There are several educational programs for aspiring and existing nurses in the state of Washington. A number of 2-year colleges and 4-year universities offer full- and part-time nursing and pre-nursing associate's and bachelor's degree programs.
Some of these schools also offer graduate programs for students who are interested in advanced practice nursing. Students may have online learning opportunities or transfer options. Clinical experiences, laboratory sessions, and internships might be included in the curricula.
Future nurses in Washington State must complete a program from a state-approved nursing school before taking necessary licensing exams. Nurses may choose to complete an associate's or bachelor's degree program. Alternatively, they may also choose to earn a diploma in nursing. Aspiring registered nurses (RNs) must then pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). The ten largest schools in Washington state that feature nursing programs are listed below.
Bellevue College enrolls approximately 37,000 students annually at its Bellevue campuses. The college's approved nursing program provides an associate's transfer degree that qualifies nursing students to take the national licensing examination. Graduates may then continue on to 4-year study at another college. Both full-time and part-time programs are available.
Central Washington University
Located in Ellensburg, Central Washington University offers a pre-nursing specialization within the Bachelor of Science in Public Health program. While students won't be able to acquire a license after completing this program, the specialization prepares them for transfer to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program or for a career within a public health agency. Students will learn through an internship and prerequisite courses, such as biochemistry, human anatomy, microbiology, and developmental psychology.
Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, is home to the largest nursing associate's degree program in the state, and it offers a state-approved nursing program. Students can earn an Associate in Applied Science and will be prepared to sit for the RN licensure examination upon graduation. Additionally, students can complete courses in social science, math, humanities, and communications to earn an Associate of Arts. Graduates of this program can transfer into a bachelors level nursing program.
Eastern Washington University
Located in Cheney, Eastern Washington University shares a College of Nursing with Washington State University and Whitworth University as a part of the Intercollegiate Nursing Alliance. Students can take lower-division courses at Eastern Washington before transferring to Washington State University to fulfill upper-division requirements. Courses that can be taken at Eastern Washington University include general education courses and prerequisite nursing courses, such as anatomy, lifespan development, nutrition, and chemistry. Students will need to complete the upper-division requirements before they will be eligible for licensure.
Edmonds Community College
Edmonds Community College is a 2-year school in Lynnwood. The Associate of Arts in Pre-Nursing program prepares students to transfer directly to a 4-year school to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The associate's degree program doesn't prepare students for licensure exams. In addition to general education courses, students will complete classes such as contemporary health issues and nutrition and life fitness.
Gonzaga University in Spokane offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing. According to U.S. News & World Report, Gonzaga has been ranked among the West's best universities for 15 consecutive years. The approved bachelor's degree program prepares students for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. Additionally, there are online graduate programs available for those nurses who already hold a license.
Green River Community College
A 2-year school in Auburn, Green River Community College offers an Associate in Pre-Nursing. Students are required to complete 91 credit hours of foundational coursework in this program. It prepares students to transfer to a 4-year college in Washington to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and prepare for the licensure exam.
Spokane Falls Community College
Spokane Falls Community College in Spokane, Washington, offers a 2-year pre-nursing degree for aspiring nurses. The Associate in Pre-Nursing program prepares students to transfer to a 4-year school upon graduation to complete a bachelor's degree. However, it's not approved to qualify graduates for state licensure.
University of Washington - Seattle Campus
The University of Washington in Seattle was founded in 1861, making it one of the oldest among West Coast universities. The School of Nursing offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as many graduate certificates. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a 2-year approved program that requires students to have at least 90 credit hours of college-level coursework completed upon application. Graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN examination.
Washington State University
With the main campus in Pullman, Washington State University (WSU) is home to over 26,000 students and offers nursing training at multiple campuses, including Yakima, Vancouver, Spokane, Tri-Cities and Walla Walla. In the College of Nursing, students can find a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice, in addition to post-master's certificates. An RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is also available online. Students interested in the approved BSN program complete the first two years of the program at participating schools before completing upper-division courses at WSU. These lower-division requirements can also be completed at WSU. In addition to coursework, students can expect to participate in clinical experiences and lab simulations. The program prepares students for the NCLEX-RN exam.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Nursing Degree Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Bellevue College||4-year, primarily associate's, public; midsize city||Associate in Applied Science in Nursing||$3,778 (in-state), $9,144 (out-of-state)*|
|Central Washington University||4-year, public; distant town||Bachelor of Science in Public Health, Specializing in Pre-Nursing||$8,072 (in-state), $23,053 (out-of-state)*|
|Clark College||2-year, public; midsize city|| Associate in Applied Science in Nursing,
Associate of Arts in Nursing
|$4,287 (in-state), $9,718 (out-of-state)*|
|Eastern Washington University||4-year, public; fringe town||Bachelor of Science in Nursing (lower-division courses only)||$7,323 (in-state), $24,444 (out-of-state)*|
|Edmonds Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate of Arts in Pre-Nursing||$4,136 (in-state), $9,506 (out-of-state)*|
|Gonzaga University||4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
|Green River Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Pre-Nursing||$4,053 (in-state), $4,482 (out-of-state)*|
|Spokane Falls Community College||2-year, public; fringe rural||Associate in Pre-Nursing||$3,547 (in-state), $8,914 (out-of-state)*|
|University of Washington - Seattle Campus||4-year, public; large city|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science
|$11,207 (in-state), $36,588 (out-of-state)*|
|Washington State University||4-year, public; distant town|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
|$11,584 (in-state), $25,820 (out-of-state)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator