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2023 Best Online Nursing Programs in Virginia

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 7/18/2023

Compare the best online nursing programs in Virginia for 2023. In the modern, fast-paced world we live in, the demand for flexible and convenient learning platforms is rising, and online nursing programs have become a standout choice for those seeking a career in healthcare. If tuition costs are influencing your college choice, consider also looking at the most affordable nursing degrees.

Our 2023 list includes colleges in Virginia that offer online nursing programs and have available NCLEX data, so you can easily determine which online nursing program results in graduates with the best pass rate.

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Online Nursing Degrees You May Be Interested In

2023 Best Online Nursing Programs in Virginia

School NCLEX Pass Rate Online Enrollment
Shenandoah University 95.1% 497
Liberty University 92.66% 70,429
James Madison University 90.78% 689
Hampton University 90.48% 457
Sentara College of Health Sciences 87.18% 85
University of Virginia 87.1% 1,055
Norfolk State University 85.71% 310
Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing 85.38% 96
Old Dominion University 85.07% 6,154
Virginia Commonwealth University 84.24% 819
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Becoming a Nurse in Virginia

The Virginia Board of Nursing (VBN) operates as part of the Virginia Department of Health Professions. The board is responsible for licensing all types of nursing professionals in the state. This includes registered nurses (RNs), certified nurse aides (CNAs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs). The board also awards advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) licenses for roles such as nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists. 

The board has approved 33 pre-licensure nursing programs in Virginia, along with even more  associate (ADN), bachelor's (BSN), and master's (MSN) degree programs at Virginia nursing schools.

There are more than 130,000 nursing professionals working in the state, and Virginia's healthcare system is supported by some of the best universities and hospitals in the country. In addition to working in clinical settings, such as hospitals and physicians' offices, nurses in Virginia can also enter the field of nursing research or work with government agencies.

To learn about online nursing programs and requirements in other states, explore our list of accredited nursing degrees by state below:

Nursing Degrees by State

How To Get CNA Certification in Virginia

The VBN uses the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) to qualify its CNAs. This test was by Pearson VUE and is offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). 

Before applicants can register for the exam, they must first complete an approved CNA training program and submit an application to Credentia, the credentialing service that the VBN uses for CNAs. There is no application fee for an initial CNA license. Applicants must also submit a fingerprint card and criminal background check

Virginia CNA license candidates must sit for the NNAAP once they submit their official transcripts, application, and associated fees. Applicants must take the skills evaluation and either the written or oral examination. There are about two dozen testing locations in Virginia where students can sit for the NNAAP test.

CNAs can also qualify for certification through endorsement. This is appropriate for nurse aides who have already passed the exam and been certified in another state. For these candidates, the application process can be completed entirely online on the board's website. Candidates attempting to obtain an Advanced Nurse Aide certification by endorsement should also follow the same procedure.

CNA Certification Renewal

A Virginia CNA certification is valid for two years. Applicants can generally start the renewal process 45 days prior to a certification's expiration.

How To Get an LPN License in Virginia

Nursing candidates can earn a Virginia LPN license in one of two ways. 

First, there is licensure by examination. Prospective LPNs must obtain a passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination for practical nursing (NCLEX-PN) administered by the NCSBN before they're eligible to apply. They must also demonstrate that they have graduated from a state-approved nursing education program. Candidates whose nursing education was not provided by a state-approved school should contact the board to verify eligibility before applying. 

Aspiring nurses can read our article all about the NCLEX, including what to expect and how to prepare. 

Applicants must submit an LPN application online, along with a fingerprint card and criminal background check. 

The board can grant a Virginia nursing license to candidates who qualify for licensure by endorsement. To be eligible, an aspiring LPN must already hold an equivalent license from another state. Candidates who have obtained their licenses in another country or whose education was not through a Virginia-approved program should contact the board prior to applying.

LPN License Renewal

To keep the license active, LPNs must complete 400 hours of direct client care every two years. Candidates can submit applications directly on the state's website up to 45 days prior to their license expiring.

How To Get an RN License in Virginia

There are three ways to apply for a Virginia RN license. The first option is to determine whether an applicant is eligible for licensure by endorsement. This applies to nurses who have graduated from an approved nursing program and who have been previously licensed in another state. Licensure by endorsement may also apply to nurses who have earned their licenses in another country as long as they can demonstrate evidence of an appropriate credentials evaluation.

The second way to obtain a Virginia RN license is to apply for licensure by examination. Prospective nurses who have graduated from a state-approved nursing program must receive a passing score on the NCLEX-RN. Some additional documentation may be required from graduates of nursing programs that did not provide 500 hours of direct client care, or whose nursing programs are not specifically approved by the state. These candidates are advised to contact the board directly prior to applying.

Applicants must submit official transcripts for their nursing program, the application itself, and any associated fees. They also need to submit a fingerprint card and criminal background check. 

RN License Renewal

Once obtained, a Virginia RN license is valid for two years. To keep the license active, RNs must complete 500 hours of direct client care biannually. Applicants can complete licensure renewal beginning 45 days before a license's expiration date.

How To Get an APRN License in Virginia

To earn a Virginia APRN license, candidates must first have a valid Virginia RN license. Aspiring APRNs must decide which type of advanced nursing they wish to practice in the state. The VBN considers all APRNs to be NPs, including certified nurse midwives (CNMs) and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs). The VBN offers additional certifications for prescriptive authority.

Candidates should submit applications for these specialized nursing licenses directly to the VBN. There are two ways to qualify for licensure: examination and endorsement. 

Virginia recognizes NP examinations conducted by both the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB), as well as several others. The online application form also requires candidates to provide official college transcripts. Candidates for licensure by endorsement must submit verification of their current professional certification.

For applicants who apply by examination, a valid VA registered nursing license (or compact nursing license) is required, along with the online application and proof of certification that's consistent with the RN’s area of focus. This certification can only come from the VBN’s approved agencies

There are three ways that NPs can prove their competency to the board:

  1. First, NPs can submit a transcript or letter from an education program that offers a graduate course in pharmacology or pharmacotherapeutics. This course must show graduation within the last five years. 
  2. The second way is to provide an authorized statement asserting that the NP has completed 1,000 hours of active practice in the past two years. They must also show proof that they’ve completed 15 hours of continuing education. 
  3. The final way is to provide transcripts that show the NP has taken 30 hours of continuing education within the last five years, which includes training on applicable federal and state laws, prescription writing, drug selection, dosage, routees and interactions, information resources, and clinical application related to the area of practice.

APRN License Renewal

Advanced practice licenses are valid for two years in Virginia. Each APRN must submit a renewal request online.

FAQs About Online Nursing Programs in Virginia

Can I Become a Nurse With an Online Degree?

There are many accredited online nursing programs in Virginia that are suitable for earning a license. In fact, most nursing schools in Virginia offer online programs and courses that are just as legitimate as in-person degrees. These include online RN programs and online ADN programs.

How Long Does It Take To Be an RN in Virginia?

Nursing programs vary in length, but ADNs can take as little as two years and BSNs can take as little as four years to finish. After you graduate and pass the NCLEX-RN, it may take 30-45 business days for the VBN to evaluate and approve your RN application.

Is Virginia Good for Nurses?

Virginia’s cities are among the highest in terms of the metropolitan employment of RNs and LPNs. The median annual salary for an RN in Virginia was $79,705 as of May, 2022, which is slightly higher than nationwide wages for these roles. 

However, a statewide nurse shortage may cause working conditions to deteriorate in coming years as healthcare employers are forced to cover the same amount of patients with fewer workers. The problem is most severe in rural parts of the state.

Are There Online LPN to RN Programs in VA?

There are several LPN to RN online programs in VA. Some schools offer these in addition to ADNs, BSNs, and and graduate programs for NPs, such as MSNs or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees.

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