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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 advanced practice nursing in Minnesota must hold a Minnesota advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license, every person who practices professional nursing in Minnesota must hold a 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 misdemeanorwhich shall be punished according to legal requirements by the criminal justice system.

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

Are there exceptions to the mandatory nurse licensure laws?

Yes, the Nurse Practice Act includes nine 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.
  • 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, subdivision 1.
  • 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 an advanced practice registered nurse, a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse.
  • Licensed in another state, jurisdiction or territory and in Minnesota temporarily, providing continuing education, serving as a guest lecturer, presenting at a conference or teaching the theory or practice of nursing in a didactic course via distance education.
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