Washington State RNs restricted from taking Online Out-of-State RN-to-BSN Programs

Nursing Students General Students


Hello, I'm a Washington State resident and currently enrolled in an ADN nursing program. I'd like to pursue my BSN after my ADN graduation, and I'm interested in online RN to BSN Programs.  I noticed that most out-of-state universities won't accept specifically Washington residents. The WA State Board of Nursing has a list of a few out-of-state recognized BSN programs, but mostly recognizing for-profit institutions like the University of Phoenix or Purdue Global for online RN-BSN programs. My question is:  why are Washington State residents restricted from taking online RN-BSN programs out of state? I think Washington is only one of maybe 4 states in The US where the State Nursing Board won't recognize the other programs.  I'd like to apply to schools the Ohio State University or maybe Texas A&M-- both universities that have an online RN-BSN program.  Why are Washington Residents prevented from going out of state for a BSN degree? Does anyone know why?  Thanks.

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), is a voluntary, interstate reciprocity agreement that establishes comparable standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education. This agreement is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state, and currently all states in the U.S., except California, are members of SARA.   SARA does not provide reciprocity for state professional licensing requirements.

My interpretation of WA BON Approved Clinical Site Placements for Out-Of-State Nursing Programs  list is that these out of state nursing programs are approved to allow in-state clinical practicum/ placement in WA state facilities-- often requiring one to find own preceptor.  WA state is regulating NURSING education within its states borders, a states right.

Both Ohio State University and Texas A&M require practicum experiences in your own area within WA state in order to fulfill degree requirements, therefore ineligible.

Your WA state RN license  approval is based on your initial associate degree.  If out of state nursing program doesn't require practicum experience in your own community within WA state, then degree should be recognized.

Washington is corrupt as hell.

  They also have a special program that allows RN's in Washington to proctor students at their facilities and make 900 bucks a month paid for by the state of Washington. Essentially giving the U OF W free teachers. Exactly what they stopped the other programs from doing. The also will take the license of any nurse assisting out of state programs and any facility that allows proctoring for out of state programs. This according to a bulletin they released about a year and a half ago. You basically can only be proctoring students from one of the U OF W programs or its affiliates.  They passed that rule about a week after banning out of state colleges from operating clinicals in Washington

   WGU does have the program you are looking for and is accepted in Washington. also has had a nurse on the BON since the beginning. Same for U of W.  For the last 24 years the Govenor's of Washington have all been U of W graduates. As was the former head of the BON for 23 years.  Washington DID just join the compact licensure but then made an emergency ruling saying it reserved the right to disallow any school it wanted despite the compact. (essentially making the compact worthless for incoming RN's)

  Simple answer is politics and payoffs to the Governor's office who appoints the members of the BON. If you aren't University of Washington you aren't S@@%. On the bright side for you, every year there's one less ADN program at the community colleges, in violation of their charters.  They instead transition to BSN programs through the University of Washington, But the Attorney General and next Governor of Washington Bob Furguson is also a University of Washington Graduate and former student body president so its being ignored.

This is the same BON that threatened to take the license of any nurse that publicly disagreed with the CDC during covid, a rule they never rescinded btw, So trash bags and bandanas are effective PPE according to the Washington BON. 

Hope that helps


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

WA BON Newsletters:

The 2024-2025 SSB 5582 WA Legislature provided funding of $3 million dollars per fiscal year in the supplemental budget to the WABON to set up a grant program to provide funding to nurses who volunteer to precept nursing students in health care settings

November 17, 2023

Get $1000 for precepting student nurses! Accepting submissions for Fall now.


The goal of the preceptor grant program is to:

Help reduce a shortage of healthcare settings for students.

Bring more nurses into the workforce.

WA BON Regulation WAC 246-840-533:

See Student Nurse Preceptor program requirements and Guidelines

WA Preceptorship Advisory Committee Nov 23 report  shows multiple schools and various types of facilities across WA that had preceptors who received payment.

Interesting concept. AN student members frequently complain that hospital nurses rushed, unprepared for them, show disinterest in having a student even outright disdain  for having a student assigned to them.   RN's complained their too busy, stressed or have too many patients to babysit a student/ student in the way. 

If paid preceptor DESIRES to share their knowledge, provides quality teaching experience, encouraging learning in future nurses, may break the poor clinical educational experience, IMHO.  

Majority hospitals I worked in along with home health were teaching ones with students welcomed so I was accepting of students -loved to have them even if patient circling the drain.   One poor student experience I had in "flagship" suburban hospital made me not want to work there while poor urban hospital welcomed us with open arms --where I spent 15 + years.

Right. My issue is its basically a slush fund so the U of W does not have to hire teachers and excludes otherwise good colleges from operating here ( the competition) Our schools turn away  more qualified  students ( 68%)than they accept and their excuse is lack of clinical opportunities.  Require the schools to graduate as many evening and weekend slots and associates degrees  as they do day slots and bsns and we wouldn't have a nursing shortage. But the teachers unions would never go for that. And an ADN does not make them the money the same number of student going BSN will. So much for protecting the public. 

Specializes in Critical Care, ER and Administration.

To work in a hospital setting in Washington, you almost have to have a BSN. Most hospitals in the Seattle area require BSNs. I know Swedish is this way and I think Providence is as well. Swedish is part of Providence and has five hospitals in the Seattle area. Providence has hospitals across the state and Oregon, California and Alaska.


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