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The small charming city of Yakima, Washington, has a large population of nurses. This metropolitan area of fewer than 250,000 residents is home to 1,470 registered nurses (RNs), 330 licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and 960 certified nursing assistants (CNAs). They work at a broad range of local hospitals and healthcare providers, such as Virginia Mason Memorial, Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center, Kittitas Valley Healthcare, and Sunnyside Community Hospital.

Many of these healthcare professionals earned their certificate, diploma, or degree at a local school. Thankfully, Yakima has several highly regarded nursing schools that collectively offer a wide breadth of nursing programs. For example, Washington State University’s Yakima campus offers a traditional bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and a master of nursing (MN) with leadership and nursing education tracks. The university also provides RN-to-BSN and RN-to-MN pathways for existing registered nurses to earn these advanced degrees. Yakima Valley College has shorter entry-level programs, including a six-quarter associate’s degree for aspiring RNs. YVC students have the option to take the LPN licensure exam after four quarters of study.

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Broadly speaking, registered nurses must complete one of four education pathways: hospital diploma, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or direct-entry master’s degree. Graduates of any prelicensure program must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) before entering the workforce.

Practical nurses must finish a shorter certificate or diploma program that typically requires 12-18 months of study. After completing their course of study, graduates must pass the NCLEX-PN examination in order to obtain a valid license.

Nursing assistants need only complete a brief training program, generally four to twelve weeks in length. This program includes both classroom instruction and supervised clinical training. Upon completion, graduates must pass knowledge and skills tests to earn state certification. In Washington, licensed CNAs can earn additional credentials. One common credential is certified medication aide (CMA), which allows the holder to administer medications to patients. These additional credentials often lead to more job offers and higher pay.

Yakima’s nurses earn competitive salaries, although pay varies significantly by role, experience, and education. For example, Yakima-based CNAs earn approximately $26,000 per year on average, while the city’s LPNs receive about $45,000 in annual pay. RNs take home more than $68,000 per year. Nurses in administrative roles often earn top-quartile pay of $82,000-$94,000 annually. Nurse practitioners – RNs with graduate education and a specialty practice certification – frequently earn more than $100,000 per year across the metro area.

If Yakima, Washington, sounds like a great place to launch your nursing career, why hesitate? Below we’ve profiled each of the city’s top nursing schools to help you get started.

Featured Schools

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Yakima nursing schools by NCLEX score

Yakima Valley Community College
South 16th Avenue & Nob Hill Boulevard | Yakima, Washington 98907
  • Certificate in Practical Nursing: 98.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
Washington State University - Yakima
1401 West Prasch Avenue | Yakima, Washington 98902
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 87.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Heritage University
3240 Fort Road | Toppenish, Washington 98948
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Yakima Valley Community College Certificate in Practical Nursing 98.7% 2008 to 2012
Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.1% 2008 to 2012
Nursing Assistant Certificate
Washington State University - Yakima Bachelor of Science in Nursing 87.7% 2008 to 2012
Master of Science in Nursing
RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Heritage University Bachelor of Science in Nursing