RN Programs in Seattle, WA with Course and Degree Descriptions

Dec 06, 2018

The Seattle, WA, area has more than 15 colleges that offer registered nursing (RN) programs, all within about 25 miles and most within 10 miles of the city center. Learn about the degree programs, admission info and program requirements for 3 of these schools to find the right one for you.

Comparison of Seattle RN Programs

Aspiring nurses in Seattle can qualify for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and continue their education with advanced degrees at several colleges. This article features a table that compares important statistics among three schools, along with a discussion of the programs offered at each location. All three are within 15 minutes of downtown Seattle.

  • Seattle Pacific University, a small Christian school, offers bachelor's and master's degrees as well as certificate programs in nursing. It is about 3.5 miles from the city center.
  • Bachelor's degrees in nursing are available at Seattle University, a private school located less than 2 miles from downtown, near several major medical centers in an area dubbed 'Pill Hill.'
  • The largest school listed here, the University of Washington, also has the most options, including a bachelor's degree. The university is less than 5 miles from downtown.

Comparison of Schools

A school's tuition and enrollment might be as important as its programs. Read below to find out about these and other statistics for each of the 3 featured universities.

Seattle Pacific University Seattle University University of Washington - Seattle Campus
School Type 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017)* 3,783 7,278 46,166
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)* $40,893 $42,885 $10,974, in-state; $35,538, out-of-state
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)* 98% 96% 57%
Acceptance Rate (2017)* 91% 74% 46%
Retention Rate (2017)* 79% for full-time students 84% for full-time students 94% for full-time students
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (Students who began studies in fall 2011)* 69% 75% 84%

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Seattle Pacific University

Seattle Pacific University's nursing program is offered by the School of Health Sciences and prepares students for clinical work, specialty nursing, teaching and research. Students can gain clinical experience at the more than 150 area health care facilities, agencies and organizations that are partnered with this school.


Nursing majors complete core curriculum courses and nursing prerequisites, such as chemistry, anatomy and nutrition, during their first 2 years of college and enter the BSN pre-licensure program at the start of the junior year. Clinical practice is required in addition to 125 course credits. In addition to the traditional BSN program, Seattle Pacific University offers an RN to BSN program that enables licensed RNs with associate degrees to earn their BSN through 8 quarters of part-time study.

Nurse Educator Certificate

Nurses with bachelor's or master's degrees who work in teaching, either in a program or a clinical setting, can enroll in the certificate program for nurse educators. The 32-35 credits cover course development, patient care technology and the role of the nurse educator. There is also an internship. The technology course is taught online, and the program schedule is flexible to accommodate the needs of working nurses. Credits earned can be transferred to an MSN degree program.


The MSN program at Seattle Pacific University is for students who hold a BSN. There is a bridge program that allows RNs without a BSN to complete their BSN requirements in an accelerated program and begin their MSN studies. There is also an option for those who have a bachelor's degree in an area other than nursing. An MSN concentration is available in nurse education, which trains nurses to teach in a college or work in staff development. This program requires classroom work and internships or clinical experiences. Classes are taught 1-2 evenings a week, and students can attend full- or part-time. Many courses are available online.

Seattle University

The programs in the School of Nursing at Seattle University emphasize spiritual, as well as physical, care. Students at all levels learn through classroom and clinical work.


Students can enter the nursing program in their first year at Seattle University. The program emphasizes critical thinking and communication. Students learn to work with diverse populations through clinical experiences in a variety of settings. During the 4 years of study, aspiring nurses take general education courses, such as literature and philosophy, as well as nursing preparation courses, including anatomy. In the nursing program, courses include pharmacology, epidemiology and pathophysiology. Students work in a variety of situations during required clinical experiences.

University of Washington - Seattle Campus

The University of Washington's School of Nursing offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees as well as graduate certificates. The school, with its 3 departments, offers a variety of specialties, research opportunities and continuing education programs.


Admission to the BSN program requires 90 hours of prerequisite courses, which include English composition, anatomy and microbiology, and at least 100 hours of paid or volunteer experience in a health care setting. The BSN program is 42 credit hours total. After admission to the nursing program, the student completes two full calendar years of study, which includes classroom work and clinical experiences.


The ABSN is for students who hold a bachelor's degree in subjects other than nursing. This program condenses the 2-year BSN coursework into four quarters. Students must complete prerequisite courses, such as anatomy development, chemistry and nutrition, with a grade point average of at least 2.8. The nursing program consists of courses and practicums in various types of nursing, including family nursing and psychosocial nursing.

Other School Options

Bellevue College, about 11 miles east of downtown Seattle, offers an Associate Degree in Nursing that qualifies graduates to take the NCLEX-RN. Seattle Central College, located downtown, and North Seattle College offer a nursing associate degree program that prepares graduates to transfer to a 4-year program to earn a BSN. South Seattle College offers an Associate Degree in Nursing.

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