Best Nursing Schools in Oregon

Oregon's best nursing schoolsIf you want to become a nurse in Oregon, there are many schools out there to help you get into this career. You can find colleges and universities in Portland, Eugene, Salem, and many other parts of the state, no matter what kind of education you want to get. When you start sorting through the many nursing schools in Oregon, you need to know what to look for. The information below can help you choose which school is right for you.

How to Become a Nurse in Oregon

To start working as a nurse in Oregon, you need some sort of education. This will ensure that you have the skills you need before you get to the job. Ideally, you need to attend a nursing school that is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). These accreditation boards test the curriculums in nursing degree programs to make sure they comply with modern employment requirements. Complete a degree like this, and you can be confident in your employability.

Here are some common nursing degrees in Oregon:

  • Diploma of Nursing (DN): 1 year
  • Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN): 2 years
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): 4 years
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): 6 years
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): 8+ years

After you complete your education, you can apply for a nursing license. You may also want certifications related to your nursing career. The better your resume looks, the better jobs you can apply for. To learn more about the licensure process, contact the Oregon Board of Nursing

Tuition for Oregon Nursing Schools

The money you pay for tuition in Oregon will be based on the type of school you choose to attend, as well as the type of degree you get. Many students go to community college for the first two years of their education and then transfer to a four-year university to earn their bachelor’s degree and beyond. Here is a list that shows what you might expect to pay for tuition in Oregon. (College Board)

  • Public Two Year College: $4,441 per year
  • Public Four Year University: $8,605 per year
  • Private Four Year University: $35,092 per year

Job Prospects for Oregon Nurses

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that nursing professions are all on track for positive job growth in the future, much higher than the growth for most other professions. The amount of money you earn as a nurse will depend on the type of job you manage to get after college. Here are some examples to keep in mind:

  • Nursing Assistant: $27,530 per year
  • Licensed Practical Nurse: $48,140 per year
  • Registered Nurse: $80,160 per year
  • Nurse Practitioner: $110,500 per year

Look over some of the nursing schools in Oregon until you find the one that is perfect for your needs.

Nursing Schools in Oregon

Clatsop Community College

Students can apply for admission for an Associate of Applied Science Degree through Clatsop Community College. The spots are limited and a point scale is used to determine who is accepted into the program.  A proctored essay, completed at least 30 hours of course work in specified nursing program pre-requisites, prove a 3.0 grade point average on that work, residency, and any previous degrees the student may hold are considered on the evaluation.

In some instances, advanced placement is an option, however the school limits the times when this is available. Re-entry is available if a student meets the qualifications outlined by Clatsop Community College.

There are numerous jobs available in and around Astoria for RN’s. Many students chose this college for its low-cost high-quality education. Astoria is located on the mouth of the Columbia River and the school proximity draws students from adjacent counties in both Oregon and Washington.

Associated OSHU Bachelor’s Program

As reported in the Daily Astorian, students attending Clatsop are eligible for admission into the Oregon Health & Science University. This is in part through the efforts of the Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education. Working with Oregon’s top medical institute, this is part of an effort to coordinate colleges and their curriculum throughout the state.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 100% / 15
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 2 years
  • Admission requirements: 30 Hours/3.0 GPA
  • Tuition: In-state $4014 / out-of-state $7578
  • Accreditation: Yes

Linn Benton Community College

Linn Benton Community College offers students the opportunity to obtain their Registered Nursing degree through a six-term program. During their first term of school, nursing students are able to begin working in clinical facilities, transitioning to one-on-one with supervision, to full-care by the end of their classes. The school provides a Nursing Skills Lab on site, as well as working with numerous local agencies, including hospitals, public health, and long-term care facilities.

The Oregon State Board of Nursing has accredited Linn Benton Community College, and students but it is not currently accredited nationally. Graduating students are eligible to apply to take the NCLEX-RN test and the school boasts one of the highest passing rates in the state.

Linn Benton actively follows and measures employment rates of graduating nurses within one year following graduation. Details of the past three years can be seen here, where they measure close to 100%. The school also has a strong dedication in encouraging students to further their education with a baccalaureate degree as promoted within the state, with approximately 95% of graduating nurses from Linn Benton Community College indicating that they will continue their education.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 97.87% / 47
  • Program length or credit hours: Six-term
  • Admission requirements: Point System
  • Tuition: In-state $4265/ out-of-state $9313
  • Accreditation: Yes

Central Oregon Community College

Located in Bend, Oregon, Central Oregon Community College provides students graduating as an RN, the ability to pursue two different paths if they choose to further their education. They can continue online through Linfield College of Oregon Health Sciences University, which cooperates with the school to provide further education, or they may use the Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Nursing Preparation degree and begin applying at other universities within the state.

Central Oregon Community College has designed their nursing program with “exit points” which requires all students to take the same prerequisites, however they can graduate as CNA’s, LPN’s, or RN’s, depending on how far they choose to go.

COCC is proud to be the oldest 2-year college located in the state. In addition to the main Bend campus, Redmond, Madras, and Pineville have been added. Oregon State University has located a branch on the Bend campus, referred to as OSU-Cascades. This provides students with the opportunity to expand their graduate programs. There are numerous outdoor recreation opportunities with a short distance of the campus.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 97.5% / 40
  • Program length or credit hours: 2 Year
  • Admission requirements: 3.0 GPA on specified classes.
  • Tuition: $3555 in-state / $4599 out-of-state
  • Accreditation: Yes

Portland Community College

Students graduating with their two-year nursing degree from Portland Community College, better known as PCC, are eligible to apply to OHSU to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. PCC chooses between 160 to 200 applicants to take a proctored exam, as this is a competitive program. Admission into the program is decided by a three-point system as outlined on the admissions page.

Portland is a large city with literally hundreds of employment options available for skilled RN’s. Large medical centers, physician offices, intensive care units, health departments, long-term care facilities, and emergency settings are a few of the employment options available in the immediate area upon graduation. Portland Community College prepares nursing students for all aspects of their future jobs as well as for the required NCLEX-RN test.

Portland Community College is the state’s largest, with 90,000 students enrolled annually. This includes branches and students who are taking courses online. The main campus is located at Sylvania, with additional branches at Cascade, Rock Creek, Southeast, and specific job training centers.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 97.3% / 74
  • Program length or credit hours: 2 Year
  • Admission requirements: 3.0 GPA on designated prerequisites, closed entry program, very competitive
  • Tuition: $3766 in-state / $8374 out-of-state
  • Accreditation: Yes

Chemeketa Community College

Students can qualify to take the NCLEX-RN test after successfully completing the nursing program offered at Chemeketa Community College. The college features seven campuses, with Chemeketa Salem offering pre-nursing workshops to help students prepare for admission and learn more about the program. The school provides continuing refresher courses and information for RN’s and LPN’s to help keep them informed of new information and changes in the nursing field. The nursing program at Chemeketa is a tier or ladder method, where all students take the same initial courses, graduating at the point they choose, i.e., an LPN or RN.

Salem, Oregon is a growing city with a growing need for medical professionals. With a population of slightly more than 160 thousand people in 2014, Salem has shown an 18% increase since the year 2000. Schools, birthing centers, medical centers, and long-term care facilities are just a few of the locations that reflect the need for more RN’s as populations increase.

The area offers many activities and points of interest. Hiking, the Hallie Ford Art Museum, vineyards, Oregon Garden and Amphitheater, and Antique Powerland are just a few of the many ways to wile away an afternoon in the city.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 95.24% / 42
  • Program length or credit hours: 2 year/ 91 credit hours
  • Admission requirements: Point System, specific prerequisites with a minimum of a C
  • Tuition: in state: $4230 in-state / $11,520 out-of-state
  • Accreditation: Yes

Columbia Gorge Community College

Columbia Gorge Community College is located in The Dalles, Oregon, on the Columbia River. This area is known as the “end of the Oregon Trail”. Although located in Oregon, due to its proximity to Washington state, CGCC provides education to students living in both states. Currently, there are 4657 students enrolled at the school, including 1063 FTE enrolled students, and 690 full-time students. The school uses a ladder system for nursing students, allowing them the option of finishing as an LPN in one year, or continuing their education to test as an RN.

With approximately 15,000 residents, there are many opportunities for graduating RN’s to find local jobs. Port of The Dalles lists the Mid Columbia Medical Center as the area’s largest employer, with over 500 employees. Local doctor offices and long-term care facilities are just two additional options for practicing RN’s.

Students living in The Dalles will have ample opportunity to experience rich history, art, and culture, and to experience the area known as the best place to learn windsurfing. The preserved Granada Theatre was the host of the first talking movie West of the Mississippi River. There are numerous community events, shopping, and school events to round out student’s calendars.

NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 93.75% / 16

Program length or credit hours: 102 credits

Admission requirements: GPA 3.0/specific courses carrying a C average

Tuition: $3816 in-state / $8640 out-of-state

Accreditation: Yes

Clackamas Community College

You can apply to take the NCLEX-RN exam following a six-term program through Clackamas Community College. The program at CCC has been collaborated with other colleges and the Oregon Health and Science University. Acceptance into the program includes co-enrollment through both OHSU and Clackamas Community College. Students must meet the prerequisites and apply for acceptance into the program. The school offers a ladder program with exit points as a CNA or LPN, as well as graduating with the ability to test as an RN.

CCC began in 1966 and currently serves a total of 26,018 students, with 2/3 of those being part-time students. It is located in Oregon City, with additional campuses in Milwaukie and Wilsonville. Oregon City boasts 38,000 people, and features various medical employment opportunities for RN’s, including urgent care, and Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center.

Students can enjoy visiting Haggart Memorial Astronomical Observatory, playing golf at one of the city’s two courses, as well as events planned on campus by Clackamas Community College. Oregon City lies 13 miles south of Portland, providing students with a small-town experience combined with the conveniences of city living.

NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 92.11% / 38

Program length or credit hours: 6-term

Admission requirements: 30 credit hours in specified courses/ 3.0 GPA

Tuition: $4268 in-state / $11,918 out-of-state

Accreditation: Yes

Lane Community College

Located in Eugene, Lane Community College also has campuses downtown, in Florence and Cottage Grove, as well as an Aviation Academy located at the Eugene Airport. The nursing program offered at LCC is a 2-year RN, and progresses up to a 3-year program that includes the opportunity to qualify for a fourth year of study through OHSU to achieve a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Students also have the option of going on to Northwest Christian University thanks to a recent agreement between the two schools. The school accepts between 64 and 88 students into the program per year.

Two major medical centers, McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center and Sacred Heart Medical Center are both in close proximity to Lane Community College. With a population of more than 150,000 people, RN’s private, public, and government positions are in demand.

The area is well-known for the Saturday Market which has continued since the 1970’s. Live music, local artisans, and a wide variety of food vendors set up shop on all day from April into November. Hayward Field is also nearby, featuring year-round Olympic trials. Lane Community College also hosts events throughout the year for students.

NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 92.06% / 63

Program length or credit hours: 2-year / point system / GPA 3.0

Admission requirements: 45 credits/

Tuition: $4047 in-state / $9213 out-of-state

Accreditation: Yes

Mt. Hood Community College

Located in Gresham, Oregon, Mt. Hood Community College’s nursing program is in high demand. Applicants are screened for placement into the challenging, competitive program, with GPA’s of successful students averaging 3.75. Prerequisite courses are available through MHCC, and students may transfer to OHSU if they wish to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Students who graduate from Mt. Hood Community College are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN test.

Coursework is offered on a traditional school schedule, with clinicals scheduled for all shifts, including weekends. Students will be able to experience a real-life work experience during study. With two major medical centers located in Mt. Hood, and Portland located only 27 minutes away, graduates have ample opportunity to find local employment. Mt. Hood Community College provides students with many art and cultural experiences, as well as the opportunity to join clubs and teams, including the Forensic Team.

NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 91.18% / 68

Program length or credit hours: 6 Term /127 credits

Admission requirements: Highly competitive 3.75 GPA for average accepted student/specific coursework

Tuition: Estimated total program cost is $14,620.50

Accreditation: Yes

Southwestern Oregon Community College

The RN program offered at Southwestern Oregon Community College is a six-quarter restricted entry program with specific admittance criteria that is required in addition to standard class requirements. Students who graduate with SOCC’s Associate of Applied Nursing Degree are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN test. Prerequisites for admittance include at least a C grade on specific courses, and a total of 50 credits in specified areas, 30 of which must be finished by the fall prior to admission.  Southwestern Oregon Community College is one of the eight community colleges in Oregon that include co-admission to OHSU’s nursing program, allowing graduating students the opportunity to complete their bachelor’s degree.

Southwestern Oregon Community College is located in Coos Bay, Oregon, the major hub for on the Oregon Coast for health care. Employment opportunities for successful graduates include Bay Area Hospital, state and federal opportunities, cosmetic surgery, spine centers, and North Bend Medical Center, as well as physician’s offices, and more. Patients from up and down the coast as well as those who live inland travel to Coos Bay for medical procedures.

In addition to campus life, Coos Bay is famous for a plethora of outdoor activities. Located on the Pacific, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area offers visitors numerous recreational activities including, horseback riding, camping, and hiking.

NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 90.48% / 21

Program length or credit hours: 6-term

Admission requirements: Specific courses, with a C average/ restricted entry

Tuition: $5625

Accreditation: Yes

Blue Mountain Community College

Pendleton, Oregon is home to Blue Mountain Community College, which serves Baker, Umatilla, and Morrow counties. In addition to the school’s “SIM Man” skills lab, the college has also added a “SIM Baby” to help students study and prepare for both adult and pediatric patients. The manikins are computer operated to simulate a variety of conditions and illnesses nurses may experience in their actual practice. Acceptance is limited and students must pass the Kaplan Nursing Admission Test in addition to meeting course and GPA requirements. Admissions into the nursing program are limited, with a maximum admission of 24 students per year.

Blue Mountain Community College students spend 12-24 hours per week working in the clinical practice sites and nursing skills lab in addition to coursework and additional studies. Students will be performing clinicals during all hours of the day, including weekends, preparing them for work after college.

With slightly more than sixteen thousand people, Pendleton, Oregon provides graduating RN’s who pass the NCLEX-RN exam with local employment opportunities, as well as the option of furthering their degree through OHSU.

NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 90% /10

Program length or credit hours: 2 year

Admission requirements: 3.0 GPA/ Kaplan Admissions Test / specific course prerequisites / point system

Tuition: $4443 in-state / $12,339 out-of-state

Accreditation: Yes

Rogue Community College

Rogue Community College in Grants Pass, Oregon serves three campuses, Redwood, Riverside, and Table Rock. Students who wish to pursue an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing through Rogue Community College qualify for co-admission into the OHSU nursing program. Student admissions into the program are limited for the 6-term program. The first five of these terms is the same whether students are pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree. Following a successful 6th term, students are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam.

Nursing students at Rogue Community College will be based on Redwood campus and perform their clinicals in Jackson and Josephine Counties. The school requires students to have email access and internet availability. As of now, clinicals will are graded with only a pass or fail grade, although this grading system may change in the future.

Grants Pass features many historical and arts events, including First Friday Arts Night. The town boasts more than 34,000 residents, and is home to Asante Three Rivers Medical Center, as well as local clinics, with numerous employment opportunities available in nearby areas.

NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 89.29% / 28

Program length or credit hours: 2 Year

Admission requirements: Minimum of 30 specific credits / 3.0 GPA

Tuition: $4005 in-state / $4761 out-of-state

Accreditation: Yes

Oregon Coast Community College

Students who attend Oregon Coast Community College’s 2-year nursing program are eligible to take the exam to become an LPN after their first year, or continue their study to take the NCLEX-RN exam after their second year. Most of the classes are offered at the Newport Campus, with numerous clinical partners throughout the area. These include rehabilitation services, public health departments, correctional facilities, health centers, and local hospitals, dialysis, and ambulatory health. The OCCC campus also provides students with simulation labs to prepare them with a variety of life-like experiences within the program. Students in the RN course will perform clinicals in Corvallis in the second year of study.

Approximately 20 students are accepted per year out of 45-70 applicants who have met program requirements. Specific course prerequisite and grades are required for the point-based admission requirements. Oregon Coast Community College’s Newport campus is located near the Pacific Ocean. After passing their exam, students may find employment at many of the locations where they performed clinical work.

NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 88.89% / 18

Program length or credit hours: 2 year

Admission requirements: Point system/ specified courses / GPA 3.0 / Highly competitive

Tuition: In-state $3816 / Out-of-state $7956

Accreditation: Accreditation is through Portland CC which is accredited through NWCCU

Sumner College

Located in Portland, Sumner College offers a two-year registered nursing program. The school’s website lists a retention rate of 98% for the 2014-15 school year, and that 95% of their RN graduates found employment in their chosen field. Sumner College specializes in nursing programs and doesn’t list any prerequisite classes. The registered nurse program is 24 months, and is limited with a cohort size of 24. The school provides an application packet to students who are interested in attending, and requires applicants to the RN program to successfully pass the TEAS exam.

Sumner College is a 40-year-old privately-owned school that has offered students the opportunity to graduate with the skills necessary to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Local field work in a variety of healthcare settings and simulation labs help students acquire professional skills.

NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 86.96% / 23

Program length or credit hours: 24 Months

Admission requirements: TEAS exam, 3 essays, personal letter of recommendation

Tuition: $46, 620 program

Accreditation: Yes

Umpqua Community College

Umpqua Community College, located on the outskirts of Roseburg, Oregon, is a part of the state consortium which provides students with the ability to be co-admitted into OHSU’s School of Nursing if they wish to continue their education to receive a bachelor’s degree. The RN program is part of a ladder, with exit points for students who wish to graduate as a Licensed Nurse. Students must have at least 30 hours in specified courses when applying, and must have completed at least 45-48 credits prior to entering the program.

Campus life at Umpqua Community College is a rich and varied experience. It includes sports, fine arts, fitness, wine tastings through the Southern Oregon Wine Institute. A weekly school blog gives students updates on planned events at the school.

Employment opportunities for graduating students from Umpqua Community College who pass the NCLEX-RN exam may include Umpqua Community Health Center, Mercy Medical Center, the VA, and Umpqua Valley Nursing and Rehab, as well as private clinics and care.

NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 85.37% / 21

Program length or credit hours: 6-term

Admission requirements: 30 credits in specified courses/ GPA 3.0

Tuition: $4678 in-state, $8908 out-of-state

Accreditation: Yes

Treasure Valley Community College

Located in Ontario, Treasure Valley Community College features small, fully-accredited classes for nursing students. It is a member of the Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education, which is comprised of a total of nine similar nursing colleges that are aligned with Oregon Health Science University. They offer a coordinated curriculum covering the core competencies necessary for RN training. Through this program, students are then eligible for non-competitive admission into the School of Nursing through OHSU. Treasure Valley Community College can boast an 85% retention rate for the 2015-2016 school year.

Local Jobs and Support

The local area hospital provides students with an ideal place to practice their clinicals, as reported in the Argus Observer.  It is just one of the places that graduating RN’s can find work once they have passed the NCLEX-RN test. Treasure Valley Community College also provides outreach services to two local correctional facilities.

The two-year nursing program states specific requirements including passing all nursing prerequisites with at least a “C”, and an overall GPA of at least 3.0. A point system, passing the Kaplan test with at least a 50%, and passing a proctored essay, are part of the requirements to be accepted into the nursing program at Treasure Valley Community College.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: 73.68% / 19
  • Program length or credit hours: 2 Years
  • Admission requirements: 30 credits/ 3.0 GPA
  • Tuition: $5310 in-state / $5760 out-of-state
  • Accreditation: Yes

How We Determined The Rankings

The colleges were ranked using a weighted system, with the most recent NCLEX-RN passrates given the highest ranking. This does not necessarily imply that one college is better than another. A five-year overview of passrates is available through the Oregon State website.

If you are a college administrator with any of the colleges we have listed above, we would like to invite you to send any additional information or edits to us.  tuition fees and accreditation information unless obtained from specific school for complete program cost pass rates percentages and numbers taking test  school list of Oregon state approved nursing schools  Breckenridge is no longer on the list so was not included.