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Whether you wish to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or registered nurse (RN), you should consider the size of the student body when selecting your nursing school.

Class sizes vary from year to year, but public schools generally have larger cohorts than private schools. Large programs are well-suited for students who are self-guided, like the anonymity of a large lecture hall, and seek a diverse student body. If you prefer a smaller program, you might be more comfortable at a private college, where the faculty-to-student ratio is often lower. Small programs are well-suited for students who seek a tight-knit community, enjoy classroom participation, and require more individual attention.

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Whether you choose a large public university or a small private college, several other criteria should influence your program choice. Most importantly, each nursing role has unique educational requirements, workplace responsibilities, and compensation. On one end of the spectrum, CNAs provide bedside care and need just a few weeks of training. By contrast, RNs are autonomous leaders of nursing staff who require two to four years of undergraduate education to meet the rigors of the workplace. Students should carefully select the nursing role and corresponding program that meet their career objectives.

To help Washington’s nursing students find a school that fits their needs, we’ve listed below all prelicensure nursing programs and ordered them from largest to smallest.

Featured Schools

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Bremerton / Silverdale area

Olympic College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 59 students during the 2012 period
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 21 students during the 2012 period
School Program Class size
Olympic College Associate's Degree in Nursing 59 students
Certificate in Practical Nursing 21 students

Olympia

South Puget Sound Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 73 students during the 2012 period
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 20 students during the 2012 period
School Program Class size
South Puget Sound Community College Associate's Degree in Nursing 73 students
Certificate in Practical Nursing 20 students

Seattle

University of Washington
Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 146 students during the 2012 period
Seattle University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 141 students during the 2012 period
Direct Entry MSN: 46 students during the 2012 period
North Seattle College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 112 students during the 2012 period
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 84 students during the 2012 period
Everett Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83 students during the 2012 period
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 6 students during the 2012 period
Shoreline Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 79 students during the 2012 period
Bellevue College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 64 students during the 2012 period
Highline Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 58 students during the 2012 period
Lake Washington Institute of Technology
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 52 students during the 2012 period
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 26 students during the 2012 period
Seattle Pacific University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 46 students during the 2012 period
Seattle Central College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 44 students during the 2012 period
Northwest University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 35 students during the 2012 period
South Seattle College
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 34 students during the 2012 period
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 30 students during the 2012 period
Green River Community College
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 30 students during the 2012 period
Renton Technical College
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 2 students during the 2012 period
School Program Class size
University of Washington Bachelor of Science in Nursing 146 students
Seattle University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 141 students
Direct Entry MSN 46 students
North Seattle College Associate's Degree in Nursing 112 students
Certificate in Practical Nursing 84 students
Everett Community College Associate's Degree in Nursing 83 students
Certificate in Practical Nursing 6 students
Shoreline Community College Associate's Degree in Nursing 79 students
Bellevue College Associate's Degree in Nursing 64 students
Highline Community College Associate's Degree in Nursing 58 students
Lake Washington Institute of Technology Associate's Degree in Nursing 52 students
Certificate in Practical Nursing 26 students
Seattle Pacific University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 46 students
Seattle Central College Associate's Degree in Nursing 44 students
Northwest University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 35 students
South Seattle College Certificate in Practical Nursing 34 students
Associate's Degree in Nursing 30 students
Green River Community College Certificate in Practical Nursing 30 students
Renton Technical College Certificate in Practical Nursing 2 students

Spokane

Washington State University - Spokane
Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 241 students during the 2012 period
Spokane Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 100 students during the 2012 period
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 66 students during the 2012 period
Gonzaga University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 62 students during the 2012 period
School Program Class size
Washington State University - Spokane Bachelor of Science in Nursing 241 students
Spokane Community College Associate's Degree in Nursing 100 students
Certificate in Practical Nursing 66 students
Gonzaga University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 62 students

Tacoma

Clover Park Technical College
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 107 students during the 2012 period
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 23 students during the 2012 period
Tacoma Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 105 students during the 2012 period
Bates Technical College
Associate of Applied Science in Practical Nursing: 85 students during the 2012 period
Pacific Lutheran University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 82 students during the 2012 period
Direct Entry MSN: 19 students during the 2012 period
Pierce College - Puyallup
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 43 students during the 2012 period
School Program Class size
Clover Park Technical College Certificate in Practical Nursing 107 students
Associate's Degree in Nursing 23 students
Tacoma Community College Associate's Degree in Nursing 105 students
Bates Technical College Associate of Applied Science in Practical Nursing 85 students
Pacific Lutheran University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 82 students
Direct Entry MSN 19 students
Pierce College - Puyallup Associate's Degree in Nursing 43 students

Tri-Cities

Columbia Basin College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 45 students during the 2012 period
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 20 students during the 2011 period
School Program Class size
Columbia Basin College Associate's Degree in Nursing 45 students
Certificate in Practical Nursing 20 students

Vancouver

Clark College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 115 students during the 2012 period
School Program Class size
Clark College Associate's Degree in Nursing 115 students

Other Washington cities

Walla Walla Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 114 students during the 2012 period
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 50 students during the 2012 period
Lower Columbia College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 112 students during the 2012 period
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 62 students during the 2012 period
Wenatchee Valley College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 98 students during the 2012 period
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 51 students during the 2012 period
Bellingham Technical College
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 73 students during the 2012 period
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 38 students during the 2012 period
Skagit Valley College - Mount Vernon
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 72 students during the 2012 period
Walla Walla University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 59 students during the 2012 period
Skagit Valley College - Whidbey Island
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 52 students during the 2012 period
Yakima Valley Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 48 students during the 2012 period
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 37 students during the 2012 period
Whatcom Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 27 students during the 2012 period
Grays Harbor College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 22 students during the 2012 period
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 17 students during the 2012 period
Big Bend Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 20 students during the 2012 period
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 16 students during the 2012 period
Peninsula College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 20 students during the 2012 period
Centralia College
Associate's Degree in Nursing: 18 students during the 2012 period
Certificate in Practical Nursing: 5 students during the 2012 period
School Program Class size
Walla Walla Community College Associate's Degree in Nursing 114 students
Certificate in Practical Nursing 50 students
Lower Columbia College Associate's Degree in Nursing 112 students
Certificate in Practical Nursing 62 students
Wenatchee Valley College Associate's Degree in Nursing 98 students
Certificate in Practical Nursing 51 students
Bellingham Technical College Certificate in Practical Nursing 73 students
Associate's Degree in Nursing 38 students
Skagit Valley College - Mount Vernon Associate's Degree in Nursing 72 students
Walla Walla University Bachelor of Science in Nursing 59 students
Skagit Valley College - Whidbey Island Certificate in Practical Nursing 52 students
Yakima Valley Community College Associate's Degree in Nursing 48 students
Certificate in Practical Nursing 37 students
Whatcom Community College Associate's Degree in Nursing 27 students
Grays Harbor College Associate's Degree in Nursing 22 students
Certificate in Practical Nursing 17 students
Big Bend Community College Associate's Degree in Nursing 20 students
Certificate in Practical Nursing 16 students
Peninsula College Associate's Degree in Nursing 20 students
Centralia College Associate's Degree in Nursing 18 students
Certificate in Practical Nursing 5 students