Associate degree in nursing coming in 2013

Northwest Technical College and the Bemidji School of Nursing will launch a new two-year associate degree program in nursing beginning in the fall of 2013. Graduates of the new program will be qualified to immediately take their Registered Nurse exams.

The program has been accepted by both the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and the Minnesota Board of Nursing, and will begin accepting applicants into the program this year.

NTC plans two cohorts for the program – one online and one on campus – and will enroll about 60 students during the first year with 25 online and 35 on campus. The school plans to expand the program to 80 students, 40 each online and on campus, in 2014.

“We polled our students, and this is what they want,” said Dr. Jeanine Gangeness, founding dean of the Bemidji School of Nursing. “Almost all of the nursing students at NTC – 93 percent of them – want to be RNs. We can now provide that in a program that is only one credit more than our current practical nursing program.

“This is a higher-level program with essentially the same cost,” she said. “The majority of our practical nursing students were in that program because an RN program wasn’t offered. The addition of this program is the definition of a student-centered decision.”

In addition to being immediately qualified for RN exams, graduates of this program also can transfer directly into Bemidji State University’s nursing program if they desire.

“If students choose to become RNs immediately, they can do that,” Gangeness said, “And if not, they can go into BSU with no admit fees and move right into the baccalaureate program.”

Additionally, students who are currently in NTC’s practical nursing program and complete their LPN requirements by the end of the summer of 2013 will be able to move into the new RN program in the fall of 2013.

“Whether a practical nurse wants to move into the RN program or a two-year RN wants to move into the baccalaureate program, our students will always have the opportunity to move on to the next level of education,” Gangeness said.

John Centko, NTC provost, pointed to the unique alignment between NTC and Bemidji State as a key factor in the creation of this new program.

“This is another example of how NTC and Bemidji State are aligning to meet our students’ demands to fulfill their educational goals in a cost-effective manner,” he said. “Both schools continue to be innovative in providing our students with multiple avenues to achieve their goals.”

Gangeness concurred, and also noted the impact the new program and the alignment between NTC and Bemidji State would have on the program’s ultimate goal – quality healthcare.

“First, it’s student-centered in that it’s a quality program that allows credits to be transferred anywhere,” she said. “Second, it’s affordable. You have two public institutions working together to make resources available at a reasonable price, to expand resources at current or lower costs, and to increase the quality of the program. That leads to better healthcare delivery.”

Information on enrolling at NTC is available by contacting Kari Kantack Miller, NTC enrollment, at (218) 333-6645.

For more about the Bemidji School of Nursing, visit or contact Dr. Jeanine Gangeness, founding dean, at (218) 755-3860. Information about the two-year nursing program is available by contacting Sandy Johanning at (218) 333-6659.

About Northwest Technical College

Northwest Technical College, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, is an open, inviting technological learning organization. For more than 40 years, the college has valued life-long learning and the worth and dignity of all people. Its open-enrollment policy, affordable tuition and high-quality education have attracted a diverse group of learners; today, the College serves more than 1,600 learners.  The college offers more than 40 degree programs in areas such as business, health, human and protective services and environmental and industrial technology career programs. Classes are offered on the Bemidji campus, online, or as a combination of both. NTC is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. For more, visit