Become a Registered Nurse

The RN to BSN at UW Bothell provides a pathway for students who have earned an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and want to advance their education and career by earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).   Our program requires students to complete a Nursing program at a community or technical college and earn an Associate Degree in Nursing, which allows the student to take the NCLEX- RN Licensure exam.   

The information provided on this page, is to help you navigate the RN to BSN pathway to becoming a Nurse.  

Nursing School Terminology 

As you begin your Nursing school research, it is important to become familiar with language commonly used in Nursing school programs. 

  • RN-NCLEX: The National Council Licensing Exam required to become a nurse registered with the State; i.e. an RN (like the bar exam for law graduates or the CPA exam for accounting graduates).
  • NCLEX Passage Rate:  the average number of students who pass the NCLEX the first time, from a particular school.   
  • RN: Registered Nurse that is licensed to practice and registered with the State they practice in.
  • ADN: A competitive two-year Associate Degree program in Nursing that prepares students to take the State Licensing Exam to become a Registered Nurse (RN) upon graduation of the ADN. This type of nursing program/education is provided at two-year community and technical colleges only.
  • BSN: Bachelor of Science in Nursing - a competitive four-year nursing degree program that prepares students to take the State Licensing Exams to become a Registered Nursing (RN) upon graduation of the BSN.
  • Clinicals: Hands-on training in a hospital or clinical setting. This hands-on education is part of the nursing program that provides the training and schooling to become an RN.
  • Pre-requisite/pre-nursing courses: courses that must be completed prior to applying to Nursing school.
  • RN to BSN: A competitive degree completion program for graduates of an ADN program who hold an active RN license and are now seeking to complete a BSN.
  • Accelerated BSN program:  an accelerated BSN is traditional a full-time program, that fast tracks a student to a BSN degree.  Some ABSN program, require the student to have earned a Bachelor’s degree in another field. 

RN to BSN Pathway - Inforgraphic



25 schools in the State of Washington offer an Associate Degree Program in Nursing, you can find the list of approved Nursing programs and a school’s NCLEX passage rate on the Department of Health website.

The prerequisite coursework can typically be completed at any accredited college or  University.  The table below is not a comprehensive list, but includes some of the most common prerequisites. 
Remember to check the Nursing program's requirements for a detailed list.

Prerequisite Credits
Anatomy & Physiology I & II 10 - 12 
General Chemistry with a lab 5
Microbiology 5
Statistics  5
English Composition 4-5
General Psychology  5
Lifespan Development  5

Attend an information session at community college to learn what is required to gain entrance to Nursing program.  Nursing program admission is competitive, apply to multiply schools to increase your odds of being admitted. Nursing programs are typically 6 quarters to graduate.   

As part of your research make sure to review the NCLEX passage rates for the schools you are interested in.   

Upon completion of your Associate Degree in Nursing, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX.  Plan for 1-3 months to prepare, study and sit for the National Council Licensure Exam.   

Hospitals hiring registered Nurses will have a residency requirement ranging from 3 months to one year depending on the amount of clinical experience in your Associate degree in Nursing. During the residency hospitals ask new employees to learn their role and hold off on applying to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. 

*You can decide to complete Residency before applying to the BSN program or after. 

Apply and complete the BSN program in one year, as a full-time student. Develop leadership, research, ethics, community health knowledge. Develop a lens of social justice, awareness of health disparities and racism in healthcare.