Welcome to Nursing
The Nursing (NURS) program at Skagit Valley College (SVC) prepares students for a lifelong career in nursing practice. Nursing is one of the most diverse and exciting careers in today’s health care field. It provides unlimited opportunities and intangible benefits for those who enter the profession. Nurses are employed in a variety of settings including hospitals, extended care centers, home health care agencies, physicians’ offices, mental health facilities, and corrections. New technologies are continually developing in the health care field, offering exciting and challenging career opportunities.
Nursing is a demanding, rewarding profession that requires strong communication skills, excellent problem-solving abilities, focused concentration when performing a task, attention to detail, the ability to work well with others, and extensive knowledge of the sciences.
Graduating Prepared Nurse Leaders
The purpose of the SVC nursing program is to assist in meeting the needs of the community by preparing graduates for entry-level practice in a variety of health care settings. The nursing program in design and implementation supports a career ladder approach to education and training, thus providing students with an opportunity to seek gainful employment at three levels. Based on their education goals, students can choose several entry point options. A student could begin their career in nursing as a Nursing Assistant and with additional education/training and work experience, advance through the LPN and RN rungs of the career ladder. A nurse currently employed as an LPN, may choose to advance their career options by enrolling in the LPN to RN training program. As students progress from simple to complex concepts, our primary program goal is to prepare them to become safe and responsible beginning practitioners. To learn more about our program mission and philosophy:
The estimated program length is based on full-time enrollment (unless otherwise noted). It is the student's responsibility to discuss sequencing and work out their individual schedule with a counselor or program advisor. Any developmental, prerequisite, or general education courses a student is required to complete will add additional quarters toward program completion.
|Degrees / Certificates
|Estimated Program Length
|RN, ATA Degree
||6 – 9 quarters
||Fall/Spring Quarters Only
|LPN to RN, ATA Degree - PT
||6 – 9 quarters
Even Years Only
|PN Certificate - FT
||4 – 6 quarters
||Fall Quarter Only
|PN Certificate - PT
||7 – 9 quarters
Even Years Only
||Fall and Srping
Registered Nursing Associate of Technical Arts Degree
The Registered Nursing ATA Degree prepares students who are highly educated, technically advanced, competent and caring individuals to practice professional nursing in a variety of settings. In addition, it may prepare students interested in pursuing a degree at the baccalaureate level. The full-time program, located on the Mount Vernon campus, requires attendance in daytime lecture and lab classes, and both daytime and evening clinicals. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the examination for licensure as a registered nurse (NCLEX-RN)prepares students who are highly educated, technically advanced, competent and caring individuals to practice professional nursing in a variety of settings and participate in lifelong learning. In addition, it may prepare students interested in pursuing a degree at the baccalaureate level. The full-time program requires attendance in daytime lecture and lab classes, and both daytime and evening clinicals. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the examination for licensure as a registered nurse (NCLEX-RN). To learn more about the work life of an RN, read more…
RN Program Agreement with WWU and UW
Skagit Valley College has an agreement with the Western Washington University and the University of Washington Nursing Program-Bothell that allows the SVC graduate to transition into a Bachelor of Science Nursing Degree program after completion of the Associate Degree Nursing program at SVC. If interested, please contact an advisor at Western Washington University www.wwu.edu./ee/bsn or the University of Washington Bothell www.uwb.edu/nhs. Students should also indicate interest in this program to a SVC pre-nursing counselor.
Practical Nursing to Registered Nursing (LPN to RN) ATA Degree
SVC offers a program for nurses who have graduated from a PN program and have a current Washington State LPN license. The LPN to RN ATA Degree program is part-time, focusing on the second year of the Associate Degree in Registered Nursing. Students complete the same RN program prerequisites, related education courses, and 6 quarters of nursing courses required for the ATA degree. The program was designed to create a pathway for PN graduates to move into high-wage, high-demand career opportunities in healthcare. Graduates of this program receive an Associate Degree in Registered Nursing and are eligible to apply for the State Licensing Examination (NCLEX-RN) for Registered Nursing.
Practical Nursing Certificate
The Practical Nursing Certificate program prepares students for employment as Practical Nurses in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, home healthcare agencies, schools and doctor's offices. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the licensing examination to become licensed practical nurses (NCLEX-PN). There are two PN program enrollment options available to students: full-time, or part-time/evenings and weekends. To learn more about the work life of an LPN, read more…
Nursing Assistant Certificate
Nursing 120(13 credits) - Mount Vernon Campus
The Nursing Assistant (N120) program prepares students for employment as Nursing Assistants in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and home healthcare agencies. Additionally, this program prepares students for continuation on into practical, registered nursing and medical assisting programs. Students will receive a certificate for American Heart Healthcare Provider CPR, bloodborne pathogen training, First Aid, disaster preparedness and the seven hour HIV/AIDS training certificate. Exam Preparation is incorporated to help students take the nursing assistant certification in Washington State. This is a Washington State approved, one quarter course requiring 132 hours of classroom instruction and 66 hours of clinical experience. Students must attend all scheduled classes and clinical experiences to meet State certification requirements. This program is available on the Mount Vernon Campus only.
Nursing 100 (6 credits) - Whidbey Island Campus
The Nursing Assistant program (N100) prepares students for employment as Nursing Assistants in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and home healthcare agencies. Additionally, this program prepares students for continuation on into practical or registered nurse programs. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the Washington State competency examination to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. This is a Washington State approved, one quarter course offered evenings, requiring 35 hours of classroom instruction and 50 hours of clinical experience. Students must attend all scheduled classes and clinical experiences to meet State certification requirements. This program is available on the Whidbey Island Campus only.
To learn more about the work life of a NA, read more…
Currently approved training programs in Washington State
The Nursing programs at SVC are offered at two campus locations: Mount Vernon Campus and Whidbey Island Campus (located in Oak Harbor). The following nursing programs are available at these campus locations:
Mount Vernon Campus
Nursing Assistant (NURS 120)
Whidbey Island Campus
LPN to RN (second year Associate’s Degree in Nursing) – part-time
Practical Nurse – full-time and part-time options
Nursing Assistant (NURS 100)
To learn more about the campus options, please see CONTACT US information.
Program Accreditation and Approval
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
3343 Peachtree Road, NE, Suite 850
Atlanta, GA 30326
Skagit Valley College's Practical Nursing program is approved by...
WA State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (WS-NCQAC)
WA State Department of Health - NCQAC
Mailing Address: PO Box 47864 (Olympia, WA 98504-7877)
Physical Address: 111 Israel Road S.E.
Phone: (360) 236-4700 (call center)
Fax: (360) 236-4738
Upon successful completion of the nursing certificate or degree program, Nursing program graduates are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) for registered nursing or (NCLEX-PN) for practical nursing that is offered by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission. This computerized examination is individually scheduled at designated testing sites. Successful completion of the examination is required to be licensed as a registered nurse (RN) or practical nurse (LPN). During the final quarter in the program, students will take a practice exam to help identify their strengths and areas of weakness. Students are then assisted in applying to take the final examination. Passing a national licensing exam from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCLEX-PN for LPN and NCLEX-RN for RN) is required prior to working in the field, or pursuing advanced training and education (BSN, etc.).
- RN - Annual licensure renewal is required, including continuing education. Many become nationally certified in their specialty. There may be requirements for continuing education on the job.
- LPN - Periodic licensure renewal is required, including continuing education.
- CNA - Nursing Assistant graduates are eligible to take the Washington State Competency Test to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
Licensing & Examination Eligibility
To be eligible to write the NCLEX (the nursing licensure exam), the nursing commission requires you to provide information about physical/mental conditions and any filed criminal charges. You will be required to answer Yes or No to a series of questions. It is important for students to be aware of these questions before starting the nursing program. To learn more about eligibility requirements please read this document: Nursing-Licensing Eligibility/Disqualifying Crimes. If you anticipate problems answering any of these questions, contact the commission directly.
You should also be aware that some clinical facilities are fingerprinting students for federal background checks and are randomly screening for drug usage. A criminal history may impact your ability to both attend a clinical class at selected clinical sites and receive a Washington State nursing license. If you have a criminal history it is important that you determine the impact this will have on your choice of a career.
Program Entry Requirements - General
Admission/enrollment into SVC's Nursing Program (PN & RN) is limited and based on a selective and/or waitlist application process. All interested students must meet minimum qualifications in order to be considered for admission. Students seeking admission to any of the Nursing programs must first apply for admission to Skagit Valley College. Admission to the college does not guarantee acceptance into the nursing program. Take the college placement test (COMPASS) in math and English. Applicant's to the nursing program must be a high school graduate or have passed the General Education Equivalency (GED) exam.
Each Nursing program (RN, PN, or NA) has its own admission guidelines and application process. You can view this information at the links provided below. Generally, the following are required for admission to either the RN or PN programs. Please note that applicants to the NA program are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis -- no wait list is maintained.
- Attend an information session to get questions answered and meet a pre-nursing advisor.
- Apply to SVC – indicate Nursing as your area of interest.
- Take the college placement test in Math and English.
- Successfully complete the programs required/prerequisite courses (a list is provided for each program).
- Submit completed Nursing Admissions Application packet by deadline date. No application form is required for the NA program.
- Attend intake session following notification of acceptance.
Note: The RN and PN curriculum is designed so that prerequisite and general education classes are completed prior to the 1-2 years of nursing-specific course work.
Admission packet must include:
- 18 years of age by admission date
- Documentation showing completion of program specific required/prerequisite courses
- Completed Nursing Admissions Application Form
- Copy of Current CNA certificate or LPN license (as applicable)
- Any other nursing related licenses
Once you are officially accepted into the program, you will need to provide verification of the following items:
- Required immunizations (see information below)
- Pass both an Illegal Substance-Drug Screen and Criminal Background check
- Professional Liability and Malpractice Insurance (cost is included in student fees)
- Medical Insurance coverage for injury/sickness (strongly recommended)
View the program information provided in the links below to learn more about specific admission and application requirements for RN, PN and NA programs.
Nursing Essential Skills
Students planning on entering any of the nursing programs need to be aware of the essential skills required of the successful nurse. The essential skills are the expectations upon which clinical performance is based for all levels of nursing. Nursing students are expected to demonstrate these skills and characteristics in the classroom, campus lab sessions, and clinical rotations. To learn more about the essential skills, please read this information.
Risks and Hazards
Persons interested in a career in nursing need to be aware of potential hazards and risks inherent in the field. Nurses, including nursing students in clinical placements, work in many different environments, some of which are hazardous. Nurses and their clients are exposed to infectious diseases, radiation, hazardous equipment, and environments in which accidents occur. Nurses may spend a lot of time walking, bending, stretching, and standing. They are vulnerable to back injuries because they must often lift and move patients. During the course of the nursing program, nursing students learn strategies to achieve the National Patient Safety Goals for minimizing safety hazards and preventing injury. Nurses are not only responsible for their own safety but also for the safety of their clients. Failure to apply the principles of safety may result in serious and/or potentially life-threatening injury to the nurse, the client, or other persons. Nursing students are held to the same standard as nurses. Safety violations that cause actual or potential harm to clients, self or others will result in immediate dismissal from the nursing program.
Medical facilities require immunizations for all students who interface with patients. Students offered official admission to one of the nursing programs will need to provide verification of the following immunizations:
- Negative tuberculin skin (TB) test or chest X-ray (1 every 12 months)
- Recent diphtheria-tetnus (Tdap) vaccine (current within last 10 years)
- Positive Rubella Titer (German Measles), or measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations (MMR). Two MMR's are required for those born after 1957.
- Hepatitis B vaccination (series of 3 immunizations)
- Flu Vaccine (yearly)
- Varicella Vaccine (Chickenpox)
Background Check and Drug Screening
Once admitted to one of the nursing programs, all students must pass a multi-state, multi-zip code criminal back ground check as well as a drug/illegal substance screening. This requirement is based on medical industry standards and Washington State laws protecting vulnerable populations (RCW 43.43.880 and 43.43.842). Drug screens and background checks are required by clinical agencies where students complete their practicum experience. Students should be aware that certain gross misdemeanors and felonies may disqualify them from participating in clinical work experiences and unable to complete their certificate or degree program. Future employment opportunities in the health care field may also be affected. Students who are unable to pass these screenings will be removed from the program.
All nursing programs include a required clinical work experience. Clinicals are at medical facilities requiring travel to various regions of Skagit, Whatcom, Snohomish, and Island counties. All students accepted into the clinical experience must have reliable transportation. All experiences will be under the supervision of college nursing program faculty. Students will not be allowed to choose their clinical site experience (location, shift, days of week, etc.). The department chair and/or designated faculty select the facilities used for clinical sites and place qualified students.
Working While In The Program
It is recommended that you do not work while in the program. If you do have to work, we recommend that you work no more than 8 hours a week while in the full-time program and no more than 24 hours a week while in the part-time program.
The Nursing Division supports and adheres to the policy of Skagit Valley College not to discriminate on the basis of sex, disability, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, or age in admission and access to or employment in its programs or activities as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Act and their implementing regulations.
Reasonable Accommodation for Disabilities
Upon admission, a candidate who discloses a disability and requests accommodation will be asked to provide documentation of his or her disability for the purpose of determining appropriate accommodations. The Department of Nursing will provide reasonable accommodations, but is not required to make modifications that would alter the nature or requirements of the program or provide auxiliary aids that present an undue burden to Skagit Valley College and its clinical sites. To continue in the program, the candidate must be able to perform all essential functions either with or without accommodation.
Requests for accommodation should be directed to:
Disability Support Services
360-416-7654 (Mount Vernon campus)
360-679-5319 (Whidbey Island campus)
Successful completion of the program, however, does not guarantee eligibility to take the NCLEX licensing examination or the ability to become licensed to practice nursing. Candidates with concerns or questions about specific health conditions, personal histories or disabilities should contact the Washington State Nursing Commission (360-664-2881).
Career Opportunities and Job Search Information
For more detailed information about Washington State healthcare employment trends, wage rates, employment opportunities, job tasks, etc. search the websites listed in Employment and Resource Links