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Who Needs a Minnesota Nursing License?

The state laws determine whether or not a Minnesota nursing license is required.
  • Every person who practices professional nursing in Minnesota must hold a Minnesota registered nurse (RN) license or temporary permit and every person who practices practical nursing must hold a licensed practical nurse (LPN) license or temporary permit.
  • Only licensed nurses (RNs and LPNs) may use any abbreviation or other designation such as "nurse" which implies licensure.

  • The description of what constitutes violations of the nurse practice act is found in Minnesota Statutes Section 148.281 subdivision 1.

What is the penalty for practicing nursing without a current, valid Minnesota license or temporary permit?

Except for the exemptions described above, Minnesota law classifies violation of the mandatory nurse licensure laws as a gross misdemeanor which shall be punished according to legal requirements by the criminal justice system.

If you have a question about registered nurse or licensed practical nurse license requirements, contact

Are there exceptions to the mandatory nurse licensure laws?

Yes, the Nurse Practice Act includes eight exemptions. Board rules contain further elaboration in Minnesota Rules Part 6305.0300.

A Minnesota nursing license is not needed when a person is

  • furnishing nursing assistance in an emergency.
  • practicing nursing in a United States government bureau, division or agency as long as the nurse holds a current, valid license in another state.
  • holding a license and practicing another occupation or profession, and performing acts properly coming within the scope of the occupation, profession or license.
  • performing nursing or nursing-related services as a nursing assistant, has been delegated the specific function and is supervised by a registered nurse or monitored by a licensed practical nurse. Supervision and monitoring are defined in MN Rule Part 6321.0100 subparts 2 and 3.
  • caring for the sick in a nursing home which purpose is to provide care and treatment by spiritual means in lieu of medical care. See MN Statutes Section 144A.09.
  • practicing nursing in Minnesota as part of a course while enrolled in a formal, structured course of study if the nurse is currently licensed in another state.
  • practicing nursing as part of a course to prepare the student for licensure as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse.