Nursing Schools in Portland, Oregon: Top Online & Campus Programs

Looking to start or advance your RN nursing career in the Portland area? This guide will introduce you to the best nursing schools and help you find the program that’s right for you.

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Shannon Lee

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Shannon Lee has been a freelance writer, editor, and novelist for over 25 years. Her work has appeared on Fox Business, Forbes, MSN, Bob Vila, Modernize, Nashville Scene, MoneyGeek, MVP Parent, and many other outlets; her writing on home improvement led to an editorial position with The Spruce in 2021. She's written extensively on higher education, relationships, and the intersection of technology, health, and medicine. When she's not freelancing, Shannon also writes fiction novels.

last updated

01/31/2022

Whether you’re just beginning your nursing career journey or are a licensed RN ready to make the jump to advanced practitioner and leadership positions, nursing schools in Portland, Oregon offer some of the best accredited programs available. RNs in Oregon are among the highest-paid RNs in the country, making now a great time to take the next step in your nursing education.

This guide highlights the best Portland nursing schools and breaks down the different education paths (including convenient online learning options) to help you find the program that’s right for you. You’ll also find helpful information on where to find financial aid, how to get licensed, and what the job market for nurses in Portland looks like.

Best Nursing Schools and Programs in Portland for 2022

The following list of best nursing schools in Portland, Oregon can help you discover the right nursing program for you. These accredited programs stand out because of their affordability, flexibility, and level of quality student support services. Find out which nursing schools and programs stand out for 2022.

Best Overall Nursing Schools in the Portland

Clackamas Community College

CCC, a public institution with one of the top Portland nursing schools, is one of the largest community colleges in the state. Its Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree holds ACEN accreditation and boasts a 98.2% NCLEX pass rate. The school also offers affordable tuition rates at $111 (in-state) and $277 (out-of-state) per credit.

This AAS program follows a competency-based curriculum in collaboration with the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education (OCNE). Over six terms, students complete 90-93 credits. Required classes include clinical pharmacology, chronic illness and end-of-life care, and pathophysiological processes. Students also complete two hands-on practicums and clinicals for graduation.

This in-person, two-year AAS program is competitive with a limited number of open spots each year. Students must first complete 30 credits of pre-nursing coursework, and applicants must receive a C or higher in these courses.

University of Portland

UP boasts a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program along with a BS in integrative health and wellness, a doctorate in nursing practice, and a healthcare management certificate.

The BSN program develops a strong foundation of knowledge in holistic generalist nursing care, social justice, evidence-based practice, and population health. BSN-seekers need 122 credit hours and 765 clinical hours to graduate. They complete clinical placements in-person with one of the school’s partners, which include the Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, West Hills Health and Rehab, and Providence Portland Medical Center. Full-time students complete this in-person program in four years and pay $24,712 per semester for 12 or more credits. Part-time students pay $1,548 per credit.

George Fox University

GFU is a private Christian school offering a BSN program with a 2020 NCLEX pass rate of 97.67%, the highest in the state. This in-person BSN program serves those looking for a Christian-centered education while developing nursing skills in areas like population health, adult health, maternal childcare, and nursing leadership. In addition to 40 hours of pre-nursing coursework, students complete 57 hours of nursing core classes like mental health nursing, evidence-based nursing, medical-surgical nursing, and leadership principles. They also complete 800-1,000 clinical hours in approved healthcare facilities – correctional facilities, local schools, clinics, and hospitals – around Portland.

GFU nursing students taking 12-18 credits per year pay $38,860. To offset the cost, students can obtain merit-based awards worth up to $20,000 per year.

Best Online Nursing Programs in Portland

Concordia University St. Paul (Portland Option)

CSP is a private institution offering an online Accelerated BSN for nursing students living in the Portland area. Students take didactic coursework online and complete in-person clinicals at approved healthcare facilities in Portland. The program reported a 92.31% first-time NCLEX pass rate in 2019.

This 16-month accelerated program features three starting dates per year, and students complete 61 credits over four semesters. Required classes include nursing informatics, leadership and management in nursing, and evidence-based practice. In addition to online, asynchronous classes, students also complete lab simulations online before competing in-person clinicals in areas like pediatrics, obstetrics, and community health.

Incoming students need at least 60 non-nursing college credits at the time they apply for this accelerated BNS program. The cost is $1,050 per credit for nursing courses and $420 per credit for pre-requisite and co-requisite tuition.

Oregon Health and Science University

OHSU’s school of nursing offers an online RN to BSN completion program. Students can also take advantage of the school’s RN to BS to master’s programs with available concentrations in nursing education and health systems and organizational leadership. The school also offers DNP and PhD programs in nursing.

The RN to BSN online program accommodates both full-time and part-time learners and features a flexible, asynchronous format. All didactic learning is remote, coupled with in-person clinical training in-person in Portland. Students can also complete clinical training in Thailand during their winter terms. Tuition is about $13,000 for the program.

Linfield University

Linfield offers a 12-month, online RN to BSN with in-person labs and clinical training in Portland. The nursing program holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Nursing students choose from a variety of electives in trauma-informed care, health disparities, palliative care, and nursing history. The program requires 86 credits total and a 2.0 or higher GPA in all nursing classes for graduation.

Applicants must have 2.75 or higher GPAs and unencumbered nursing licenses. Before gaining full acceptance to the nursing program, students must complete prerequisite classes with a C or higher. Prerequisite coursework includes writing, statistics, nutrition, behavioral sciences, and life sciences. Expect to pay about $22,700 per 12-18 credit hours.

Types of Nursing Programs Available in or Near Portland

Whether you’re just starting your first nursing training or are a seasoned professional looking to bolster current nursing credentials, Portland nursing schools have a program to fit your needs. Here’s a look at some of the most common types of nursing programs found in and around the city.

Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Portland

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

ADNs are for students without any previous nursing education. They take full-time students about two years to complete and include both nursing and general education classes. You’ll obtain all the skills and knowledge needed to sit for the NCLEX-RN. Graduates work as RNs in clinics, hospitals, outpatient care units, and more.

Examples of Portland Nursing Schools with this Program

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (Traditional BSN)

BSN degrees are for students with or without previous nursing education. These programs usually take full-time students four years to complete and include general education and nursing courses. You’ll study nursing topics in-depth and explore areas like health promotion, research, and pediatrics. If you already have an associate degree and RN licensure, you can probably finish in about two years.

Examples of Portland Nursing Schools with this Program

Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSNs are usually designed for those with bachelor’s degrees in another field. Accelerated programs take less time to complete than traditional BSNs because general electives do not need to be repeated. Expect to spend 12-24 months completing an accelerated BSN.

Examples of Portland Nursing Schools with this Program

Direct-Entry MSN Programs (Master of Science in Nursing)

Direct-entry MSNs are for students with bachelor’s degrees in a non-nursing field. They provide the foundational knowledge and skills needed to pursue RN licensure. As a master’s level program, an MSN provides specialized training in areas of nursing that include family nurse practitioner, adult gerontology, and primary care nurse practitioner.

Examples of Portland Nursing Schools with this Program

Nursing Bridge Programs in Portland for Current Nurses

LPN to RN and LPN to BSN Programs

If you already have an LPN, you can pursue RN licensure and/or a BSN degree in an LPN to RN or LPN to BSN program. In these 2-3-year programs, you’ll build upon your existing knowledge and hands-on skills and be ready to sit for the NCLEX-RN.

Examples of Portland Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to BSN Programs

For RNs wanting bachelor’s degrees in nursing, RN to BSN programs are the best choice. Incoming students with ADNs and RN licensure can increase their earning potential, further develop their skill set, and qualify for more nursing positions by completing their BSNs. These programs usually take full-time students 1-2 years.

Examples of Portland Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to MSN Programs

Some Portland nursing schools offer an MSN for RNs with or without bachelor’s degrees. RN to MSN programs are for those with unencumbered RN licensure and associate degrees or higher. Depending on transfer credits, an RN to MSN program takes 2-3 years.

Examples of Portland Nursing Schools with this Program

Advanced Nursing Programs in Portland

Traditional MSN Programs (Master of Science in Nursing)

Traditional MSN programs are for current BSN nurses and non-nurses with bachelor’s degrees in another field. Tracks for students with bachelor’s degrees in other fields are usually referred to as direct-entry MSNs. MSN degrees give students the chance to develop skills in specialized areas like nursing education or adult gerontology.

Examples of Portland Nursing Schools with this Program

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and PhD Doctoral Programs

The DNP is a practice-focused degree that teaches you to apply the latest advancements in the field to improve nursing practice. A PhD is a research degree that prepares you for work in research facilities or academic roles at colleges and universities.

Examples of Portland Nursing Schools with this Program

Financial Aid Opportunities for Nursing Students in Portland

The cost of attending a nursing school in Portland, Oregon is a challenge for many students. Fortunately, you have many financial aid options to help offset the cost of your education.

Scholarships and grants are some of the best ways to obtain funding for nursing school. In addition to applying for any financial awards available through your school, consider applying for those through private organizations like the Oregon Nurses Foundation, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, or Oregon Nurses Association. Local, state, and regional organizations also may offer funding opportunities.

Federal aid, whether through scholarships, grants, loans, or work-study positions, can help students get the nursing education they need without taking on substantial debt. Examples include these programs offered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Also, be sure to complete a FAFSA each school year to help determine your eligibility for federal aid.

For more information on financial aid for nursing students, check out our nursing scholarship guide, financial aid guide, and nursing student loan forgiveness guide.

How to Become an RN in Portland: Licensing Requirements

To become an RN in Portland, follow the licensure requirements set by the Oregon State Board of Nursing. After completing a state-approved RN program, apply for licensure to the state. In Oregon, you’ll apply to receive an Authorization to Test notification, which means the state approves you to sit for the NCLEX-RN.

After you pass the exam, you’ll need to complete a series of steps, including fingerprinting and a background check, with the state board of nursing before you can pursue employment. Check out our Oregon nursing school guide for more information on licensing requirements.

Job Market and Earnings for RNs and APRNs in Portland

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses in Oregon are among the highest-paid RNs in the country at about $98,700 per year, earning the fourth-highest salary for RNs in the U.S. Additionally, while advanced practice nurses with master’s degrees have more responsibilities and command higher compensation, they can make $113,840 to $224,950 per year, depending on specialty and position.

About 61% of RNs in Portland and around the country work in state, local, and private hospitals. Ambulatory healthcare services, which include doctors’ offices, home healthcare services, and outpatient care centers, make up about 18% of active RN positions. The largest employers for nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists in the U.S. are doctors’ offices (47%). The next largest employers are hospitals (26%) and outpatient care centers (8%).

How Much You Could Make as an RN or Advanced Practice Nurse in Portland

Median Hourly WageAvg. Hourly WageAvg. Annual Wage
Registered Nurses$48$47$98,700
Nurse Practitioners$57$57$118,330
Nurse Midwives$58$55$113,840
Nurse Anesthetists$99$108$224,950

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020