Registered nurses in Washington State who are interested in earning their Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree have a number of program options from which to choose. RNs who have completed their Associate's Degree or Bachelor's of Science in Nursing can choose from full-time or part-time MSN programs as well as in-person or online classes, putting an MSN degree within reach for nurses across Washington.

RN to MSN Admissions Requirements in Washington

Nurses considering applying to an RN to MSN program in Washington will likely face the following admissions requirements:

  • Must hold an unencumbered RN license
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on all undergraduate work
  • Submission of resume which documents clinical experience, and/or professional letters of recommendation
  • Application forms that may include a personal statement or essay
  • Completion of all prerequisite courses; for example, Washington State University requires completion of a general undergraduate-level statistics course
  • GRE scores may be required at some schools; for instance, Pacific Lutheran University requires GRE scores from within five years at or near the 50th percentile for admission to their Entry-Level MSN program

RN to MSN Courses

There are two basic kinds of RN to MSN programs in Washington: a version for ADN-educated RNs, which allows them to earn a BSN simultaneously, and a version for those who already hold a BSN and now want to attain an MSN degree. MSN students often have the option of moving into a specialized track that leads to a particular advanced nursing career once they have completed their general education courses. These specialties may include Clinical Nurse Leader, Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner and others.

As part of their BSN to MSN program, Pacific Lutheran University, for example, offers the following nursing courses:

  • Role of the Advanced Practice Nurse
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Leadership and Management
  • Evaluations and Outcomes Research
  • Illness and Disease Management

Online RN to MSN Programs in Washington

Online MSN programs in Washington provide RNs with the flexibility of working toward their MSN wherever and whenever it works best for their schedule. Online programs are a particularly attractive option for RNs who work full- or part-time. Convenient and often affordable options, online programs also usually include an in-person clinical requirement that can be completed on campus or in the student's local area.

Featured Online School

Gonzaga University near Spokane offers a CCNE-accredited, online RN to MSN program. The program is designed for ADN-educated RNs who want to earn a higher degree while continuing to work in the nursing profession. With an ADN degree, it takes 51 credits to finish the program, including five "bridge courses" of undergraduate work that prepare students for master's-level course work. Students with BSN degrees can finish their MSN degree in 36 credits. Gonzaga offers three specialized tracks within the MSN program: Health Systems Leadership, Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. The majority of courses for the MSN program are completed online, but the program does require practicum hours in the nurse's local area as well as on-campus immersion sessions usually held on weekends.

Admissions and Program Length

The length of an RN to MSN program varies depending on both the school and the student. Full-time or part-time study, online or in-person courses, and specialization chosen can all impact how quickly the coursework can be completed. For example, the BSN to MSN program at Pacific Lutheran University is a traditional on-campus program that starts in the summer and takes 12-15 months to complete, while the online RN to MSN program at Gonzaga University is generally completed in three years and begins in January or September.

Tuition and Cost of Attendance

The cost of an RN to MSN program in Washington varies from school to school, and also depends on whether the student is going to school full- or part-time and taking online or in-person courses. For instance, tuition for the MSN program at Gonzaga University is $935 - $975 per credit hour, and WGU's online MSN program costs $3,250 per six-month semester. It's important to keep in mind that tuition costs do not include additional course fees, or out-of-pocket expenses like books and course materials. Tuition costs are subject to change at any time, so make sure to check on the current costs with your school of choice at the time of application before making your final program decision.

RN to MSN Career Pathways in Washington

An MSN degree can open the door to a wealth of career advancement opportunities for nurses in Washington. From administrative and management positions to educator and direct patient care roles, the MSN-educated nurse has a number of career paths to choose from. The following are just a few nursing careers that require an MSN:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Administrator
  • Clinical Nurse Leader

RN to MSN Salary Comparison

In addition to career advancement opportunities, completing an MSN degree delivers increased earning potential for Washington-based nurses. The mean annual wage for MSN-educated nurse practitioners in Washington is around $107,400. That is a significant increase over the mean annual wage for a registered nurse in Washington, which is around $80,120. Nurse practitioner is only one of dozens of career paths for MSN-educated registered nurses, all of which have significantly higher salaries than an ADN- or BSN-educated RN.

Helpful Links

RN to MSN Listings

There is an opportunity to choose from at least 5 different RN to MSN programs in the state of Washington, some of these programs are online, as well as traditional in-class options. Part-time, full-time and a blend of both learning modalities are being offered within these different programs. If you are looking to move forward in your career, some options for specialties can include critical care nurse, management/administrator roles, or even family/private practice nursing.

Gonzaga University
School of Nursing and Human Physiology
502 East Boone Avenue
Spokane, WA 99258-0068
(509) 313-6484
Pacific Lutheran University
School of Nursing
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, WA 98447
(253) 535-7672
Seattle Pacific University
School of Health Sciences
3307 3rd Ave West
Seattle, WA 98119-1997
(206) 281-2608
Washington State University
College of Nursing
412 E Spokane Falls Blvd
Spokane, WA 99202
(509) 324-7332