information icon

Registration for Fall 2024 classes is now open. You can register today!


Program Details

Program specifics about earning a Practical Nursing Diploma at Northland.

Nursing is a growing field with multiple career opportunities. Practical Nursing is designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for students to enter the world of nursing. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) may provide care for persons of all ages in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, home care, hospice, camp nursing and occupational nursing.

Students in the Practical Nursing program will receive supervised experience in caring for clients in a variety of health care settings including hospital, long term care, clinic, and childcare. Students are taught to practice within the scope of practical nursing while under the supervision of a Registered Nurse.

LPN’s use critical thinking and technical skills to assist clients to meet their physical and psychosocial needs. LPN’s administer medications and perform treatments. LPN’s use a variety of medical equipment, such as IV pumps, syringes, cardiac monitors, diagnostic testing devices and computers.

As a graduate of the Practical Nursing program, students are eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Exam for the Practical Nurse.

For information on the PN Distance/Hybrid program, review this questionnaire.

Practical Nursing Program Handbook Fall 2023

Program Accreditation

Northland Community & Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Practical Nursing program is approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.

The Northland Community & Technical College Practical Nursing Program is accredited by National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA), located at 2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20037; phone 202-909-2500.

National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation

Program Learner Outcomes

    1. Student will participate as a member of the interprofessional team, collaborating and communicating with other health care providers to promote safe, quality, patient-centered care.
    2. Student will work within an established plan of care for an individual patient to organize or assign aspects of care under the direction of a Registered Nurse (RN) or other licensed Health Care Provider.
    3. Student will apply best current evidence with clinical expertise and patient preferences for the delivery of optimal health care.
    4. Student will provide holistic and effective individualized nursing care to diverse patient populations.
    5. Student will apply competent and safe practices to nursing care.
    6. Student will utilize information technology in the health care setting.
    7. Student will demonstrate professional behaviors and accountability to legal and ethical nursing practice standards for a competent PN.
    8. Student will participate in quality improvement activities and effectively use resources to achieve patient outcomes.


    As a graduate from a board of nursing approved Practical Nursing program, students are eligible to apply to take the National Council State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) Licensure Exam. Upon passing the exam, students become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

    Additional Program Resources


    Determine if you completed courses indicated by your Accuplacer scores. Please see an advisor if you are unsure which courses you tested into. If the Accuplacer scores achieved indicated placement in any of the following developmental courses, the course’s must be completed with a “C” or higher:

    • Math Foundations/Introduction to Algebra/Intermediate Algebra
    • Reading & Writing I, II, III

    Nursing Assistant Competency

    Students must submit evidence of competency as a nursing assistant within the past 5 years. This can be satisfied by one of the following:

    • Successful completion of HLTH 1110 Nursing Assistant (NA) course.
    • A current Certified Nursing Assistant (NA) certificate/registration card.

    Competency as a nursing assistant is a program prerequisite. This course is not available online. Click here to locate Minnesota’s Nursing Assistant training and testing sites .

    • If evidence of nursing assistant course completion is not listed on your NCTC transcript, you need to submit documentation verifying nursing assistant competency.

    EGF & Distance PN Students Submit Your NA Documentation By:

    • scan your documentation and send it via email to OR
    • fax your documentation to 218-793-2827 OR
    • send a copy of your documentation by US mail to:
      Northland Community & Technical College-EGF
      2022 Central Ave NE
      East Grand Forks, MN 56721

    TRF PN Students Submit Your NA Documentation By:

    • scanning your documentation and send it via email to OR
    • fax your documentation to 218-683-8979 OR
    • send a copy of your documentation by US mail to:
      Northland Community & Technical College-TRF
      1101 Highway One East
      Thief River Falls, MN 56701

    Please note that training and experience in other health care professions is NOT equivalent to nursing assistant skills. This includes but is not limited to certification in: Home Health Aid, Health Aid Worker, Social Work, EMT–Emergency Medical Technician, Paramedicine, Phlebotomy, Medical Assisting, Massage Therapy, Social Work, Occupational and Physical Therapy.

    HLTH 1106 Medical Terminology

    Students must complete a 2 credit medical terminology course such as HLTH 1106 Medical Terminology with a “C” or higher grade OR test-out of the course. If you are a program candidate with a health background and believe you are competent in medical terminology, you may request to test out of this prerequisite. For information on the college policy regarding test-out please contact the college registrar (reference policy 3150P Credit for prior learning procedure Part F: Test Out).

    CPR Certification

    As a nursing student, you will come in contact with patients that range from infants to the elderly. Because of this, you must certify in a CPR/Basic Life Support course that includes all of the following:

    • 1 and 2-Rescuer CPR (adult, child, infant)
    • AED use (adult, child)
    • Bag-mask use (adult, child, infant)
    • Rescue breathing and choking (adult, child, infant)

    Additionally CPR certifications must include both a test and HANDS-ON verification of competency.
    Current CPR certifications accepted include: Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers (American Heart Assn) or CPR for the Professional Rescuer (Red Cross.)

    Background Studies

    To become program and patient care clinical eligible, students must receive clearance by both a State and National background study. The two separate studies are:

    • 1) Minnesota Department of Human Services Licensing Division Background Study and Fingerprinting. The cost of this study is included in the cost of program course tuition and fingerprinting costs approximately $10.
    • And
    • 2) National Background Study through Castle Branch. The cost of this study is $45.75 the first year ($26 the second year if needed), which the student will pay by credit card at the time they submit the required information online.

    Instructions on how to complete these two studies is sent through NCTC student email from the PN Advisor each semester. Students will receive the instructions for the background studies upon acceptance into the program. If you cannot find your instructions email your PN Advisor for assistance. EGF and Distance PN students email TRF PN Students email

    What is the ATI TEAS® Examination?

    Students who have met other program specific requirements must also take the Test of Essential Academic Skills (ATI TEAS®) to determine if they have the entry-level academic skills and abilities to be successful in the nursing program. NOTE: The ATI TEAS® is for both Nursing students and Allied Health students.

    The ATI TEAS® measures basic essential skills in the academic content area domains of reading, mathematics, science and English language usage. These entry level skills were deemed important for health science program applicants by a panel of subject matter experts. The previous TEAS version V will be accepted at Northland Community & Technical College, if it was taken within 2 years from the time of application to the PN Program. The ATI TEAS® score will be good for 2 years from the test date. Further information on the ATI TEAS®, including a student study guide, is available at

    If a student has taken The ATI TEAS® at another college/testing center, the student must have ATI email the official results to PN Advisor or TRF PN. There is a fee for this request. See the ATI web page and click on ATI TEAS®/Discover Transcript.

    PNSG Eligibility & ATI TEAS® exam results
    Students must achieve a minimum cumulative ATI TEAS® score of 50 to be considered for eligibility to enter PNSG practical nursing courses. If a student’s ATI TEAS® scores indicate that they are at-risk for success in the program, they may be declined program entry. Guidelines for determination of program eligibility, including the interpretation of ATI TEAS® exam scores, are subject to change.

    How do I register and pay for the ATI TEAS® exam? Where can I take the test?
    The ATI TEAS® will be administered 3-5 times per semester on the EGF and TRF campus in a proctored computer lab, or online (student tests from home while being proctored by NCTC testing center staff). Applicants are allowed to take the ATI TEAS® once per semester (Fall semester: Sept.–Dec. Spring semester: Jan.–May. Summer semester: June–Aug).
    Registration for the ATI TEAS® is conducted through an on-line registration system. Students not only register, but must make their appointments through the ATI website. Follow these instructions to create an ATI account and to register for the ATI TEAS® exam at NCTC.
    There is also the option to test from home through ATI. This option does cost more than the campus options but does allow for evening or weekend testing. Register and take the TEAS with ATI.

    Visit the ATI website to register for and schedule the ATI TEAS®:
    NOTE: The ATI TEAS® test is for both Nursing students and Allied Health students.

    Program Mission Statement
    The mission of Northland Community and Technical College’s Nursing Program is to serve learners, society, and particularly the region through a collaborative approach in the educational preparation of nursing personnel.

    Northland Community and Technical College’s (Northland) Nursing program functions in conjunction with the mission and vision of Northland. Northland’s nursing program has multiple campuses and modes of delivery which are committed to inspire student success and cultivate a quality educational environment.

    The PN program develops the professional behaviors of the student Practical Nurse through utilization of the nursing process, with emphasis in the areas of communication, teamwork, and interprofessional collaboration.

    Ongoing quality improvement activities are performed implementing established EBP, and current technology to deliver quality safe patient centered care.

    Program Completion Rates:
    Year — Total
    2015 — 91%
    2016 — 85%
    2017 — 93%
    2018 — 88%
    2019 — 85%

    NCLEX-PN Licensure Pass Rates:


    2015 86.41% 83.44% 81.89%
    2016 86.18% 85.13% 83.70%
    2017 88.17% 86.22% 83.85%
    2018 92.37% 85.42% 85.93%
    2019 89.68% 88.47% 85.63%

    Program Employment / Placement Rates:
    Year — Total employed or continuing education
    2013 — 89%
    2014 — 87%
    2015 — 93%
    2019 — 77% of tracked graduates

    Average Class Size:
    Theory/lecture classes: 40 maximum
    Skills lab: 15 students per instructor
    Clinicals: 10 students per instructor

    Job Outlook/Pay:
    According to CAREERwise, the median pay for LPNs in Minnesota is $20.07/hour and $21.80 in the U.S. The employment outlook through 2024 is expected to grow approximately 11.3% in MN, and 16.3% in the U.S. This career is in very high demand.

    The first place to look for scholarships is at Northland Community and Technical College Foundation. The Northland Foundation budgets over $55,000 for scholarships at NCTC. The budget includes scholarships for students who attend Northland next year, fall and spring semesters in full-time status (12+ credits), and obtain high academic achievement and/or impact our college. Applications are available to download from this site. Applications are due the third week of spring semester with scholarship ceremony in early March. Included in this money are several scholarships provided by nursing faculty and area supporters for nursing students. (Taken from the NCTC Foundation Contributors’ Update, May 2002).
    Local Scholarships

    Look for scholarships at your bank, credit union, families employment, the local service organizations in your hometown, such as the Elks and the Legion and at your place of employment.

    Nursing Scholarships
    The Johnson and Johnson Company has an excellent web site which links you to between 150 and 200 nursing scholarships that are available. You can find information on these scholarships at:

    This loan repayment program is for students who plan to practice in rural areas. Many facilities in NW Minnesota are included. Watch the site for details.

    Federal Monies

    “ is the most comprehensive FREE full-text online resource on all U.S. federal government student financial aid programs. Here you will find detailed and up-to-date information about (1) who can apply, (2) how to apply, (3) full contact info, and much more… for over 130 government loans and grants (scholarships, fellowships, traineeships) related to education!” (Taken from site).

    Free Scholarship Search Engines

    These are free scholarship search engines. They require you to fill out identifying information on yourself and then they will bring up the scholarships they have in their database that you would be eligible to apply for. It is also nice because it will send you reminders in your e-mail when dates for applications need to be in by.

    • 20016-19 Practical Nursing Diploma EGF, TRF, Online
    • 2009-16 Practical Nursing Diploma TRF
    • 2008-09 Practical Nursing Diploma TRF
    • Important Practical Nursing program progression / curriculum information
    • 2014-16 Practical Nursing AAS
    • 2009-14 Practical Nursing AAS
    • 2008-09 Practical Nursing AAS EGF