We've organized a comprehensive list of Washington nursing schools. Below you'll find information on specific nursing programs such as LPN certificates and ADN, BSN, and MSN degrees. You'll also find a profile of nursing education and careers in each major Washington city.

The Bremerton / Silverdale area is primed to benefit from growth in the nursing industry. Bremerton is home to Olympic College, a public institution that offers a certificate program for aspiring licensed practical nurses (LPNs), an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), and a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Just 38 miles away in nearby Tacoma, aspiring nurses will find several other top-tier nursing schools including Bates Technical College, University of Washington Tacoma, and Pacific Lutheran University.

Overview of nursing roles and programs

At least a dozen university campuses in Washington offer a master of science in nursing (MSN) degree. Most MSN programs enable existing registered nurses (RNs) to enter specialized fields like nursing administration, nursing education, or family practice nursing. A select number of “direct-entry” MSN programs enable students with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field to earn initial RN licensure before pursuing a specialization.

Overview of the MSN program

RN-to-BSN programs cater to existing registered nurses (RNs) who want to earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. These students typically hold an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) from their prior studies. The RN-to-BSN program builds upon this existing knowledge with deeper coursework in critical areas like anatomy, physiology, healthcare, leadership skills, and psychology. A full-time curriculum typically lasts two to three semesters. The program can also be completed on a part-time and/or online basis.

Overview of RN-to-BSN options

The state of Washington has at least 15 colleges and universities with an accredited bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree program. The traditional prelicensure BSN program requires four years of study. It is open to all individuals who meet general university requirements (UCORE) and have completed certain nursing prerequisites. Graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN national licensure examination before practicing. Alternatively, existing registered nurses (RNs) who already hold an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) can earn a baccalaureate degree by enrolling in an RN-to-BSN program.

Certified nursing assistant (CNA) programs quickly and efficiently qualify their students to embark on a career in healthcare. In only eight to ten weeks, aspiring CNAs are trained to provide basic healthcare, monitor symptoms, record vital signs, and assist more senior nurses in their rounds. Upon completion of the certificate course, CNAs can work in hospitals, medical centers, and clinics under the supervision of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs).

Aspiring nurses can pursue prelicensure programs at either public or private schools, and each path has its own advantages. Although private schools tend to be more expensive, they are generally regarded as more selective and academically rigorous. Private schools often have smaller class sizes, making it easier to seek individual help and forge connections with professors. Private schools also tend to have smaller campuses and thus more intimate communities.

A nursing degree or certificate can launch a stable and rewarding career in healthcare, with frequent opportunities for career advancement. An aspiring nurse can complete her prelicensure program at either a public or a private school. While both options have their merits, public colleges and universities in Washington are heavily subsidized by the state government. This makes them more affordable options that are ideal for state residents with a tight financial budget.