Washington offers a variety of accredited nursing education programs, and for students interested in becoming a nurse practitioner, Washington is a good place to practice. The need for qualified nurses is immediate, especially public health nurses. With over six million people, Washington is the 13th most populated state and grew at a faster pace than the nation as a whole, according to the Office of Financial Management. As a result, nurses are needed to keep up with the growing population.
Students can become licensed in one of the following specialties in Washington:
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Midwife
- Nurse Practitioner
Nursing Licensure in Washington
As part of the Washington State Department of Health, the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC) is responsible for licensing practical nurses, registered nurses, advanced registered nurse practitioners, and nursing technicians. The NCQAC also serves to protect public health and safety by regulating the competency and quality of nurses working in the profession.
To work as a nurse in Washington, you must fulfill the following eligibility requirements:
- Application and application fee.
- Have or obtain a current/active Washington RN license (to work as a nurse practitioner).
- Provide official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions.
- Provide proof of current national certification. This must come from the certifying body.
It’s important to note that each state licenses advanced practice nurses differently. Your area of specialty will determine what steps are required to maintain your eligibility.
Average Nursing Salaries in Washington
All salary data is as of May 2011.
The average nursing salary in Washington, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $74,840 in May 2011. This is higher than the national average of $69,110. The Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro area reported an average wage of over $10,000 higher than the national average. The table below compares the national mean wage for RNs to several metropolitan areas in Washington:
|Area||Registered Nurses||Average Salary|
|Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan Division||22,680||$78,380|
|Tacoma, WA Metropolitan Division||6,140||$75,830|