Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in Virginia [2022 Guide]

Updated November 14, 2022

Considering nursing in Virginia? Find the best nursing schools, licensing requirements, and career paths for you! 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.

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Nursing is a flexible career path, one that offers a dynamic ladder for advancement. In Virginia it is considered a high growth occupation nearly 15,000 new positions projected to be created between 2013 and 2020, according to the Virginia Employment Commission. Despite its growth, the state still ranks 45th in its per capita supply of nurses. An increasing demand for care means prospective nurses can punch their career ticket with the right education. Learn more about the occupational outlook for nursing, what it takes to earn a nursing license, and review individual nursing schools in Virginia. 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.

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To be considered for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria: Accredited at the institutional level Private nonprofit or public school Minimum of 1 bachelor's or master's degree in subject area for 4-year schools Minimum of 1 associate degree or certificate program in subject area for 2-year schools Schools were then scored on factors such as: Cost & Financial Aid Number and variety of program offerings Student-teacher ratios Graduation rates (4-year schools only) Placement and support services offered Academic/Career counseling services Employment services Loan default rates These factors were assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or "bang for your buck" of a college or degree program.

Top Nursing Schools in Virginia

4 - Year Colleges

  1. Hampton University

    Hampton, VA

  2. George Mason University

    Fairfax, VA

  3. University of Virginia

    Charlottesville, VA

  4. Jefferson College of Health Sciences

    Roanoke, VA

  5. Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing

    Richmond, VA

  6. James Madison University

    Harrisonburg, VA

  7. Virginia Commonwealth University

    Richmond, VA

  8. Shenandoah University

    Winchester, VA

  9. Radford University

    Radford, VA

  10. Eastern Mennonite University

    Harrisonburg, VA

2 - Year Colleges

  1. Dabney S Lancaster Community College

    Clifton Forge, VA

  2. Southwest Virginia Community College

    Cedar Bluff, VA

  3. Mountain Empire Community College

    Big Stone Gap, VA

  4. Lord Fairfax Community College

    Middletown, VA

  5. Paul D Camp Community College

    Franklin, VA

  6. Southside Virginia Community College

    Alberta, VA

  7. Danville Community College

    Danville, VA

  8. Patrick Henry Community College

    Martinsville, VA

  9. Rappahannock Community College

    Glenns, VA

  10. Central Virginia Community College

    Lynchburg, VA

Applying for Licensure in Virginia

The Virginia Board of Nursing regulates the licensing process for all nurses in the state. To practice legally, RNs must apply for and hold an active license. The state offers two types of licensing options: licensure by examination and licensure for endorsement. The latter is designed for applicants who hold a nursing license in another state, while the former is for individuals who have not previously been licensed to practice in any state. Below is an overview of the licensing requirements and process for first-time applicants who are seeking an examination license.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Graduate from a state-approved nursing education program
  • Pass a fingerprint-based criminal background check
  • Submit online application and pay application fee of $190
  • Have an official transcript sent from the student's nursing education program that demonstrates the degree was awarded/will be awarded and the date it was or will be awarded
  • Register with Pearson VUE and pay $200 for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
  • Once the Board approves the application, applicants receive an Authorization to Test (ATT)
  • Sit for and pass the NCELX-RN

Renewing an RN License in Virginia

The state of Virginia requires registered nurses to renew their licenses every two years. Individuals born in even-numbered years are required to renew by the last day of their birth month every even-numbered year, while those born in odd-numbered years do the same during odd-numbered years. In addition to submitting an application and paying the required fee, applicants must also complete continuing education requirements.

As of August 1, 2015, the Board of Nursing allows individuals to renew an active license if they meet one of the following requirements:

  • Hold current certification from a national certifying organization
  • Complete at least three credit hours of academic education in a nursing field of study at an accredited university
  • Take a state board-approved nursing refresher course
  • Complete a research-based, nursing related research project or study
  • Teach a 3-credit hour course in nursing
  • Teach or develop nursing continuing education classes for up to 30 contact hours
  • Participate in at least fifteen contact hours of continuing education and an additional 640 hours of active nursing practice
  • Participate in at least 30 contact hours of continuing education coursework

Licensing for Virginia APRNs

To qualify for licensure as an advanced practice nurse, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold an active and current RN license in Virginia or a multi-state RN license
  • Submit verification of a graduate degree in nursing or educational preparation in the selected advanced nursing field
  • Provide verification of national certification in the specialty area of practice
  • Submit an online application and pay a fee of $125

Licenses must be renewed every two years and requires active professional certification and completion of at least 40 hours of continuing education credits in the designated specialty area.

Those looking for more information on registered nurses, including APRNs, can visit the Virginia Board of Nursing.

A Look at Nursing Employment in Virginia

Although the state graduated more than 3,200 students in both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs in 2014, Virginia cannot produce trained, qualified nurses quickly enough. Even with approximately 92,000 licensed registered nurses and 5,800 advanced practice nurses in the state—notes the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and Virginia Nurses Association—an acute need for bedside and primary nursing care exists in every healthcare specialization and setting. This service gap is a primary driver of employment growth for the nursing profession. Each of the major nursing fields are projected to experience double digit occupational growth between 2012 and 2022, led by 40 percent growth for nurse practitioners. Take a deeper dive into the career numbers for Virginia's nurses:

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Virginia

AreaHourly Median WageAnnual Median Wage
Northwestern Virginia nonmetropolitan area$29.11$60,550
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News VA-NC$29.11$60,540
Southside Virginia nonmetropolitan area$25.98$54,040
Northeastern Virginia nonmetropolitan area$25.04$52,090

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Virginia vs. National Numbers

YearAnnual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)Annual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)
Registered Nurse$50,840$62,610$74,670$0$54,620$66,640$81,080
Certified Nurse Midwife$79,000$88,400$97,590$0$82,580$96,970$114,090
Nurse Anesthetist$136,420$160,400$0$0$132,380$153,780$181,860
Nurse Practitioner$80,340$91,830$108,280$0$82,720$95,350$113,470
Registered Nurse62,7002,687,310
Certified Nurse Midwife1205,110
Nurse Anesthetist1,34036,590
Nurse Practitioner3,450122,050
Registered Nurse66,9903,238,400
Certified Nurse Midwife1907,700
Nurse Anesthetist2,66043,900
Nurse Practitioner3,750147,300
Registered Nurse1,910105,260
Certified Nurse Midwife10290
Nurse Anesthetist1101,560
Nurse Practitioner1605,850

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central

Virginia Nurses Resources

Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists

The Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists is a membership organization that works to advance the practice of nurse anesthesia in the state. It holds regular networking events, educational workshops, and advocates on behalf of nurse anesthetists via a government relations committee.

Virginia Association of Rehabilitation Nurses

The Virginia Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (VARN) is the state-based professional organization of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. Through memberships, conferences, a professional journal, and online forum—the VARN supports the work of individuals in rehabilitation nursing.

Virginia Association of School Nurses

The Virginia Association of School Nurses is the state arm of the National Association of School Nurses. Through eight regional offices, the organization encourages the professional development of school nurses through continuing education courses, publishes an industry newsletter, connects school nurses through networking events, and hosts an annual conference.

Virginia Board of Nursing

The Virginia Board of Nursing is the regulating body for the practice of nursing in the state of Virginia—from approving and renewing licenses to handling complaints, establishing professional guidelines and standards to approving nursing programs.

Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners

The Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners is a state-based professional organization for licensed nurse practitioners in the state. It is a council of the Virginia Nurses Association and has more than 1,700 members. The council works in public policy and legislative action on behalf of its members, connects members to job opportunities, and provides continuing professional development opportunities.

Virginia Nurses Association

The Virginia Nurses Association (VNA) is a state branch of the American Nurses Association and represents more than 100,000 registered nurses in the state of Virginia. As the professional nursing organization, the VNA approves continuing education programs, advocates for registered nurses, and keeps members abreast of the latest industry trends and news.

Virginia Nursing Students' Association

Comprised of student nurses from more than 75 nursing programs in the state, the Virginia Nursing Students' Association is a student-led organization. The VNSA supports the growth of future nurses in the state through scholarships, career networking, and mentoring and leadership opportunities.

Virginia Organization of Nurse Executives and Leaders

The Virginia Organization of Nurse Executives and Leaders (VONEL) focuses on improving the management and administration of nursing practice in the state. A membership-based organization, the VONEL supports professional development opportunities, hosts regular conferences, provides scholarships, and offers a career center.

Virginia State Council Emergency Nurses Association

The Virginia Emergency Nurses Association represents the interests of more than 1,400 nurses working in emergency care in the state. The organization offers memberships, a career center, scholarships, and continuing education courses and workshops.

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