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Registered nurses (RNs) form the largest group of nursing professionals in the state of Washington. Over half of the state’s 53,000 RNs work in the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area, with smaller numbers in other major cities like Spokane and Olympia.

Overview of Washington’s RN programs
Washington has approximately 40 state-approved programs that provide RN licensure. These may be broadly grouped into three pathways: associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), and direct-entry master of science in nursing (MSN). Large universities such as Washington State University, University of Washington, and Seattle University offer four-year BSN degree programs; Seattle University also has a direct-entry MSN program. Two-year ADN programs are available at a broad network of technical and community colleges throughout the state, including Bellingham Technical College, Grays Harbor College, and Lake Washington Institute of Technology. All prelicensure programs prepare their students to pass the NCLEX-RN national examination, which is a requirement to practice in Washington.

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RN careers in Washington
ADN, BSN, and MSN degree programs prepare nurses to assume leadership roles in the healthcare industry. They work directly with doctors and other medical professionals to plan and administer patient care. RNs are equipped to work in a broad range of fields, including neonatology, rehabilitation, nephrology, and pediatrics. Their skills are invaluable to top Washington medical institutions like University of Washington Medical Center, Providence St. Peter Hospital, and Evergreen Health Medical Center. The state’s RNs earn extremely competitive salaries, typically between $63,000 and $90,000 annually. This reflects the significant value placed on these qualified healthcare professionals.

Find out more about Washington’s top registered nursing programs by reviewing our list below of prelicensure ADN, BSN, and MSN programs.

Featured Schools

Bremerton / Silverdale area

Olympic College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Olympic College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.3% 2008 to 2012

Olympia

South Puget Sound Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
South Puget Sound Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 81.2% 2008 to 2012

Seattle

Shoreline Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 97.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
North Seattle College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Seattle Central College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Everett Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Seattle University
  • Direct Entry MSN: 94.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 92.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Northwest University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 94.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
University of Washington
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 94.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Lake Washington Institute of Technology
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Bellevue College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Seattle Pacific University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 91.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Highline Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
South Seattle College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Renton Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 76.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2011)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Shoreline Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 97.5% 2008 to 2012
North Seattle College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 96.9% 2008 to 2012
Seattle Central College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 95.0% 2008 to 2012
Everett Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.9% 2008 to 2012
Seattle University
Direct Entry MSN 94.4% 2008 to 2012
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 92.2% 2008 to 2012
Northwest University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 94.2% 2008 to 2012
University of Washington
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 94.2% 2008 to 2012
Lake Washington Institute of Technology
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.6% 2008 to 2012
Bellevue College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.0% 2008 to 2012
Seattle Pacific University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 91.1% 2008 to 2012
Highline Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.5% 2008 to 2012
South Seattle College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 83.4% 2008 to 2012
Renton Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 76.3% 2008 to 2011

Spokane

Washington State University - Spokane
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 87.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Spokane Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Gonzaga University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 84.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Washington State University - Spokane
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 87.7% 2008 to 2012
Spokane Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 85.8% 2008 to 2012
Gonzaga University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 84.4% 2008 to 2012

Tacoma

Pacific Lutheran University
  • Direct Entry MSN: 98.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 93.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Tacoma Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Clover Park Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Pierce College - Puyallup
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Pacific Lutheran University
Direct Entry MSN 98.8% 2008 to 2012
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 93.7% 2008 to 2012
Tacoma Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 83.9% 2008 to 2012
Clover Park Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 81.2% 2008 to 2012
Pierce College - Puyallup
Associate's Degree in Nursing 80.8% 2008 to 2012

Tri-Cities

Columbia Basin College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Columbia Basin College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.0% 2008 to 2012

Vancouver

Clark College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Clark College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.4% 2008 to 2012

Other Washington cities

Big Bend Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 98.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Whatcom Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 97.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Yakima Valley Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Peninsula College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Skagit Valley College - Mount Vernon
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Walla Walla Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Walla Walla University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 92.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Grays Harbor College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Lower Columbia College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Wenatchee Valley College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Centralia College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Bellingham Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 78.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Heritage University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Big Bend Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 98.1% 2008 to 2012
Whatcom Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 97.8% 2008 to 2012
Yakima Valley Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.1% 2008 to 2012
Peninsula College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.6% 2008 to 2012
Skagit Valley College - Mount Vernon
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.6% 2008 to 2012
Walla Walla Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.2% 2008 to 2012
Walla Walla University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 92.0% 2008 to 2012
Grays Harbor College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 91.4% 2008 to 2012
Lower Columbia College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.1% 2008 to 2012
Wenatchee Valley College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.9% 2008 to 2012
Centralia College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 83.6% 2008 to 2012
Bellingham Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 78.3% 2008 to 2012
Heritage University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing