Understanding Nursing Continuing Education Requirements in Washington State

In the ever-evolving field of healthcare, staying at the forefront of medical knowledge and practice is not just an option for nurses—it’s a necessity. Washington State recognizes this imperative, mandating continuing education (CE) as a cornerstone for nursing license renewal. At Actriv Healthcare, we are committed to empowering our nurses with the information and resources they need to thrive. This guide aims to demystify the CE requirements in Washington State, ensuring our nurses are well-informed and ready to excel in their careers.

The Importance of Continuing Education for Nurses

Continuing education in nursing is designed to enhance professional development, support career advancement, and ensure the highest standards of patient care. It’s an investment in your future, enabling you to stay current with the latest healthcare trends, technologies, and practices. By fulfilling these requirements, you not only comply with regulatory mandates but also demonstrate your commitment to professional excellence and ethical practice.

Washington State CE Requirements

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) outlines specific CE requirements for nurses, aimed at promoting lifelong learning and competence in the nursing profession. Here’s what you need to know:

Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)

  • Continuing Education Hours: RNs and LPNs are required to complete 8 hours of continuing education every year.
  • Record Keeping: Nurses must maintain records of their CE activities for at least four years and provide documentation upon request by the DOH.
  • Acceptable CE Activities: Continuing education can include workshops, seminars, conferences, online courses, or college courses relevant to nursing practice. Actriv Healthcare often provides opportunities for CE through in-house training sessions and partnerships with accredited educational providers.

Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs)

  • Additional Requirements: ARNPs have the same 45-hour requirement as RNs and LPNs but must also complete at least 15 hours of pharmacotherapeutics CE related to their specialty area.
  • Specialty Certification: Many ARNPs will fulfill their CE requirements through activities required for maintaining national specialty certification, which is recognized by the Washington State DOH.

Planning Your Continuing Education

  1. Identify Your Learning Goals: Reflect on your current practice and career aspirations. Choose CE activities that align with your professional development goals and meet the state’s requirements.
  2. Seek Quality Providers: Ensure that the CE courses or activities you select are approved or accredited by recognized organizations. Actriv Healthcare can guide you to reputable sources.
  3. Stay Organized: Keep a detailed record of your CE activities, including the provider’s name, date, and number of hours completed. This documentation is crucial for license renewal and compliance with DOH audits.

Actriv Healthcare’s Commitment

At Actriv Healthcare, we understand the challenges of balancing professional responsibilities with continuing education. We are dedicated to supporting our nurses every step of the way, offering guidance on CE requirements and access to quality educational resources. Our goal is to ensure that every nurse feels empowered, informed, and ready to provide exceptional care to those we serve.


Continuing education is a pivotal part of nursing practice in Washington State, fostering professional growth and ensuring the delivery of safe, effective, and compassionate care. By staying informed about CE requirements and actively pursuing learning opportunities, nurses can enhance their skills, advance their careers, and make a meaningful impact on the lives of patients. At Actriv Healthcare, we are committed to supporting you in this journey and providing the resources and encouragement you need to succeed.

For more information on nursing continuing education requirements and opportunities, visit the Washington State Department of Health website or contact Actriv Healthcare’s education department. Together, we can achieve excellence in nursing and healthcare delivery.