Introduction to Nursing Schools in Washington

The Washington Coalition for Nursing has been pushing for legislation for a bachelor’s degree to be the minimal requirement for licensure. Nursing schools in Washington have responded to call and have introduced many different RN and BSN programs to help nurses meet their educational goals. These programs help prepare registered nurses for leadership and the culture shift of modern health care. There was almost a 50% increase of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the recent years. Now is the optimal time for registered nurses to seek out higher education in order to meet the needs of the constantly evolving career field.

In our Washington RN program guide, find rankings for both ADN and BSN Degree programs, tuition costs, NCLEX passing rates, and more. Research key Washington RN Program information to help you compare program metrics and to apply to best RN program for your career in nursing.

In the State of Washington, nurses are helping to change the face of healthcare. To ensure that they have the best education and preparation for future health care challenges, registered nurses need to graduate from a state-approved associate's degree in nursing program or a BSN degree program.

Nurses who graduate from an RN program can obtain certification in over 100 nursing specialties, go on to earn an RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree.

BSN degree holders have options to earn an Advance Practice Register Nursing (APRN) degree and become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or earn an advanced degree for a career in any number of nursing leadership roles such Nurse Educator or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Washington RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN Programs ADN BSN
Number of Nursing Programs 34 14
Average NCLEX Passing Rate 86.86% 90.57%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range 50.13% to 98.64% 86.79% to 93.11%
Average Net Price $6,652.62 $17,988.57
Average Net Price Range $3,666.00 to $9,734.00 $5,316.00 to $34,340.00
Average Student Loan $8,360.91 $19,210.79
Average Student Loan Range $3,800.00 to $21,201.00 $8,444.00 to $27,000.00
See Additional Detail ADN Rankings for Washington State BSN Rankings for Washington State

Best Ranked RN Programs in Washington

Best Ranked RN Programs in WashingtonTo help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at RNCareers.org publish their annual findings of the best nursing schools for both Washington and the country. Schools ranked on our list have proven their ability to educate highly competent nurses.

To create our rankings, we evaluated 29 ADN degree programs and 8 BSN degree programs in Washington. We obtained each institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, the program nursing accreditation and more. We then compared the results against other nursing programs in Washington to provide our state rankings. View our methodology

#1

Big Bend Community College

  • 7662 Chanute St NE, Moses Lake, WA - 98837-3299
  • (509) 793-2222
  • Grade: (A) 100.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Big Bend Community College is located in Moses Lake, Washington.  They offer a career ladder program.  The program allows students to become a Nursing Assistant - Certified (NA-C) after the first quarter, an LPN after the third quarter and an ADN at the completion of the program.

#2

Pierce College

  • 1601 39th Ave SE, Puyallup, WA - 98374-2222
  • (253) 840-8400
  • Grade: (A) 97.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#3

Columbia Basin College

  • 2600 N 20th Ave, Pasco, WA - 99301
  • (509) 547-0511
  • Grade: (A) 96.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Columbia Basin College is located in Pasco, Washington.  They offer an LPN and an ADN program.  The program is designed as a career ladder program - the student first earns their LPN, then can exit it they'd like, or continue for their ADN degree.

#3

Whatcom Community College

  • 237 W Kellogg Rd, Bellingham, WA - 98226
  • (360) 383-3000
  • Grade: (A) 96.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Whatcom Community College is located in Bellingham, Washington.  WCC offers an ADN program.  They are proud to boast that 3 out of the past 4 years, 100% of their graduates have passed the NCLEX-RN on the first time.  Their ADN degree allows students to transfer to any university after graduation and complete their BSN in one year.

#4

Bellevue College

  • 3000 Landerholm Cir SE, Bellevue, WA - 98007-6484
  • (425) 564-1000
  • Grade: (A) 95.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor

Bellevue College is located in Bellevue, Washington.  Their program consists of a Nursing Assistant Certified (NAC) Training Program, an ADN program and an RN to BSN program.  They also offer an RN refresher program, which is available for students who have been out of the workforce and need to brush up on their nursing skills.

#4

Walla Walla University

  • 204 S College Ave, College Place, WA - 99324-1198
  • (509) 527-2615
  • Grade: (A) 95.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor

Walla Walla University is located in College Place, Washington.  They offer a BSN degree.  Although they do not offer specific career ladder programs, they offer individualized options for students interested in an RN to BSN degree or an LPN to BSN degree.

#5

Everett Community College

  • 2000 Tower Street, Everett, WA - 98201
  • (425) 388-9100
  • Grade: (A) 94.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Everett Community College is located in Everett, Washington.  They have been educating nurses since 1941.  Graduates from their program earn an AAS-T degree, allowing them to easily transfer to a four-year college, as many will go on to earn their BSN degree.

#5

Olympic College

  • 1600 Chester Ave, Bremerton, WA - 98337-1699
  • (360) 792-6050
  • Grade: (A) 94.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor
#6

Gonzaga University

  • E 502 Boone Ave, Spokane, WA - 99258-0001
  • (509) 328-4220
  • Grade: (A) 93.00%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP, RN to MSN

Gonzaga University is located in Spokane, Washington.  They offer a BSN degree.  For RNs seeking advancement, they also offer an online RN to MSN degree.  They also offer several other online post-graduate nursing options.  They offer a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP), which readies the nurse with a BSN degree to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA).

#6

Peninsula College

  • 1502 E Lauridsen Blvd, Port Angeles, WA - 98362
  • (360) 452-9277
  • Grade: (A) 93.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Peninsula College is located in Port Angeles, Washington.  They offer an ADN program.  They offer advanced placement for LPNs, but only if spaces allow in the program - they do not have spaces available for the 2016-2017 academic year.  Peninsula College offers dozens of scholarships to its nursing students for those that apply.

#6

University of Washington

  • 1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA - 98195-4550
  • (206) 543-2100
  • Grade: (A) 93.00%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursingg, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, BSN to PhD, MSN, MSN to DNP

University of Washington is located in Seattle, Washington.  They offer a BSN program and an accelerated BSN program; for students seeking an advanced education, they also have several lucrative post-graduate nursing options.  Their nursing department has been in existence since 1918, with their BSN program beginning in 1923.

#6

Wenatchee Valley College

  • 1300 Fifth St, Wenatchee, WA - 98801-1799
  • (509) 682-6800
  • Grade: (A) 93.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#6

South Puget Sound Community College

  • 2011 Mottman Rd SW, Olympia, WA - 98512-6292
  • (360) 596-5241
  • Grade: (A) 93.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#7

Pacific Lutheran University

  • 1010 122nd St So, Tacoma, WA - 98447-0003
  • (253) 535-8145
  • Grade: (A) 92.00%
  • Programs: CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, BSN to DNP, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP

Pacific Lutheran University is located in Tacoma, Washington.  They offer a BSN degree, in addition to several graduate degree options.  They also offer an LPN to BSN degree option.  Highly qualified high school seniors may apply for freshman entry into the program.

#7

Tacoma Community College

  • 6501 S 19th St, Tacoma, WA - 98466-6100
  • (253) 566-5000
  • Grade: (A) 92.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#7

Bellingham Technical College

  • 3028 Lindbergh Ave, Bellingham, WA - 98225-1599
  • (360) 752-7000
  • Grade: (A) 92.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#8

Skagit Valley College

  • 2405 E. College Way, Mount Vernon, WA - 98273
  • (360) 416-7600
  • Grade: (A) 91.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Skagit Valley College is located in Mount Vernon, Washington.  They offer an ADN degree.  They also offer an LPN to RN program.  The LPN to RN program is part-time.  Both degrees are designed to be transfer programs, enabling the nurse to transfer to a four-year college to earn their BSN.

#8

Walla Walla Community College

  • 500 Tausick Way, Walla Walla, WA - 99362-9267
  • (509) 522-2500
  • Grade: (A) 91.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Walla Walla Community College is located in Walla Walla, Washington.  They offer a practical nursing program and an ADN program.  The program is a transfer degree program, where the degree transfers to certain universities and the student will only need to complete one year of schooling in order to earn their BSN.

#8

Centralia College

  • 600 Centralia College Blvd., Centralia, WA - 98531-4099
  • (360) 736-9391
  • Grade: (A) 91.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

More Washington Nursing Schools

Grade
WA Rank
Degree
University
89.31 18 ADN Yakima Valley Community College
89.10 19 ADN Seattle Central Community College
87.74 20 ADN Lower Columbia College
87.15 21 ADN Spokane Community College
86.35 22 ADN Lake Washington Institute of Technology
86.32 23 ADN Clark College
81.40 24 ADN Grays Harbor College
79.37 25 ADN Renton Technical College
87.88 6 BSN Washington State University
87.49 7 BSN Seattle University
86.79 8 BSN Northwest University

Become an Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in Washington

RNs who wish to become advanced practice registered nurses will want to pursue any number of avenues to earn Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing consists of graduate-level coursework and clinical practice for those nurses who wish to direct patient roles such as a nurse practitioner. You can also pursue indirect patient roles such as teaching or leadership roles, or become involved in policy, state-wide health initiatives or community engagement. There are many clinical and non-clinical avenues that an RN with MSN can pursue.

Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Washington

Learn how to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and research schools in Washington offering the following high paying nurse practitioner specialties:

Learn about Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree.

Online NP Programs Liked by Washington Nurses

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Washington  RN Licensing Requirements

Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission
Department of Health
PO Box 47890
Olympia, WA 98504-7864
(360) 236-4703

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $92
License renewal (annual), RN: $101

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs and LPNs: Seven contact hours in HIV-AIDS education

RN Licensure by Exams

Upon the completion of an approved nursing program, candidates will be required to verify program completion. This must be done before he/she can be granted authorization to take the NCLEX exam. The applicant will be responsible for an $88 nonrefundable application fee. There is a $200 registration fee that will be paid to Pearson VUE to register for the exam. When the candidate has received authorization to test (ATT), he/she will schedule the exam. After this, the candidate will verify the licensure online before receiving a paper copy.

RN License by Endorsement

Nurses who have obtained licensure in one of the other 50 states will be able to obtain licensure in Washington by endorsement. They will be required to submit a criminal background check through fingerprinting. If the registered nurse as an active license, he/she must submit verification of licensure and transcripts from an accredited nursing program. Candidates may work under a temporary permit that will allow them to work while the background check is being processed. Nurses who do not have an active license will be required to take part in a refresher course.

RN License for Nurses Educated Abroad

Registered nurses who obtained licensure outside of the United States will need to have an educational evaluation performed by an approved organization. The applicant will also be required to attest to having had AIDS training.

RN Salaries in Washington

Health care facilities in Washington are pushing for nurses that are baccalaureate-prepared. A lot of nursing schools in Washington work in collaboration with health care facilities to ensure that a high level of education is provided which will ultimately result in well educated and highly skilled nursing workforce. Nurses who have obtained a BSN have the ability to provide education resources for nursing students and newly licensed nurses. Certifications can provide nurses with unique career mobility and independent practice in areas such as oncology and nursing advocacy.

Washington Registered Nursing Salaries

Overall, Seattle has the highest number employed registered nurses along with the highest hourly mean wage and annual median wage.
Source: BLS, Department of Education, State Board of Nursing, Nursing School Websites.

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