Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.
Schools, Licensing Requirements, and Resources
Online nursing programs in West Virginia present great opportunities for degree-seekers who want to pursue a nursing career. The state is home to many opportunities for learners at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, with each leading to different career options after graduation.
This guide offers an in-depth look at the differences between the four main types of nursing licensure and the educational requirements for each. We also explore some benefits of attending an online nursing program in the state, what courses distance learners might encounter, and how online programs are structured, along with salary and employment trends for West Virginia nurses.
Why Attend Online Nursing Programs in West Virginia?
Online nursing programs in West Virginia expose degree-seekers to a variety of concepts, specialties, and potential career paths. West Virginia students enjoy the 11th-lowest tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state learners enrolled in public four-year institutions, allowing them to take advantage of more affordable program options.
West Virginia also boasts the eighth-lowest cost of living, making higher education in the state even more economical. All types of nursing professionals in West Virginia experience above-average projected job growth rates, making the state a great place for nurses to begin their careers.
How to Become a Nurse in West Virginia
The West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Nurse Professionals and the West Virginia State Board Of Examiners for Licensed Nurse Practitioners for RNs and LPNs, respectively administer nursing licensure in the state. LPNs may practice after completing a one-year program at a nursing school in West Virginia and passing the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX). To become licensed, LPN candidates must also complete an application, undergo a background check, and pay a fee.
1. Choose the Path That’s Right for You
Applicants for RN and advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) licensure must submit an application and endorsement forms, and register for the NCLEX-RN. Nurses licensed in other states who want to practice in West Virginia must submit an RN verification form.
Many colleges and universities in West Virginia offer degree programs in both on-campus and online formats. Both program types usually uphold the same admission requirements, including prerequisite coursework, minimum GPAs, and application materials. Most nursing programs also include in-person clinical requirements.
Students pursuing an associate degree usually fulfill all program requirements within two years, while bachelor’s students take around four years to graduate and master’s candidates spend about two years studying. Doctoral candidates may complete 3-6 years of study, depending on their program’s graduation requirements and their enrollment status. At the bachelor’s level, nursing students in West Virginia can also explore RN-BSN programs, which allow learners to earn their BSN more quickly.
3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
On-campus and online nursing programs in West Virginia prepare students for the NCLEX-RN, but most candidates study additional hours for the exam. Candidates pay a $200 exam fee and have six hours to complete the NCLEX-RN.
Online Nursing Degree Programs in West Virginia
All prospective nurses must attain a certain educational level or degree before applying for licensure. Nursing programs develop the skills and knowledge candidates need to thrive in the healthcare industry after graduation. The following section explores some common features of online nursing programs, such as courses and formats.
What Courses Are Part of an Online Nursing Degree Program in West Virginia?
Course offerings for online nursing programs differ according to degree level, specialization, and school. While associate programs focus on basic nursing concepts, bachelor’s curricula explore more advanced topics, and master’s and doctoral programs focus on specialized nursing concepts and competencies. Below are a few courses commonly included in bachelor’s-level curricula.
Ethics and Health Policy
This course teaches candidates to make ethical healthcare decisions. Lectures may emphasize palliative care settings and end of life care.
Evidence-based Practice and Research
Exploring research concepts, theories, and methods, this course examines strategies for incorporating evidence into research and practice.
Clinical Nursing Pharmacology
Candidates in this course learn to administer appropriate medications to patients across the lifespan. Coursework may focus heavily on pathophysiology concepts.
How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?
All online nursing programs in West Virginia feature slightly different program structures and requirements, depending on the school and degree level. Many institutions offer nursing programs entirely online, with candidates satisfying all in-person clinical components at facilities in their local areas. Some hybrid programs combine web-based coursework with weekly or monthly on-campus meetings.
Nursing students in West Virginia can also explore RN-BSN online options. These flexible programs allow distance learners to quickly earn a BSN and continue working as they satisfy their degree requirements.
Most online nursing programs feature the same course topics, admission criteria, graduation requirements, and instructors as their on-campus counterparts, providing degree-seekers with the same quality of education with convenient delivery.
Most online nursing programs feature the same course topics, admission criteria, graduation requirements, and instructors as their on-campus counterparts, providing degree-seekers with the same quality of education with convenient delivery. Online nursing programs often boast asynchronous formats, allowing learners to complete their coursework at any time of day, from any location.
Nursing Licensure in West Virginia
West Virginia’s nursing board regulates licensure and ensures all licensed nurses practice at the highest possible quality. Nursing professionals in the state can pursue careers as certified nurse assistants (CNAs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), registered nurses (RNs), and nurse practitioners (NPs).
State requirements vary depending on the license type, with different guidelines for education, clinical hours, and certification exams. Renewal guidelines also differ between license types, with some career paths requiring more continuing education credits than others.
NPs in West Virginia experience reduced practice authority, meaning state licensure and practice laws limit their ability to perform at least one standard element of practice. These nurses must hold a career-long collaborative agreement with another healthcare provider to perform patient care or remain limited in the patient care they can provide.
State Requirements by Nursing Type
The following table compares West Virginia licensing requirements for each type of nurse.
Certified Nurse Assistant
Licensed CNAs in West Virginia qualify for a variety of entry-level nursing positions. Candidates seeking CNA credentials must successfully complete a state-approved nurse aide training program. These programs combine classroom study with supervised clinical hours. Some students can complete all program requirements in as few as 4-6 weeks.
CNAs who satisfy the educational criteria must complete and pass a competency examination, demonstrating their ability to understand and carry out fundamental nursing concepts and skills. The exam comprises two separate tests, including a practical skills evaluation and a multiple choice written evaluation. After passing the exam, candidates can apply for certification.
CNAs must renew their licenses every two years, receiving their renewal notice in the mail a few months before their certification expires. Applicants can complete a renewal packet online or mail one in. CNAs do not need to complete continuing education credits for renewal.
West Virginia Licensure Requirements
Education: Board-approved nurse aide training program
Additional Clinical Hours: N/A
Exams: CNA competency exam
Renewal Frequency: Every two years
Continuing Education: None required
Licensed Practical Nurse
In West Virginia, prospective LPNs begin the path to licensure by completing a state-approved nursing program. Most students complete these programs in one year of full-time study. Next, LPN candidates must complete and pass the NCLEX-PN exam.
Once candidates pass the exam, they may apply for state licensure. Applicants must submit a completed application, provide official transcripts and exam scores, complete a criminal background check, and provide a passport-style photo.
West Virginia LPN licenses expire on June 30th of each year. In even-numbered years, applicants for renewal must provide a statement detailing how they meet the state’s continuing competence requirements with their completed application. Every two years, LPNs must complete 24 contact hours of continuing education activities and 400 clock hours of LPN practice.
Continuing Education: 24 continuing education credits every two years
Candidates for RN licensure may complete either an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor of science in nursing. Students who choose to pursue an associate degree typically earn their license within two years, while BSN candidates take around four years to obtain their license. While RN licensing guidelines accept both ADN and BSN candidates, many employers, especially hospitals, prefer to hire RNs who hold bachelor’s degrees. Once candidates satisfy state educational criteria, they must complete and pass the NCLEX-RN exam.
RNs in West Virginia must renew their licenses before October 31st of each year. RNs must complete 12 hours of continuing education activities annually, demonstrating their commitment to continued professional growth and skill development.
West Virginia Licensure Requirements
Education: Associate or Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Additional Clinical Hours: Fulfilled in degree program
Continuing Education: 12 continuing education credits each year
West Virginia NPs hold many different specialties and work with a variety of patient populations. All candidates for NP licensure must hold an active, current RN license and a graduate degree in nursing. While most candidates pursue a master of science in nursing, while others pursue doctoral nursing degrees. Many graduate-level nursing programs allow learners to specialize in nurse practitioner studies.
After satisfying the educational criteria, prospective NPs must obtain national certification in their chosen specialty area. Popular specialties for West Virginia NPs include pediatrics, gerontology, and family care.
NPs in West Virginia must maintain national certification and keep their RN licenses active and current.
West Virginia Licensure Requirements
Education: Graduate degree in nursing
Additional Clinical Hours: Completed during degree program
Exams: No exam required, but candidates must earn national certification in their chosen specialty
Renewal Frequency: NPs must maintain their RN license and national certification
Continuing Education: 24 contact hours of continuing education every year with 12 hours focused on clinical management and 12 hours focused on pharmacotherapeutics
Online Nursing Degree Programs and Licensing in West Virginia FAQ
Can Someone Become a Nurse in Two Years?
Several nursing pathways allow candidates to become a nurse in two years. West Virginia CNAs and LPNs typically take less than a year to complete their respective programs, and RN candidates who follow the ADN pathway can obtain licensure in two years.
How Should I Choose What Nursing Field to Go Into?
Before pursuing a field or specialty, students should consider their personal interests and preferred patient population, along with potential salary opportunities and job growth.
How Long Does it Take to Get an RN License in West Virginia?
Earning an RN license in West Virginia typically takes 2-4 years, depending on the educational pathway. Candidates who pursue an associate degree in nursing usually take around two years to obtain licensure, while BS in nursing students take closer to four years.
Is West Virginia a Good State For Nurses?
West Virginia nursing professionals enjoy a variety of career opportunities throughout the state. Nurses across disciplines enjoy above-average projected job growth rates.
How Hard Is It to Get Into Nursing School in West Virginia?
Admission requirements for nursing schools vary by institution and degree level. Prospective students may need to demonstrate a minimum GPA and a certain educational background, and/or provide letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, or other materials.
West Virginia Nurse Salaries and Employment Trends
Nurses in West Virginia serve in a variety of healthcare settings and positions, focusing on different patient populations. Salary potential and job growth rates depend on a variety of factors, and a certain degree or educational background does not necessarily guarantee candidates a specific salary or employment opportunity.
The following table compares and contrasts annual mean wages for different types of nursing positions, along with projected job growth changes across disciplines. Readers can also explore data for nearby states alongside national figures for each corresponding nursing discipline to see how nurses in West Virginia compare.
Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in West Virginia, by Type
The annual mean wage for West Virginia CNAs falls slightly beneath the occupation’s $29,580 national annual mean, with NPs in the state reporting yearly salaries of $26,410. However, CNAs in West Virginia can look forward to an above-average projected job growth rate of 9.8%. They can also take advantage of their occupation’s highest salary opportunities in the scientific, research, and development services industry, while nursing care facilities offer the highest concentration of jobs and employment levels.
Licensed Practical Nurse
West Virginia LPNs draw an annual mean wage of $36,770 and face a higher-than-average 7.2% projected job growth rate. LPNs can find the highest employment levels and concentration of jobs for their occupation in the nursing care facilities industry. LPNs who want to take advantage of their state’s highest salary opportunities can seek job openings at junior colleges, which hire more LPNs than any other type of facility.
RNs in West Virginia enjoy an annual mean wage of $61,780 and an above-average projected job growth rate of 13.3%. These nurses can find the highest-paying job opportunities in West Virginia’s pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry. In contrast, the state’s general medical and surgical hospitals industry is home to the highest concentration of jobs and features the highest employment levels.
The annual mean wage for West Virginia NPs is around $10,000 lower than the national figure for the occupation, with West Virginia NPs earning $100,690 annually. They also enjoy the fourth-highest salary compared to their counterparts in nearby Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. The state’s personal care services industry offers the highest salary opportunities for NPs, while physician’s offices feature the highest concentration of jobs and employment levels for the occupation.
Nursing Resources for West Virginia
West Virginia Nurses Association
WVNA promotes statewide community health and well-being, and provides nurses with skill-building professional development opportunities.
West Virginia Association of School Nurses
This professional association helps more than 200 school nurses across the state meet students' needs through initiatives and advocacy. Members receive exclusive discounts and publications.