Washington Nursing Programs and Degrees Guide

    The following guide provides prospective nursing students with important information on the many undergraduate and graduate nursing programs offered by Washington State’s colleges and universities. Students have the option of pursuing dual degrees, such a joint Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Master of Business Administration (MBA), at some universities. Numerous programs offer concentrations in such areas as family nurse practitioner, nurse administrator, nurse educator, and advanced population health. A flexible alternative to a traditional on-campus nursing program is to opt for an online bachelor’s or master’s program in nursing.

    Quick Facts

    • 48 schools with nursing programs in Washington are in our database (see below).
    • 34 colleges and universities offer associate’s degrees or certificates in nursing.1
    • 16 colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing.1
    • 8 colleges and universities offer master’s or advanced degrees in nursing.1
    • 2 schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.2
    • 1 school ranked in the Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Nursing Majors in 2018.3
    • 5 schools ranked in US News Best Nursing Schools: Master’s programs.4
    • 5 schools ranked in US News Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice programs.4

    Top-Ranked Schools with Nursing Programs in Washington

    Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*

    • Western Washington University (#92 in-state, #79 out-of-state)
    • University of Washington-Seattle (#7 in-state, #17 out-of-state)

    *Institution-wide ranking.

    Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Nursing Majors 2018

    • Washington State University-Seattle

    US News Best Nursing Schools: Master’s

    • University of Washington (#5)
    • Washington State University (#27 tie)
    • Seattle University (#98 tie)
    • Pacific Lutheran University (#124 tie)
    • Gonzaga University (#141 tie)

    US News Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice

    • University of Washington (#3)
    • Washington State University (#31)
    • Seattle University (#86 tie)
    • Pacific Lutheran University (#132 tie)
    • Gonzaga University (#142 tie)

    Following you will find more in-depth information, including profiles, of the many nursing programs offered in Washington State.

    NCLEX Pass Rate and Accreditation Information for Nursing Schools in Washington

    The following table allows you to easily compare not-for-profit Washington nursing schools on a variety of factors. Click on the arrows in the top row to sort the table. In addition to seeking a program that leads to licensure in your desired area of nursing, it’s advisable to consider accreditation as a factor in your decision. If you are considering education beyond the associate’s level, know that a degree from a school that holds accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is a common requirement for admission to master’s degree, ADN/LVN and RN to BSN, and specialized certificate programs. You should also check to ensure that the school you are considering is approved or accepted by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (https://nursing.wa.gov/).

    SchoolADN or LVN ProgramBSN ProgramGraduate Nursing ProgramACEN/CCNE Accred.*NCLEX-PN First Time Pass Rate**# TakingNCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rate^# TakingNet Price^^
    Bates Technical CollegeYesNoNoNo96.23%53N/AN/A$6,100
    Bellevue CollegeYesYesNoACEN/CCNEN/AN/A94.12%68$7,330
    Bellingham Technical CollegeYesNoNoNoN/AN/A87.84%74$4,420
    Big Bend Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%1494%18$6,281
    Centralia CollegeYesNoNoNo100%382.61%23$6,919
    Clark CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A84.17%139$7,128
    Clover Park Technical CollegeYesNoNoNo81%6465.00%20$6,338
    Columbia Basin CollegeYesYesNoACEN100%993.75%48$8,315
    Edmonds Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN93.75%16N/AN/A$8,832
    Everett Community CollegeYesNoNoNo100.00%496.49%114$7,212
    Gonzaga UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A89.33%75$32,111
    Grays Harbor CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%382.14%28$5,712
    Green River Community CollegeYesNoNoNoN/AN/AN/AN/A$9,305
    Heritage UniversityNoYesNoNoN/AN/AN/AN/A$10,828
    Highline Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A90.12%81$8,796
    Lake Washington Institute of TechnologyYesNoNoACEN100%395.38%65$7,447
    Lower Columbia CollegeYesNoNoACEN97.83%4689.23%130$6,930
    North Seattle Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN98.33%6086.67%60$5,011
    Northwest UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A97.73%44$20,414
    Olympic CollegeYesYesNoACEN/CCNE96.43%2893.33%60$6,130
    Pacific Lutheran University (BSN)NoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A90.48%21$26,112
    Pacific Lutheran University (MSN)NoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A90.48%21$26,112
    Peninsula CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A89%19$6,028
    Pierce CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A100.00%30$6,139
    Renton Technical CollegeYesNoNoNo100%364.47%76$5,812
    Saint Martin’s UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/AN/AN/A$20,571
    Seattle Central Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A90.24%41$3,783
    Seattle Pacific UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A85.25%61$27,134
    Seattle University (BSN)NoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A88.05%160$35,261
    Seattle University (MSN)NoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A98.33%60$35,261
    Shoreline Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A84.81%79$7,170
    Skagit Valley CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%394.12%68$8,765
    Skagit Valley College-WhidbeyYesNoNoNo81.40%43N/AN/A$8,765
    South Puget Sound Community CollegeYesNoNoNo100%892%25$9,128
    South Seattle Community CollegeYesNoNoNo0%1N/AN/A$7,716
    Spokane Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%2780.36%112$4,842
    Tacoma Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A80%111$6,249
    University of WashingtonNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A92.86%140$9,913
    Walla Walla Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%2394.07%118$5,777
    Walla Walla UniversityNoYesNoACEN/CCNEN/AN/A89.66%58$24,104
    Washington State UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A86.69%263$17,929
    Wenatchee Valley CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%5189.80%49$7,180
    Western Washington UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/AN/AN/A$15,914
    Whatcom Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A93.10%29$8,422
    Yakima Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%3690.74%54$7,512

    *The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits ADN/ASN/BSN programs. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits BSN/MSN/DNP programs.5,6
    **NCLEX-PN pass rates reported are for first-time undergraduates testing between January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.7 You can compare these pass rates to the national average through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
    ^NCLEX-RN pass rates reported are for first-time undergraduates testing between January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.7 You can compare these pass rates to the national average through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
    ^^The National Center for Education Statistics calculates net price from the total estimated cost of attendance, including includes tuition, books, room and board, and other expenses, for in-state students minus the average financial aid award (such as grants and scholarships).

    Schools in Washington with Nursing Degrees

    Associate’s in Nursing Programs

    Bellevue College
    Bellevue College offers an associate degree nursing program that prepares graduates to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and become entry-level registered nurses. After completing the general education requirements, students take nursing courses during the day and complete clinical practice hours during day and evening hours, depending on the facility where clinical experience is completed. Once admitted to the nursing program, students can typically complete the nursing education requirements in six quarters with part-time study or ten quarters with full-time study. Bellevue College also offers an RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program for those who have previously earned an associate’s degree in nursing, as well as a certified nursing assistant program and continuing nursing education.

    Olympic College
    Olympic College’s Associate in Technical Arts in Nursing degree program, which is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), prepares graduates for nursing practice in diverse settings, from home health care to hospitals. Admission to the program is competitive and is based on factors including the candidate’s overall GPA, reading comprehension exam score, and completion of prerequisite courses. The two-year nursing curriculum emphasizes clinical reasoning, lifelong learning, and nursing informatics. Those considering a career in nursing may also be interested in Olympic College’s RN to BSN program, which offers a flexible, individualized curriculum for associate degree nurses looking to further their education by earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The RN to BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

    Bachelor’s in Nursing Programs

    University of Washington
    Students in the University of Washington’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program only enter the nursing program in the junior year, after first completing general college coursework and prerequisites in the freshmen and sophomore years. Prospective nurses can opt for one of two undergraduate nursing programs through the Nursing Department at the University of Washington: the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN). The BSN program requires a total of 181 credits and takes two years of full-time study to complete, with students completing all general college coursework before entering the nursing program. Students must enroll in the nursing program on a full-time basis and all courses are completed on campus. Students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field can pursue the ABSN, a full-time program that spans five quarters. Clinical experiences are scheduled for each quarter of the program, except the final summer quarter. Nursing majors may also want to participate in exploration seminars to such countries as Ecuador, India, Italy, South Korea, and Taiwan. Graduates of the BSN program possess the necessary qualifications to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The Nursing Department also features a Master of Science (MS) in Nursing and a Masters of Nursing (MN). The MS program takes between two and six years to complete part-time while part-time MN students finish in a maximum of two years. MS students complete 46 or 49 credits and choose between a thesis and a scholarly project to fulfill degree requirements. MN students must engage in clinical experiences or undertake a thesis or a scholarly project to earn the degree.

    Western Washington University
    Western Washington University’s RN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program caters to active registered nurses who already possess an associate’s degree in nursing. Classes are held once a week with nursing majors able to fulfill degree requirements in five quarters on a full-time basis and in nine quarters on a part-time basis. The program is run in a cohort format with a maximum of 45 applicants admitted each year. In addition to mandatory clinical practicums, nursing majors will also take courses in care coordination, global health, organizational change, and policy, leadership, and U.S. healthcare. Students will also develop a portfolio of work completed during the program.

    Master’s in Nursing Programs

    Washington State University
    Washington State University’s Master of Nursing (MN) in Advanced Population Health (APH) offers concentrations in nursing leadership, nursing education, and individualized study. The nursing leadership track requires between 43 and 49 credits with students completing a mandatory thesis or a research project while nursing education students must take between 47 and 56 credits, including the completion of a thesis or a research project. The individualized study track allows students to tailor their degree to a specific area of interest by completing an additional three to four courses to fulfill the 41 to 51 credits necessary for graduation. Scholarships through the nursing department may be available for eligible students.

    Pacific Lutheran University
    Pacific Lutheran University’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program allows students to concentrate in care and outcomes manager and family nurse practitioner. A dual MSN/MBA (Master of Business Administration) program is also available. Students in the care and outcomes manager concentration, which generally takes 15 months to complete, may specialize in clinical nurse educator, clinical nurse leader, advanced generalist, or nurse administrator. The family nurse practitioner concentration spans two years and prepares graduates for advanced nursing roles. The nursing department also offers the entry-level Master of Science in Nursing program for students who possess a bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than nursing and the RN to MSN for active registered nurses.

    Student Reviews

    Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

    Lower Columbia College
    1600 Maple St
    Longview, WA 98632
    (360) 442-2311

    Student Review: “This program is for Licensed Practical Nurses who wish to earn their Associates Degree in Nursing. There are two different programs, the online version and an in-class version. I took the online version, which consists of three quarters of online classes, and a fourth quarter of in-person instruction. In order to qualify for the online option, 1000 documented hours of employment as an LPN are required. This is beneficial as it ensures the student has a basis to apply knowledge that is gained online, instead of concurrently with classroom instruction as in many other programs. The program covers a lot of information, and each class consists of online discussion boards, quizzes, and papers. Additionally, final exams were conducted for each course using ProctorU, an online test proctoring service. The final quarter was the most demanding, requiring 4 days a week; 2 weeks of skills labs including a medication quiz, 5 weeks of clinicals (at sites throughout western Washington, arranged by the school), followed by an 80-hour preceptorship (also arranged by the school). This fourth quarter was rigorous but rewarding as well as informative.” -Student at Lower Columbia College

    Tacoma Community College
    6501 South 19th St
    Tacoma, WA 98466
    (253) 566-5000

    Student Review: ” During the start of my program I was very stressed and uncertain that I would be able to complete the program until the end. The first few weeks I was starting to get the hang of multi-hour long lectures from the instructors. My favorite part was always our lab days. Labs were always an opportunity to get a feel of what it is actually like to be in a healthcare setting. We learned how to give sponge baths to patients while practicing on each other. We were taught how to properly make a hospital bed, with the sharpest corners I had ever seen. Learning how to do the math for medication dosing was intimidating at first but with practice, I did get the hang of it. Clinical rotations came pretty early on in our training program. I started my rotation in a pediatric hospital. It was a difficult setting for me, but it also gave me the option to focus on other areas where my nursing skills would be an asset. My overall experience with the nursing program was wonderful and humbling for me. I now work happily in the nursing field and am forever thankful for the experience I was given in my course.” -Student at Tacoma Community College

    University of Washington
    Seattle, WA 98105
    (206) 543-2100

    Student Review: “At the University of Washington, I was surrounded by other students who had previous experience in healthcare and were committed to the nursing program. It was academically rigorous and we were expected to do lots of self-guided learning even after receiving lectures on that topic. Although it is a top-rated nursing school, I found that most of the professors were more interested in their own research than teaching undergraduate students. However, the UW clinical placements were top-notch and we always had great placements in hospital units and community settings around the Seattle area. None of us had clinical placements in skilled nursing facilities which is unusual for most nursing schools. The difficulty and notoriety of the school positioned me for a great job interview after graduation. Although the experience was not my favorite or the most nurturing to me personally, I was well prepared for life as a new-graduate nurse.” -Student at University of Washington

    Walla Walla University
    204 S College Ave
    College Place, WA 99324
    (800) 541-8900

    Student Review: “Overall, I loved the nursing program at Walla Walla University. The professors and clinical instructors were experienced and worked hard to give us great hands-on learning opportunities in our area’s top hospitals. The classes were small, which allowed professors to personally get to know each student. The NCLEX prep class that the university offered was invaluable as well; it helped me to pass the NCLEX on the first attempt. The variety of clinical rotations offered in the program allowed us to spend time working in many different areas of nursing so we could get a feel for what area we liked– I loved that aspect of the program. I feel like the program could expand to include experiences in even more areas of nursing, such as dialysis and other specialties. I also feel like the program could offer more in terms of helping us line up jobs for after graduation. Overall, I would recommend the nursing program at Walla Walla University.” -Student at Walla Walla University

    Yakima Valley Community College
    S 16th Ave & Nob Hill Blvd
    Yakima, WA 98902
    (509) 574-4600

    Student Review: “The YVCC (Yakima Valley Community College) nursing program provides a rigorous and challenging experience for those committed to becoming the best nurses possible. The coursework is intense and the preceptorship and clinical are serious business. I found the instructors to be committed, tough as nails, and dedicated to their work. One of the best parts about the program is that it is cohort-based, meaning that roughly the same group of students stick together throughout the course of their education. This encourages lasting relationships, group learning, and camaraderie. My primary critiques of the program are that at times, it felt high stakes. One poor score on a test could yield a failing grade for a class – seriously. One too many courses re-taken and a student is eliminated from the program altogether. In the clinical setting, instructors had far too much leeway to threaten expulsion over minor infractions. As a whole, instructors were overstretched, overworked, and too stressed out. This rubbed off negatively on the program. All and all, however, I would choose YVCC once again if I had it to do over.” -Student at Yakima Valley Community College

    1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    2. Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-best-college-values-college-finder/index.php#Tile
    3. The Princeton Review. The Best 382 Colleges, 2018 Edition. New York, Penguin Random House, 2018.
    4. US News Top Graduate Nursing Schools: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-nursing-schools
    5. Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN): http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm
    6. Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE): https://directory.ccnecommunity.org/reports/accprog.asp
    7. Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission: https://nursing.wa.gov/