nursing students practicing treating a hospital patient

Nursing FAQs

1. What Is the Cost of the Nursing Program?

Visit the Nursing Program Estimated Costs page for the most current information about the cost of the nursing program at Pierce College.

2. Is This an LPN or RN Program?

Pierce College awards an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), which qualifies graduates to take their NCLEX-RN licensure exam. Any student only seeking practical nurse training will be referred to an LPN Program within the area.

LPNs with an active unencumbered Washington State Practical Nurse license are eligible to apply for one of our LPN to RN options. These are offered separately as a full-time or a part-time program.  Please contact our office for more information.

3. Are the Prerequisites the Same as Other Two-year Nursing Programs in the Puget Sound?

The majority of the requirements are identical, especially in the sciences. The differences are:

  • Completion of Statistics (Pierce College MATH& 146) – (Transfer-Ready Requirement)
  • Recommended: Completion of Organic and Biochemistry (Pierce College CHEM& 131) & Nursing Assistant Certified. No requirement for speech or additional social science.
  • Recommended: Completion of ENGL& 102, Composition II: Argumentation and Research.

4. Do You Have Pre-Nursing Curriculum Planning Sheets Available for Planning Out My Classes?

Advisors at any of the Pierce College campus sites have information sheets available for advising/class planning purposes. We encourage you to work closely with a trained pre-nursing advisor to map out an Education Plan for the recommended sequence of your pre-nursing classes.

5. Will Admissions Be Decided Solely on Grades?

Because space is limited, a selective admission process based on a point system will be used. The application will be a combination of several factors. Grades and courses taken will be a Qualifying Factor. Other criteria will be reviewed for application points. Components for points will include the professional resume, personal statement and any extra graded awarded for grades. Each applicant will be awarded a specific score. The top applicants will be invited to come in for group interview and those are also scored on a point system.

For more information, see the nursing application scoring rubric.

6. Will There Be a Waiting List?

No. A wait list will not be established. Individuals are selected based on the criteria outlined in Question #5 above. An alternate list will be established to fill in possible vacancies for each class start, but this list will NOT be carried over to the next year. Non-accepted applicants will need to re-apply.

7. Will it Help to Have Your AA Completed?

Not necessarily. Any ADN graduate planning to enroll at UW-T or St. Martins University to complete the BSN will be encouraged to finish their AA or the new Associate’s Degree in Pre-Nursing, but admission to the Pierce College ADN or LPN to ADN option will require only the prerequisite courses listed.

8. Will Taking All of My Prerequisites at Pierce College Give Me an Advantage?

As long as applicants have completed the equivalent of all the nursing prerequisites, it doesn’t matter where they were taken as long as all the coursework is transferable to Pierce College.

9. How Many Times Can I Repeat a Prerequisite Course?

A course can be repeated as many times as necessary to satisfy the minimum grade requirement.

10. Is There a Minimum GPA Requirement?

Each required prerequisite course (ENGL& 101, PSYCH  PSYC& 200, BIOL&241, BIOL& 242, CHEM& 121, BIOL& 260) must be completed with a grade 3.0 (B) or better. 

11. Why Does the Pierce College Nursing Program Recommend a Statistics Course?

Research has shown that the biggest reason students fail nursing school is weak math and science aptitude – integrally linked to the high levels of critical thinking and reasoning which nurses have to use on the job every day. We will also be encouraging students to go on for their BSN, which requires statistics.

12. Will You Have a Time Limit on the Prerequisites?

There is no expiration date for prerequisite and extra point classes.

13. How Much Time Will Enrollment in Pre-Nursing and Nursing Courses Require?

Each chemistry, biological science or nursing course requires approximately. 20 hours a week per 5 quarter credits which includes time in lecture, lab or clinical site, plus study time. Some of the non-science classes require approximately 15 hours per 5 credits. Students, who work more than 20 hours per week, have significant responsibilities for parenting, and/or other commitments should plan to take no more than one science at a time. The Associate Degree in Nursing program itself is a full time program. No part time option is currently available. All on-campus nursing classes will be held during the day; clinical rotations may be scheduled in the day or evening. Students must not work more than 20 hrs. a week while in the nursing program to allow for adequate study time.

14. Will Pierce College Be Offering Any Nursing Information Sessions to Get Guidance Regarding the Application Process?

You can find a list of informational sessions on the Nursing program home page.

15. Is the Pierce College Nursing Program Accredited by ACEN?

Yes, we have received national accreditation with conditions from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN), as well as approval from the Washington State Department of Health Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission.

16. Why Is the Nursing Department Located at the Puyallup Campus?

Since Pierce College at Puyallup already had a Nursing Lab for teaching the nursing assistant course, it was much more cost-effective to simply add the equipment needed to teach RN students. The Puyallup campus also filled the need to have an Associate Degree in Nursing available in eastern Pierce County.

17. Can I Work While Going Through the Actual Nursing Training Phase?

We encourage all nursing students to plan ahead so they can focus all their efforts for six quarters into nursing school. Even though some students must still work to keep benefits or support their families, it is critical that they inform their employer of the nursing program’s expectation and requirements. The classes, and especially the clinical rotations, cannot be arranged around work schedules or childcare needs. The quality of learning and retention definitely suffers when students are trying to function on little sleep and little time to study. The inability to build critical theory foundations could jeopardize not only passing one of their nursing classes, but possibly the NCLEX for their RN licensure.