Nursing Schools in Seattle: Top Online & Campus Programs

Explore accredited, top-ranked nursing schools in the Seattle area and see how they can help launch or advance your RN nursing career.

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Kathleen Curtis

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Kathleen Curtis is an American writer currently living in Louisville, Kentucky. She has developed content around education for more than a decade for both domestic and international clients.

last updated

01/31/2022

Whether you’re a high school senior in Kirkland interested in starting a nursing career or an experienced RN working at the University of Washington Medical Center considering your next career move, nursing schools in the Seattle area can help you take your next step with confidence. On this page, you’ll find information about the top campus-based and online nursing programs in Seattle alongside details on financial aid opportunities, licensing requirements, and career growth projections over the coming years.

Best Nursing Schools and Programs in Seattle for 2022

With many nursing programs in Seattle to choose from, finding the best program for your professional interests, educational expectations, and financial requirements might seem challenging. To help in your search, we’ve highlighted the best in-person and campus-based nursing programs in Seattle with the right mix of accreditation, flexibility, and affordability. Keep reading to see which schools and programs stand out for 2022.

Best Overall Nursing Schools in Seattle

University of Washington

The University of Washington provides a variety of nursing degrees to meet students at different academic levels. The School of Nursing offers a traditional BSN for those with associate degrees along with an Accelerated BSN for students with bachelor’s degrees in another area. The department partners with a large number of community colleges throughout the state to ensure a seamless transition from one school to the next. Full-time students can graduate in just one year, and interested students can view online information sessions throughout the year.

The school also provides an online Master of Science in Clinical Informatics and Patient-Centered Technologies, a PhD, and several DNP tracks that include adult gerontology, nurse-midwifery, pediatrics, population health, psychiatric mental health, and women’s health.

Seattle Pacific University

Seattle Pacific University’s School of Health Sciences provides a traditional four-year BSN for first-time college students looking to become registered nurses. The program’s NCLEX-RN first-attempt pass rate of 93% is notable as is its reputation for developing competence and character. For students on tight budgets, the department offers several scholarships based on both merit and financial need.

The university also offers a DNP for nurses with MSNs. Students choose from the specialty areas of clinical nurse specialist, adult/gerontology nurse practitioner, and family nurse practitioner. Through small class sizes and flexible scheduling, the school’s faith-based commitment promotes health of the body, mind, and spirit.

The college’s nursing student activities include the Nursing Cadre, Men in Nursing lunches, and NAPS, the Nursing and Pre-Nursing Student Club.

Seattle University

Seattle University’s College of Nursing offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in the Jesuit tradition. Accepting both first-time and transfer students, this BSN consists of 137 credits and offers the opportunity to complete a population health practicum for focused study. The college hosts both the Seattle University Student Nurses Association and a Sigma Theta Tau International chapter for nursing students with 3.5 or higher GPAs. Students can also take advantage of several global education opportunities.

The nursing department also provides a 3-year DNP program for students with bachelor’s degrees and a two-and-a-half-year program for those with master’s level nursing qualifications. A separate program that takes four years is available for non-nurses. Students choose from specializations in acute or primary care nurse practitioner.

Best Online Nursing Programs in Seattle

Bellevue College

Bellevue College offers an RN to BSN program online or as a hybrid option. In addition to holding CCNE accreditation, the program is also approved by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission. Students choose from full-time and part-time learning options. Applicants must have active and unrestricted RN licenses for entrance along with 2.0 or higher GPAs and at least one year of clinical experience as a nurse.

The RN to BSN program at Bellevue does not require any clinicals or practicums, but students do spend the last two quarters of the program completing a scholarly project focused on building leadership and management skills. Program coursework teaches scholarly inquiry, management, leadership, health information, and community and public health.

University of Washington – Bothell

The University of Washington’s Bothell campus provides an RN to BSN program available in person or through a hybrid approach that students can complete in a few as four quarters when studying full time. There’s also a part-time route for students who need more flexibility. The program requires 45 quarter credits and maintains a 95% on-time graduation rate.

Critical thinking abilities are developed as classes cover topics like population-based health in community practice, health policy and the organization of healthcare, translating scholarly knowledge to nursing practice, and team leadership and care coordination. Students must maintain 2.0 or higher GPAs in each course to graduate. New students can begin their studies during the winter, spring, summer, or autumn quarters.

North Seattle College

North Seattle College offers a hybrid Pre-nursing for Transfer to BSN program for students looking to earn ADNs before moving on to their bachelor’s degrees. Admitted students choose from three pathways. The pre-nursing Associate of Applied Science prepares students to move directly into RN positions after graduating and passing the NCLEX-RN while the pre-nursing Associate of Arts allows students to complete all the required courses needed to seamlessly move into a BSN program at one of several approved Seattle colleges.

The pre-nursing Associate of Science program functions similarly to the AA degree. The first program requires eight quarters of study and 90 quarter credits while the remaining options comprise 90-104 quarter credits and take seven quarters to finish.

Types of Nursing Programs Available in or Near Seattle

Whether just starting your nursing education or looking to earn a doctorate, you can find many different degrees at varied academic levels through nursing programs in Seattle. We overview the various options below and link to schools offering them.

Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Seattle

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

Completing an ADN provides the minimum education needed to work as an RN and is the quickest route to working as a nurse. These programs, commonly provided by community colleges and vocational schools, require two years of full-time study and clinical rotations.

Examples of Seattle Nursing Schools with this Program

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (Traditional BSN)

Designed for students who know they want to work as RNs but who also want bachelor’s degrees, these four-year programs cover the foundational topics of an ADN while also progressing into more advanced topics. Offered by both public and private universities, traditional BSNs combine general studies and nursing-specific topics.

Examples of Seattle Nursing Schools with this Program

Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSN programs support students who already hold bachelor’s degrees in non-nursing disciplines. Career-changers pursuing this degree typically graduate in two years of full-time study since they already completed general education requirements in their first degree.

Examples of Seattle Nursing Schools with this Program

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

Direct-entry MSN programs support students with unrelated bachelor’s degrees. These programs take three to four years to complete and allow graduates to work as advanced practice RNs (APRNs) after passing licensure examinations.

Examples of Seattle Nursing Schools with this Program

Nursing Bridge Programs in Seattle for Current Nurses

LPN to RN and LPN to BSN Programs

LPN to RN and LPN to BSN programs are for LPNs who decide they want to upgrade their credentials and salary potential after a few years on the job. These bridge programs lead to ADN or BSN credentials and are commonly offered by community colleges and four-year institutions.

Examples of Seattle Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to BSN Programs

A popular option for licensed RNs with ADNs, RN to BSN programs allow nurses to update their associate degrees to bachelor’s degrees in as few as 12 months. Many four-year universities offer these programs online since they do not require any clinical components.

Examples of Seattle Nursing Schools with this Program

RN to MSN Programs

RN to MSN programs are popular for practicing RNs with ADN credentials who know they want to work as APRNs. These bridge programs typically require three years of study and allow graduates to take on positions as nurse practitioners, nurse educators, midwives, or nurse leaders, among others. They are commonly offered fully online.

Examples of Seattle Nursing Schools with this Program

Advanced Nursing Programs in Seattle

Traditional MSN Programs (Master of Science in Nursing)

Traditional MSN programs are designed for licensed RNs with bachelor’s degrees looking to take the next educational and professional step. Most traditional programs take 12 to 18 months to complete and can be done online. Many schools offer concentrations to help learners focus in niche areas of the discipline.

Examples of Seattle Nursing Schools with this Program

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and PhD Doctoral Programs

DNP and PhD programs are designed for nurses looking to work in the highest echelons of the discipline. The DNP supports nurses looking to continue in professional practice, and the PhD allows nurses to move into research and/or academic positions.

Examples of Seattle Nursing Schools with this Program

Post-Graduate Nursing Certificates

Post-graduate nursing certificates help APRNs with master’s level educations focus on nursing subspecialties. Offerings vary by school but commonly include adult/gerontology, pediatrics, nurse education, nurse leadership, and mental health/psychiatric nursing.

Examples of Seattle Nursing Schools with this Program

Financial Aid Opportunities for Nursing Students in Seattle

To help cover the ever-rising cost of nursing education, King County Nurses Association provides nearly 20 awards of $3,000 each year to qualified students. In addition to financial aid opportunities specific to Seattle and the surrounding area, students should also understand the ins and outs of financial aid and look for general nursing scholarships available from sources outside the city. For those interested in working in medically underserved areas, nursing student loan forgiveness options are also worth researching.

How to Become an RN in Seattle: Licensing Requirements

Requirements for RN licensure in Seattle mirror those for nurses throughout the Evergreen State as set forth by Washington State Department of Health’s Nursing Commission. Requirements include earning an ADN or BSN with proper accreditation, sitting for and passing the NCLEX-RN, and completing at least eight hours of continuing education each year. Check out our guide to nursing schools in Washington to learn more about licensure requirements.

Job Market and Earnings for RNs and APRNs in Seattle

Jobs for registered nurses in Washington are projected to grow by 20% through 2028, leading to the creation of nearly 12,000 new jobs. Given Seattle’s place as the largest city in the state, many of these new roles should concentrate within that area.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs and APRNs working in Seattle earn substantial salaries well above the national average for these occupations. This helps accommodate Seattle’s cost of living that is higher than many other areas in the country. Graduates of nursing schools in Seattle find jobs in many settings, including large health providers like the University of Washington Medical Center, Virginia Mason Medical Center, and Providence Regional Medical Center.

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

Median Hourly WageAvg. Hourly WageAvg. Annual Wage
Registered Nurses$45$46$95,120
Nurse Practitioners$63$62$128,960
Nurse Midwives$57$56$116,850
Nurse Anesthetists$93$94$195,510

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020