Frequently Asked Questions


Can I take my prerequisites online?

Yes! Many prerequisites are offered through Whatcom Community College, Washington Online and other colleges around and outside of Washington state. Check with your academic advisor to make sure a prerequisite course will transfer to the Nursing program.

What is the cost of the Nursing program?

Students are responsible for the usual tuition and fees charged at Whatcom Community College. In addition the RN student will be responsible for the approximate costs listed below. Information on financial aid is available in the Financial Aid Office.
  • Applying to the RN program
    • $50 - Required RN application fee
    • $10 - Washington State Patrol Background Check
  • At the beginning of the program
    • $1,400 - Required RN textbooks (based on approximate cost of textbooks)
    • $? Student Medical Insurance
    • $900 - Admission requirements including admissions fee, immunizations, drug screen, Kroll background check
    • $150 - $200 - Stethoscope, scrubs, shoes
  • During the program
    • $1,250 - Required lab supplies fee ($250 per lab course)
    • $7,980 - Resident tuition total (based on 2014/2015 tuition rates)
    • $18,370 - Non-resident tuition total (based on 2014/2015 tuition rates)

Are there any special requirements for students in the RN program?

The RN program is full-time, very demanding and requires significant study time. It is highly recommended that students admitted to the program limit their outside obligations, particularly work hours. The first four quarters average 18 hours per week in the classroom with an expectation that students work up to 20 hours per week outside of class on homework assignments. The final quarter is full-time clinical affiliations scheduled at 40 hours per week.

Health care workers are required to have current CPR, TB tests, measles vaccination and hepatitis immunization. Students are also required to undergo drug screening and a national criminal history background check. Students are required to have these completed and current before entering into their clinical experiences.

Uniforms are necessary. The student is responsible for dressing according to the policy in the Nursing Program Student Handbook. A name tag and a watch with a second hand are also required for each clinical experience.

What are the standards to be successful in the RN program?

Students of Whatcom Community College's Nursing Program must be able to meet these minimum standards with or without reasonable accommodation, for successful completion of the program requirements. Students must be capable of meeting these skills requirements in a safe, reliable and efficient manner. There are no substitutes for these essential skills. The applicant must also be able to perform these skills throughout the course of the program. The essential functions include:
  1. Regular access to high-speed internet access
  2. Observation
  3. Communication
  4. Sensory and Motor Function
  5. Conceptual, Integrative and Qualitative
  6. Behavioral & Social Skills, Professionalism

It is the policy of Whatcom Community College to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified students with a disability so they can meet these required standards, if requested by the student. Whether or not a requested accommodation is reasonable will be determined on an individual basis and will be provided as long as it does not fundamentally alter the nature of the program, impose undue hardship, expense or difficulty or is unduly disruptive to the educational process. Reasonable accommodation does not mean that students with disabilities will be exempt from certain tasks; it does mean that WCC will work with students with disabilities to determine whether there are ways the college can assist the student toward completion of the tasks.

Is the RN program accredited?

Whatcom Community College is accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Whatcom's Nursing Program received national accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (formerly the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission). ACEN accreditation means that the program has met and achieved higher standards than required by the State of Washington.

Does the RN program transfer to a Baccalaureate Institution?

Program graduates may transfer to some baccalaureate (four-year) institutions. Graduates of Whatcom's RN program are often able to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, through what is typically referred to as an "RN-to-BSN bridge" program. Bridge programs include the Western Washington University program, in Bellingham, WA. Click here for a list of bridge and other nursing program options in Washington state.

What is the employment outlook?

The starting salary in the Puget Sound area may average from $20-$25 per hour, plus benefits. Demand may tend to push salaries up in other areas. Most graduates of Whatcom Community College's Nursing Program have been hired within six months to one year after graduation.

There are career opportunities for advancement and pursuit of specialty interest in the following and other areas:

 Addiction Anesthetist  Cardiovascular Clinical Specialist 
Critical Care  Genetics  Midwife  Neonatal 
 Nephrology Practitioner  Rehabilitation   

Licensure is required in Washington State for the Registered Nurse to practice. Information about the licensing process is included during the RN program. Complete information on practice acts and regulations can be obtained from the state licensing boards. 

Note: Non-U.S. citizens should check their work Visa status prior to entering the program if they plan to work in the U.S. after graduation. 

Further information on employment can be obtained from the Career Center at Whatcom Community College or by contacting the Washington State Nurses Association or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

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