Program News

100% of Spring 2012 graduates pass NCLEX-RN Exam! All 26 students who graduated in spring 2012 passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. Congratulations to our graduates and faculty! The 2011Washington state average of two-year RN pass rates was 87.76%. (

Whatcom Community College is making changes to the start dates for the next part-time, online/hybrid Nursing program. Whatcom will not be offering a new online/hybrid nursing program option to start fall 2013, as previously planned. The full-time, face-to-face program will still follow previously published dates including application in spring quarter 2013 and begin fall quarter 2013. Dates for starting the next part-time, online/hybrid cohort are being evaluated. Students are invited to meet with an Advisor to discuss possible changes with prerequisite planning and other preparation for applying.

The part-time, online/hybrid nursing program has been, and continues to be, an especially appealing option for working adults. Whatcom Community College recognizes its value as part of the collection of regional nurse education opportunities and will continue to evaluate the next opportunity to begin the next program.

Nursing Program Receives Accreditation


Whatcom's Nursing Program (both the online/hybrid and face-to-face options) received national accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). This is a significant milestone as WCC's Nursing Program only began in 2005. NLNAC accreditation means that the program has met and achieved higher standards than required by the State of Washington. 

    National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc.
                                   3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850
                                   Atlanta, Georgia 30326, Phone: 404.975.5000 

What can I do as a Registered Nurse (RN)?

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.

Information Sessions

You are strongly encouraged to attend an information session or contact one of the Professional Technical advisors for planning help.  You can also review the online information session if you are unable to attend. 

Degree Information-Course List

What is the Nursing Program?

Students who complete the Nursing Program at WCC receive an Associate in Science in Nursing (AS-Nursing) Degree. Students are then eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), for Registered Nurses (RNs). WCC's Nursing Program is dedicated to fostering and nurturing the caring, compassion, critical thinking, problem solving, and lifelong learning skills needed by leaders in professional nursing. The WCC program has a very high retention rate for students accepted to the program, and WCC nursing graduates pass the NCLEX exam at a rate well above the national average. WCC's Nursing Program uses an integrated curriculum which does not allow an entry at the second year for LPNs, nor does the first year prepare students to sit for the LPN NCLEX.

The face-to-face Nursing Program is a full-time program requiring attendance in daytime lecture and lab classes, and both daytime and evening clinicals. The class and clinical schedules may change each quarter. Students will need reliable transportation since clinical sites may be located as much as an hour away.

Does the Nursing Degree (AS-Nursing degree) transfer?

Whatcom's AS-Nursing degree transfers directly to UW Bothell's Bachelor/Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program. Other BSN programs may also accept Whatcom's AS-Nursing degree or specific courses. Speak to an advisor about the college you would like to attend.

What are the prerequisites?

The prerequisite courses are listed on the Degree Information PDF linked above. A minimum grade of B- (2.70) is required in each prerequisite course. All prerequisite courses must be completed by the application deadline, and BIOL& 241 and BIOL& 242 must have been taken within 5 years of the program application deadline. The prerequisite courses are:

  • ENGL& 101, English Composition (5 credits)
  • MATH& 146, Introduction to Statistics (5 credits)
  • CHEM& 121, Introduction to Chemistry or higher level CHEM course (5 credits)
  • BIOL& 260, Microbiology (5 credits)
  • BIOL& 241, Human Anatomy & Physiology 1 (5 credits)
  • BIOL& 242, Human Anatomy & Physiology 2 (5 credits)
  • PSYC& 200, Lifespan Psychology (5 credits)

If prerequisite courses are completed at another institution, an official transcript documenting your work must be submitted by the application deadline*. Transfer courses will be evaluated for equivalency to the WCC courses listed on the Degree Information PDF.

*If the prerequisite courses are on a transcript from outside the US, the transcript must be evaluated by AACRAO before the courses can be considered for Nursing Program prerequisites. Contact the Selective Entry Coordinator 360.383.3032 for more information.

How can the Opportunity Grant Scholarship support you?

This program assists and supports students as they work toward a career in the healthcare industry.  The Opportunity Grant Scholarship offers tuition assistance to eligible students. Please click here for a detailed explanation of eligibility, services, and contact information. Apply Now!

What are the application requirements?

Applicants are required to meet one of the following criteria:

  • Be a current Washington State Nursing Assistant Certified (NAC), OR
  • Recently have passed the NAC exam in Washington State and have a "pending" status on the online Washington State Department of Health, Provider Credential search, OR
  • Have a current  unencumbered Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) license.

This ensures that all students will have a base level of knowledge about bedside care. Additional application requirements are outlined on the admission application form.

How can I get my NAC?

WCC offers an 8-credit Nursing Assistant training program: For more information, click here

What is the application process and deadline?

Admission to the Nursing Program is decided through a competitive selection process. Students are strongly encouraged to allow ample time for all application processes.

  • Applications for the Fall Quarter 2013 face-to-face program will be accepted after January 14, 2013.  The deadline for complete application materials to be considered is May 9, 2013.

Late applications will be considered only if there is space available. You must complete the following steps by the application deadline to be considered for program acceptance:

STEP 1: Apply to Whatcom Community College.
Students must apply to WCC and have an active Student Identification (SID) number in order to apply for the Nursing program and pay related fees.

  • New Students:
    • Apply to WCC online.
    • Unable to apply online?
      • Request a WCC application by email at, by phone 360.383.3001, or in person at the Entry & Advising Center, LDC 116.
    • Get your SID number. Once your completed WCC application has been received you will be sent a SID number via email within two to three days.
    • Once you receive your SID number, proceed to STEP 2.
  • Returning Students: Contact the Registration Office to reactivate your student account and SID, then proceed to STEP 2.
  • Current Students: Proceed to STEP 2 and use your active SID. 

STEP 2: Obtain and complete Nursing Program selective application forms.
To obtain Nursing Program selective application forms:

STEP 3: Pay application fee and submit all supporting application materials.
Students must pay a $50 application fee and submit application forms, with all supporting materials, on or before the application deadline to be considered for the Nursing Program:

  • Students may pay the Nursing Program application fee ($50) in one of two ways:
    • Go in person to the WCC Cashier's window and pay the application fee with cash, check or credit card. You must have your SID number and identify the program for which you are applying. It is suggested that you complete the Application Fee Payment Form and turn it in with your payment.
    • Mail a check along with the Application Fee Payment Form directly to the WCC Business Office.
    • Note: The application fee is non-refundable.
  • Submit Nursing Program Application form and all supporting materials in one complete packet to the WCC Registration/Records Office in person or by mail. Your packet should include:
    • Completed Nursing Program selective entry application form
    • Personal statement (see details on application form)
    • Completed Applicant Checklist
    • Documentation (official transcripts) of completion of prerequisite courses at grade average 2.7 or above in each class
    • Receipt ($10) from WCC's Business Office for Washington State Patrol Background Check (see below for more information)
    • Proof of licensure (copy of a current Washington State NAC or LPN license, or WAC "pending" status from Provider Credential record).

All materials, whether delivered in person or by mail, must be received at the WCC Registration/Records Office by the deadline to be considered. All selective admission application materials will be placed in a confidential student file for review by the selection committee. Incomplete files will not be considered. Late applications will be considered only if there is space available.

How is the final selection made and how will I know if I have been accepted into the program?

The Nursing Program Admission Committee is made up of WCC nursing faculty. Selection is based on points. All applicants are ranked by the average of their grades in the prerequisites with the addition of 0.25 point if they hold a previous college degree. A degree from the outside the US is only acceptable with an AACRAO evaluation. Personal statements are considered and evaluated when there is a need to break a scoring tie.

Students will be notified of their status, in writing, approximately 6-8 weeks following the application deadline.  All applicants will be notified of program selection results by letter. If you are not accepted to the program, you must reapply for program admission to be considered for the following year. There is no wait list.

Historically, there are 2 to 3.5 applicants for each seat in the class.  Successful applicants usually have grades in their prerequisite courses reflecting high "B" to "A" level work.   Applicants may choose to appeal the admissions decisions made by the committee. These appeals are to be directed to the Dean for Workforce Education at WCC.

If accepted, what are the additional program requirements?

If you are accepted into the Nursing Program, we will mail you an offer letter and an admissions packet. You must meet the following criteria at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the first quarter. If these documents are not on file, you will lose your place in the program and will be required to reapply the next program year.

1. Submit a $100 non-refundable deposit within 2 weeks of your notification of acceptance. This deposit will hold your place and be applied toward your fall tuition.

2. Submit the following health related items:

    • Negative Tuberculosis two-step PPD test performed 1-3 weeks apart. Two negative test results are required to be considered negative.*


  • Health care provider physical clearance (Use the health exam form provided in admissions packet.) Note: All current clinical sites require that students have health insurance
  • Immunization record: recent Tdap (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccination; Immunization or positive serology (titers) for MMR [Measles (rubeola), Mumps, and rubella] and Varicella (Chickenpox); Hepatitis B vaccination three-shot series; and annual, seasonal flu vaccination.
  • Negative drug screening urine test (Check the admissions packet for appropriate screening sites and process).
  • Proof of current First Aid/CPR certification (must be an AHA Healthcare Provider or American Red Cross - CPR for professional rescuers certification).

*If any PPDs are positive, a chest x-ray with written results and physician's statement of no symptoms of TB is required.

PPD must be repeated every 12 months, unless a test has previously shown positive. (Tine test is NOT acceptable). While enrolled in the Nursing Program, students must repeat their PPD test prior to the beginning of the quarter in which it expires.

What are the requirements during the course of study?

You must demonstrate professional conduct and willingness to abide by WCC Rights and Responsibilities.

You must take Nursing courses in sequence and maintain a final grade of "C" (2.0) in all courses. A "C" in nursing courses is 78%.

Will Whatcom maintain a wait list?

A Nursing Program wait list will not be maintained. If you are not accepted, you must reapply for program admission the following year.

Background and Drug Checks for Nursing

Clinical placements, employment, and licensure in a healthcare field often require a background and drug check. WCC will conduct a Washington State Patrol background check on applicants to the Nursing Program. Students need to pay the $10 fee for background checks to the business office, obtain a receipt, and attach that receipt to their application. Results of the background check will be given to the Nursing Program Director. Results of background checks for program applicants are considered valid for 6 months only.

Students accepted into the Nursing Program will need to complete a more extensive background and drug check as required by the local hospital for clinical placement. Information on securing a more extensive check will be presented at the orientation session. Cost for the extensive check varies between $50 and $150 depending upon the number of states the student has lived in. Results of the background checks will be sent to the Nursing Program Director. For students not passing the background/drug checks, a meeting with the Nursing Program Director is required to discuss possible options with the student. A meeting with personnel from the hospital may also be needed.

Support for WCC's Nursing Program

The following regional employers and agencies have contributed funds to help expand the Nursing Program at Whatcom Community College.

  • PeaceHealth St. Joseph Hospital Medical Center
  • St. Lukes Foundation
  • Whidbey General Hospital
  • Island Hospital
  • Skagit Valley Hospital
  • Alderwood Park Convalescent
  • Shuksan Health Care
  • St. Francis Health Care
  • Stafholt Good Samaritan
  • Evergreen North Cascade Nursing Home
  • U.S. Department of Labor
  • Foundation of the National Student Nurse's Association


Career & Salary Outlook in Washington State

  • This occupation is in demand in Washington State
  • Registered Nurses are hired in a variety of settings
  • Wages range $24-50/hr
  • Median wage for RNs in Washington is $35.73

Data as of March 2011.

Apply Now to WCC 
Apply to Nursing 
Nursing Student Handbook  
Information Sessions 
NAC Licensure 
Other Prof Tech Programs 

Advising and Education Planning
360.383.3080 for appointment

Program Director
Annette Flanders, MSN/Ed, RN
Laidlaw Center

Program Assistant
Siobhan Chaney

Whatcom Community College

237 W. Kellogg Road, Bellingham, WA 98226

(360) 383-3000

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