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Travel Nursing in Washington

You’ll find adventure anywhere in Washington state. From the Cascades in the north and west, to the high desert in the south and east, and the lush Yakima Valley in between, Washington offers a wild west to explore. You can climb Mount Rainer one day and then attend a concert at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA—it’s the world’s largest, natural amphitheater—the next day. Whether you’re looking for the metropolitan high life or roughing it, you’ll find it in Washington.

License Requirements

There’s fee of $88 for registered nurses and then you must fill out an application. Most of what’s on the application is pretty standard fare, but Washington requires AIDS education and training. Here’s a copy of their application form:

You can also visit the Washington State Department of Health:

Or contact them.

Call Center: (360)236-4700

Fax Number: (360)236-4738


Three Distinct Landforms

Washington’s nickname is the Evergreen State, but that’s just the north and west. The same mountains, the Cascades, that make the northwest corner of the state lush, also prevent rainfall from hitting the south and east Washington State. The arid Southeast is high desert. They have high elevation but get little rain—foothills with tumbleweed. And the tumbleweed is no joke. These plants can strangle a highway if a wind corridor forms, but there is a third landform. The Columbia River runs through central Washington, providing fertile soil for orchards and farmland. You can’t leave the area without trying some of their famous Chukar Cherries.

Cost of Living

Washington’s cost of living is as varied as its landforms. The popular northwest has the highest cost of living, but it is a little cheaper to live in Olympia, while the Yakima River Valley and the high desert offer significantly lower costs of living. Here’s how some of the major Washington State cities compare with cost of living.

A rating of 100 is the national average.

Seattle: 121.4

Bellingham: 113.0

Everett: 111.3

Olympia: 104.1

Yakima: 95.8

Vancouver: 94.8

Tri-Cities: 92.6

Housing can be an issue as well, but that’s another topic.


Most major metropolitan areas in Washington State have limited housing options available. Housing in Seattle can get expensive or tight—you may have to commute—but the same can be said of the Tri-Cities. Just because they have a significantly lower cost of living, doesn’t mean that you can find accommodations.

Fortunately, some medical facilities/recruitment agencies offer housing. They know how difficult it can be to find a place to live, but if your medical facility or agency doesn’t offer housing, research housing options in advance.

You may have to be flexible with your housing desires and with where you want to work.


The Seattle area has three nursing colleges. That means that there aren’t that many positions for newly graduated nurses or nurses in general. You may have to expand your job radius or adjust your timeline. Everyone wants to work in Seattle, but you might have just as much fun in a nearby city, visiting Seattle on a regular basis.

There’s a lot to see and do in Washington State. Make sure you take in the entire experience.


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