Top Oregon Nursing Schools and Programs

September 21, 2021 · 6 Min Read

Explore top nursing degree programs and schools in Oregon, a state that has take a proactive approach to help close the nursing shortage gap.

mini logo is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Schools, Licensing Requirements, and Resources

As one of the highest paying states for nurses, Oregon is a great place to start a nursing career. However, potential income and employment depend on nurse type. We cover four types of nurses in this guide: certified nurse assistants (CNAs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), registered nurses (RNs), and nurse practitioners (NPs).

Each nursing type requires different levels of education, and aspiring nurses can pursue online programs for added flexibility. These distance programs match the quality of on-campus degrees and offer the same career outcomes. If you aim to become a nurse in the Beaver State, you should strongly consider an online nursing program in Oregon.

Why Attend Online Nursing Programs in Oregon?

Oregon provides future nurses with a blend of affordability and potential for high income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RNs in Oregon earned mean annual wages of $91,080 in 2018 -- the fifth-highest rate in the nation. Oregon students also pay lower tuition and fees than in-state students in 16 other states.

To quickly join the workforce in this growing field, interested candidates should start by completing a nursing program in Oregon. Thanks to online education, students can pursue their nursing degrees while continuing to work.

Featured Online Programs

How to Become a Nurse in Oregon

The path to becoming a nurse in Oregon is similar to other states. RN and bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs in Oregon prepare students to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and meet nursing licensure requirements. Students should also research specific requirements in Oregon, including licensure costs and procedures. We explore some of those details below.

  • 1. Choose the Path That's Right for You

    Before a student earns an RN certification, they must first obtain an undergraduate nursing degree. An associate degree in nursing (ADN) may be sufficient for students who wish to practice nursing, but many students choose to complete BSN programs, which often helps nurses earn higher starting salaries. You can also earn an RN diploma through an in-hospital educational program, but this will make it difficult to earn a BSN later on. Students who wish to eventually teach nursing should plan to pursue a master of science in nursing (MSN) or doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. In most cases, a candidate needs a DNP degree to be an undergraduate professor.
  • 2. Earn Your Nursing Degree

    The growing popularity of online programs has changed and benefited the nursing field. Online students must be motivated, independent learners capable of completing self-paced work. Most online nursing programs also include in-person clinical hours, fellowships, and internships, which students can usually arrange in their local communities. Program length depends on the degree level. ADNs generally take two years, a BSN takes 3-4 years, am MSN takes two additional years, and a DNP can take 3-6 additional years to complete.
  • 3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License

    Students should allocate significant time to preparing for the NCLEX-RN, which is the industry-standard examination for nurses. This exam requires extensive preparation, on par with the MCAT or SAT. ADN and BSN programs prepare nursing students for the exam, but candidates should plan to devote personal time to study as well. Upon passing the exam and receiving licensure, students do not immediately receive jobs. Although their new RN licensure does officially allow them to work as nurses in Oregon, newly licensed nursing school graduates still need to pursue job openings at hospitals and clinics.

Online Nursing Degree Programs in Oregon

Oregon laws require licenses for most nursing careers. To earn a license, nurses must first complete the minimum level of education required for their respective licenses. Regardless of what type of nurse you plan on becoming, an online nursing program in Oregon helps satisfy educational requirements.

What Courses Are Part of an Online Nursing Degree Program in Oregon?

Many nursing programs follow similar education formats and require some of the same courses. Each school sets distinct requirements for nurses, so required courses vary, but we've compiled a list of common nursing coursework below.

Human Anatomy and Physiology

This bachelor's-level course introduces the basics of human anatomy and physiology, covering topics like the skeletal system, nervous system, muscles, and cell physiology.

Pharmacology and Therapeutics

This combination of physiology and chemistry focuses on drug therapy for patients. Nursing students learn what situations call for what medications, based on patient responses and conditions.

Ethics in Nursing

Ethics is critical in healthcare. Nurses regularly face ethical dilemmas, so this course teaches future nurses to analyze and assess situations and make the most ethical decisions.

How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?

Regardless of the specific degree, you will need to obtain practical clinical experience. Most online nursing programs in Oregon blend distance courses with in-person clinical experience in their hybrid programs. If you plan on entering a nursing program in Oregon, expect to complete at least some of the program in person.

The length of nursing programs varies by degree. Oregon CNA programs can take as little as six weeks to complete, while NP programs take up to three years on top of the time it takes to complete the prerequisite BSN. All four nursing types covered in this guide require in-person experience.

Current nurses with plenty of experience and aspiring nurses who plan on working while earning their degrees are ideal candidates for online nursing programs in Oregon.

Nursing Licensure in Oregon

LPNs, RNs, NPs, and some CNAs require licensure, certification, or both. The Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN) grants licenses and certifications and it approves educational programs for each nursing type. Each license or certification grants different levels of authority. For example, an NP license in Oregon grants prescriptive authority within the nurses' field of expertise, but an RN license does not.

CNAs can pursue two license options: CNA 1 or CNA 2. Similarly, NPs must choose a specialty when applying for a license. Some specialties require additional education or have stricter licensing requirements. We explore each license and certification's requirements in the next section.

State Requirements by Nursing Type

Education, clinical experience, and exams make up the requirements for Oregon nursing licensure. Licenses expire over time, and Oregon has specific requirements for renewing each type of license. Some licenses share similar requirements.

Certified Nurse Assistant OSBN stipulates that not all CNAs need licensure or certification. However, aspiring CNAs should complete an OSBN-approved CNA 1 program and earn certification. CNA 1 only qualifies students who complete the program to earn a CNA 1 certification. CNA 2 requires additional training and a separate certification from OSBN. A CNA must complete a state-approved CNA 1 or CNA 2 program to work as a nurse assistant. OSBN also permits aspiring RNs and LPNs to obtain CNA licenses while they're working toward higher degrees, which allows nursing students to gain practical experience while also generating income. Nurses must renew both CNA 1 and CNA 2 licenses every two years and pay a fee. Oregon doesn't require CNAs to earn continuing education.

Oregon Licensure Requirements

  • Education: CNA education program or completion of equivalent coursework
  • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in degree program
  • Exams: Oregon CNA 1 exam
  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years on your birthday
  • Continuing Education: None
Licensed Practical Nurse In Oregon, each LPN must complete an approved nursing program to earn a license. Approved programs send transcripts directly to OSBN, so students who complete out-of-state or non-approved programs must obtain and send transcripts separately. After finishing an approved program, LPNs must pass the NCLEX-PN. In the five years leading up to the application, each applicant must complete 960 hours of nursing practice, which can be completed through approved programs. Lastly, LPN applicants must provide proof of a passing NCLEX score and pay an application fee. OSBN also requires seven hours of continuing education in pain management before the first renewal, one of which must occur through the Oregon Pain Management Commission module. Approved LPN programs satisfy this requirement.

Oregon Licensure Requirements

  • Education: ADN
  • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in degree program
  • Exams: NCLEX-LPN
  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years on your birthday
  • Continuing Education: Seven continuing education credits on pain management (one-time).
Registered Nurse RNs in Oregon follow a similar licensure process as LPNs. Both licenses expire every two years, and aside from the one-time requirement of seven continuing education courses, RNs do not need to complete continuing education. RNs must complete stricter education requirements than LPNs. Ideally, RN applicants complete their education through OSBN-approved programs. Doing so satisfies the pain management continuing education requirement. Similar to LPNs, RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN, then renew their RN licenses every two years on their birthday. Renewals sent within a 60 day period after the renewal date are subject to a fee, and OSBN rejects renewals sent 61 days after the deadline.

Oregon Licensure Requirements

  • Education: ADN or BSN
  • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in degree program
  • Exams: NCLEX-RN
  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years on your birthday
  • Continuing Education: A one-time pain management course worth seven credits.
Nurse Practitioner NPs must apply for advanced practice registered nurse-nurse practitioner (APRN-NP) licenses. This license grants prescriptive authority, but not automatically, so all NPs must also apply for prescriptive authority. Nurses who complete board-approved NP programs satisfy prerequisites for prescriptive authority while completing their degrees. OSBN mandates that NPs earn national certification related to their specialty populations. Requirements for each certification vary, as do renewal requirements. OSBN allows continuing education credits earned for certification renewal to count toward up to half of the APRN-NP continuing education requirements. Finally, applicants must submit fingerprints, undergo a criminal background check, and pay application fees for the APRN-NP and prescriptive authority licenses. NPs must renew their licenses every two years. At this time, NPs must prove that they completed 45 hours of continuing education. NPs must also meet Oregon's standards for prescriptive authority, so they need 15 credits in pharmacotherapeutic content related to the field and level of the NP.

Oregon Licensure Requirements

  • Education: MSN or DNP
  • Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in degree program
  • Exams: Any exam associated with earning national certification related to the NP's population focus.
  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years on your birthday
  • Continuing Education: 45 hours of continuing education every two years.

Online Nursing Degree Programs and Licensing in Oregon FAQ

Can Someone Become a Nurse in Two Years? Generally speaking, a CNA program takes as little as six weeks, LPN programs take a little over a year, RN programs take 2-4 years, and NP programs take an additional 2-3 years after earning a bachelor's degree.
What Is a Good Specialty for Nursing? NPs select a specialty, and projections show a significant increase in demand for all types of NPs. Two common specialties are nurse anesthetist and nurse midwife. Each specialty leads to different careers, work environments, and potential incomes, so students should choose the specialty that aligns best with their long-term career goals.
How Long Does it Take to Get an RN License in Oregon? OSBN states that the time it takes to process RN license applications "is irregular" and depends on the number of applicants. OSBN also urges applicants not to request a timeline, as that only slows the licensure process for everyone.
Is Oregon a Good State For Nurses? Oregon ranks among the five top-paying states for RNs and it pays NPs a mean salary higher than the national rate. Projections also indicate an increased need for nurses in Oregon over the coming decade.
Is Oregon a Nurse Compact State? Oregon does not maintain membership in the nurse licensing compact, so out-of-state RNs must individually apply for a license. Similarly, RNs in Oregon must apply for another license if they plan on moving to another state.

Oregon Nurse Salaries and Employment Trends

Oregon nurses enjoy a highly positive outlook for employment. Projections show an increased need for every nursing type in Oregon over the next 10 years. The BLS projects top job growth for NPs (35%) from 2016-2026.

Before committing to an online nursing program in Oregon, note that salary and job growth projections depend on many factors, and no level of education guarantees a minimum salary or a specific position.

Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in Oregon, by Type

  Annual Mean Wage Projected Job Growth(2016-2026)
Certified Nurse Assistant $33,230 12.1%
Licensed Practical Nurse $53,240 10.0%
Registered Nurse $91,080 16.8%
Nurse Practitioner $110,010 35.1%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Projections Central

Annual Mean Nurse Wages in Nearby States

  Certified Nurse Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Nurse Practitioner
U.S. $29,580 $47,050 $75,510 $110,030
California $35,220 $56,200 $106,950 $133,780
Nevada $35,130 $57,140 $85,620 $112,540
Idaho $27,400 $44,280 $67,110 $102,600
Washington $32,130 $55,420 $82,670 $117,650
Alaska $39,830 $58,250 $89,310 $122,880
Hawaii $35,770 $50,930 $98,080 $120,570

Source: BLS

Certified Nurse Assistant

CNAs earn the lowest wages of all nursing types, though the BLS reports that CNA wages in Oregon still outpace national mean wages for CNAs. Projected growth rates for CNAs in Oregon also outpace national projections -- CNAs in the U.S. could see a 9% growth rate from 2018-2028. CNAs do not earn as much in Oregon as they could in neighboring states, though.

Licensed Practical Nurse

LPNs earn higher mean annual wages than the national average, but Oregon pays lower wages than its neighboring states of California, Nevada, Washington, and Alaska. However, LPNs in Oregon receive a higher mean wage than LPNs in Idaho or Hawaii. Projections for Oregon also show a slow growth for LPNs, though they still indicate a double-digit job growth between 2018 and 2028.

Registered Nurse

Based on wages and projected job growth, Oregon ranks among the best states for RNs. On the west coast, only Hawaii and California pay higher mean wages than Oregon. Projections show healthy job growth for RNs in Oregon, and the aging RN workforce could create an even higher demand for young RNs.

Nurse Practitioner

Projections indicate a significant increase in the number of NPs in Oregon over the next decade. While the BLS reports that mean annual wages for NPs in Oregon are slightly lower than the national mean wage, increased demand could cause wages to increase. Some specializations could also see higher wages than Oregon's mean salary for NPs.

Nursing Resources for Oregon

  • ONA offers four membership categories: professional union, professional association, student affiliate, and fair share. Each membership offers many benefits, including scholarships and professional development opportunities. ONA also hosts an annual convention for members and students.
  • NPO offers networking opportunities, industry news, and online education for nurses.
  • OSBN, as Oregon's official licensing and regulating body, outlines requirements for license renewal. All types of nurses can apply for certification or Oregon nursing licensure through OSBN.
  • Oregon Center for Nursing collects industry information and releases its findings through reports. This resource also maintains a job board and helps people become nurses.
  • Ideal for current students, OSNA creates events for nursing students and provides students with everything they need to know about nursing in Oregon.

Jump to Another State is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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