Last Updated/Verified: June 23, 2021
The nursing profession is more respected than ever right now, and it’s appealing to many in search of a meaningful career. Becoming an LPN in Washington is an excellent choice that is satisfying and offers a chance for continual professional growth. LPNs are vital to the healthcare industry because they deliver much of the hands-on care that patients need. Without enough LPNS, the medical community cannot function. Being an LPN appeals to many because you can become one in less time than it takes to be an RN. However, you can choose to become an RN later if you wish. Best of all, if become an LPN, you will have job opportunities for life.
LPNs in Washington Quick Facts
- The average salary for LPNs in Washington state is $54,773 compared to $47,876 in the US.
- Expected 9% job growth for LPNs from 2019 – 2029 – Much faster than the average career growth projections.
- The highest paying ($75,712) LPN job in Washington is a work-from-home LPN telephonic nurse.
- Washington State nurses enjoy working in a beautiful natural environment.
- Washington has some of the country’s best medical facilities, including the University of Washington Medical Center.
In Washington, Seattle offers the most educational and job opportunities for an LPN.
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Overview of LPN Schools in Washington
Washington State has over 40 schools that offer nursing programs. If you are interested in an LPN career, you should be able to find a program that works for you. While each school has its own approach to teaching, all approved programs contain certain mandated elements such as clinical studies and practical labs. Your program should include the following:
- Science courses
- Nursing ethics
- Patient care instruction
- Basic nursing skills
- Infection control
- Additional specialist courses such as neonatal, long-term care, pharmacology, and mental health.
A Washington LPN school must seek accreditation from a national organization such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), or the National League for Nursing (NLN). You can find more information on Washington State Nursing regulations at the Washington State Department of Health website.
LPN Admissions Requirements
If you want to be admitted to a certified LPN program in Washington State, you will need to meet certain admission requirements. Each school will have its own list of criteria, but the following are usually required:
- A high school diploma
- Passing prerequisite courses
- Meeting a certain score on an assessment test
- Passing a drug test
- Passing a background check
- Having a satisfactory physical assessment
- CPR certification
Some programs may require proof of health and liability insurance to meet their school standards.
LPN Tuition & Costs
Both two-year and four-year institutions offer LPN certification programs, which generally take about one year to complete, depending on whether you attend school full-time or part-time. The tuition and other costs for these programs vary. In-state tuition and fees generally range from approximately $4,000 to $5,000 – housing not included. Out-of-state tuition is often several thousand dollars higher. Tuition for RN programs may differ.
LPN Licensing Requirements in Washington
Becoming a licensed practical nurse in Washington state can be accomplished quickly depending on your school of choice and your course load. After successfully completing your coursework, you can immediately apply to take your NCLEX exam and become licensed by the board of nursing. If you pass your NCLEX, you can begin your duties as soon as your find a job.
Checklist to become a Washington LPN
To get a Washington State nursing LPN license, you will need to complete the following:
- Complete an accredited LPN nursing program
- Submit a written or online application along with the required fees.
- Submit a certificate of completion and transcripts to the nursing commission
- Take and pass your NCLEX exam
- Undergo an FBI criminal background check
The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) is Kaplan’s national test used to determine if you are ready to perform your duties as a licensed practical nurse. The competency test has four major categories and eight subcategories all designed to test “meeting client needs.” The test will ask you about safe and effective care environments, health promotion and maintenance, and psychosocial integrity, among other topics. Most of the questions are multiple-choice with four possible answers, although the test also contains some fill-in-the-blank, hot spots, and chart/exhibit questions. Your program will specifically prepare you for the test material and format.
Like most states, Washington offers LPN reciprocity. If you have an active license in another state, you must verify it through www.nursys.com or through that state’s nursing board. You can then get a Washington State license through endorsement. If your license is not still active in another state, you will have to complete an approved refresher course before being granted the right to practice in Washington.
LPN Salaries in Washington
Washington State pays its LPNs well. The most recent data shows that the average base salary for LPNs in Washington State is $31.75 per hour with the chance to earn an additional $9,375 in overtime.
Some areas offer higher pay than others in Washington. The highest paying cities for LPNs include:
- Sedro-Woolley- $36.82 per hour
- Shelton – $34.02 per hour
- Seattle – $33.78 per hour
- Spokane – $32.44 per hour
- Tacoma – $32.25 per hour
Overall, the state pays its nurses as well as or better than many other areas. If you choose to be a nurse in Washington, you can look forward to a healthy paycheck.
Job Outlook for LPNs in Washington
In recent years, the number of LPNs declined in Washington State, not because facilities did not need them but because of a shortage of qualified applicants. Demand for LPNs is up across the nation, with the profession expected to grow at least 9% over a ten-year period. An aging population means that more healthcare workers, especially LPNs, will be needed in care facilities of all kinds.
The recent pandemic also revealed a greater need for home health nurses, telehealth caregivers, and nursing home LPNs. CNAs played a big role in giving health care during this time and some may wish to pursue their LPN or even RN. Today’s healthcare industry recognizes the importance of nurses to patient care.
Washington State encourages continuing nursing education by providing a number of options. It has accredited programs for licensed practical nurses who want to become RNs. Nursing assistants and nurse practitioners are also in demand in this area. The nursing profession always offers upward mobility for interested candidates.
Top LPN Schools in Washington
You will find top LPN certification programs in the following Washington State nursing schools:
Bates Technical College
1101 S Yakima Tacoma, WA 98405
An aspiring LPN can complete Bates Technical College’s Practical Nurse in a year for about $8,000 in tuition. Bates also offers childcare and transportation to students.
Bellingham Technical College
3028 Lindbergh Ave. Bellingham WA 98225
Bellingham Technical College offers a part-time evening LPN program that can be completed in 18 months. According to their website, BTC’s LPN program is “self-funded,” which costs $290 in fees per credit. As a result, tuition costs about $11,000 for the whole program.
Clover Park Technical College
4500 Steilacoom Blvd. SW Tacoma, WA 98499
Clover Park’s LPN program takes four quarters, or about a year, to complete. It costs roughly $5,500 in tuition. This makes it one of the quickest, cheapest paths to becoming an LPN in Washington State.
20000 68th Ave. W. Lynnwood, WA 98036
Edmonds College’s LPN program is a part-time, 21-month course. The total program tuition cost is a little over $8,000. Edmonds College’s admission acceptance rate is about 30%.
Green River Community College
12401 SE 320th St. Auburn, WA 98092
The LPN program at Green River Community College takes about a year to complete and costs about $6,700. Upon completion, students will have their Associates in Applied Science in Practical Nursing.
1600 Chester Ave. Bremerton, WA 98377-1699
It takes four quarters and about $5,500 to complete Olympic College’s LPN certificate program. Olympic College chooses students using a “factoring system” that prioritizes LPN applicants with the highest number of “points.” Points are awarded based on their resume and application.
Yakima Valley Community College
N. 16th & Nob Hill Blvd Yakima, WA 98907-2520
For more information on LPN opportunities and education in Washington State, check out the following resources:
The Washington Department of Health site contains all the latest information on licensing procedures, examination requirements and renewal and reactivation procedures for licensed practical nurses and registered nurses.
The Washington State Nurses Association site gives you in-depth information on union contracts, continuing education and the latest developments in state nursing care.