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How to Secure a Nursing Career in Washington State

Posted by:
A nurse practitioner meeting patient virtually
February 2, 2021

Getting a Doctor of Nursing Practice prepares you for a variety of leadership careers. Find out how to secure a nursing career in Washington State.

Nurses who obtain an advanced degree are well-prepared to secure a variety of leadership careers in the medical field. Because of the increased reliance on nursing expertise due to the impacts of COVID-19, nursing has become a complex and varied field with more and more opportunities to advance into specialized or management positions. 

Nurses who obtain an advanced degree such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) — are well-prepared to secure a variety of leadership careers in the medical field.

As a leader in the field of nursing, you will have the opportunity to improve patient care and ultimately, transform the lives of others. Let’s talk about why you should get a DNP and how you can secure a nursing career in the state of Washington.

Continuing education for nurses: what is a DNP degree?

The DNP is designed for students who are seeking a degree at the highest level of nursing practice. 

While it is possible to get a Ph.D. in Nursing, a Ph.D. is for those who are interested in academia, research, and theory, while DNP graduates serve as leaders in the health profession and implement the best, most recent research into the practice of nursing to improve health outcomes.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), a majority of nursing schools are advocating for the DNP degree to be required for all nurses who are interested in taking on one of the four APRN roles. 

Increasingly, nurses who want to lead or teach across the profession are choosing to pursue graduate education all the way through the DNP level.

Nursing jobs in Washington state are booming — here’s why:

Due to an “aging baby boomer population, climbing rates of chronic issues like obesity and diabetes, and a growing emphasis on preventative care,” the nation is seeing extraordinary job growth in the field of nursing. In fact, Washington state is expected to see a 39.5% growth in registered nurse positions by 2030.

Nurses who obtain a DNP can expect to secure leadership careers, including, but not limited to:

        • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
        • Nurse Educator
        • Nurse Administrator
        • Nurse Researcher
        • Nurse Practitioner
        • Clinical Nurse Specialist
        • Clinical Nurse Leader

How much do nurses make in Washington?

Washington nurses and nurse practitioners make significantly more than the national average in annual salaries for nurses. The average salary for nurses in Washington state is $95,350, which is 15% higher than the national average for registered nurses. Nurses with a Doctor of Nursing Practice make an average of $141,590 in Washington.

Why you should secure a nursing job in Washington state

A combination of economic, legal, and cultural factors make Washington state a highly desirable place for nurses to work and grow their nursing careers long-term. 

Nursing jobs in Washington state – what the data tells us:

  • Earning a DNP degree in Washington gives you independent full practice autonomy, an important legal right that increases opportunity and growth potential for aspiring nurse practitioners. Most states do not offer NPs full practice autonomy.
  • The top ranked Washington healthcare system means that nurses are surrounded by other highly qualified nurses and doctors who are committed to excellent patient care.
  • Washington is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the country. It took the top spot in the 2019 rankings by U.S. News and World Report based on criteria like healthcare, education, economy, and opportunity.
  • Washington state was also named the second-best state for jobs in a study done by WalletHub.

The demand for nurses and for high-quality nursing care exists across the country, but some states are especially good places to build your career as a nurse. If you are considering developing your nursing career, Washington could be the perfect state for you.

Transform lives with Pacific Lutheran University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice

Pacific Lutheran University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice prepares students to develop and evaluate quality care within a health system, collaborate with interprofessional teams to improve health outcomes, and be leaders in the nursing profession.

 Our DNP program prepares nurses at the highest level of proficiency as they learn to translate science into clinical practice. Students develop the skills to lead collaboratively, integrate research into care, and design better healthcare delivery systems.

PLU offers four pathways to earning your Doctor of Nursing Practice degree:

  • Nurses with a BSN complete the DNP FNP program in three years full-time or a four years part-time .
  • Successful completion of the program qualifies students to sit for national certifying exams for Family Nurse Practitioner or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, making them eligible under Washington State law for Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) licensure.

  • The post-Master’s DNP FNP program is designed to prepare expert level clinicians.
  • Nurses with a master’s degree in nursing complete a Gap Analysis to determine what courses from their master’s degree can be applied to the DNP program, and an individualized program of study is developed.
  • Usually two years of full-time study is required to complete the DNP FNP or DNP PMHNP.

  • The post-master’s DNP program for nurses who are already advanced practice nurses is designed for the ARNP to complete their doctorate in two years of part-time study.
  • Post-master’s ARNP students retain their specialty and earn their doctoral degree.

  • The Nurse Executive DNP/MBA program is designed for nurses with a MSN degree to earn the Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master of Business degrees simultaneously
  • This dual-degree program integrates coursework from both disciplines, allowing students to complete the requirements for both degrees in a streamlined manner.
  • Three years of full-time study is required to complete the Nurse Executive DNP/MBA

We also offer a Post-Graduate Nurse Practitioner Certificate program for three concentrations:

  • Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Interested in getting a DNP? Connect with PLU today!

Attend Info Session

Sign up for an info session to see if the DNP program is right for you.

Request Information

Contact us to get more information about the DNP program.

Start Application

Apply for admission to the DNP program to reach your career goals.