Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Frequently asked questions

When does the nursing program begin?

The program begins once a year in the fall quarter.

What do I need to complete to apply to the program?

Students must complete 45 prerequisite credits before starting the program. To apply, 30 of the 45 prerequisite credits must be complete by the end of fall term in the year before application. BI 231 and the math competency must be included among the 30 credits. Please refer to the nursing admissions page for more information.

How competitive is PCC’s Nursing program?

PCC’s Nursing program is highly competitive. We typically receive 500–800 applications each year for up to 32 spaces.

2020 statistics for applicants invited to the proctored essay:

  • 368 applications received
  • 100 students invited to sit for the essay
  • Average prerequisite GPA: 3.76
  • Percent complete with all 45 prerequisites: 89%
  • Percent with a prior degree: 75%
  • Percent with some health care experience: 94%
  • 32 seat offers

Are there any time limits on the prerequisite courses for the nursing program?

The following courses must be current within seven years of application to the program: Anatomy & Physiology I, II & III (Bi 231, 232 & 233), Microbiology (BI 234), Food and Nutrition (FN 225), Human Development (PSY 215), AND Math (MTH 95 or higher). There are no time limitations for writing and general education elective courses.

Can I send official transcripts with my nursing application, or does the college I attended have to send them?

PCC uses an independent organization for online application processing called the Nursing Centralized Application Service (NCAS). Transcripts from all institutions, including PCC must be mailed to NCAS. Applications and all supporting materials (such as transcripts) must be received by the application deadline of February 15 by the 8:59pm (PST) deadline. Applications and transcripts must be verified by NCAS within one week of the application deadline to be considered.

Can I use my placement results to substitute for taking a course in the nursing program?

For admissions purposes, placement results may only be used to update or substitute the nursing program’s Math 95 requirement. If you are planning on using a math placement test score for your application, please make sure your score report is uploaded to your NCAS application under the documents section under the “other” category. Please visit the admissions page for a list of accepted tests and more detailed information. For all other program requirements, placement results are only used to determine which course you should take. We will not use placement results in place of the required course.

How can I earn health care experience points for my military medical training?

Military medical experience will be considered as a licensed certification with supporting documentation. Please submit all documentation regarding military title, job duties, and length of service in that role, honorable discharge papers (if applicable). Documentation may come from formal discharge papers or a commanding officer on letterhead from the respective military branch. For more information, please follow up with the Health Admission Office.

Can I get a bachelor’s degree with a major in nursing after I get my associate in nursing?

Yes. PCC’s Nursing program joined the Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education (OCNE), a partnership with Oregon Health Sciences University that allows students who have completed their associates of applied science degree at PCC can transition to OHSU to complete a Bachelors of Science degree with a major in nursing in one additional year. Please visit the admissions page to find out more details regarding the OCNE partnership.

There are also several programs in the Portland area that are designed for students who have earned an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and want to complete their bachelor’s degree. You may view Oregon nursing schools that have bachelor’s degree programs on the University Transfer site. If you click on Sort by Major and scroll down to nursing, you can view a side-by-side comparison of the nursing schools. Please note: requirements listed at PCC’s transfer website may vary from the RN to BSN completion requirements. Please contact the university of interest for advising and counseling.

If you would like to enter a bachelor’s program without completing PCC’s ADN program, please contact a general academic advisor or counselor.

Is a Nursing Assistant Certification (CNA) required to get into the PCC Nursing program?

No. A CNA license is not required to apply or be admitted to PCC’s Nursing program. However, additional points may be earned on your application for experience as a CNA, EMT, Paramedic, or LPN. Although it is not a program requirement, students are encouraged to gain direct patient care skills and experience that may apply to any nursing program.

Can I take some non-nursing courses before I am admitted to the nursing program?

Yes. Some courses may be completed before beginning the nursing program, including Technical Writing. Please meet with a health admissions advisor in the Health Admissions Office for detailed academic planning.

Do I need to take a computer literacy test or course before applying to the nursing program?

PCC does not require students to complete a computer literacy course or test to apply to the nursing program. However, to be successful in the nursing program students must possess computer skills including use of word processing, spreadsheets, internet, and email. Students who need to improve their computer literacy should meet with an advisor to discuss ways to increase computer skills.

Can I repeat courses for higher grades? Is there a limit to the number of times I can repeat them?

We will use the most recent grade for prerequisite GPA calculation. Students looking to retake classes should be aware that repeated courses may not be eligible for financial aid.

Does PCC’s nursing program still select its students by lottery?

No. Selection is based on a competitive points system involving prerequisite GPA, work experience, and other criteria. Please refer to the nursing admissions page for more information.

Do you have an LPN-RN program?

PCC does not currently have an LPN to RN bridge program. Students with an LPN do earn additional points on their application to the RN nursing program but they will not be eligible for advanced placement. Please refer to the nursing admissions page for more information.

Does PCC assist in job placement once students graduate from the nursing program?

No, PCC has a student and graduate employment office which can assist students in sharpening their job-hunting skills. For more information about accessing services through the student and graduate employment office please visit the Student and Graduate Employment Services page.

Another helpful resource is CampusRN. For job search assistance please visit the CampusRN Registered Nurse Jobs page.

Does PCC have nursing-specific scholarships and grants?

Yes. PCC offers a variety of scholarships and grants to students interested in our healthcare programs. Please visit the PCC Financial Aid homepage to see a comprehensive list and directions which will assist in your search.

Other scholarship resources for nursing students are CampusRN Nursing Grants and travel nursing.