Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in Oregon [2022 Guide]


Updated October 28, 2022

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Although approximately 31,000 licensed nurses currently work in Oregon, the US Department of Health and Human Services has predicted a shortage of around 6,000 nurses by 2025 – especially within frontier counties and rural areas of the state. For individuals with a passion for serving patients in need, Oregon's nursing industry is ripe with growth, and promises exciting opportunities for a rewarding career. Prospective students considering this health care field can use the following guide to explore nursing schools in Oregon as well as learn about licensure requirements within the state.

Top 10 Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in Oregon 2-Year Colleges

#1 Clatsop Community College Astoria, OR
#2 Oregon Coast Community College Newport, OR
#3 Columbia Gorge Community College The Dalles, OR
#4 Southwestern Oregon Community College Coos Bay, OR
#5 Central Oregon Community College Bend, OR
#6 Clackamas Community College Oregon City, OR
#7 Umpqua Community College Roseburg, OR
#8 Mt Hood Community College Gresham, OR
#9 Portland Community College Portland, OR
#10 Blue Mountain Community College Pendleton, OR is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Methodology +

The top nursing programs listed in this state's ranking were determined by comparison of three primary, equally-weighted criteria including

  • Student-to-faculty ration
  • In-state tuition
  • Graduation rate

Additional details for each school were included:

  • Count of programs available
  • Public and not-for-profit schools
  • Normalized on a 100 percent curve

The methodology used for tie-break is as follows...

  • Ties are broken based on lowest average net price for full-time, first-time undergraduates paying in-state tuition (average cost of tuition and expenses after grants and scholarships).
  • If necessary, the lowest in-state tuition rate is used as a second tie-break

Top Nursing Schools in Oregon

  1. Clatsop Community College

    Astoria, OR

  2. Oregon Coast Community College

    Newport, OR

  3. Columbia Gorge Community College

    The Dalles, OR

  4. Southwestern Oregon Community College

    Coos Bay, OR

  5. Central Oregon Community College

    Bend, OR

  6. Clackamas Community College

    Oregon City, OR

  7. Umpqua Community College

    Roseburg, OR

  8. Mt Hood Community College

    Gresham, OR

  9. Portland Community College

    Portland, OR

  10. Blue Mountain Community College

    Pendleton, OR

Vetting Nursing Schools in Oregon

With a commitment to providing excellent educational opportunities for prospective nursing students, the Oregon Consortium of Nursing Education was created in 2008. This partnership brought together nine community colleges and six campuses of the Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing to address the state's evolving health care needs. With nearly 50 state-approved nursing programs, students looking to learn in Oregon should have no problem finding a program that fits their needs. Use the search tool below to find your match.

How to Become Licensed in Oregon

To become a licensed registered nurse in Oregon, graduates must fulfill a number of requirements set forth by the Oregon State Board of Nursing. This government agency is responsible for overseeing issuance of initial state licenses, relicensing, renewals, complaints, and competency evaluations. The following section outlines steps required to receive an initial license, as well as an overview of the steps to renew an active license.

Requirements for Licensure in Oregon

  • Graduate from a state-approved nursing program with a certificate, associate or bachelor's degree
  • Request official, sealed transcripts be sent from the educational institution to the Board of Nursing
  • Submit fingerprints for a national criminal background check
  • Complete the application for licensure by examination, include a passport-sized photo and submit a $145 application fee
  • Register to take the NCLEX exam. Once an Authorization to Test letter has been received, candidates can schedule a testing date with Pearson VUE
  • Applicants who hold a license in another state may forgo the NCLEX and provide proof of current licensure. This process is called licensure by endorsement and requires the completion of an online form and a fee of $195

Maintaining Active OR Licensure

RN licenses expire at midnight on the day before a nurse's birthday. The Oregon State Board of Nursing sends reminders via email about six to eight weeks before expiration. To qualify for renewal, Oregon-based nurses can fulfill requirements in numerous ways, including:

  • Show proof of nursing practice totaling at least 960 hours within the previous five years
  • Provide evidence of completing an approved re-entry program undertaken within the last two years
  • Graduate from an approved nursing program in the previous five years

Nurses are also required to complete a one-time, seven-hour continuing education course on pain management to renew their license the first time. The license renewal fee for RNs is $145.

Licenses that have already expired can be reinstated, provided RNs complete a national criminal background check and meet education, practice and legal requirements for the particular type of license they seek. Candidates pursuing reinstatement must also complete the pain management CEU course. The fee for reinstatement is $160.

Licensing for Oregon APRNs

Advanced practice registered nurses in Oregon are divided into three specific categories – nurse practitioner (NP), certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), and clinical nurse specialist (CNS). These nurses have greater responsibility in their practice and are typically able to work without supervision of a licensed independent practitioner. As a result, APRNs must complete additional training and education beyond what is required for entry-level RN licensure. Though practice hour requirements vary by specialty, all APRNs must meet the following qualifications:

  • Have a current Oregon nursing license
  • Hold a master's degree in a nursing specialty from an accredited program
  • Complete a specific number of practice hours, depending on the specialization

For more detailed information on advance practice specialties, required practice hours, and renewing an APRN license, visit the Oregon Board of Nursing.

Oregon Salary Numbers: RNs & APRNs

Nurses in Oregon enjoy a variety of benefits, and legislation has been passed to improve working conditions and enhance job placement. The state is also known for being one of the top five highest paying locations for nurses in the nation. The following statistics give prospective students and recent grads an idea of how the Oregon nursing field stacks up against the rest of the country.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Oregon

AreaHourly Median WageAnnual Median Wage
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro OR-WA$41.53$86,390
Coastal Oregon nonmetropolitan area$38.42$79,920
Southern Oregon and Linn County nonmetropolitan area$37.43$77,860
Eastern Oregon nonmetropolitan area$34.77$72,330
North Central Oregon nonmetropolitan area$33.63$69,940

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Oregon vs. National Numbers



YearAnnual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)Annual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)
Registered Nurse$70,550$83,650$95,090$0$54,620$66,640$81,080
Certified Nurse Midwife$98,630$113,070$130,980$0$82,580$96,970$114,090
Nurse Anesthetist$127,070$166,590$0$0$132,380$153,780$181,860
Nurse Practitioner$92,490$108,900$124,880$0$82,720$95,350$113,470

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 



Registered Nurse31,0502,687,310
Certified Nurse Midwife1005,110
Nurse Anesthetist21036,590
Nurse Practitioner1,360122,050


Registered Nurse35,6403,238,400
Certified Nurse Midwife2407,700
Nurse Anesthetist23043,900
Nurse Practitioner1,220147,300

AVG. ANNUAL OPENINGS (2012 – 2022)

Registered Nurse1,090105,260
Certified Nurse Midwife10290
Nurse Anesthetist101,560
Nurse Practitioner505,850

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central

OR Nursing Resources

Nurse Practitioners of Oregon

Serving as the professional voice of Oregon's nurse practitioners, NPO was established as a special interest group of the Oregon Nurses Association in 1977.

Oregon Center for Nursing

The OCN advocates on behalf of nurses and draws attention to health care issues affecting nursing within the state. The organization also collects and disseminates research and data relevant to nursing and fosters collaboration amongst nurses.

Oregon Emergency Nurses Association

This association is a state affiliate of the national ENA and offers professional development, educational opportunities, networking events, and research for emergency nurses looking to enhance their ability to provide excellent patient care.

Oregon Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals

The OFNHP represents more than 3,500 nurses and health care professionals in Oregon and Washington, providing a vast set of resources and member benefits.

Oregon Nurses Association

The Oregon Nurses Association, which was founded in 1906, is a professional membership association open to all nurses in the state. The mission of the ONA is to advocate for nursing professionals, improve health care and act as a labor union.

Oregon Student Nurses' Association

OSNA is the official state chapter of the National Student Nurses' Association, offering resources and opportunities for networking to student nurses in the state.

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