Becoming a Nurse in West Virginia
You can pursue a few different ways to become a nurse in West Virginia. In all cases, you need a nursing diploma or degree. You might also need to pass the relevant National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for your level.
A few different agencies regulate licensing for different types of nurses in West Virginia. The West Virginia State Board of Examiners for Licensed Practical Nurses handles everything relating to licensed practical nurses (LPNs). The West Virginia RN board regulates registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Finally, the Office of Health Facility Licensure & Certification issues certifications for nurse aides.
West Virginia is experiencing a nurse shortage similar to shortages in other states after the pandemic. This deficit may create opportunities if you're interested in beginning a nursing career. But there's also increased potential for burnout, because individual nurses are now expected to care for more patients.
Read on to find out how to become various types of nurses in the Mountain State.
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
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
How To Get Nursing Aide Certification in West Virginia
Nurse aides work under the supervision of an RN or licensed practical nurse to perform a range of hands-on duties such as bathing, dressing, and repositioning patients. They're often called certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in other states.
An individual must meet the following requirements to qualify as a nurse aide in West Virginia:
Complete 120 hours of an approved nurse aide educational program (including at least 55 hours of instructor-supervised clinical practice)
Submit to a criminal background check
Pass the nurse aide examination proctored by the state's vendor within 24 months of graduation from an education program (the test consists of both written and skills performance components)
Nurse aides are required to renew their certification every two years. To do so, they must work eight hours or more as a nurse aide during this two-year period.
How To Get a Licensed Practical Nurse License in West Virginia
LPNs work closely with RNs and doctors to provide day-to-day care for patients. Their duties include keeping detailed patient records, assisting doctors during procedures, and collecting specimens.
Earning a West Virginia LPN license begins with graduating from a board-approved practical nursing program. After graduating, individuals can apply to the board for permission to take the NCLEX-PN. They'll receive a license once they pass this exam and a background check involving fingerprinting.
West Virginia belongs to the Nurse Licensure Compact, so each LPN can apply for a single-state or multistate license that lets them practice in any Compact state.
LPNs are required to renew their licenses every even-numbered year. They must complete 24 contact hours of continuing education and work as an LPN for at least 400 hours during each two-year period.
How To Get a Registered Nurse License in West Virginia
RNs work in a variety of healthcare settings to care for the mental and physical well-being of their patients. Aspiring West Virginia RNs must first graduate from an accredited Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program. The next step is passing the NCLEX-RN.
Alternatively, candidates can apply for licensure by endorsement. This means that they must submit proof that they have an RN license in another state, which would have required nursing education and a passing NCLEX score. In either case, applicants must submit to a West Virginia state and federal background check.
RN licenses are renewed each year in West Virginia. The renewal period begins September 1, and licenses must be renewed by October 31 or the license will lapse. Twelve contact hours from a continuing education provider are required for each renewal.
We provide details on education and certification requirements for some RN specializations on our How To Become a Neonatal Nurse, How To Become a Pediatric Nurse, or How To Become a Travel Nurse pages.
How To Get an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse License in West Virginia
An APRN is a registered nurse who has acquired advanced clinical knowledge and skills by completing a graduate-level education program, usually a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). APRNs provide a wide range of preventive and acute health care services, including diagnosing and treating patients, prescribing medications, and performing physical examinations.
West Virginia recognizes four types of APRNs:
Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)
Certified nurse midwife (CNM)
Certified nurse practitioner (NP)
Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)
Individuals are required to hold a national nursing certification in their area of practice by the appropriate Board-approved independent national certification agency.
APRNs may also receive limited prescriptive authority (the ability to prescribe medications) by completing additional pharmacology training. They must complete an advanced pharmacology graduate course with 45 contact hours, along with 15 additional advanced pharmacology contact hours within 2 years of the initial application.
As is the case for RNs, APRNs must include get fingerprinted for a criminal background check as part of the application. This is the case even for out-of-state nurses seeking licensure by endorsement.
All APRN licenses and prescriptive privileges expire June 30 of every odd year. Individuals must have an active RN license to renew their APRN license. If their RN license has lapsed, then their APRN license also becomes inactive. APRNs must complete 12 hours of continuing education in pharmacotherapeutics and 12 hours in clinical management practice each renewal period.
Aspiring APRNs can find relevant information about APRN education in How To Become a Nurse Anesthetist, Guide to Online Nurse Practitioner Degrees, and 2023 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Degree Programs.
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