Selecting the best nursing school in Washington can be difficult. To make the process easier first look for a school that supports students towards licensure and beyond. A great way to measure this is through NCLEX-RN "pass rates." We have ranked the top 10 nursing schools in Washington by analyzing current and historical NCLEX-RN "pass rates", meaning the percentage of graduates who pass the exam, out of the 34 RN programs in the state. Programs reviewed include schools that offer an Associate in Nursing (ADN/ASN), BSN, or Direct-Entry MSN Degree.

For more information on our top nursing school rankings, see our Methodology Page (


See Our list of the Best Nursing Programs in Washington

The Pacific Northwest's crowning jewel, Washington boasts world-class educational institutions, making it the perfect locale to earn your degree as a registered nurse. Graduates of these nursing programs are poised to have very lucrative careers, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the average salary of a Washington state registered nurse at roughly $82,670 annually.

For RN bridge programs visit:

ADN Programs in Washington

An Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) is one of the quickest ways to become a registered nurse, with most programs lasting 2 years. Skills like processing patient information, math competency, analytical and critical thinking, as well as interpersonal communication are all honed in the ADN program.

With over 25 schools from rural areas to urban Seattle offering an ADN program accredited by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission, you have more than a few choices if you are looking for an excellent ADN program in the state.

What to Look For in an ADN Program in Washington

There are so many factors to consider when choosing an ADN nursing program. Here are some key examples of what you'll want to look for as you check out different schools:


National accreditation organizations can offer value and legitimacy to nursing programs, so you'll want to look for ADN programs that have these affiliations. Some of the main national organizations to watch for include the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). It is also very important to look for schools that hold local accreditation from the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission.


You will want to ensure that upon completing the ADN program at your preferred school that you will be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for licensure as a Registered Nurse (NCLEX). Many test prep options are available for those looking to study for this important examination.

Program Outcomes

It is wise to inquire about the statistics regarding your school's ADN program. The following are all good indications of the school's reputation:

  • Graduation rate
  • Licensure exam pass rate
  • Graduate satisfaction
  • Employment rate

Bellevue College, located just outside of Seattle in Bellevue, Washington is just one of the schools in the region that offers an accredited ADN program.

ADN Program Admission Requirements in Washington

You may be wondering what the admission requirements are for an ADN program. While all schools will vary in their exact requirements, here is an example of what you can expect:

  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Have at least a 2.0 for all pre-requisite classes
  • A minimum 74% score on the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS)
  • A minimum score of 8 on the COMPASS E-Write Test

Tuition and Costs of ADN Programs in Washington

Tuition is often one of the main things prospective students worry about when trying to decide on a nursing program. It's important to remember that tuition is just one portion of what you'll be paying for. Textbooks, fees, and uniforms are all examples of costs you may incur, and these may or may not be included in the price of your school's tuition. As an example, the estimated program cost for the 2-year ADN program at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington is around $111 per credit, not including additional fees.

Advantages of ADN Programs

If you are eager to start a career in nursing as soon as possible, an ADN program is a great route to take. With a shorter, 2-year curriculum, you can be working as a registered nurse much faster than you could by going through a traditional 4-year program. With so many schools in the state that offer an ADN program, from junior colleges to technical colleges to state schools, finding a great program is convenient and easy as well.

LPN to RN Programs in Washington

For Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who wish to enter the ranks of registered nursing, specialty LPN to RN bridge programs in Washington make the process quicker and easier. These programs build upon the knowledge and skills that LPNs already have, providing a seamless transition into RN practice.

LPN to ADN/BSN Programs

LPN students who wish to cross over to registered nursing have a few different pathways they can choose. The quickest route is the LPN to ADN program, where students graduate with an associate's degree in nursing. Tacoma Community College, for example, offers an LPN to ADN program which admits students every winter. For those wanting to earn the coveted bachelor's degree in nursing, LPN to BSN programs also exist in the state. Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma offers an LPN to BSN pathway that can be completed in just five semesters, or 2.5 years, of study following prerequisite courses.

Admission requirements for LPN to RN programs in Washington typically include the following:

  • Graduate of an approved LPN program
  • Active LPN licensure
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended
  • Prerequisite coursework may be required

BSN Programs in Washington

To broaden your horizons in the nursing profession, a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) is an excellent option, with greater job opportunities and higher pay. A traditional BSN program lasts about 4 years, although there are shorter RN to BSN options if you already hold your nursing license. With more than 10 schools that offer a traditional BSN and roughly 14 that offer an RN to BSN, you are bound to find a school in your region of the state with the right program for you.

What To Look For in a BSN Program in Washington

Along with the variety of schools that offer a BSN comes to a big decision when it comes to choosing one. Just like choosing an ADN program, deciding on your BSN school should consider a mix of factors, including proper accreditation, positive program outcomes, and more. You can also consider the types of classes available; full-time, part-time, and/or online. If you are already a registered nurse, you'll want to look for a specific RN to BSN program.

Gonzaga University, located in Spokane, Washington, is an excellent example of a school that offers an accredited BSN program.

BSN Program Length in Washington

You can expect an undergraduate BSN program to last 4 years. If you are doing an RN to BSN program, the length will be shorter, depending on the program you choose and the classes you have already completed. It's always wise to check with prospective schools about specific program lengths.

BSN Program Admission Requirements in Washington

Every BSN program has its own admission requirements, but you can use the following as a guideline of what's to be expected:

  • Completed the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS)
  • 50 hours of work/volunteer experience
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Completion of pre-requisite courses with a GPA of 2.0 or higher for each course

Tuition and Costs of BSN Programs in Washington

Figuring out the cost of a BSN program can be challenging. Not only will you have to factor in tuition, but also additional fees such as books, uniforms, equipment, and more. At the University of Washington, located in Seattle, quarterly tuition for the BSN program is generally $3,915 for residents, not including any additional costs or fees.

Advantages of BSN Programs

There are two areas of interest for BSN programs. You can either go right into one as an undergrad, or go through additional schooling as an already-licensed RN. Either way, a BSN is going to open you up to a wide array of increased career and salary options. With so many BSN and RN to BSN programs all throughout the state, it's a logical choice if you are looking for a more advanced nursing career.

MSN Programs in Washington

To really hit the peak of higher learning in nursing, you'll want to look into earning your Masters of Science in Nursing degree (MSN). There are more than 10 schools in the state that offer an accredited MSN program. This advanced degree can lead to nursing jobs including Clinical Nurse Specialist, Certified Nurse Midwife, and Nurse Practitioner, among other specialties. You must already hold a BSN if you want to move on and earn an MSN.

MSN Program Length in Washington

An RN to MSN program can last roughly 3 years, depending on the school and the previous coursework the student has taken. As most nurses who opt to go for their MSN are busy working RNs, it is a good idea to inquire with your preferred school about the availability of flexible schedule classes or even online classes.

MSN Admission Requirements in Washington

Like all nursing programs, MSN program requirements may vary. Here are some of the standard requirements you might face:

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited nursing program
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • GRE scores from within 5 years with minimum scores in required sections
  • Current WA state nursing license

Tuition and Costs of MSN Programs in Washington

Tuition for MSN programs can vary. For example, the BSN to MSN program at Pacific Lutheran University, located in Tacoma, Washington, costs approximately $35,706 in tuition, along with a $3,795 nursing program fee. Students may be subject to additional mandatory fees.

For NP programs visit:

Getting a Washington Nursing License

Washington State Board of Nursing regulations for nursing licensure is clearly laid out for both examination process and by endorsement.

Applying by examination candidates need to complete the application forms, including the fees associated and have ready the following information:

  • Certificate of Completion - sent electronically from the school to the state Board
  • Official transcripts - mailed by the school nursing directly to the state Board
  • Register for NCLEX - successful outcome upon completion
  • Fingerprint-based Criminal Background Check

Applying by endorsement candidates are required to submit a completed application, as well as:

  • Verification of licensure - either by request for or through NURSYS
  • Verification of Education - either official transcripts or through NURSYS
  • Proof of Current/Active License
  • Passing score on NCLEX
  • Fingerprint-based Criminal Background Check

Learn more about WA RN license requirement at the Washington State of Department of Health.

Accelerated Nursing Programs in Washington

Washington state has an accelerated BSN program and a separate MSN direct entry program. The accelerated program is 12 to 18 months in length, while the MSN program normally runs for 27 months, both programs have clinical hours as a requirement before graduation. Courses that need to be taken prior to entry into the degree programs vary with each program curriculum, which means candidates should request information about the prerequisite requirements. There will be increases to fees if additional courses need to add or any other factors, such as housing should need to be included.

Best RN Programs in Washington


7662 Chanute St NE, Moses Lake, WA 98837 (509) 793-2137

Moses Lake's Big Bend Community College tops the list of exemplary nursing programs in Washington with its ADN program. BBCC admits students in the fall quarter, and students can complete their coursework in just 2 years. With high first-time NCLEX-RN pass rates, prospective students can rest assured that BBCC's comprehensive nursing curriculum will leave them poised for success.

Score: 99.61| Programs: Associate in Nursing

237 W Kellogg Rd, Bellingham, WA 98226 (360) 383-3080

A concept-based curriculum is what fuels the ADN program at Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington. Graduates are given every opportunity to excel in simulations, theoretical practices, and clinical experiences. With an over 96% program completion rate and an above-average first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate, it's easy to see why WCC is a popular choice for nursing students.

Score: 95.24| Programs: Associate in Nursing

2000 Tower St, Everett, WA 98201 (425) 388-9100

Everett Community College is committed to providing outstanding nursing education through its Associate in Applied Science - Transfer degree (AAS-T). In addition to this, a partnership with the University of Washington Bothell provides students at Everett Community College the opportunity to continue on to a BSN degree without having to leave the EvCC campus. Everything needed to become a pillar of success is in one college.

Score: 95.22| Programs: Associate in Nursing

502 E Boone Ave, Spokane, WA 99202 (800) 986-9585

Located in the city of Spokane, Washington, and sitting on both the Spokane River and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Gonzaga offers students flexibility when it comes to their Jesuit nursing programs. The school's BSN program is framed around Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) - an interconnected approach to give students the skills and experience needed to succeed.

Score: 95.21| Programs: BSN

1600 Chester Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337 (360) 475-7748

Olympic College is home to an associate's degree in nursing program that offers a dynamic, evidence-based curriculum. Key skills taught in the program include critical reasoning, legal and ethical values, and collaborative patient care. Graduates are empowered to promote lifelong wellness amongst their communities.

Score: 95.16| Programs: Associate in Nursing

1300 Fifth St, Wenatchee, WA 98801 (509) 682-6800

Wenatchee Valley College is home to a limited enrollment ADN program that requires intensive study. Enrolled students are taught the nursing process through didactic learning and hands-on clinical experiences, with emphasis on collaboration, professionalism, and excellent communciation.

Score: 94.68| Programs: Associate in Nursing

3028 Lindbergh Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225 (360) 752-7000

Bellingham Technical College offers a full-time, 2-year ADN program in the concept-based Direct Transfer Agreement/Major Ready Pathway. Enrolled students learn nursing basics and also take courses in arts and sciences. The school also offers an LPN to RN path for nurses looking to bridge to RN practice.

Score: 93.78| Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to RN

1959 NE Pacific Street, Seattle, WA 98195 (206) 543-8736

The University of Washington, located in Seattle, prepares students with foundational skills in nursing through its BSN program. The curriculum includes interactive scenarios and 1,000 hours of hands-on patient care through one of the school's 700+ community partnership sites. Graduates of the full-time program are well prepared for licensure and beyond.

Score: 93.73| Programs: BSN

204 S College Ave, College Place, WA 99324 (509) 527-2461

Walla Walla University offers a bachelor's of science in nursing (BSN) degree route for aspiring RNs. This faith-based school's program boasts small class sizes, a curriculum that includes nearly 1,000 hours of clinical experience, and high fidelity simulations. An NCLEX prep course is also included as part of the program.

Score: 93.17| Programs: BSN, LPN to BSN

3000 Landerholm Cir SE, Bellevue, WA 98007 (425) 564-1000

Bellevue College offers an ADN degree program for those interested in entry-level registered nursing careers. Utilizing cognitive, affective, and psychomotor teaching methodologies, BC's experienced faculty train nurses who meet the demands of today's changing healthcare landscape. Students can choose between the six-quarter program or the eleven-quarter program, depending on their needs.

Score: 93.05| Programs: Associate in Nursing

Continued List of All RN Programs in Washington

6501 S 19th St, Tacoma, WA 98466
(253) 566-5000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
2405 E. College Way, Mount Vernon, WA 98273
(360) 416-7933
Programs: Associate in Nursing
9401 Farwest Drive SW, Lakewood, WA 98498
(253) 840-8355
Programs: Associate in Nursing
1502 E Lauridsen Blvd, Port Angeles, WA 98362
(360) 417-6455
Programs: Associate in Nursing
2600 N 20th Ave, Pasco, WA 99301
(509) 547-0511
Programs: Associate in Nursing
16101 Greenwood Ave N, Shoreline, WA 98133
(206) 533-6778
Programs: Associate in Nursing
3307 3rd Ave West, Seattle, WA 98119
(206) 281-2233
Programs: BSN
12180 Park Ave S, Tacoma, WA 98447
(253) 535-7411
Programs: BSN
South 16th Ave. & Nob Hill Blvd, Yakima, WA 98902
(509) 574-4600
Programs: Associate in Nursing
5520 108th Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98033
(425) 889-7822
Programs: BSN
500 Tausick Way, Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 522-2500
Programs: Associate in Nursing
600 Centralia College Blvd, Centralia, WA 98531
(360) 736-9391
Programs: Associate in Nursing
1810 N Greene St, Spokane, WA 99217
(509) 533-7000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
901 12th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 296-6000
Programs: BSN
1600 Maple St, Longview, WA 98632
(360) 442-2311
Programs: Associate in Nursing
1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA 98663
(360) 699-6398
Programs: Associate in Nursing
2400 S 240th St, Des Moines, WA 98198
(206) 592-3584
Programs: Associate in Nursing
2011 Mottman Rd SW, Olympia, WA 98512
(360) 596-5200
Programs: Associate in Nursing
103 E Spokane Falls Blvd, Pullman, WA 99202
(509) 324-7360
Programs: BSN
1200 12th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144
(206) 934-4123
Programs: Associate in Nursing
11605 132nd Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98034
(425) 739-8100
Programs: Associate in Nursing
1620 Edward P Smith Dr, Aberdeen, WA 98520
(360) 532-9020
Programs: Associate in Nursing
3240 Fort Rd, Toppenish, WA 98948
(509) 865-8551
Programs: BSN
3000 NE 4th St, Renton, WA 98056
(425) 235-2352
Programs: Associate in Nursing

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

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