Virginia Nursing Schools and Programs
Nursing schools in Virginia offer diverse programs, from certificates to doctorate programs. Explore the top ten nursing schools and programs here.
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There are over 60 nursing programs in Virginia that offer degrees, such as an associate degree in nursing (ADN), a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), a master of science in nursing (MSN), or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP).
Nursing jobs continue to grow faster than the national average in Virginia. This guide can help you choose the right program for your career goals. We also explore how to earn a nursing license in Virginia — as a registered nurse (RN) or an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) — and outline salary expectations.
Keep reading to learn more about becoming a nurse in Virginia, or go straight to our list of the best nursing schools in Virginia or our list of the best nurse practitioner programs in Virginia.
The Best Nursing Schools in Virginia
The following list includes the top nursing programs in Virginia. Because unaccredited programs offer such high risk and limited rewards, this guide only includes accredited programs.
Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nursing schools in Virginia, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.
Featured Online MSN Programs
How to Choose a Nursing Program in Virginia
When choosing from the many nursing schools in Virginia, consider how well the school matches your needs and background. The NCLEX-RN pass rate, for example, is an excellent measure of program quality.
Financial aid and costs, including tuition, make up important considerations, as do the logistics of attending. If you plan to attend an online nursing program in Virginia, find out about getting clinical placement in your community.
Why Become a Nurse in Virginia
More than 66,000 nurses work in Virginia, a figure greater than the entire population of Reston, Virginia's 15th largest city. Between 2018 and 2028, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects nursing jobs to grow by 11.7%. While annual earnings may rank slightly below national figures, the cost-of-living index is also below the national level at 98.1, compared to 100 nationally.
Virginia is a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state, which means your nursing license can transfer to all 39 participating states and vice versa.
Virginia is also full of beautiful scenery, outdoor recreation, and charming cities. The close proximity to Washington, D.C. allows for access to its many historical attractions as well.
Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in Virginia
The median annual salary for an RN in Virginia is $72,420, according to BLS data. For NPs, salary figures increase to $108,530. BLS figures for the national median RN salary is $75,330, with NP salaries at $111,680.
Because Virginia offers so many nursing schools, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects a surplus of 22,700 nurses from 2014-2030. However, because Virginia is an NLC state, you can attend nursing school in Virginia, earn your license, and work in another participating state if you choose.
The highest-paying cities for nurses in Virginia vary greatly in total population and number of nursing positions available. More than 12,000 nurses work in Richmond alone, while Charlottesville has just 3,440, by comparison. The Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV metro area offers the highest average salary for nurses at $83,490, though the cost of living in this area is much higher.
|Top Paying Metropolitan Areas||Median Salary for RNs|
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||$70,620|
Steps to Becoming a Nurse in Virginia
Virginia only accepts online applications for a new RN license. You must have a nursing degree, pass a criminal background check, submit an application fee of $190, and pass the NCLEX-RN examination.
RN requirements in Virginia remain similar to other state requirements. You need either a license from an NLC state or a Virginia license, an ADN or a BSN degree, a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam, and a criminal background check. Include evidence of at least 500 direct-care hours from your clinical placement or experience as an RN in another state. The Virginia State Board of Nursing website includes the full process and licensure requirements.
If you attended nursing school in Virginia, your school should send an attestation that you graduated. If you didn't attend a nursing program in Virginia, your school must send a full transcript. Submit proof of your board certification as well.
If you are applying for prescription authority, include evidence that you took the required pharmacology courses or continuing education. The state's board of nursing lists the full requirements and process.
The Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Virginia
NPs enjoy a higher level of autonomy than RNs and earn a greater salary. If more autonomy, responsibility, and income appeal to you, you may want to earn an MSN or a DNP. The following list includes some of the best NP programs in Virginia.
Other Top Nursing Programs in Virginia
Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Virginia
How do I get a Virginia nursing license?
You must apply to the Virginia State Board of Nursing. Applicants need a BSN or an ADN, at least 500 fieldwork hours, a clear criminal background check, and a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam. If you have a multistate license from an NLC state, you can practice in Virginia. However, if you establish residency in Virginia, you need to apply for a Virginia license.
How do I get a temporary nursing license in Virginia?
If you have a multistate license from an NLC state, you can practice in Virginia. Although, if you move permanently to Virginia, you must apply for a Virginia license (you can work while your application is being processed). Because of COVID-19, Virginia offers temporary waivers for certain licensing requirements. Check the board of nursing website for details.
How many nursing programs does Virginia have?
Virginia offers more than 50 nursing programs that offer ADN or BSN degrees and even more offer nursing certificates.
Who Issues Virginia nursing licenses?
The Virginia State Board of Nursing issues nursing licenses. You must have an ADN or a BSN, receive a clear background check, pass the NCLEX-RN examination, and have at least 500 hours of clinical fieldwork (or experience as an RN in another state). You can review the full process and requirements online.
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