Ridgewater College

Students studying in a small group at Ridgewater  College.

Learn a trade and get a great job in two years or less through Ridgewater College. The college's 94 percent placement rate is evidence that employers love the graduates from the college's more than 40 degree programs. Or complete an Associate in Arts degree and transfer to a bachelor's degree program in virtually any major.

Ridgewater College
2101 15th Ave NW
Willmar, MN 56201

Toll-Free: (800) 722-1151
Local: (320) 222-5200

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City: Hutchinson
Population: 14,034

City: Willmar
Population: 19,694

School highlights

Ridgewater College has two campuses, Hutchison and Willmar, offering more than 40 degree programs

  • Technical programs – Learn a trade and get a great job in two years or less. The college’s high career placement rate is evidence that employers love the graduates from the college’s more than 40 degree programs.
  • First two of four – Complete an Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degree at Ridgewater and you’ll be well on your way to a bachelor’s degree in virtually any major. 
  • Online learning – Ridgewater now offers three completely online associate degrees: liberal arts, computer-aided drafting and design, and law enforcement-peace officer or corrections, along with dozens of stand-alone courses on the way to your degree.
  • Extraordinary value – Paying for college isn’t easy, and you deserve a lot for your dollar. At Ridgewater, your investment in education is taken seriously, and student needs take top priority.
  • Great people – Students and alumni note the caring and helpful nature of staff and faculty as one of Ridgewater’s most impressive traits.
  • Outstanding location – Enjoy the recreation and pace of life in central Minnesota while keeping a short commute to the metro area.
  • Your success matters – Many outstanding support services are available at Ridgewater, including on-campus academic support centers, online tutoring, TRIO Student Support Services and regular student success workshops.

Student enrollment and demographics

  • Total number of students served: 5,712
  • Full-time students: 60.9%
  • Part-time students: 39.1%
  • Percent female: 52.6%
  • Percent male: 47.2%
  • Percent students of color: 11.2%

Largest programs

Liberal arts and sciences, agriculture, nursing/allied health, administrative support, veterinary technology

Unique programs

Activity Director, advanced collision services, agronomy technology, dairy management, calibration engineering technology, GPS/GIS for agriculture, insurance claim representative, nondestructive testing technology


Bus transportation is available on both campuses of Ridgewater College.

  • Bus


Student parking is available in lots adjacent to both Ridgewater Campuses.

  • Off-street


Admissions requirements

Ridgewater College has an open admissions policy. This means:

  • You can enroll if you have a high school diploma or a GED. Even without those, you may be admitted if you demonstrate potential for success in college.
  • You don’t have to take a standardized test to be admitted, and your high school grades and class rank are not considered.
  • After you are admitted, you will take a placement test. That will tell you if you need to take remedial or developmental courses, which will not count toward a degree, before you can take college-level courses. Many students need just one developmental course, often in math or English. If you have taken these subjects every year in high school, you are more likely to do well on the placement test.

You can complete your studies in less time and for less total cost if you come well prepared for college-level work, especially by taking math, English, science and social studies classes every year in high school. Also, some programs of study require more math and science, so your high school preparation makes a difference.

Apply early to increases your chances of being admitted to the specific program you want when you enter college. Some programs are more popular than others and fill early.

Apply online

Using the e-application, you may apply to Ridgewater College and other schools in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.


Creating Opportunities. Changing Lives

Whether your ultimate goal is a bachelor's degree or career training, Ridgewater is your place. Enroll at Ridgewater to get started on a four-year degree in virtually any major.  You'll get a quality education with the personal attention from instructors who love to teach, and you will save thousands of dollars versus going directly to a university as a freshman. Hands-on training for a specific career sound more appealing to you? With dozens of options in the area of career and technical training, you can build the knowledge and skills you need in two years or less.  Either way, Ridgewater will create opportunities for you, and change your life!

Program TitleAward
Accounting ClerkDIP
Accounting TechnicianDIP
Activity AidCERT
Activity DirectorAAS
Administrative AssistantDIP
Administrative AssistantAAS
Advanced Activity DirectorCERT
Advanced CarpentryAAS
Advanced CarpentryDIP
Advanced EstheticsAAS
Advanced EstheticsCERT
Advanced Farm Business ManagementATC
Advanced Massage TherapyCERT
Advanced Skin Care CertificateCERT
Advanced Ultrasonic Testing TechnologyDIP
Agri BusinessAAS
Agri BusinessDIP
Agricultural Commodities MarketingCERT
Agricultural Science and TechnologyAS
Agronomy TechnologyDIP
Assistant Activity DirectorDIP
Audio Video Systems TechnologyAAS
Audio Video Systems TechnologyDIP
Auto Body Collision TechnologyAAS
Auto Body Collision TechnologyDIP
Auto Body Specialty TechnicianCERT
Automated Systems Engineering TechnologyCERT
Automation and Robotic Systems TechnologyAAS
Automation and Robotic Systems TechnologyDIP
Automotive Service TechnologyDIP
Automotive Service TechnologyAAS
Basic Activity DirectorCERT
Biological SciencesAS
CAD TechnicianCERT
Calibration Engineering TechnologyCERT
Calibration Engineering TechnologyDIP
Calibration Engineering TechnologyAAS
Chemical Dependency CounselorCERT
CNC Precision Manufacturing TechnicianAAS
CNC Precision Manufacturing TechnicianDIP
Computer Aided Drafting and DesignDIP
Computer Aided Drafting and DesignAAS
Computer Numerical ControlCERT
Computer ProgrammerAAS
Computer ProgrammerDIP
Computer Support TechnicianDIP
Computer Support TechnicianAAS
Dairy ManagementDIP
Dairy ManagementAAS
Die Making TechnicianDIP
Die Making TechnicianAAS
Early Childhood EducationAS
Early Childhood Special EducationCERT
Education Paraprofessional, Title 1AAS
Educational AssistantDIP
Educational AssistantAAS
Electronics TechnicianDIP
Electronics TechnicianAAS
Emergency Medical ServicesCERT
Entry Level WelderCERT
Farm Business ManagementDIP
Farm Operation and ManagementAAS
Farm Operation and ManagementDIP
Global StudiesCERT
GPS/GIS Technology for AgricultureAAS
GPS/GIS Technology for AgricultureDIP
Health Information TechnicianAAS
Health Sciences Broad FieldAS
Health Support SpecialistCERT
Healthcare Administrative AssistantDIP
Healthcare Administrative AssistantAAS
Human Resource DevelopmentCERT
Industrial WeldingDIP
Industrial WeldingAAS
Insurance Claim RepresentativeDIP
Java Computer ProgrammerCERT
Law EnforcementAAS
Legal Administrative AssistantCERT
Legal Administrative AssistantDIP
Legal Administrative AssistantAAS
Liberal Arts and SciencesAA
Linux AdministratorCERT
Machining TechnicianDIP
Marketing and DesignAAS
Marketing and Sales ManagementAAS
Marketing and Sales ManagementDIP
Massage TherapyDIP
Massage TherapyAAS
Medical AssistantDIP
Medical AssistantAAS
Medical Coding SpecialistDIP
Medical ReceptionistCERT
Medical TranscriptionistCERT
Microsoft Office SpecialistCERT
Mold Making TechnicianDIP
Mold Making TechnicianAAS
Multimedia Design TechnologyAAS
Multimedia Design TechnologyDIP
Nail Care TechnologyCERT
Network Systems AdministrationDIP
Network Systems AdministrationAAS
Nondestructive Testing TechnologyAAS
Nondestructive Testing TechnologyDIP
Nursing (MANE)AS
Nursing AssistantCERT
Occupational SkillsDIP
Occupational SkillsCERT
Office AssistantDIP
Physical Education Teaching and CoachingCERT
Poultry ProductionCERT
Practical NursingDIP
Precision FarmingCERT
Process ControlsAAS
Process Controls TechnicianDIP
Process Controls TechnologyCERT
Professional Photography TechnologyDIP
Professional Photography TechnologyAAS
Sales and ManagementCERT
Sales and Management AssociateDIP
Sales RepresentativeDIP
Small Business ManagementDIP
Supervisory LeadershipCERT
Supervisory ManagementAAS
Universal Care AssistantCERT
Veterinary TechnologyAAS
Web ProgrammingDIP
Web ProgrammingAAS
Windows AdministratorCERT
Wireless Communications ElectronicsAAS
Wireless Communications ElectronicsDIP
Program TitleAward
Computer Aided Drafting and DesignAAS
Early Childhood Special EducationCERT
Global StudiesCERT
Health Support SpecialistCERT
Law EnforcementAAS
Legal Administrative AssistantCERT
Liberal Arts and SciencesAA
The following degrees are available from this school:
  • Advanced Technical Certificate
  • Associate in Applied Science
  • Associate in Arts
  • Associate in Science
  • Certificate
  • Diploma
advancedCoursesearchUrl Credit courses
courseEquivalencyUrl Course equivalency
noncreditUrl Non-credit courses


Tuition & finance

Tuition and Fees (2012-2013): $5,400

FAFSA Code: 005252

How to apply for financial aid

Your key to receiving financial aid to help pay your college costs is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA form. Many students don’t realize they could qualify for grant money and federally guaranteed loans, so be sure to find out by filling out the form.

Complete the FAFSA after Jan. 1 of your senior year. Find the form online at www.fafsa.ed.gov or pick up the form at your school counselor’s office. For help with completing the form, go to your high school counselor or the financial aid office at the college or university you plan to attend.

The FAFSA determines your eligibility for one or more of the following types of financial aid:

Scholarships are a great source of aid, and you do not need to pay them back. Many scholarships are available for students with special interests and backgrounds. Talk to your guidance counselor about what kind of scholarships you can get.

You may be eligible to receive federal and state grants of $300 to more than $7,000 per year. You do not need to pay these back.

Work study
Work study programs give you the opportunity to work on campus or with approved off-campus employers to earn money to pay for college. Work study jobs are often very flexible, allowing you to work around your classes and personal schedules.

Student loans
You also may be eligible for student loans, which must be paid back. Student loans usually have a lower interest rate than other kinds of loans.

Other ways to save

Reduced out-of-state tuition
Students from other states don’t always have to pay higher tuition if they want to attend the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. If you live in Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota or Manitoba, Canada, you’re eligible for tuition rates similar to those paid by Minnesota residents. And 26 of the state colleges and universities allow students from other states to pay the lower in-state rates, so ask a college or university about its tuition charges.

Tax credits
Some college students also benefit from two federal tax credit programs, the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning tax credit. These may apply to you or your family, depending on your financial circumstances.

Veterans are welcomed at the state colleges and universities. If you’ve served in the armed forces, you might be eligible for help with paying for college. Stop by one of the on-campus veterans centers for information, support and assistance. Also, check with the campus financial aid office about benefits from the new Minnesota GI Bill. Or go to www.mymilitaryeducation.org.

Campus life

College is more than textbooks, classes, labs and studying. Plenty of clubs and program-related organizations, sports and recreational activities help you meet new friends, develop leadership and team skills, stay fit and share the fun of working together on projects.

  • Student Government
  • Co-Curricular Clubs
  • Choir
  • Theatre
  • Phi Theta Kappa honor society
  • Multi-Cultural Club
  • More!
  • Academic Support Center
  • Bookstore
  • Career Counseling
  • Career Services
  • Disability Services
  • Fitness Center
  • Food Service/Dining Services
  • Library
  • Multicultural Affairs
  • Ridgewater College Foundation
  • Student Employment Services
  • Student Services
  • Student Services
  • Student Services
  • Student Success Office
  • Technology Center
  • TRIO Student Support Services
  • Tutoring/Writing Services
  • Veterans Resource Center
  • Study Abroad
Career and professional
  • Audio Production
  • Auto Body Club
  • Auto Tech Club
  • Business Professionals of America
  • Carpentry Club
  • Computer Art & Publishing
  • Computer Systems Technology Club
  • Cosmetology Club
  • Delta Epsilon Chi
  • Electrician Club
  • Electronics Club
  • Health Information Management Club
  • Helping Hands Club
  • Intl Assn of Administrative Professional
  • Medical Assistant Club
  • Multimedia Club
  • Nondestructive Testing Club
  • Nursing
  • Nursing Club
  • Occupational Skills
  • Photography Club
  • Veterinary Technology Association
  • Welding
Ethnicity, language and culture
  • Multicultural Club
Farming and agricultural
  • Postsecondary Ag Student Organization
Gender and sexuality
  • Pride Respect Individuality Sup Movement
Honorary societies
  • Phi Theta Kappa
Law enforcement and safety
  • Criminal Justice Association
Military and veterans
  • Veteran's Center
Politics and society
  • Beliefs, Ideas & Opinions (BIO) Club
  • Republican Club
Recreational and club sports
  • Intramural Sports
Religious and spiritual
  • Christian Students in Action
Special interest
  • Anime Club
  • Chess Club
Student government
  • Student Government
Theater, dance, music
  • Choir
  • Theatre
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Wrestling
  • Basketball
  • Softball
  • Volleyball