Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in West Virginia

Like most states, West Virginia is expected to experience a nursing shortage in the coming decade, which means qualified and skilled nurses will be in high demand. Employment opportunities are projected to remain bright for the nursing industry in the state. Learn more about the nursing profession in West Virginia, licensing requirements, and educational options at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Top 10 Nursing Schools in West Virginia

#1 West Virginia Wesleyan College Buckhannon, WV
#2 Wheeling Jesuit University Wheeling, WV
#3 Marshall University Huntington, WV
#4 Bluefield State College Bluefield, WV
#5 West Liberty University West Liberty, WV
#6 Fairmont State University Fairmont, WV
#7 West Virginia University at Parkersburg Parkersburg, WV
#8 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV
#9 Davis & Elkins College Elkins, WV
#10 University of Charleston Charleston, WV

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Top Nursing Schools in West Virginia

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OUR METHODOLOGY+

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.

West Virginia Wesleyan College View School Profile Buckhannon, WV 58%
Wheeling Jesuit University View School Profile Wheeling, WV 64%
Marshall University View School Profile Huntington, WV 44%
Bluefield State College View School Profile Bluefield, WV 34%
West Liberty University View School Profile West Liberty, WV 40%
Fairmont State University View School Profile Fairmont, WV 33%
West Virginia University at Parkersburg View School Profile Parkersburg, WV 30%
West Virginia University View School Profile Morgantown, WV 57%
Davis & Elkins College View School Profile Elkins, WV 37%
University of Charleston View School Profile Charleston, WV 35%
Shepherd University View School Profile Shepherdstown, WV 40%

How to Obtain an RN License

The West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses establishes the licensure requirements and regulates the nursing occupation within the state to promote public health, safety and well being. Like other states, nurses to looking practice in West Virginia can obtain a licensure through examination – for those who never held a licensure in any state – or through endorsement – for those who currently hold an active license to practice in a state other than West Virginia. Below is an overview of requirements for licensure by exam.

Eligibility

  • Graduate from a board-approved nursing education program
  • Submit fingerprints for a state and federal criminal background check
  • Be of good moral character
  • Submit an application for licensure by examination to the State Board of Nursing at least 45 days prior to NCLEX-RN examination and pay a $70 non-refundable fee via money order or cashier’s check only
  • Provide a passport-type photograph along with application
  • Request official transcripts from approved nursing education program be sent directly to the Board of Nursing
  • Submit registration to Pearson VUE and a $200 fee for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
  • Take the NCLEX-RN after receiving an Authorization to Test (ATT)

How to Keep Your License Active

Each RN license issued by the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Nurses expires on October 31st of every year. To renew, nurses must submit an application, pay a renewal fee, and meet continuing education requirements (CE). Renewal applicants must complete at least 12 hours of continuing education, including two hours of study in mental health conditions common to veterans and their families. RNs who prescribe, administer or dispense controlled medication are required to complete three initial hours and one hour thereafter each year on best prescribing and drug diversion training.

Advanced Practice Nursing Licensure

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are individuals who have completed graduate-level education as well as national certification examinations. In West Virginia, APRNs can practice as a clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife, certified registered nurse anesthetist, or certified nurse practitioner. In order to practice, APRNs must hold a valid RN license as well as the fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete an affidavit the candidate is of good moral character
  • Hold a master’s degree or higher with education in the relevant specialty area
  • Submit verification of coursework in pathophysiology, physical assessment, and pharmacology
  • Hold national certification in the specialized area of practice from an approved organization such as the American Association of Critical Care Nurses; American Nurses Credentialing Center; American Academy of Nurse Practitioners; Pediatric Nursing Certification Board; National Board on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists
  • Submit official transcripts in a sealed enveloped from approved nursing program to the State Board of Nursing
  • Pay an application fee of $35

You can find more information on licensing for APRNs, including instructions and applications at the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses.

Occupational Projections for WV RNs

In 2014, there were more than 33,000 licensed RNs in the state of West Virginia. This number from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing includes approximately 2,100 advanced practice registered nurses across four specialties: advanced nursing, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists. Although nursing schools in West Virginia graduated 667 students across all programs in 2014, those figures are not enough to keep up with demand, says the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. That demand, fueled by healthcare reform and an aging population, presents excellent career opportunities for nurses in West Virginia.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in West Virginia

AreaHourly Median WageAnnual Median Wage
Charleston$26.37$54,850
Huntington-Ashland WV-KY-OH$26.12$54,320
Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna WV-OH$25.93$53,940
Southern West Virginia nonmetropolitan area$25.58$53,210
North Central West Virginia nonmetropolitan area$25.21$52,430
Wheeling WV-OH$23.85$49,610
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

West Virginia vs. National Numbers

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West Virginia Nursing Resources

West Virginia Center for Nursing
Created in 2005, the West Virginia Center for Nursing supports the recruitment, professional development and retention of nurses in West Virginia through scholarships, continuing education programs, and mentoring programs.

West Virginia Emergency Nurses Association
The West Virginia Emergency Nurses Association (WVENA) is a membership-based organization. As the state arm of the Emergency Nurses Association, the WVENA, offers continuing education courses, networking opportunities, and conference events.

West Virginia Nurses Association
The West Virginia Nurses Association is a member organization of the American Nurses Association and advocates for its members through public policy action, connects nurses to career opportunities, hosts conferences and networking events, and provides access to continuing education programs.

West Virginia RN Board
The West Virginia RN Board is the regulating body for the practice of nursing in West Virginia, establishing licensing guidelines, managing the licensing and renewal process, and handling disciplinary issues.

Future of Nursing West Virginia
The Future of Nursing West Virginia is a member-based coalition sponsored by three groups, the West Virginia Nurses Association, West Virginia Organization of Nurse Executives, and the West Virginia Hospital Association. The group works to improve access to healthcare, provide leadership opportunities to practicing nurses, and develop professional resources for nurses in the state.

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