Employment & Licensing


What can I do as a Registered Nurse?

Registered Nurses practice in a collaborative health care team...

...with physicians, allied health professionals, social service providers, clients/patients, and others in the healthcare environment. Registered Nurses are required to use decision-making skills, communication techniques, health teaching strategies, and delegation skills in assisting individuals who are experiencing health care problems to progress toward an optimal level of health and wellness.

Licensing process, costs and pass rate

Be sure you are aware of the RN licensing requirements in the state where you intend to work.

Click here for information from the Washington State Department of Health on licensing requirements, process, costs and continuing education. If you intend to work as a Registered Nurse somewhere other than Washington, be sure to check state licensing requirements.

Students who complete the Registered Nurse (RN) program at WCC receive an Associate of Science in Nursing (AS-RN) degree. Students are then eligible to take the National Council for Licensure Examination - Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN), which is one requirement for licensure in Washington State.

Other requirements for licensure include:

  • Certificate of Completion from the Nursing program, and
  • Official transcript, and
  • Proof of a passing NCLEX-RN score, and
  • Licensing application packet

How much can I earn and what is the employment rate?

In addition to licensing, you should also be aware of wage and employment rates...
 Average starting wage Registered nurse Employment growth rate (long-term, estimated) 
 Northwest Washington        $20.43 1.4% annually (2011-2021) (Washington Employment Security) 
 Washington State                $24.90  1.5% annually (2011-2021) ( Washington Employment Security)
 National                               $21.94  19% (2012-2022) (Bureau of Labor and Statistics)

What if I have a criminal history, possibly including charges or convictions?

What if I have a criminal history, possibly including charges or convictions?

A criminal history may legally bar you from working in certain environments or with specific populations. Some charges may not come with such explicit barriers, but they may keep you from getting an interview. How to navigate a criminal history is a challenging exercise. It takes open, persistent exploration. Contact Entry and Advising by phone at 360-383-3080 or by email at advise@whatcom.ctc.edu and ask for a planning appointment. This may be your first step in uncovering the impact your criminal background may have on your professional path.