota Nursing Program does not offer a 4-year degree, we do have several articulation agreements in place throughout the state of North Dakota which allow our students to continue on to BSN programs after completion of our Associate in Applied Science Nursing degree.

Educational Requirements

  1. Get a high school diploma/GED and receive a GPA of 2.5 or greater.
  2. If you want to be a nurse, you should have an interest in and take courses in the sciences (biology, physiology and chemistry) and math throughout high school.
  3. Current CPR Certification for BLS Provider
  4. Experience working in a health care environment is encouraged before making application to the nursing program, but not required


Get Licensed

Once you complete your education, you will need to take an exam to demonstrate your knowledge and nursing skills. The exams, and the topics covered, differ based on your career path. Administered through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the National Council Licensure Examinations (NCLEX) is accepted in all 50 states and requires periodic renewal.

  • Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN)
  • RNs are required to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to earn licensure