9 Best RN to BSN Programs in Washington | 2024

Explore the top RN to BSN programs in Washington, along with information on their prerequisites, salary expectations, and answers to frequently asked questions. Programs

Article fact-checked by our Editorial Team.

Becoming a registered nurse (RN) in the state of Washington involves exploring several educational pathways. Among them, the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is one of the fastest and most popular options.

However, ADN-prepared RNs often return to school to achieve their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in bridge programs called RN to BSNs, allowing them to take on more responsibilities and earn higher salaries.

Considering this, we've provided everything you need to know to apply for an RN to BSN in Washington, along with salary expectations after graduation and recommendations for the best programs in the state.

Best RN to BSN Programs in Washington

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most in their RN to BSN program, including affordability, duration, flexibility, and more. We'll start with a deep dive into the top five.

1. Bellevue College

Bellevue College in Bellevue takes the lead on our list with its Hybrid RN to BSN program. This CCNE-accredited program is notable for its affordability, costing approximately $7,380. 

Designed for efficiency, it can be completed in just 12 months, making it a fast-track option. Offering full-time or part-time study choices, the program's hybrid format includes on-campus sessions typically limited to once per week, catering to busy schedules while ensuring aspiring nurses receive a comprehensive education.

2. Western Washington University

Securing the second spot on our list of top Washington RN to BSN programs is Western Washington University, located in Bellingham. Accredited by CCNE, this program offers a swift pathway spanning 12 months, with a hybrid structure designed for flexibility.

Classes are held on a consistent day each week—either Tuesdays or Thursdays—with the remainder of the curriculum available online. Requiring a total of 48 credits for completion, the estimated cost of the program is $7,995, making it an affordable option for aspiring BSN holders.

3. Western Governors University

Ranking third among our top choices for RN to BSN programs in Washington is Western Governors University, situated in Kent. This CCNE-accredited program offers a per-semester cost of $4,885, with an option to complete it in just 12 months at a total of $9,770. However, it's worth noting that the majority of WGU's RN to BSN students typically complete the program in two years, which currently costs $19,540. 

WGU's per-term pricing model is designed for working nurses seeking flexibility, allowing you to progress through coursework at your preferred pace. Additionally, the program's online courses are available anytime, anywhere, ensuring convenience for your learning journey.

4. Washington State University

Washington State University, located in Spokane, is ranked fourth among our top RN to BSN programs in Washington. This Hybrid RN to BSN program, accredited by CCNE, is priced affordably at an estimated cost of $11,340. 

Requiring a minimum GPA of 3.0 for entry, the program offers mostly online coursework, with a single attendance day per semester dedicated to interactive learning and instructor meetings. This approach emphasizes flexibility, allowing registered nurses to achieve their BSN while effectively managing their commitments.

5. Olympic College

Claiming the fifth spot in our compilation is Olympic College in Bremerton. This CCNE-accredited hybrid RN to BSN program uniquely combines online and in-person learning, adapting to your preferences. With 1, 2, and 3-year program plans available, you can tailor your education to fit your schedule.

Olympic's RN to BSN program comes at an estimated cost of $7,380 for a 12-month program length, offering a convenient and practical avenue for registered nurses aiming to attain their BSN.

Online and Hybrid RN to BSN Programs in Washington

Here is our complete list of rankings for the top 9 RN to BSN programs in Washington, for the 2023-2024 school year.

Score School City Program Estimated Costs1
(Minimum, in-state)
Program Length2 Accreditation
99.25 Bellevue College Bellevue Hybrid RN to BSN $7,380 12 months CCNE
99.08 Western Washington
Bellingham Hybrid RN to BSN $7,995 12 months CCNE
98.59 Western Governors
Kent Online RN to BSN $9,770 12 months CCNE
98.16 Washington State University Spokane Hybrid RN to BSN $11,340 -- CCNE
89.25 Olympic College Bremerton Hybrid RN to BSN $7,380 12 months --
89.25 Saint Martin's University Lacey Hybrid RN to BSN $43,600 12 months CCNE
88.99 Wenatchee Valley College Wenatchee Hybrid to BSN $8,313 12 months --
87.82 University of Washington,
Bothell Hybrid RN to BSN $12,555 12 months --
87.76 University of Washington,
Tacoma Hybrid RN to BSN $12,780 12 months --

*Please contact us if you'd like to update your program's information.

1Costs are based on the minimum required RN to BSN credits and are not inclusive of core credits, nor all fees. Actual costs will vary from student to student and are based on multiple factors, including transfer credits and scholarships. For the most accurate costs breakdown, please reach out to a school representative.

2Program lengths included are typically the shortest possible program length, requiring the maximum amount of transfer credits prior to admission. Outstanding general curriculum requirements will likely increase program length.

What Is an RN to BSN?

An RN to BSN Program is an RN returning to school to obtain a BSN degree. This involves experienced RNs and new graduates with a diploma or an ADN. A BSN degree program provides a more comprehensive education in social and physical sciences, nursing management, research, informatics, and public health. It enhances knowledge and understanding of community health, healthcare management, leadership, and policy for a broader scope of practice.

Related: 10 Best RN to BSN Programs in 2023

RN to BSN Coursework

Typical RN to BSN Coursework includes:

  • Professional Nursing Practice
  • Family-Centered Health Promotion
  • Community and Public Health Nursing
  • Statistics for Health Professions
  • Introduction to Nursing Research
  • Ethical Nursing Practice
  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Trends and Issues in Today's Health Care
  • Professional Capstone and Practicum

Can RN to BSNs Be Taken Entirely Online?

RN to BSN programs can be taken entirely online, though in Washington we've found many programs to be more of the hybrid approach. These programs are designed for working RNs who have already completed an ADN or nursing diploma program and obtained licensure, meaning they've gained significant hands-on experience in their initial programs and through work.

Additionally, it's important to note that even fully-online RN to BSN programs may have in-person requirements such as exams or capstone projects, so students should check the specific requirements of a program to ensure it fits their needs.

Where Do BSN-Prepared Nurses Work?

Nurses with a BSN have many career options and opportunities and can practice in most care settings, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Home Care Agencies
  • Physician Office
  • Educational Services
  • Government Agencies
  • Schools
  • Community Centers
  • Hospices
  • Dialysis Centers
  • Telephonic and Virtual Care Settings

RN to BSN Prerequisites and Requirements

There are several prerequisites to enter an RN to BSN program, including:

  • Current, unrestricted RN license
  • An ADN or Diploma in Nursing
  • Minimum GPA (varying per program)
  • Official transcripts

RN to BSN Salary Expectations in Washington

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RNs in Washington in 2022 earned:

  • Mean Hourly Wage: $48.88
  • Annual Mean Wage: $101,670

Unfortunately, the BLS does not specify whether this is an ADN-prepared RN or BSN-prepared RNs; however, given that a BSN is likely to increase earning potential, this is likely to be representative of slightly lower than the average BSN-RN salary.

RN salary in Washington is 14% higher than the national estimates for 2022, as the BLS reports RNs across the U.S. earning:

  • Mean Hourly Wage: $42.80
  • Annual Mean Wage: $89,010

With the highest-paying states being:

  1. California: $133,340
  2. Hawaii: $113,220
  3. Oregon: $106,610
  4. Massachusetts: $104,150
  5. Alaska: $103,310

The BLS collected the Washington RN wage data from over 64,920 nurses.

Compare several specializations by state with our comprehensive nursing salary guide, or learn more about nursing salaries in Washington.

Are RN to BSN Programs Worth It in Washington?

Deciding whether an RN to BSN program in Washington is worth it requires considering various pros and cons.

Pros of RN to BSN Programs in Washington

  1. Career Advancement Opportunities: In Washington's healthcare sector, which includes renowned hospitals and research facilities, a BSN can open doors to advanced nursing roles and specialized areas of practice.
  2. Higher Salary Potential: Nurses with a BSN often command higher salaries. In Washington, particularly in high-cost areas like Seattle, this can be a significant advantage.
  3. Educational Foundation for Further Studies: A BSN is a stepping stone for further education, such as a Master's or Doctorate in Nursing, aligning well with Washington's strong academic and research-oriented healthcare environment.
  4. Meeting Industry Standards: As the healthcare industry evolves, a BSN may become a standard requirement for many nursing roles, and Washington's healthcare system is likely to align with this trend.
  5. Flexibility of Online Programs: Many institutions in Washington offer online RN to BSN programs, providing flexibility for nurses to continue working while advancing their education.

Cons of RN to BSN Programs in Washington

  1. Cost and Time Investment: Pursuing a BSN requires significant time and financial investment, which can be challenging, especially for working nurses.
  2. Balancing Work and Study: For RNs who are working, managing job responsibilities alongside coursework can be stressful.
  3. Variable Return on Investment: The benefits of a BSN in terms of career advancement and salary can vary depending on the employer and location within Washington.
  4. Technology Requirements for Online Programs: Online programs require reliable internet access and a certain level of technological proficiency, which might be a barrier for some.
  5. Market Saturation: In some areas of Washington, especially in urban centers, the market might be saturated with BSN-prepared nurses, potentially making it challenging to find positions that fully utilize the degree.

Ultimately, deciding whether an RN to BSN program is worth it depends on your circumstances and career goals.

How to Choose a Nursing School

Reasons for choosing a nursing school will vary per student and their specific needs. Some students value the cost of education, while others may place greater emphasis on NCLEX pass rates, academic reputation, or other factors.

Although it will vary by individual, a survey by allnurses revealed the top 11 reasons nursing students chose their programs:

  1. Cost
  2. High NCLEX Pass Rate
  3. Location
  4. Academic Reputation
  5. Availability of Financial Aid and Scholarships
  6. Length of Time to Obtain Degree
  7. Flexibility of Schedule
  8. Curriculum
  9. Campus and Surroundings
  10. Nursing Clinicals Location
  11. Availability of Online Courses

Prospective students should assess their needs and pick schools that are the best fit for them.

Importance of Attending an Accredited RN to BSN Program in Washington

Attending an accredited RN to BSN program in Washington is important for several reasons:

  • High Educational Standards: Accreditation ensures that the nursing program in Washington meets rigorous educational criteria, essential in a state known for its advanced healthcare systems and innovative medical research facilities.
  • Licensure and Career Advancement: In Washington, where the healthcare sector is highly competitive, especially in areas like Seattle and Spokane, accreditation is often required for licensure and is preferred by employers for advanced practice and leadership roles.
  • Pathway to Higher Education: For nurses in Washington aiming to further their education, perhaps towards a Master's or Doctoral degree, graduating from an accredited BSN program is typically a prerequisite for admission to these advanced programs.
  • Access to Financial Aid: Accreditation is a key factor for eligibility for federal and state financial aid, crucial for many nursing students in Washington who rely on these funds to support their education.
  • Professional Credibility: Holding a degree from an accredited program enhances a nurse's professional credibility in Washington's healthcare community, which values high standards in nursing education and practice.

Accrediting bodies include the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

FAQ and Additional Readings

Q: How do I transfer my nursing license to Washington?

Washington is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), allowing nurses to practice in other NLC states without additional steps. You do not have to transfer your license if moving from an NLC state.

Q: Are there specialization programs for nurses in Washington?

Many schools in Washington offer advanced nursing degrees, allowing RNs to specialize in pediatric, geriatric, family nurse practitioner, acute care, and more.

Q: Is it better to have an ADN or a BSN?

While obtaining an RN license after completing an ADN is possible, the opportunities after graduation and beyond are more significant with a BSN degree. BSNs focus more on research, leadership skills, and evidence-based practice, whereas an ADN primarily focuses on clinical skills.

Additionally, many healthcare institutions now require BSN-prepared RNs to fulfill various accreditation and Joint Commission requirements and to achieve the prestige of Magnet status.

AD DISCLOSURE: This page may contain affiliate links. These links are designed for allnurses to generate revenue at no cost to you. The websites you visit are operated by third parties and have no influence in our recommendations, which are grounded in research.

Editorial Team / Admin

Erin Lee has 12 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, Procedural, Care Coordination, LNC.

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