Nursing Schools in Washington
Registered nursing is expected to be the fastest growing career over the course of the next decade. To enter the field quickly, you can pursue a diploma or certification program, pass the NCLEX-RN and become a licensed registered nurse. This allows you to start working as an entry level registered nurse as you continue your education towards a BSN, MSN, DNP or PhD in Nursing. This also gives you the chance to earn experience as you continue your education, something employers value very highly.
Washington State has a total of nearly 55,000 registered nurses supporting a population of almost 7 million individuals. This leaves many Washington residents in a position that makes it extremely difficult to find access to even the most basic health care. By entering the field early, you can start to fill the gaps in the health care industry, and you will make a comfortable living doing so. Registered nurses in Washington earn an average income of over $75,000 a year. Experience, education, employer and location will have a huge impact on where you fall within this average, but the above mentioned path to quickly entering the field will help you with many of those metrics.
As you start your job hunt, use the following information to help make your search more effective. Seattle, Kennewick and Olympia have the lowest percentage of registered nurses working relative to the population but Wenatchee, Spokane and Longview are on the other side of that coin with the highest percentage. This information should give you an idea of where competition will be the highest throughout the state. If your income is your highest priority, Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia offer the highest median wages to those working in the city.
You may also want to look to some of the largest employers in the state to gain access to entry level positions more quickly. Providence Health and Service in Renton, Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, and Madigan Army Medical Center in Joint Base Lewis McChord are among the top 20 employers in the state and should offer plenty of opportunities at the start, middle and later parts of your career. You should also look at the benefits that the employers offer employees as you start to find more options. In particular, focus on any tuition reimbursement or assistance that you can find.
Paying for College
Colleges offer a wide range of unique financing options for your education. Many will offer specific loans, scholarships and grants that are only available to students that enroll in their programs. This should be high on many students lists of questions as they start to explore the potential colleges they plan to attend. You should also explore the options offered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You will find a list of the loan repayment plans, scholarships and loans that are offered here. One of the best choices you can make will be to follow the loan repayment plans upon graduation. By working in an underserved area over the course of a two year commitment, the HRSA will pay a large portion of your student debt. The experience you gain during this commitment will be invaluable as you look for permanent employment.
There are plenty of colleges that you can attend around the country. Some are online and will be listed here. Online colleges can make education significantly easier for those with busy schedules. You will often find that these larger online colleges have multiple satellite campuses that are easily visited without any relocation on your part. If you want to look at the programs offered at schools around the state, explore the options listed on the Washington State Department of Health site found here. You will find that each school is listed under the type of degree program offered. Each student is unique and there will be a college perfect for his or her needs. If you do not find what you are looking for in one of the colleges listed with this article, you may find the perfect option on the WADOH site. The most important thing is to explore your options and ensure that the choice you make will meet your long term goals for education and career.