Top Nursing Schools in Washington

Rank School Name Score Tuition Student/Teacher ratio Program count Graduation Rate
1 Renton Technical College 94.50 $$$$$ 14:1 1 63%
2 Everett Community College 94.50 $$$$$ 17:1 3 31%
3 Spokane Community College 94.00 $$$$$ 17:1 3 26%
4 Wenatchee Valley College 93.75 $$$$$ 17:1 3 28%
5 Clark College 93.75 $$$$$ 15:1 3 25%
6 Pierce College at Puyallup 93.50 $$$$$ 17:1 3 30%
7 Big Bend Community College 93.50 $$$$$ 17:1 3 32%
8 Bellingham Technical College 93.25 $$$$$ 22:1 3 55%
9 Cascadia Community College 93.25 $$$$$ 17:1 3 29%
10 Shoreline Community College 93.00 $$$$$ 17:1 3 30%
11 Walla Walla Community College 92.75 $$$$$ 17:1 3 33%
12 Whatcom Community College 92.50 $$$$$ 15:1 3 31%
13 Edmonds Community College 92.00 $$$$$ 14:1 3 28%
14 Grays Harbor College 91.50 $$$$$ 20:1 3 37%
15 Lower Columbia College 90.75 $$$$$ 16:1 3 25%
16 South Puget Sound Community College 90.75 $$$$$ 17:1 3 27%
17 Spokane Falls Community College 90.50 $$$$$ 18:1 3 22%
18 Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom 89.50 $$$$$ 18:1 3 24%
19 Tacoma Community College 89.00 $$$$$ 18:1 1 25%
Rank School Name Score Tuition Student/Teacher ratio Program count Graduation Rate
1 Gonzaga University 91.50 $$$$$ 11:1 5 83%
2 Pacific Lutheran University 91.00 $$$$$ 11:1 4 68%
3 Seattle University 91.00 $$$$$ 12:1 1 78%
4 Washington State University 90.50 $$$$$ 15:1 3 67%
5 University of Washington-Seattle 90.00 $$$$$ 18:1 2 84%
6 Seattle Pacific University 89.50 $$$$$ 15:1 5 75%
7 Whitworth University 89.50 $$$$$ 11:1 10 75%
8 Lake Washington Institute of Technology 89.25 $$$$$ 15:1 10 29%
9 Green River College 89.25 $$$$$ 12:1 10 31%
10 Peninsula College 88.75 $$$$$ 15:1 10 29%
11 Seattle Community College-South Campus 88.75 $$$$$ 15:1 10 26%
12 Centralia College 88.25 $$$$$ 17:1 10 34%
13 Walla Walla University 88.25 $$$$$ 13:1 10 56%
14 Highline College 88.25 $$$$$ 15:1 10 28%
15 Olympic College 88.00 $$$$$ 19:1 5 28%
16 University of Washington-Tacoma Campus 88.00 $$$$$ 16:1 5 55%
17 Seattle Community College-North Campus 87.75 $$$$$ 16:1 10 29%
18 University of Washington-Bothell Campus 87.75 $$$$$ 19:1 5 67%
19 Saint Martin’s University 87.75 $$$$$ 12:1 10 48%
20 Northwest University 87.50 $$$$$ 13:1 10 53%
21 Bellevue College 86.50 $$$$$ 18:1 10 26%
22 Skagit Valley College 86.25 $$$$$ 15:1 10 22%
23 Heritage University 85.75 $$$$$ 8:1 10 19%
24 Eastern Washington University 84.25 $$$$$ 21:1 10 46%
25 Clover Park Technical College 83.75 $$$$$ 23:1 10 32%
26 Yakima Valley Community College 83.25 $$$$$ 19:1 10 23%
27 Columbia Basin College 82.50 $$$$$ 20:1 10 25%

Find a Nursing School in Washington

Both prospective and practicing nurses can select from a variety of nursing programs to start or advance in their careers. In Washington, these programs can be found at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The search tool below can be used to explore the different nursing schools and programs available to students in Washington state.

Basic Search
Tuition
School Type
Advanced Search +
Degree Level
Student Population
Compare key info for up to 4 schools

Please remove a school if you would like to compare a new one

results

Show:

School Tuition
Tuition for in-state undergrads at the campus location
Acceptance Rate Student Population School Type Nursing Programs

The Licensure Process in Washington

The Washington Nursing Commission is the regulating body for the nursing field in the state of Washington. RNs interested in practicing in this state must meet the commission’s requirements for a license, which include the following:

Eligibility Requirements

  • Graduate from a state-approved nursing education program
  • Complete and pass a background check through the Washington State Patrol and Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Submit an online application and $88 fee
  • Answer a personal profile questionnaire
  • Complete seven hours of AIDS/HIV training
  • Graduates of in-state nursing programs must have official transcripts sent from the school to the Nursing Commission
  • Out-of-state nursing students must have a verification form completed by their program director and sent to the Nursing Commission
  • Register for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) with Pearson VUE and pay a $200 testing fee
  • Wait to receive an Authorization to Test (ATT)
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN

The License Renewal Process in Washington

Washington RNs are required to renew their license every year. Renewal applications can be submitted online and must be completed on or before the applicant’s birthday. To qualify, nurses must complete at least 531 hours of nursing practice and 45 credit hours of approved continuing education every three years. The renewal application fee is $97.

ARNP Licensure in WA

The licensing process for advanced registered nurses practitioners is similar to that of registered nurses. The Washington Nursing Commission recognizes the following national certification programs for APRNs: American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, American College of Nurse Midwives, American Nurses Credentialing Center, Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, National Certification Corporation, and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. In addition to the requirements for RN licensure, APRNs must do the following:

  • Submit online application and pay a $92 fee
  • Hold a valid and active RN license in Washington
  • Submit official transcripts in a sealed envelope as proof of completion of an approved graduate program
  • Provide evidence of national certification, which must come directly from a national certifying organization
  • Submit employment verification that demonstrates at least 250 hours of advanced nursing practice in your specialized field. However, this is not required if you graduated the same year you submitted your application

More information and details for ARNPs, including updates and license verification can be found at the Washington State Department of Health.

Career Outlook for RNs in Washington

The state of Washington is home to nearly 85,000 licensed registered nurses, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. However, a workforce study from University of Washington School of Medicine estimates that within the next 15 years there will be a service gap of 18,000 positions in the state. In turn, employment data from the Employment Security Department in Washington State projects strong occupational growth in nursing between 2013 and 2023. Explore the employment and salary numbers for registered nurses in Washington below.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Washington

Area Hourly Median Wage Annual Median Wage
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett WA Metropolitan Division $40.23 $83,690
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue $39.60 $82,370
Olympia $38.83 $80,770
Tacoma Metropolitan Division $37.78 $78,580
Longview $35.97 $74,820
Bellingham $35.91 $74,690
Bremerton-Silverdale $35.62 $74,090
Wenatchee-East Wenatchee $35.14 $73,080
Eastern Washington nonmetropolitan area $34.28 $71,300
Mount Vernon-Anacortes $34.23 $71,200

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Washington vs. National Numbers

Salary
  • Washington
  • National
  • Annual Salary (25th percentile)
  • Annual Salary (median)
  • Annual Salary (75th percentile)

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Employment
Total Employment (2014)
2022 occupational outlook
Avg. annual openings (2012 – 2022)

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central

Washington RN Resources

ARNPs United of Washington State

The ARNPs United of Washington State is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the work of advanced registered nurse practitioners through continuing education programs, networking events, public policy advocacy, and a career center.

King County Nurses Association

The King County Nurses Association is a professional organization with more than 3,200 registered nurses from all specializations and areas of practice. Through memberships, scholarships, networking events, and nursing education programs, the KCNA supports professional development of nurses in Washington state.

Nursing Students of Washington State

Nursing Students of Washington State is the state-based chapter of the National Student Nurses Association. Membership is open to students enrolled in accredited nursing schools in the state and offers a variety of resources and support, including scholarships.

Puget Sound Nurse Practitioner Association

Founded in 1998, the Puget Sound Nurse Practitioners Association is a nonprofit organization that promotes the work and professional development of advanced practice nurse practitioners in Puget Sound.

Washington Center for Nursing

The Washington Center for Nursing supports the development of a skilled nursing workforce through a variety of means, including mentoring programs, diversity efforts, and continuing education programs for nurses.

Washington Nursing Commission

The Washington Nursing Commission is a division of the Washington State Department of Health and is responsible for regulating the practice of nursing in the state. It manages the licensing and renewal process, sets guidelines for professional practice, and handles disciplinary action for registered nurses.

Washington State Association of Occupational Health Nurses

The Washington State Association of Occupational Health Nurses is an arm of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses. It is the primary organization that supports occupational health nursing in Washington and offers an array of resources, including a career center, memberships, and networking events.

Washington State Nurses Association

The Washington State Nurses Association is the largest nursing association in the state, serving more than 75,000 licensed nursing professionals in every specialty and role. It supports the nursing profession through legislative action, continuing education programs, and nursing unions.