Virginia Nursing Schools and Programs

Updated November 22, 2022

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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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

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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.

#1 Virginia Nursing Schools and Programs

University of Virginia-Main Campus

  • Charlottesville, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The school of nursing at the University of Virginia offers seven post-master's certificates, including an adult-gerontology acute care clinical nurse specialist (AGCNS) program. The curriculum covers advanced diagnostics and theoretical skills to prepare students for AGCNS certification.

Enrollees complete 500 clinical hours, often at the renowned UVA Medical Center. UVA also provides mentorship opportunities with palliative care experts.

Average Tuition
In-state
$14,970
Out-of-state
$47,833
Retention Rate
97%
Admission Rate
24%
Students Enrolled
25,012
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Virginia Nursing Schools and Programs

James Madison University

  • Harrisonburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

James Madison University provides a flexible MSN curriculum for nurses looking to further their careers. The nurse administrator and clinical nurse leader concentrations hold classes almost entirely online. Other specializations include a hybrid format. 

Depending on the chosen concentration, master's students must complete 400-650 clinical hours. JMU allows flexible practicum placement to accommodate the high number of working students.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,250
Out-of-state
$23,564
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
21,820
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
8% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Virginia Nursing Schools and Programs

University of Mary Washington

  • Fredericksburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The University of Mary Washington offers a nursing BSN program tailored to RNs with a hospital diploma or associate degree. The one-year program includes online and hybrid classes in a part- or full-time format.

The curriculum combines core nursing classes with three liberal arts courses. Students complete a capstone course that includes a seminar and 45 hours of field experience.

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,678
Out-of-state
$25,102
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
4,488
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
13% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Virginia Nursing Schools and Programs

Eastern Mennonite University

  • Harrisonburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

As an affiliate of the Mennonite Church USA, Eastern Mennonite University includes core values, such as service, agape love, and empathy in its MSN programs. With many online classes and flexible practicum requirements, nurses work while studying. 

EMU offers three MSN concentrations: leadership and school nursing, leadership in trauma awareness and resilience, and leadership and management. Each includes 250 clinical hours that students may fulfill at their current position.

Average Tuition
In-state
$37,880
Out-of-state
$37,880
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
1,358
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
24% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Virginia Nursing Schools and Programs

Wytheville Community College

  • Wytheville, VA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Wytheville Community College's associate nursing degree program prepares students for the NCLEX-RN. The institution prioritizes affordable and accessible education. 

After completing one semester of prerequisite courses, students can apply to the associate nursing program. The two-year curriculum includes healthcare concepts, microbiology, statistical reasoning, and a nursing capstone.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,620
Out-of-state
$9,918
Retention Rate
54%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,450
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
61% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Virginia Nursing Schools and Programs

Averett University

  • Danville, VA
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Averett University combines online courses with onsite labs and clinical rotations through its nursing program in Virginia. Anyone with a non-nursing bachelor's degree or 60 undergraduate credits can apply to Averett's accelerated BSN program.

The 16-month curriculum prepares students for the NCLEX-RN. Courses include global health perspectives, client-centered care, and almost 600 clinical hours.

Average Tuition
In-state
$35,450
Out-of-state
$35,450
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
894
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Virginia Nursing Schools and Programs

Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Richmond, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Virginia Commonwealth University provides various doctorate options to nurses who want to become leaders and executives. The primarily online classes provide professionals flexibility in their studies. 

RNs with a bachelor's degree can pursue the post-BS-to-DNP track, which takes three years to complete. Those with a master's degree may opt for the two-year post-master's-to-DNP program. No matter the path, enrollees can select one of three nurse practitioner concentrations: psychiatric mental health, family, or adult-gerontology.

Average Tuition
In-state
$12,177
Out-of-state
$32,825
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
87%
Students Enrolled
29,757
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Virginia Nursing Schools and Programs

New River Community College

  • Dublin, VA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

New River Community College's associate nursing program prepares enrollees to become RNs. Graduates may work in hospitals, physician offices, clinics, and school systems. NRCC offers advanced placement to LPNs seeking an associate degree. 

The curriculum covers professional nursing and healthcare concepts with extensive supervised fieldwork. The program finalizes with a practicum nursing capstone experience.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,620
Out-of-state
$9,918
Retention Rate
60%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,332
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 Virginia Nursing Schools and Programs

Lord Fairfax Community College

  • Middletown, VA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Students at Lord Fairfax Community College can take nursing courses at either the Middletown or Fauquier campus. LFCC has offered nursing programs since 1995 and currently provides practical nursing and ASN programs. 

Aspiring RNs can complete the associate program to prepare for the NCLEX-RN. Registered LPNs can apply for the advanced placement ASN program and complete it in four semesters rather than five.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,620
Out-of-state
$9,918
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
6,716
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Virginia Nursing Schools and Programs

Germanna Community College

  • Locust Grove, VA
  • 2 years
  • Campus

Germanna Community College helps students launch their health careers through short, focused programs. Aspiring nurses can choose the online general studies pre-BSN program or the two-year RN program. 

Students can also pursue several certificate programs. The practical nursing certificate prepares graduates for the LPN licensure exam. This curriculum covers applied pharmacology, mental health, and practical nursing trends.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,650
Out-of-state
$9,948
Retention Rate
64%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
7,225
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

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.

Highest Paying Cities for Nurses in Virginia
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Median Salary for RNs
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria $83,490
Richmond $77,210
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News $70,620
Winchester $70,550
Staunton-Waynesboro $69,590
Charlottesville $68,940
Source: BLS

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

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.

APRN Requirements

To become an APRN in Virginia, you need an existing Virginia RN license or a multistate license from an NLC state. You must also have an MSN or a DNP degree.

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.

Find Nursing Programs in Other States

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NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

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