Best Nursing Schools in Washington

Updated on January 11, 2024

At a Glance

  • Washington state offers a variety of top-rated nursing schools.
  • Programs range from BSN to MSN and DNP.
  • Factors to consider include location, cost, reputation, and program type.
  • Nursing salaries in Washington can exceed $100,000 per year.

Washington state is home to over 15 nursing schools that offer excellent nursing education and training. Ranging from large research universities to small private colleges, prospective nurses have their pick of quality programs. When researching schools, be sure to consider factors like cost, program types, location, reputation and more.

Below are 10 of the top-rated nursing schools in Washington state.

University of Washington

Location: Seattle, WA

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 49%

SAT Score: 1340-1520

Tuition: $12,750 per year (in-state), $38,166 per year (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $80,000

Website: www.washington.edu

The University of Washington School of Nursing is nationally ranked and features several nursing programs including BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD. It’s accelerated BSN program allows students to earn their BSN in just over 1 year. Known for its research, UW nursing graduates are highly sought after.

Washington State University

Location: Spokane, WA

Rating: 8.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 78%

SAT Score: 1090-1310

Tuition: $11,839 per year (in-state), $25,883 per year (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $75,000

Website: www.wsu.edu

WSU College of Nursing offers BSN, MSN and DNP programs at five campuses across Washington. Its direct-entry MSN allows those with a non-nursing bachelor’s to become an APRN. Graduates praise the knowledgeable faculty and clinical experience.

Seattle University

Location: Seattle, WA

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 71%

SAT Score: 1150-1350

Tuition: $44,844 per year

Avg Salary: $80,000

Website: www.seattleu.edu

Seattle University’s College of Nursing is a top choice for those seeking a faith-based nursing education. It offers BSN, ABSN and MSN programs with a focus on leadership and social justice. Clinical hours can be completed at top Seattle hospitals.

Pacific Lutheran University

Location: Tacoma, WA

Rating: 7.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 71%

SAT Score: 1080-1280

Tuition: $42,120 per year

Avg Salary: $70,000

Website: www.plu.edu

Pacific Lutheran offers BSN, MSN and DNP nursing programs at its beautiful campus in Tacoma. The school has a long history of nursing education and smaller class sizes that promote bonding between students and faculty.

Gonzaga University

Location: Spokane, WA

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 66%

SAT Score: 1160-1350

Tuition: $44,280 per year

Avg Salary: $75,000

Website: www.gonzaga.edu

Gonzaga’s highly ranked nursing school places an emphasis on clinical experience and holistic, compassionate care. Students can pursue direct-entry MSN and DNP options. Graduates often pursue advanced nursing roles or leadership positions.

Walla Walla University

Location: College Place, WA

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 50%

SAT Score: 950-1210

Tuition: $30,104 per year

Avg Salary: $65,000

Website: www.wallawalla.edu

This faith-based university offers CCNE accredited BSN and MSN programs focused on whole-person care and health ministry. Students complete clinicals locally and abroad. It’s nursing school has smaller class sizes and passionate faculty.

Washington State University Vancouver

Location: Vancouver, WA

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 82%

SAT Score: 1020-1250

Tuition: $11,839 per year (in-state), $25,883 per year (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $70,000

Website: www.vancouver.wsu.edu

WSU Vancouver’s nursing school offers a traditional BSN program with opportunities for local clinical placements. Students get early hands-on experience and learn from expert nurse faculty. It shares resources with WSU’s College of Nursing.

Heritage University

Location: Toppenish, WA

Rating: 6/10

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Tuition: $21,450 per year

Avg Salary: $65,000

Website: www.heritage.edu

Heritage University’s BSN program focuses on preparing nurses to provide culturally competent care, especially to underserved populations. This affordable program offers evening and online course options.

University of Puget Sound

Location: Tacoma, WA

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 95%

SAT Score: 1180-1370

Tuition: $53,760 per year

Avg Salary: $75,000

Website: www.pugetsound.edu

The University of Puget Sound is known locally and nationally for its excellent undergraduate nursing education. Its competitive direct entry MSN program also produces top quality nursing graduates.

City University of Seattle

Location: Bellevue, WA

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 64%

Tuition: $17,232 per year

Avg Salary: $70,000

Website: www.cityu.edu

City University of Seattle offers flexible BSN and MSN degree options in locations across Washington. Many classes use hybrid and online formats, ideal for working nurses. Clinical placements focus on interprofessional teams.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main types of nursing programs?

The three main types of nursing programs are Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). BSN takes about 4 years, MSN an additional 2 years post-BSN, and DNP 3-4 years post-BSN.

What is the difference between an RN and BSN?

An RN (registered nurse) refers to someone licensed to practice general nursing after completing an associate’s degree or diploma program. A BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) has completed a more advanced 4-year bachelor’s degree.

What major should I choose for nursing?

You should major in nursing or nursing science. Some schools offer health science or healthcare majors with a nursing track. Be sure the program meets requirements to take the NCLEX exam.

Should I get my BSN or ADN first?

Both BSN and ADN (associate’s degree in nursing) allow you to become an RN, but a BSN opens up more nursing career paths. Many suggest starting with an ADN for lower cost and quicker path to licensing, then pursuing an RN to BSN program.

Is a BSN required to become a nurse practitioner?

Yes, nurse practitioners must hold either a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), which both require a BSN first. NPs can prescribe medication and have more advanced nursing practice.

What GPA do I need to get into nursing school?

Nursing programs are competitive, so you generally need at least a 3.0 GPA. However, many schools require a minimum of 3.2-3.5 GPA or higher to have the best chance of admission, along with test scores, essays and interviews.

How much do nurses make in Washington?

The average registered nurse salary in Washington state is over $100,000 per year. However, pay varies based on factors like education level, certifications, speciality, and work location. The top 10% of nurses earn $130,000 or more.

What prereqs do I need for a BSN program?

Common prerequisites are anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, statistics, psychology, and other social sciences. Each program publishes prerequisite course lists. It’s critical to complete all required prerequisites before applying.

Is the nursing school entrance exam (TEAS) required?

Most nursing schools require applicants to pass the TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) to demonstrate reading, math, science and English proficiency needed to succeed in a rigorous nursing program. Schools may have minimum passing score requirements.

When should I take the NCLEX exam after graduation?

You should take the NCLEX licensing exam as soon as possible after graduating from your nursing program. Many new graduates test within days or weeks of graduation while nursing knowledge is still fresh. Check with your state board for registration requirements.

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Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.