Best Washington Nurse Practitioner Programs

March 3, 2022 , Modified on May 31, 2022 · 6 Min Read

Individuals interested in enrolling in nurse practitioner programs in Washington can refer to this page to learn more about the opportunities available to them in the state.

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Best Washington Nurse Practitioner Programs
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If you are considering one of the many nurse practitioner (NP) schools Washington offers, it can be hard to choose. This guide explores the best Washington state master of science in nursing (MSN) programs, how to apply, and cost and financial aid.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nurse practitioner programs, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about nurse practitioner programs, or go straight to our list of the best NP programs in Washington.

What Can You Do With a Nurse Practitioner Degree?

The education, responsibilities, and salary ranges for NPs are all higher than for registered nurses (RNs) but lower than physicians. Like physicians, NPs are licensed to assess patients, diagnose conditions, and prescribe treatments. They must have at least an MSN.

NPs choose a specialty population, and their degree focuses only on that population. In full practice authority states like Washington, NPs can work independently, but in others, they must practice in collaboration with a physician or under a physician's supervision.

Some of the most common NP specialties are:

This is the most popular NP specialty. Family nurse practitioners (FNP) are primary care providers for all age ranges.

Acute care NPs treat episodic illnesses or injuries, rather than providing ongoing care. They specialize in either adult or pediatric primary care.

Pediatric NPs provide care from infancy through early adolescence. They can specialize in primary care, mental health care, or acute care.

Featured Online MSN Programs

What To Look For in a Washington Nurse Practitioner Program

When choosing from Washington state MSN programs, some factors are personal preferences, such as school size, location, and whether it is faith-based or secular. Other factors, such as cost, program quality and reputation, admission requirements, and program logistics are more objective. These include:

Admission requirements tell you how likely you are to be admitted and what the school values in candidates.

NP programs focus on a particular population. If you think you might change your mind about your specialty, a school that offers different MSN specialties would make transferring programs easier.

Clinical logistics vary, including where and how you are placed and the scheduling. If you plan to attend an NP program in Washington online, make sure you can get clinical placement in your community.

You must graduate from an accredited program to get your license and board certification. If you attend an unaccredited NP program, Washington will not give you a license.

Consider the pace and length of the NP program. Some programs are structured for working students, and others offer part-time coursework.

Even though you are looking at graduate schools, the NCLEX-RN pass rate indicates the school's overall reputation and quality.

The graduation rate, along with the board pass rate, are also excellent indicators of a program's quality and reputation. A high graduation rate combined with a high board pass rate indicates that students are well-prepared to practice.

Applying to a Nurse Practitioner Program in Washington

Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to prepare your application. Talk with a mentor or recent program graduates about how to best present yourself and your qualifications. Have somebody you trust review your application to make sure it is error-free, and reflects your abilities. Alert your references and let them know if there are aspects of your background that you would like them to emphasize.

Current and unencumbered RN license, undergraduate transcript, two or three references, a completed application with an essay or personal statement

Most schools require at least a 3.0 GPA. If your GPA is borderline, talk to an admissions counselor to see if your other qualifications can offset your lower GPA.

Many programs require or strongly prefer at least one year of experience as an RN.

Why Is Nurse Practitioner Program Accreditation Important?

Accreditation is the single most important quality measure for nursing schools. During accreditation, external objective reviewers evaluate every aspect of a program to be sure it meets the highest standards. Therefore, this guide only lists accredited NP schools in Washington.

  • State licensing agencies only license graduates of accredited schools.
  • Boards will not let graduates of unaccredited programs apply for certification.
  • Accredited programs almost never accept transfer credits from non-accredited programs.
  • Most employers will not even consider hiring a graduate of a non-accredited program.
  • Many financial aid options are available only to students enrolled in accredited programs.

Paying for a Nurse Practitioner Program in Washington

When financially preparing for an NP program, consider the cost, financial aid availability, how long the program will take to complete, if you can work while studying, any travel expenses for on-campus requirements or clinicals, and whether you qualify for in-state rates. Consider that If you are a state resident and enroll in a public NP school, Washington offers lower tuition rates.

If you're strategic about your finances and actively pursue scholarships and grants, you can graduate with manageable or even no debt. For those who choose to work in a health professionals shortage area, for the military, or for other government agencies, you may be eligible for either a full scholarship or total loan forgiveness.

Learn More About the Top NP Programs in Washington

  1. Gonzaga University

    Spokane, WA

    Based in Spokane, Gonzaga University is a Jesuit liberal arts college that focuses primarily on undergraduate education. However, the growth of Gonzaga's online school allows students to earn an online master of science in nursing (MSN).

    Gonzaga offers two main online graduate nursing options: an RN-to-MSN and an MSN for nurses with a bachelor of science in nursing. The online MSN has three track options: nursing leadership in healthcare (NLH), family nurse practitioner (FNP), and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). The nursing leadership in healthcare track is entirely online except for one two-day on-campus immersion. The other two tracks offer courses online, though students must earn in-person clinical experience.

    Campus: Spokane, Washington

    Type: Private

    Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

    Tuition: $955-$1030/credit

    Admission Requirements: •   Registered nurse license from an accredited program
    •   3.0 GPA
    •   Phone interview

    Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months

    On-Campus Requirements: Yes

    Programs: RN-to-MSN, MSN-NLH, MSN-FNP, MSN-PMHNP, Second Degree MSN

    School Site: Tuition Financial aid

Common Questions About Nurse Practitioner Programs

How much do nurse practitioners make in Washington?

Washington is the fourth-highest paying state for NPs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median NP salary is $130,840. However, the cost of living is also very high, especially in the Seattle area.

Are nurse practitioners in high demand in Washington State?

Demand for NPs is very high in Washington. The Washington Center for Nursing reports a projected 34.28% increase in demands for NPs between 2019 and 2029. Between 2024 and 2029, it projects 27.49% of the NP job growth will be from separations, turnover, transfers, and exits.

How long does it take to become a nurse practitioner in Washington?

Full-time programs typically take two years for students with a bachelor of science in nursing. If you have an associate degree in nursing, some NP schools in Washington offer a bridge program, which allows you to finish your education in approximately three years.

Can nurse practitioners practice independently in Washington?

NPs have full practice authority in Washington. This means they are licensed to practice independently.

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