Becoming an LPN in Washington

The state of Washington offers more than a dozen practical nursing programs for aspiring licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to choose from in locations across the state. An aging population has led to an increase in practical nursing jobs across the country, and in Washington has led to aspiring nurses to seek state-approved schools for licensure. There are more than 12 community colleges, vocational schools, and private colleges across the state of Washington that offer LPN programs. Washington LPNs earn around an hourly wage of $24.03 or annual salary of $49,980, which is roughly $5,950 more per year than national average.

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Best LPN Programs in Washington

Are you looking to become a licensed practical nurse in Washington? The school you choose is important when it comes to getting your license. Approved programs in Washington are offered at community colleges, technical centers, and private career schools - we list 13 schools across the state. After careful review of NCLEX-PN exam first-time pass rates over the past several years, we have ranked the top 5 programs. For more information on our LPN program rankings, see our Methodology page.

To see all the top ranked LPN programs in Washington click here.

Details on Washington LPN Schools & Classes

With more than a dozen practical nursing programs around the state to choose from, nursing students in Washington have several schooling options to consider. Most practical nursing programs can be completed in one to two years depending on whether a student attends classes on a full- or part-time basis.

A typical course load for an LPN program in Washington includes classroom and clinical learning experiences. Course titles may include the following:

  • Nursing Fundamentals
  • Nursing Math / Pharmacology
  • Maternal/Newborn/Reproductive Nursing
  • Pediatrics Nursing
  • General Anatomy & Physiology
  • Lifespan Psychology
  • Medical Surgical Nursing

Accreditation

When researching practical nursing programs, it is important to consider program accreditation.  A properly accredited program meets or exceeds high standards set by third-party accrediting organizations such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. This means that a student can be assured that the program will provide a high quality nursing education and will prepare him or her for the important NCLEX-PN exam following graduation. Nursing students in Washington can check with the Washington Board of Nursing’s Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission for a listing of state-approved practical nursing programs.

Admission Requirements

Before applying to any LPN program, it is critical to make sure you meet or exceed all the entrance requirements. While specific entrance requirements may vary slightly from school to school, they often include:

  • Completion of high school or GED program (including transcripts)
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.5 in all relevant coursework including prerequisite courses
  • Completion of all prerequisite courses, such as college-level Math, English I and Basic Physiology & Human Anatomy
  • Standardized test scores, if necessary, such as the ACT or TEAS V exam
  • Personal interview
  • Background check, drug screen and proof of required immunizations
  • Submission of completed application and associated fees

Tuition and Costs

The cost of a practical nursing program can be a deciding factor for some students. All schools will have their own unique set of fees, so make sure you understand the full range of costs associated with your program before you apply. In general, costs for a practical nursing program include tuition, mandatory school and course fees and supplies (including textbooks, stethoscope, etc.). In addition, students should factor in the costs of housing and/or commuting to classes into the total price tag. Financial aid, loans, and scholarships are options to consider for those who need assistance covering the costs of their LPN program.

To provide an example, the estimated cost for the 4-quarter practical nursing program at Yakima Valley College is estimated at $6,983. This estimated cost includes tuition, required textbooks, campus lab fees, LPN license and exam fees and immunization and CPR certification fees. It does not include room and board or commuting costs.

Washington LPN Licensing Requirements

To become an LPN in Washington, individuals must be complete a state-approved nursing program. Once that is complete, he or she must sit and pass the NCLEX-PN exam—the required state-test to show proficiency.

In order to receive state licensure, the applicant must submit an application to the state of Washington Department of Health, including:

  • Official transcript from state-approved nursing program
  • Proof of passing score of the NCLEX exam
  • Submit fingerprints for a FBI background check
  • Complete a personal information statement that includes information about physical and mental health status, lack of impairment due to chemical dependency/substance abuse, felony convictions, disciplinary actions, and other areas
  • Completion of 7 hours of required HIV/AIDS training

Washington LPNs must renew their license every year on or before their birthday. A continuing competency program is in place requiring 531 practice hours and 45 continuing education hours every three years.

NCLEX Exam Information

Before a practical nursing program graduate can receive licensure, they must first sit for and pass the NCLEX-PN examination. Your LPN program coursework should adequately prepare you for this important exam. To read more about the NCLEX-PN exam, please visit our overview page here. In addition, our NCLEX-PN practice test is available to help students prepare and study.

LPN Reciprocity and eNLC

Washington is not a state that has opted in to the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), so those rules do not apply. LPNs who have a valid license in another state can apply for licensure in Washington by endorsement by submitting proof of current licensure and having passed the NCLEX.

In addition, applicants must also submit:

  • Fingerprints submitted digitally to the state
  • Authorization for release of FBI information for criminal background check

Washington also allows foreign applicants with LPN equivalent background to apply for licensure in the state. In order to do so, applicants must submit their transcripts for a course by course evaluation with a state-approved evaluation service, pass an English language proficiency exam, complete a Personal Vocational Relationship Course online, submit fingerprints for a background check and pass the NCLEX exam.

LPN Salary in Washington By Area

The table below lists career information organized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for licensed practical nurses in Washington. The table is sorted by total employment, with the largest metropolitan areas listed first.

AreaTotal EmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Seattle, Bellevue, Everett2,550$25.93$53,930
Tacoma, Lakewood1,520$23.98$49,870
Spokane, Spokane Valley740$23.18$48,210
Bellingham340$21.03$43,730
Bremerton, Silverdale340$23.05$47,950
Yakima330$21.61$44,950
Olympia, Tumwater240$24.36$50,670
Kennewick, Richland170$23.66$49,210
Mount Vernon, Anacortes160$21.91$45,570
Longview100$21.72$45,170
Wenatchee80$22.17$46,100
Walla Walla70$20.68$43,010

For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our Washington LPN to RN/BSN programs page.

Top Ranked Washington LPN Programs

1

Yakima Valley Community College

S.16th Ave & Nob Hill Blvd., Yakima,, WA 98902 - (509) 574-4600 - Visit Homepage

Yakima Valley Community College (YVCC) is a public, two-year institution of higher learning located in Yakima, Washington, with an additional campus located in Grandview. YVCC seeks to enrich and enhance both the student and the community's lives, delivering accessible education by providing basic education, academic courses, professional programs, and workforce development options.

Overall Score: 100.00
2

Big Bend Community College

7662 Chanute St NE, Moses Lake, WA 98837 - (509) 793-2222 - Visit Homepage

Big Bend Community College (BBCC) is located in Moses Lake, Washington. BBCC offers a variety of academic programs with a flexible schedule and even distance learning--educational opportunities include earning an associate's degree, transfer education, career certification, or completing a workforce development program.

Overall Score: 100.00 - Request Info on Big Bend Community College
3

Columbia Basin College

2600 N 20th Ave, Pasco, WA 99301 - (509) 547-0511 - Visit Homepage

Columbia Basin College (CBC) is a comprehensive two-year college, located in Pasco, Washington, with an additional campus located in Richland, providing quality education and job preparation. CBC provides opportunities for students to achieve higher education, meaningful employment, and basic skills development, as well as promoting culture enrichment for the entire community.

Overall Score: 100.00 - Request Info on Columbia Basin College
4

Centralia College

600 Centralia College Blvd, Centralia, WA 98531 - (360) 736-9391 - Visit Homepage

Centralia College, located in Centralia, Washington, with an additional campus located in Morton, provides an increasing number of educational programs for students. Centralia College seeks to promote learning activities within the community by offering programs that not only allow provide degrees and certifications for students, but they also allow members of the community to advance in the workplace.

Overall Score: 100.00 - Request Info on Centralia College
5

North Seattle College

9600 College Way N, Seattle, WA 98103 - (206) 934-3600 - Visit Homepage

North Seattle Community College, located in Seattle, Washington, is committed to changing lives through education, offering comprehensive education opportunities and promoting continuous learning and growth. North Seattle Community College promotes collaborative, self-directed learning as well as engaging coursework and faculty.

Overall Score: 99.76 - Request Info on North Seattle College

Continued List of All Programs in Washington

RankedProgramScoreDetails
#6 Grays Harbor College
1620 Edward P Smith Dr, Aberdeen, WA 98520
(360) 532-9020 Visit Homepage
99.44Request Information
#7 Wenatchee Valley College
1300 5th St,, Wenatchee, WA 98801
(509) 682-6800 Visit Homepage
98.61Request Information
#8 Walla Walla Community College
500 Tausick Way, Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 522-2500 Visit Homepage
98.07Request Information
#9 Green River College
12401 SE 320th St, Auburn, WA 98092
(253) 833-9111 Visit Homepage
96.99Request Information
#10 Olympic College
1600 Chester Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337
(360) 792-6050 Visit Homepage
96.29Request Information
#11 Skagit Valley College
1900 SE Pioneer Way, Oak Harbor, WA 98277
(360) 675-6656 Visit Homepage
90.89Request Information
#12 Bates Technical College
1101 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405
(253) 680-7000 Visit Homepage
85.19Request Information
#13 Clover Park Technical College
4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, WA 98499
(253) 589-5800 Visit Homepage
83.05Request Information

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