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Become a Registered Nurse in Washington - WA

How to Become an RN in Washington

Those who want to obtain a license to become a registered nurse in the state of Washington and have not been previously licensed as a registered nurse must have graduated from an approved nursing program. They must provide proof of graduation by providing the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission with an official transcript that includes the degree and date that the degree was posted. The transcript must come directly from a representative of the applicant’s program.


An applicant who has been licensed as a registered nurse in another state must list all states in which he or she has held a license, including any states in which he or she applied for a license but was not granted one. The applicants must submit a verification form from the state in which he or she was previously licensed.

Regardless of whether the applicant was previously licensed, he or she must submit the following statements:

  • An assurance of no impairment due to substance abuse or dependency
  • A statement on mental and physical health status
  • Information on any felony convictions
  • Any previous disciplinary action
  • Any limitations or loss of privileges
  • Any history of a loss of license, registration, or certification

All applicants must complete seven hours of HIV/AIDS training as part of their participation in Washington RN programs. Applicants must also successfully complete an exam for licensure known as the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Applicants who wish to receive a registered nursing license via endorsement must meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Graduated from an acceptable institution offering Washington RN programs and show proof of a credential form. This can be from a state board-approved or Commission-approved program that prepares applicants for nursing licensure, or a specified equivalent.
  2. Have been licensed to practice as a registered nurse in another state or territory prior to passing the NCLEX-RN.
  3. Have an active nursing license in another state of territory that is free of disciplinary action, or have an expired license in another state and complete a refresher course as approved by the Commission.
  4. Be a graduate of a non-traditional nursing program. Under this circumstance:
    • The applicant should have been licensed as a vocational or practical nurse before he or she was licensed as a registered nurse. 
    • The applicant must show that he or she has completed at least 200 preceptorship hours as a registered nurse or at least 1,000 practice hours as a registered nurse without having been disciplined.

Or

  • The applicant was not licensed as a vocational or practice nurse before he or she was licensed as a registered nurse.
  • The applicant must show that he or she has completed at least 1,000 hours of practice as a registered nurse without having been disciplined.

When the Commission convenes to decide whether to determine the eligibility of an applicant to become a registered nurse, credentialing supervisors are predisposed to approve all applications in which applicants meet the above qualifications and do not present questions in the areas of personal data or document verification. All applicants will have the opportunity to request a hearing with the Commission if their application is denied.

An application packet for registered nurse applicants can be found at http://www.doh.wa.gov/hsqa/Professions/Nursing/documents/RN_by_Exam.pdf.

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