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RN to BSN Programs in Washington State: Online & Campus Degree Options

Nursing is a challenging yet rewarding field; the more education you have, the more you can do for your patients. Find everything you need to know to choose the on-campus or online RN to BSN program in Washington state that’s right for you and take your career to the next level.

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US Capitol Building in Autumn - Washington DC United States

You can’t forget the nurses who kept you healthy as a child with shots and lollipops. Or maybe you’re an RN who wants to find deeper challenges in leadership. Washington state is rated the best state in the country for nurses. To determine the latest rankings, WalletHub considered starting salary, job openings, work environment, and more, putting Washington state on top.

If you’re looking to make a promising career even better, RN to BSN programs in Washington are a flexible, affordable way to give yourself a pay increase or land a new job. According to a 2018 American Association of Colleges of Nursing survey, more than 88% of employers prefer BSN program graduates over nurses with an associate degree or diploma. If you’re ready to take the next step, keep reading to get the inside scoop on top RN to BSN programs in Washington state.

Nursing School Spotlights: Best RN to BSN Programs in Washington

The top accredited on-campus and online RN to BSN programs in Washington state deliver affordability, academic excellence, and robust student support services. We’ve spotlighted three excellent options below, which provide a great starting place to find the best RN to BSN option for you.

Western Washington University

The RN to BSN program at Western Washington University is for students who have completed an associate degree or diploma nursing program and have their RN license (or will pass the NCLEX-RN exam before their second quarter as RN to BSN students). Located in Bellingham, the program emphasizes clinical experiences in the community to prepare nurses to respond to complex healthcare matters. The program is divided into four quarters for full-time students or eight quarters for part-time students.

Classes are hybrid, which in this case means that some weeks students meet in person, and other weeks they meet online. That flexibility means you can continue your career while learning new concepts and gaining new skills.

Program requirements include a C or above in all courses. Students transfer 90 credits from their associate or diploma program and then earn 48 additional credits. Required coursework includes social justice and healthcare, writing across the curriculum, interdisciplinary care coordination, organizational change for quality and safety in healthcare, and community-based care for vulnerable populations.

Washington State University Vancouver

Students complete the RN to BSN program at Washington State University Vancouver mostly online, so it’s flexible for working nurses who are returning to school or transferring from a community college. Students only go to campus one day per semester to meet the instructors and engage in interactive learning sessions. This program has trained nurses for 30 years and is recognized as a leader in the Pacific Northwest.

Instead of fulfilling their clinical hours on-site, students pursue topics that interest them, completing a community health project and an independent study project.

Required courses include nursing leadership, application of population health principles, contemporary nursing, population health theory, and healthcare informatics. To apply, you’ll need a 3.0 GPA in all college coursework, at least 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours (including completion of all prerequisite courses), and a current RN license or license eligibility.

University of Washington Bothell

The RN to BSN program at the University of Washington (UW) Bothell is for students who’ve earned their associate degree in nursing (ADN). Students in this RN to BSN program in Washington who don’t have their ADN are required to earn an associate degree from a community or technical college in Washington state so they can take the NCLEX-RN exam and earn their nursing licenses.

Students in the UW Bothell RN to BSN program must have prerequisites in anatomy and physiology, general chemistry with a lab, microbiology, statistics, English composition, general psychology, and lifespan development. After enrolling, you can complete the BSN program in one year as a full-time student, where you’ll develop skills and knowledge in research, ethics, leadership, and community health. You must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 and complete 90 credits to graduate.

This program has trained nurses for more than 20 years and offers a flexible hybrid format designed for busy students juggling professional and personal commitments. You can also choose part-time learning and start in January, June, or September. This RN to BSN program in Washington is also available at campuses in Everett and Shoreline.

FAQs: RN to BSN Programs in Washington

What additional nursing skills and knowledge will I gain in an RN to BSN program in Washington?

While the specific curriculum in on-campus and online RN to BSN programs in Washington differs among schools, each program trains students to serve as patient advocates. Nurses work in every aspect of healthcare and evaluate patients’ conditions, provide treatment and medication, and advise patients on aftercare related to injuries and illnesses.

At Bellevue College, for example, students develop skills and knowledge through evidence-based practices, professional communication, health information technology, and community health. Students learn to work with individuals, families, communities, and other groups and demonstrate leadership and management skills.

Nurses also collaborate with doctors and other health professionals. Each Washington-based online RN to BSN program prepares nurses to assist in diagnostic testing, analysis of test results, and patient care plans. Nurses can learn these skills in convenient online programs, such as Washington State University, which allows the flexibility to explore nursing topics that interest them. Students study anatomy and physiology, human nutrition, general chemistry, microbiology, statistics, and a bit of sociology and psychology.

In Washington, how long does it take to complete an RN to BSN program?

Many nurses value the short length of RN to BSN programs in Washington. If enrolled full-time, you can complete your RN to BSN program in Washington in nine months to a year. Part-time students spend about two years in RN to BSN programs. For example, the RN to BSN program at Western Washington University takes four quarters for full-time students or eight quarters for part-time students.

In Washington, how much do RN to BSN programs cost?

The cost of on-campus and online RN to BSN programs in Washington varies by program and location. The amount you’ll pay in tuition and fees also will vary based on if you enroll full- or part-time, if you are a Washington state resident, if you choose a private or public college, and if you have any scholarships, fellowships, or grants.

In general, private education costs more than public and in-state tuition costs less than out-of-state tuition. Play it safe by asking each program’s RN to BSN coordinator for a list of tuition and fees. To give you an idea of what to expect, below you’ll find three RN to BSN programs in Washington with tuition data.

Can I get financial aid to help pay for my RN to BSN program in Washington?

Before you apply to RN to BSN programs in Washington, take time to learn about different types of financial aid. No matter which Washington state RN to BSN program you enroll in, you can expect the school to treat your degree program as a traditional undergraduate degree. So, you can apply for financial aid like any student. If you’ve already worked as an RN, you might qualify for employer payment contributions and Pell grants, state grants, and Stafford loans.

Education isn’t cheap, so it’s important to research costs before applying. Take a look at EduMed’s nursing scholarship guide and financial aid guide.You’ll also find national nursing scholarships and grants on websites such as NursingScholarships.org, which lists over a dozen options. Peruse each program’s website to learn about any scholarships or grants the school or program offers.

In Washington, what are the admission requirements for RN to BSN programs?

Washington RN to BSN programs are competitive, and admission requirements differ from most traditional degree programs. Prospective students must be licensed as RNs for admission. Some schools require specific standardized tests and GPA scores; search your program’s website for requirements. Most Washington RN to BSN programs expect students to submit the following:

  • An application form and fee
  • Official transcripts of previous colleges you’ve attended
  • Valid nursing license
  • Completion of prerequisites with at least a C grade
  • GPA of 2.5
  • Immunizations, usually hepatitis B and TB screening
  • Physical exam records
  • Evidence of malpractice insurance
  • At least one letter of recommendation from a former instructor or clinical supervisor
  • Statement of intent or goal statement
  • Resume or CV

What should I look for in a quality RN to BSN degree program in Washington?

Your ideal RN to BSN program in Washington should provide flexibility to fit your schedule. Research the reputation of the school and program, including accreditation, high NCLEX pass rates, affordable tuition and fees, and high retention and graduation rates. Typically students are drawn to the RN to BSN for its speed, so check how long the program will take to complete.

Inside Look at Online RN to BSN Degree Programs in Washington

Online RN to BSN programs differ in Washington state, but you can expect these programs to prioritize flexibility for working nurses. While some programs require students to complete face-to-face clinical requirements, others are designed for students to learn entirely online. Hybrid programs include a combination of on-campus and online classes. Similarly, some programs offer flexible start and course completion dates.

Learning online requires you to motivate yourself to meet deadlines and complete coursework on time. You may have a mentor, but you’re generally on your own, especially if your program emphasizes asynchronous learning. In asynchronous classes, you complete work in your own time; in synchronous classes, you meet simultaneously with other students at a set time.

As always, check with each program to learn how it operates. You can also visit EduMed’s main page on online RN to BSN programs to learn more about what you can expect as an online RN to BSN student in Washington state or elsewhere in the country.

How Do I Go from Being an RN to a BSN Nurse in Washington?

Once you earn your BSN from an accredited RN to BSN program in Washington state, if you haven’t already done so, you must pass the NCLEX exam to become a licensed nurse. The Washington State Board of Nursing requires all nurses to have a Washington state license.

The requirements to apply for a nursing license in Washington state depend on whether you’ve previously held a nursing license and received your education in the U.S. or elsewhere. Common requirements include:

  • Graduation from a Washington state nursing education program
  • Submission of academic transcripts
  • Passing the NCLEX

You may also have to perform an FBI background check, provide name change information, or provide information on your spouse or domestic partner. Visit the Washington State Board of Nursing to learn more about these requirements.

After completing your RN to BSN program in Washington State, you’ll be prepared to enter one of the most desirable job markets for RNs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects these positions to grow 6% by 2031.

How much does Washington RN to BSN graduates earn?

After you complete an RN to BSN program in Washington state, your earnings will vary depending on your location and specialization. Expect to earn more in larger cities like Seattle and Bellevue and a bit less in smaller towns like Bellingham.

On average, RNs in Washington state make $78,311 per year, while RNs with BSN degrees earn $114,579 per year. Check out the chart below for a more detailed look at different locations to see how much you might earn once you complete your RN to BSN program in Washington state.

Location 10th Percentile Median 90th Percentile

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021

What’s the job market like for BSN nurses in Washington?

Washington state is going to continue to need nurses. The state has 62,470 nurses and low projected competition for jobs. The Washington State Hospital Association reported 6,100 open nurse positions in Washington hospitals.