For those looking for a career in nursing, there is good news. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data from May of 2017, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area of Minnesota ranks high in terms of nursing salaries and the number of nurses working in the profession.

The Twin Cities ranks seventh on the list of metropolitan areas with the highest employment level in this occupation. The average median wage is $67,640 per year.

The Southern Minnesota region also ranks high. The employment ratio for nurses is 1.15 placements per one thousand. That’s a higher ranking than areas like South Dakota and South Carolina. In Minnesota, there are 39,290 registered nurses working in the state as of May of 2017. Registered Nurses (RN) typically make about $39 per hour or $81,510 per year.

According to the Minnesota Employment and Economic Department, the average media salary for a Registered Nurse in Minnesota is $78,352 per year. The projected number of openings for a Registered Nurse (RN) in Minnesota over the next 10 years is 42,029 positions.

It’s an exciting field because of the phenomenal growth — not only in the number of nurses employed in the state but also because of the salary increases in recent years.

Nursing as a profession is varied and flexible in terms of career path and vocation. There are Registered Nurses, Nursing Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Nursing Directors, and many other employment opportunities in the field.

A Registered Nurse can expect a salary of $39 per hour or $81,510 per year. The salary for a Nurse Practitioner, which involves performing medical procedures under the supervision of a doctor, averages about $53 per hour or $112,700 per year.

A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) can expect a salary of $22.67 per hour on average or $47,370 per year. The difference between an RN and an LPN has to do with level of care. An LPN is typically a role where the nurse provides comfort and care. However, only the higher paying Registered Nurse position can administer medication or offer medical advice.

As the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics bears out, a Registered Nurse makes a higher salary than most of the other nursing jobs, including a Nursing Instructor. The annual salary is $81,510 per year. A Nurse Practitioner makes $112,700 per year, the highest in the nursing field. (This position involves conducting medical procedures under a doctor’s supervision.)

For anyone interested in nursing, it’s important to note that the median salary for all nursing jobs in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area is still high. As of May 2017, the average annual salary is  $67,640 which includes positions as a Registered Nurse and Licensed Practical Nurse.

A curious statistic from the Minnesota Employment and Economic Department sheds some light on the differences in pay between male and female nurses. Based on data collected from 2015, a female working in a hospital can expect a salary of $28.42, while a male can expect a wage of $27.65. That is a dramatic increase from 2005, when the wage for a female worker in a hospital was $20.39 and for a male worker was higher, at $20.78.

There’s an important distinction to make between a Registered Nurse (or RN) with and without a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. In some cases, an RN without a BSN degree obtains only a two-year Associate’s degree. Many hospitals and clinics are starting to require a four-year degree, however, so that is why the BSN degree is often preferred.

Nursing PositionAverage Annual SalaryNumber of projected openings next 10 years
Nursing Assistant$32,47539,285
Licensed Practical Nurse$45,83742,029
Registered Nurse$78,35215,402
Nurse Practitioner$112,7802,938
Nurse Anesthetists$181,3441,187

What should expect for a salary in the nursing field? The Minnesota Employment and Economic Department has provided the answers. Here are the average salaries for several positions.



A Nursing Assistant is a position that provides care and respite to those in a hospital, clinic, or residential care facility. This position can expect an annual salary of $32,475 on average in Minnesota.


A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is a job that often requires a two-year Associate’s degree but without a full Bachelor’s degree. An LPN typically provides routine care for patients, will check vital signs, and will make sure patients are comfortable. Those in this role do not provide the medical advice, administer medical care, or perform any medical procedures on patients (even with the supervision of a doctor). This position can expect an annual salary of $45,837 on average in Minnesota.


A Registered Nurse is often a position that requires a Bachelor of Science in Nursing because of the training and credentials required. This position can involve administering medicine, perform physical exams, and coordinate patient care. The role can expect an annual salary of $78,352 on average in Minnesota.


A Nurse Practitioner is ranked higher than a Registered Nurse in a medical facility. This role typically requires a Master’s Degree. A Nurse Practitioner can perform all of the duties of an RN but can also perform medical procedures with assistance from a doctor. The Nurse Practitioner position can expect an annual salary of $112,780 on average in Minnesota.


A Nurse Anesthetist is one of the highest paid roles in the medical field, short of being a physician. Nurse Anesthetists are those who administer anesthesia to patients undergoing a medical procedure. The position can expect an annual salary of $181,344 on average in Minnesota.

One of the most well-known hospitals on the planet is located in Minnesota. The institution, formed in 1964, is based in Rochester. Several nursing positions are available including Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse, Registered Nurse Supervisor, and Registered Nurse Manager, and Nurse Practitioner. Many of the positions require a Bachelor’s degree. Some positions at Mayo Clinic, such as a Nurse Manager, require a Master’s degree.

Mayo Clinic is home to 34,000 staff and students. One of the key benefits to living and working in Rochester is that it is a large, thriving city that feels like a hometown. The advantages for those working in the nursing profession is that they benefit from some of the same salary guidelines for the state of Minnesota in terms of a Registered Nurse and a Licensed Practical Nurse, commensurate with experience and education level, but the cost of living is lower in this city, which has a total population of just under 210,000 people.The hospital serves up to one million patients every year, including those who travel from all over the world, representing 50 states and 150 countries worldwide.

Mayo Clinic provides rich details about the nursing positions at their website including the experience and education requirements and the expected salary levels.



The minimum pay rate at Mayo Clinic for an LPN, which does not require a Bachelor’s degree, is $20.10 per hour. (In this case, for the Charter House retirement home, a current open position.) Jobs at Mayo Clinic often emphasize working in a caring community, ability to collaborate with others, and specialized training and skills required for the specific open position.


A Registered Nurse in the hospital for general surgery can expect a salary of at least $33.37 per hour, although that is based on experience, education level and tenure. All new Registered Nurses are enrolled in a residency program automatically at Mayo Clinic.


A Nursing Supervisor works with and overseas a nursing department. One open position at Mayo Clinic is an RN Supervisor for the Ambulatory Neurologic Surgery, which pays $3,095.20 every two weeks (or per month). That’s a total salary of 74,284.80 per year.


Another position available at Mayo Clinic is the Registered Nurse Case Manager, which is a role designed to help with patient planning and care. Essentially, it’s partly a management role, partly about education and training, and partly about coordination. This position pays $2,519.20 for two weeks of work. The position typically requires case management experience.


One of the top paying positions at any hospital or clinic is a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant. At Mayo Clinic these positions are often in a department like Internal Medicine or Neurology. Mayo Clinic does not list the specific salary range for these positions but instead includes a note about the pay being commensurate with experience level and education.

Nursing Careers

For anyone looking to enter the workforce, a nursing career is an excellent place to start. You’re serving others, part of a healthcare team, and making a difference in the world. And, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from May of 2017, the nursing profession is one of the best paying fields in the U.S. with an average income of $70,000 per year.

It’s also a growing field. A career in nursing benefits from recent growth in the profession as a whole, increasing by 20% according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Interestingly, Minnesota is one of the best states to start a career in nursing. Apart from the beautiful lakes and “Minnesota-nice” atmosphere, the range of employment opportunities is far and wide. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester employs over 34,000 people in their hospitals and clinics in the area. Other major employers in the state include Essentia Health, Sanford Health, Allina Health System, Presbyterian Homes, and UNC Health Care System.

Another well-known medical institution is Ridgeview Medical Center based in Waconia, Minnesota with clinics west of the metro area including Chaska, Delano, Belle Plaine, and Winsted.

In addition, nurses will find job opportunities in the military as well in Minnesota. The Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Air Force, among others, are primary employers in the nursing field in Minnesota, looking for qualified Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and other caregivers in the health profession.

For new nursing graduates seeking a job in Minnesota, there’s an uptick in salary range that will appeal to those looking into the field. According to the Minnesota Employment and Economic Department, the average income for a new nursing grad increased from $16.63 per hour in 2005 to $19.94 in 2015, a 20% increase in only ten years time.

One of the most interesting discoveries you can make when looking into the nursing field is that there is an opportunity to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, also known as a BSN. This degree is a full, four-year accredited major with all of the medical training, science classes, and electives you would expect from an accredited university or college.

The degree is well-regarded because the education goes well beyond the more specialized training of an Associate’s degree as a Registered Nurse, which does not include the added coursework required for a full Bachelor of Science, which includes math and science education, liberal arts courses, and electives for a more well-rounded education.

Another key difference is that a BSN involves training from a fully accredited college or university according to the academic standards of those institutions. A BSN goes beyond the credentials required to become a Registered Nurse (often a two-year program) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (sometimes a one- or two-year course).

Once completed, a BSN degree opens doors at medical facilities, clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and well beyond because of the more comprehensive training. It’s widely considered a more well-rounded education and matches or even exceeds the requirements of other fields such as teacher education, communications, biology, and engineering.

A BSN also allows you to continue your education if desired into a Master’s program, which is required if you want to pursue a position as a Nurse Practitioner. And, of course, it also prepares you for additional nursing education and certification that a hospital or clinic may require.

Positions available after obtaining a BSN include a Registered Nurse (or RN) at a hospital or clinic, a Licensed Practical Nurse (or LPN), plus many other roles. Another important note to make about a BSN degree is that it involves practical experience (called “clinicals”) which prepare the graduate for working in the field instead of only relying on classroom training.

As the Bureau of Labor Statistics website explains, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at a college or university “usually include additional education in the physical and social sciences, communication, leadership, and critical thinking. These programs also offer more clinical experience in nonhospital settings. A bachelor’s degree or higher is often necessary for administrative positions, research, consulting, and teaching.”

After obtaining a degree like a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, the next step is to become licensed by the National Council Licensure Examination (or NCLEX-RN). This is a rigorous testing program that ensures those who have a degree in the nursing field are ready to work in the profession, so the testing requirement focus on areas such as safe and efficient patient care.

Every state requires nurses seeking a job in the field complete the NCLEX-RN exams, and they are consistent across every state. It’s critical to know, as part of a degree program that applies nationwide, what will be required once you graduate.

And, some clinics and hospitals require additional licenses, including certifications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), basic life support (BLS), and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). In addition to those certifications, some employers will require a criminal background check.

From there, after obtaining the certification required and passing the NCLEX-RN exams, a newly trained nurse can start the job search with the full assurance that there are not only many positions available (especially in Minnesota) and a high average salary, but the standard training from a BSN degree will prepare you to enjoy a successful and rewarding career.

As you might expect, once you start the interviewing process in the nursing field, there will be a technical discussion about your aptitude and training. As explained by the Minnesota Employment and Economic Department, the key is to come to an interview prepared for this technical discussion, especially as it relates to your medical knowledge, understanding of medical procedures, prescription drugs, and out-patient care.

For the nursing field, this also means being ready to demonstrate the knowledge and training you received during your Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at a college or university, and also your practical knowledge and skills after passing the NCLEX-RN exams.

Fortunately, employers will have many assurances about your accreditation, based on your BSN degree and the NCLEX-RN exams — so once the technical discussions are completed, be prepared to also explain your background and interest in the nursing profession, and your people- skills for working in the career (both with patients and staff).

There’s no question the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota is one of the most widely known employers in the state. The institution employs over 34,000 people in Rochester alone. The Mayo Clinic, founded in 1864, currently has several open positions available including a Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse, Registered Nurse Supervisor, Registered Nurse Manager, and a Nurse Practitioner (which requires a Master’s degree).

There are many others to choose from in the Twin Cities as well, including Essentia Health, Sanford Health, Allina Health System, Presbyterian Homes, and UNC Health Care System. The Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Air Force are also well-regarded as employers in the nursing profession in Minnesota, particularly for those who have a military background.

So what does a career in nursing look like in Minnesota? As you’ve seen, there are many benefits, starting with a wide range of open positions, a high average salary for many varied roles, a pristine setting, and an opportunity to serve others in a practical way.

A nursing career starts with obtaining the right degree at the right institution, and involves certifications and exams that prove you have acquired the right level of education. From there, it’s all about choosing the right career track and the nursing department that best suits your interests and education — such as neurology, neonatal care, or the emergency room.


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