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 1,000 hours of employment as an LPN and 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.

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 2021-2022

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 Certificate Program at Bellingham Technical College located in Bellingham, WA is a candidate for accreditation through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) but it is not nationally accredited at this time.

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

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. The average annual wage in this field is $46,240, with an earning potential of about $62,160 per year.

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?

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 assessment testing 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?

ATI Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS)

Applicants must score at the "PROFICIENT" level or higher in each of the four areas on one transcript. See the ATI Test of Essential Academic Skills handout for more information about this entrance assessment.

Students can take the TEAS through the BTC Assessment Center or remotely through ATI.

Registration Directions for TEAS at ATI

Healthcare Experience

Experience in healthcare may be demonstrated by certification or training in an allied healthcare field within the last five years. 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.


Practical Nursing Program Application

Program-ready applicants are invited to apply. Email application and statement of interest to

PN Cert Application form

Physical Requirements

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

What are My Next Steps?


Total Program Credits: 73

  • 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 II11 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
  • ENGL& 101English Composition I5 CR
  • PSYC& 100General Psychology5 CR
  • BIOL& 160General Biology with Lab5 CR

Program Outcomes

The BTC Practical Nursing graduate will:

  • Nursing Care: Apply the nursing process to deliver individualized culturally competent care.
  • Self-Care Promotion: Build strategies to promote the health of self and others.
  • Professionalism: Demonstrate integrity through professional boundaries, ethical behaviors, and respectful communication.
  • Collaborative Leadership: Build positive health outcomes through the promotion of evidence-based clinical care within the interdisciplinary team.
  • Clinical Judgement: Administer safe nursing care by integrating critical thinking, evidence-based practice, and prioritization.


First Attempt NCLEX Pass Rate From NCQAC Quarterly Reports

Not reported at this time for August 2021 graduates

Summary of Annual Program Completion Data

Cohort (Grad month/year) - 08/21
10 began, 10 graduated
100% Retention

Job Placement Summary (Academic Year and Job Placement)- based on student survey data

Not reported at this time since it has not been 9 months since graduation for the August 2021 cohort

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

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

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

    M.N., Nursing, University of Washington - 2004

    B.S., Nursing, University of Washington - 2004

    WA Professional Technical Certification - 2004

    A.T.A., Nursing, Skagit Valley College - 2004

    Registered Nurse License, State of Washington - 2004