In the 21st century, nursing has become one of the most popular, lucrative, and exciting fields in the job market. More than ever, young people are recognizing the earning potential in the field; registered nurses are currently making a median salary of over $61,000, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that job openings in nursing will grow 15% over the next ten years. Now is as good a time as any to investigate the possibility of earning an online nursing degree.
These already high wages are even higher in the state of Oregon. According to the BLS, the current annual mean wage for registered nurses is $87,000. This high salary makes Oregon the fourth highest-paying state for the nursing occupation. As such, for anyone interested in a particularly lucrative and meaningful career, now is the perfect moment to investigate the various online nursing programs in Oregon. Nursing education has moved online in recent years, including programs as basic as an ADN and as advanced as a DNP. This movement has included many nursing schools in Oregon, allowing graduates to take advantage of high starting salaries and ample nursing opportunities in the Beaver State.
How to Become a Nurse in Oregon
While Oregon nurses differ from nurses nationwide in that they generally earn higher salaries, the path to become a nurse in Oregon is relatively similar to the processes in other states. Both RN programs in Oregon and BSN programs in Oregon are excellent comprehensive options to prepare students for the NCLEX-RN exam and meet nursing licensure requirements. That said, there are some unique details to be aware of in Oregon, including varying licensure costs and procedures. We explore some of those details below.
Choose the Path That's Right for You
Before a student earns an RN certification, they must first earn an undergraduate nursing degree. An associate degree is sufficient for students who wish to practice nursing; however, many students at nursing schools in Oregon decide to complete a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program, which often helps nurses earn a higher starting salary. Students who eventually wish to teach nursing should plan to pursue a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) or doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. In most cases, a DNP degree is required to serve as an undergraduate professor.
Earn Your Nursing Degree
Nursing is one of the fields that has changed and benefited the most from the movement of undergraduate education from the classroom to the Internet. Nevertheless, earning an online nursing degree isn’t for everyone. Online students must be motivated, independent learners to complete self-paced work. Most online nursing programs also include in-person clinical hours, fellowships, and internships, all of which can be arranged in students’ local communities. The length of each program depends on the degree that students are pursuing ⎼ an ADN takes two years, a BSN takes three to four years, and a DNP takes three to six years to complete.
Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
The industry-standard exam for nurses is the NCLEX-RN. How much study time a student should allocate for the NCLEX-RN depends on each individual student, but they should understand that the NCLEX-RN is a significant undertaking, on par with the MCAT or SAT. ADN and BSN programs prepare nursing students for the exam; however, additional studying is certainly advisable to achieve a good score. Upon passing the exam and receiving licensure, students do not immediately receive a job. Although their new RN licensure does officially allow them to work as a nurse in Oregon, newly licensed nursing school graduates still need to pursue job openings at hospitals and clinics.
Nursing Licensure in Oregon
There are two ways to earn nursing licensure in Oregon: examination or endorsement. Each route requires the nursing student to successfully complete a standardized nursing test – either the NCLEX-RN or a LPN/RN State Board Testing Pool Examination (SBTPE). Students need to have an RN certification – often earned via an associate degree – to sit for the degree, although many choose to complete a BSN program instead.
Examination is the most common path to licensure for students who have completed a program at a nursing school in Oregon. Graduates of approved nursing schools in Oregon can sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. If they obtain the required score, they receive nursing licensure in the Beaver State. Endorsement is the licensing option for students who have passed the SBTPE or NCLEX-RN and have already earned licensure in another state. For a fee of $195, the Oregon State Board of Nursing endorses that registered nurse to practice in Oregon.
In each case, students only need to complete one standardized exam to earn certification in Oregon. All students with an online nursing degree who are planning to practice in Oregon should verify the most up-to-date standards with the Oregon State Board of Nursing.
Nursing Licensing Costs in Oregon
Exam Fee $160
Career Outlook for Nurses in Oregon
As briefly stated above, Oregon is an excellent place to be a nurse. Oregon nurses enjoy annual mean wages that are nearly $15,000 above the national average in addition to ample opportunity, with over 35,000 jobs currently available across the state. Oregon boasts a number of large hospitals, a number of which focus on cancer research and cardiac care, making those two fields popular among nurses as well. Nursing is also a particularly popular profession in Oregon, as nearly 20 out of every 1,000 employed citizens in Oregon are registered nurses.
As the BLS projects a 15% growth rate nationwide in the nursing profession over the next 10 years – and with the appealing wages that Oregon nurses are currently earning – the profession should continue to be a popular and lucrative option in the Beaver State over the next decade. With multiple Oregon professional organizations specifically focusing on nurse practitioners – including the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioner’s Oregon chapter and the Nurse Practitioners of Oregon – nurses looking to advance to the practitioner level can also find plenty of opportunity and support in Oregon.
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Biggest Hospitals in Oregon
In general, hospitals are the primary employers of registered nurses in the United States. As such, if a state has more hospitals, as a rule that state is likely to have more employment opportunities for nurses. Large hospitals in particular often look for recent graduates to fill nursing positions. Larger hospitals are also more likely to offer internships and fellowships for nursing students. Below are the two largest hospitals in Oregon.
- Oregon Health and Science University: Located in Portland, OHSU is a particularly strong option for students earning their online nursing degree in Oregon because they can transition straight from the classroom to employment in the hospital. In addition to being one of the best nursing schools in Oregon and offering excellent nursing and public health programs, OHSU operates a network of hospitals and clinics, serving more than 250,000 patients each year.
- Providence Portland Medical Center: Also based out of the City of Roses, Providence Portland Medical Center specializes in cardiac and cancer care. PPMC is a full-service hospital that employs over 1,000 doctors. Subspecialties include women’s health, behavioral health, and rehabilitation. The Portland center is a part of the larger Providence Health & Services network.
Additional Nursing Resources in Oregon
NAPNAP Oregon Chapter
The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners promotes health for youth (children, adolescents, and young adults) through opportunities for advocacy, role advancement, and professional development. The Oregon chapter of NAPNAP focuses on providing these opportunities specifically to nurses in the state. Membership includes many resources, including continuing education opportunities.
Oregon Center for Nursing
The Oregon Center for Nursing facilitates research and collaboration that furthers the nursing profession. The organization’s webpage includes publications, lists of programs, and detailed information on how to enter the nursing profession in Oregon.
Oregon Nurses Association
Over a century old, the Oregon Nurses Association is a non-profit organization primarily focused on improving health and increasing the availability for healthcare services for all of Oregon’s citizens in addition to advancing the welfare (economic and general) of nurses in Oregon. The organization’s webpage also connects members to local professional development opportunities.
Nurse Practitioners of Oregon
NPO is a special interest group within the Oregon Nurses Association. Founded in 1977, NPO primarily focuses on legislation and advocacy that benefits the nurse practitioner profession. The organization also provides a means for information exchange and support among nurse practitioners in Oregon.
Oregon Nurse Faculty Job Openings Facebook Page
This Facebook page keeps its followers abreast of current nursing faculty job openings at universities throughout Oregon. Whenever the page administrator receives information about a job opening, he or she posts the relevant information, connecting job seekers with employers in the area.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in Oregon
The following database is a comprehensive list of all accredited online nursing degrees available in Oregon, including ADN, BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, and DNP programs. This list is intended to serve as a resource for future online students who are comparing the many nursing schools in Oregon.