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Practical Nursing Overview

Practical Nursing

Career/Program Overview

The Practical Nursing major is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide direct nursing care to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, home health care, and community based settings. This educational program includes classroom theory, laboratory experience, and supervised clinical experience in area hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and community health care agencies. During the last semester of the program, the clinical rotation includes integrated clinical experience where students participate in eight-hour shifts to assist them in making the transition from a student role to the role of graduate practical nurse. 


Coursework for the Practical Nursing program includes 12 general education credit requirements and 27 core practical nursing credit requirements. The general education courses may be taken prior to or concurrent with the nursing courses. The program length is 10 months, starting in August with completion in June. Core requirements include: Success in Nursing, Nursing Fundamentals in the Care of the Older Adult, Pharmacology for Practical Nursing, Adult Nursing, Family and Mental Health Concepts, and Integrated Clinical Application.

Program/Degree Options

The Practical Nursing Diploma program is 39 credits in length.

RCTC can offer students a career path in nursing beginning with the Nursing Assistant program, advancing to the Practical Nursing Diploma program, and then completing an Associate in Science Degree in Nursing.

Program Start Date(s)

Students can begin general education requirements any semester. The general education courses can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis. In order to complete the Practical Nurse diploma program in  ten months, students must begin professional-related coursework in the fall semester on a full-time basis.

Career Opportunities/ Information

For the most up to date statewide occupational employment information please visit the following website.


A graduate of the Practical Nursing program is eligible to apply to take the National Council for Licensing Exam – Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN). This program is approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc.

Rochester Community and Technical College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. is located at 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, in Atlanta, Georgia 30326. For more information, visit ACEN’s website at

For additional information on the most current list of RCTC program articulations see us at

Additional Information

Program Website:
Program Plan:
More Information:

Gainful Employment Programs

The U.S. Department of Education's (USDE) gainful employment regulations require disclosure of certain program information for programs that lead to certificates or diplomas and are financial aid eligible.

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Overview content updated: 2016-08-18
Contact Information
(507) 285-7210 or 1‑800‑247‑1296
Rochester Community and Technical College
851 30th Ave SE :: Rochester, MN 55904-4999
Celebrating 100 years!    1915-2015
Rochester Community and Technical College, a member of Minnesota State.
RCTC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity educator and employer.
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