Nursing - Certificate - Practical Nursing

This program option is designed for students interested in becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and looking for a part-time option that better meets their needs. The prerequisite foundational courses for the PN Certificate are fewer than those for the 2-year RN and LPN-RN options. Students will complete 6 quarters part-time including summer quarter then upon graduation sit for the NCLEX-PN. The graduates of the PN Certificate pathway are eligible to apply to the LPN-RN program option to complete the DTA/MRP Associates Degree after completing the remaining prerequisite foundational courses. Students enrolled in the PN pathway will not be allowed to transfer to the 2-year, full-time program option.


Join us for an online Summer Nursing PN Info Session on July 13, 2023 at 12-1pm. 

LPNs are in high demand and the BTC Nursing Program has partnered with Whatcom county employers to offer this program option.

Students should be aware that this pathway will take a student three or more years to complete their associate DTA/MRP degree to become an RN. This pathway is intended for students who want to work as an LPN and who part-time education better meets their needs.

Nursing Student Handbook 2022-2023

Note: BTC has not made a determination that the Nursing Program curriculum meets educational requirements for licensure/certification outside of Washington State. We encourage students who plan to work out-of-state to check relevant local licensure/certification requirements.


The BTC Practical Nursing Program is approved by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC)
PO Box 47864
Olympia, WA 98504


The Practical Nursing Program at Bellingham Technical College located in Bellingham, WA is accredited by the:

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
3390 Peachtree Rd. NE, Ste. 1400
Atlanta, GA 30326

The most recent accreditation decision made by the ACEN Board of Commissioners for the Practical Nursing Program is Initial Accreditation.



Employment Information

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are in demand by employers in our region. As the Baby Boomer population ages, the number of healthcare jobs in our community and beyond is rapidly growing. Projected job openings in WA State are expected to grow 12% over the next ten years.

$58,739 starting annual wage2
$61,152 average annual wage2
$72,966 potential annual wage2

  • Employment and Wage Data Sources and Information

    1Employment data come from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and reflect WA/OR employment for students enrolled at BTC between 2017-18 and 2019-20. Students are included in the employment rate if they left with a credential. Rates are not shown for programs with fewer than 10 students meeting the above criteria.

    2Whatcom County and WA State wage data come from Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) 2021 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates and reflect 2018-21 employment. Wage data represent occupations that BTC faculty have identified as the most relevant career paths for program graduates. Note that these wages reflect employees with varying educational levels/credentials. For cases in which multiple occupations have been identified by faculty, a weighted percentile is calculated using each occupation’s percentile wage and employment size estimate. Wages are not shown for programs for which occupations do not meet the ESD’s minimum thresholds for publishing. If the program has wage data from the Washington SBCTC that involves shift work, these ESD wages reflect the same number of hours used in the annual wage calculation. Starting wage = 25th percentile, median wage = 50th percentile, wage potential = 75th percentile.

    3Additional employment rates are provided for programs with faculty who maintain their own employment records of students who graduated between 2017-18 and 2019-20 and who were employed within 9 months of graduation. Both overall and in field of study employment rates are included, respectively. For these programs, the format follows: ESD rate / faculty-tracked overall rate / faculty-tracked in-field rate. These additional, faculty-provided rates are particularly important for programs that tend to have graduates employed outside of WA and OR. Note that due to lack of available data, rates may represent fewer than 3 years of graduates.

Estimated Program Costs

Program Tuition/Fees

Program fees address distinct and specified costs such as lab assistants, supplies, materials, equipment, rentals, software licensing, replacement and upgrade, maintenance, and other operational costs.

The Practical Nursing Certificate Program is eligible for financial aid.

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

The application window for the Practical Nursing program opens January 18, 2023. A first sorting of seat offers will happen April 11, 2023 and students who apply before the first sorting will be notified of seat offerings in May 2023. A second sorting of seat offers will happen July 11, 2023 and students who apply before this deadline will be notified of seat offerings in August 2023.

If you have questions about applying to any of the programs, please contact your College Navigator or email to schedule an appointment.

How to Apply

The 2023/2024 Practical Nursing Application Portal is now live! Program ready students are encouraged to apply.

All applicants to the BTC Practical Nursing Program must be Program-Ready before they can apply online during the Application Window. Students are Program-Ready once they have completed the following:

  • Current BTC application on file with Associate in Nursing as the program of intent.
  • Complete all prerequisite foundational courses with required minimum grades and number of credits. Transcript evaluation process for all courses taken at another institution must be complete.
    • Effective April 12, 2023, the Nursing program will no longer require the ATI TEAS assessment as an admissions requirement.

  • Approved Nursing Healthcare Experience Verification form. Applicants must submit completed Nursing Healthcare Experience Verification Form and accompanying documentation for program review and approval. Healthcare Experience Verification form and process is the same for the 2-year RN program and Practical Nursing program. Students who already have Healthcare Experience on file with BTC do not need to submit another form for the Practical Nursing Program.

Students interested in the Practical Nursing program should apply to the college and contact Admissions at 360.752.8345 or at for assistance with getting started at BTC. A college application and your score on complete guided self-placement and/or previous transcripts will determine where you begin your course sequence.

BTC is currently accepting applications to the Practical Nursing Program!

The Practical Nursing Program enrolls new cohorts of 10 students fall and spring quarters.

Students who are program-ready may apply using the Practical Nursing Certificate Admission Application at any time. Complete applications will be added to the PN Cert Program-Ready Waitlist in the date/time order in which they are received.

Nursing PN Certificate Checklist

PN Certificate Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The BTC Nursing Program is educating our students in-person again. Please be aware that this is not an online program.

Students will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. To be considered fully vaccinated, two weeks must have passed since the date of the second dose or first dose for the one-dose vaccine. The program’s clinical partner agencies will not accept any exemption to full COVID-19 vaccination.

What are the Minimum Entry Requirements?


Healthcare Experience

Experience in healthcare may be demonstrated by certification or training in an allied healthcare field. Other experience will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by program staff. DO NOT turn in original certificates or licenses.

Healthcare Experience Verification Form (For DTA/MRP 2-year Program & PN Cert Entry Only)

Healthcare experience must be approved by the program prior to applying.

Early Program Course Requirements


The following courses must be completed with a B (3.0) or higher in each course:

  • Intro to Statistics (MATH& 146)
  • Human A & P 1 (BIOL& 241)
  • Human A & P 2 (BIOL& 242)
  • Introduction to Chemistry (CHEM& 121 or CHEM& 161)
  • English Composition I (ENGL& 101)

The following courses must be completed with a C (2.0) or higher in each course:

  • General Psychology (PSYC& 100)
  • General Biology with lab (BIOL& 160)

The transcript evaluation process for courses taken at another institution must be complete prior to applying to the program.

Physical Requirements

AFTER admissions acceptance into the program and prior to beginning program classes students must submit proof of all Clinical Placement Requirements.

Notice About Marijuana Usage

Students who test positive for THC (marijuana, including prescription marijuana) will not be allowed entrance to Nursing and Allied Health programs with clinical components. Drug screening is a requirement of our clinical partner agencies. Although private recreational and medical use of marijuana is legal in Washington state, our clinical partner agencies are governed by federal laws, and marijuana is a prohibited substance at the federal level. If your final drug test results are positive, you will be ineligible to participate in the program that year and will be allowed to reapply to the program 12 months from the date of the positive test.

What are My Next Steps?


Total Program Credits: 73

  • Current Students: Learn how to use this page to register for classes

  • Quarter 1

  • NURS 113PN Intruduction to Health Concepts4 CR
  • PHIL 113PN Ethics and Policy in Healthcare I1 CR
  • NUTR 113PN Nutrition in Healthcare I1 CR
  • PSYC 113PN Psychosocial Issues in Healthcare I1 CR
  • Quarter 2

  • NURS 114PN Introduction to Health Concepts - Clinical Lab6 CR
  • Quarter 3

  • NURS 123PN Health and Illness Concepts 15 CR
  • NUTR 123PN Nutrition in Healthcare II1 CR
  • PSYC 123PN Psychosocial Issues in Healthcare II1 CR
  • Quarter 4

  • NURS 124PN Health and Illness Concepts 1 - Clinical Lab6 CR
  • Quarter 5

  • NURS 133PN Health and Illness Concepts 23 CR
  • NUTR 133PN Nutrition in Healthcare III1 CR
  • PSYC 133PN Psychosocial Issues in Healthcare III2 CR
  • Quarter 6

  • NURS 134PN Health and Illness Concepts 2 - Clinical Lab6 CR
  • Pre-Program

  • MATH& 146Introduction to Statistics5 CR
  • BIOL& 241Human A & P 15 CR
  • BIOL& 242Human A & P 25 CR
  • CHEM& 121Introduction to Chemistry5 CR
  • OR
  • CHEM& 161General Chemistry w/Lab I5 CR
  • ENGL& 101English Composition I5 CR
  • PSYC& 100General Psychology5 CR
  • BIOL& 160General Biology with Lab5 CR

Program Outcomes

The BTC Practical Nursing graduate will:

  • Demonstrate safe nursing care under the supervision of the registered nurse.
  • Identify culturally competent techniques to promote resilience in self and others.
  • Utilize therapeutic communication across a variety of settings.
  • Model integrity through ethical and professional behaviors.
  • Effectively implement the nursing process.

"Nursing Program Outcomes link to College and National Standards"



Bellingham Technical College’s Nursing Program delivers high-quality nursing education to benefit the health of our region.


The Nursing Program will be a recognized leader in providing innovative, effective, and progressive nursing education. The Program creates options for career success by developing a professional nursing workforce.


Nursing is both an art and a science; an art requiring creativity and skill, and a science requiring knowledge and the application of evidence-based practice. Nursing provides safe, patient-centered care in collaboration with the healthcare team.


In accordance with Bellingham Technical College’s values, the nursing program has established the following values:

  • Student-Centered: Use high-quality instruction to create pathways to reduce barriers and support student learning.
  • Collaborative: Strengthen student workplace readiness through partnerships and job placement services so students may achieve their education and career goals.
  • Principled: Cultivate a welcoming and accessible learning environment, which promotes student success through a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.
  • Responsive: Prioritize continuous quality improvement to keep pace with workforce needs and emerging industry trends.
NCLEX Pass Rate 

Year: 2021
Percentage Passed at BTC: 100%
Percentage Passed National: 80%
3-year mean BTC: 100%
3-year mean National: 83%

Program Completion

Year: 2021
Rate completed within 100% of expected program length: 100%
Rate completed within 150% of expected program length: 100%

Job Placement 

Year: 2021
Number of graduates: 10
Survey response rate: 100%
Job placement: 90%

Employment Outlook

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are in demand by employers in our region. As the Baby Boomer population ages, the number of healthcare jobs in our community and beyond is rapidly growing. Projected job openings in WA State are expected to grow 12% over the next ten years. The average annual wage in this field is $46,240, with an earning potential of about $62,160 per year.

BTC graduates are highly sought after by employers in our region and beyond. Graduates of BTC find top jobs in a variety of healthcare settings, including skilled nursing facilities, assisted living, skilled home care, hospice, acute care hospitals, clinics, and schools.

The BTC Nursing Program has partnered with employers in Whatcom County on its PN Certificate pathway to help meet the need for LPNs in our community.

Faculty & Support

  • Degrees and Credentials

    MS, Nursing Education, Northern Arizona University

    BSN, Nursing, Northern Arizona University

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State

  • Degrees and Credentials

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State

    BS, Nursing, University of Washington

    Certificate, Nursing Assistant, Bellingham Technical College

    Certificate, Practical Nursing, Bellingham Technical College

    AAS, Nursing, Bellingham Technical College

Mary Curran has experience in providing nursing care in a variety of settings. Mary began her pursuit in the field of nursing at Bellingham Technical College by completing the nursing assistant program in 1991 and practical nursing program in 1993. The solid nursing foundation gained at Bellingham Technical College laid the ground work for her journey in nursing. Working at each level Mary continued her nursing education: Associate's Degree in Nursing, Bachelor's Degree in Nursing, and Master's Degree in Nursing. Mary is dedicated to quality nursing care and education through role modeling.

  • Degrees and Credentials

    ATA, Nursing, Skagit Valley College

    BS, Nursing, University of Washington

    License, Registered Nurse, Washington State

    MN, Nursing, University of Washington

    Certificate, Professional Technical Education, Washington State

Nursing Support Specialist - Advising for all Nursing and Pre-Nursing Master of Education Bachelor of Science – Mathematics I am a dedicated, goal oriented, team player with eight years’ experience teaching and four years teaching Middle School Summer School, three years running an After School Homework Center, and four years as an Accounting Clerk. I have been a Site Team Chair, Mathematics Head Chair, and the Middle School and High School Curriculum Director for Mathematics. I like challenges and finding solutions to them. I thrive on providing excellence in all areas of my job. My undergraduate schooling was completed at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama where I earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Mathematics and was awarded one of four of the University’s top awards, the George S. Benson Citizenship Award for Outstanding Contribution in Academics and Athletics. I have completed my Master of Education Degree and Teaching Certification in Secondary Education at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington