Career Advancement


  • The federal Bureau of Labor and Statistics offers general information on how to become a Registered Nurse and career advancement.
  • Registered Nurses who have graduated from a two-year program such as the program at Whatcom,  and would like to continue their education by earning a Bachelor's of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) may consider an RN-to-BSN program.

  • Graduates of Whatcom's RN program are encouraged to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, through what is typically referred to as an RN-to-BSN "bridge" or "completion" program. Programs include Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. Click here for a list of bridge and other nursing program options in Washington state.

  • There are three ways to be eligible to sit for RN boards: 1) complete a three year diploma program; 2) complete a 2 year degree program; 3) complete a four year degree program.  Also, one can start as an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) and then complete either option 2 or 3.

    Once one has obtained licensure, one progresses through degrees in a somewhat traditional manner.  However, there are now many dual degree programs, eg, RN (two year) to MSN (Masters of Science Nursing), or BSN to DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice).  The master’s level preparation for ARNP (Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner) is being replaced with the DNP.  And, of course, there is still the traditional Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Career Pathways: A visual roadmap to help you reach your career goals.

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