From Shenandoah National Park to Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay to Arlington National Cemetery, history and nature abound in Virginia. A key colony during colonial times, Virginia now is home to about 8.5 million people. That means there will be plenty of people to take care of if you come here for your Virginia nursing license.
Whether you’re just thinking about entering the field or you’ve been an established RN for a while, read on to learn everything about licensing info, continuing education requirements, job & salary outlook, top hospitals, and nursing associations. Come to Virginia to find your dream nursing job!
In this article, we will cover:
- How to apply for your Virginia nursing license
- Virginia nursing licensing fees
- How to renew your Virginia nursing license
- Virginia continuing education requirements
- Job & salary outlook for Virginia nurses
- Top Virginia hospitals
- Virginia nursing organizations & associations
- Virginia licensing board contact information
How do you apply for a Virginia nursing license?
Step 1: Education
It all starts with either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The ADN takes between 18 and 24 months of courses. A BSN is approximately 4 years of schooling. Going from ADN to BSN is easy with the bridge program that lasts approximately 12 to 18 months. The RN to BSN program is an accelerated program of 3 semesters of courses to be completed in 1 year. The more education you have, the more appealing you will be to future employers, and the higher your salary will eventually be. These programs can help you land your dream nursing job.
Step 2: Licensing
To get a Virginia nursing license, you must sit for the NCLEX-RN exam (up to 6 weeks before graduation). There are between 75 and 265 questions on this exam with a five-hour completion time limit. You must wait 45 days to retake the exam if you do not pass the first time. You will be tested on your knowledge of a safe and effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity.
Step 3: Experience
With great knowledge must come great experience. Before you settle into a specialty, take time to gain hands-on experience in a variety of patient settings. This will provide you with the experience you need to make a decision about where to head your career. The more experience you have, the more attractive you are to future employers.
Step 4: Certification
Now that you know what you want to do, you will want to obtain certifications to do it. Each certification has different requirements, so it’s important to check with the Virginia governing body for more information. Incredible Health offers free courses in order to obtain or renew certification requirements. Create a free account to access professional development mandates and get instant certificates.
Virginia nursing licensing fees
Below are the fees for becoming a nurse in Virginia. These apply whether you are a first-time nurse or are moving to Virginia from another state. For more information, visit the Virginia licensing page.
License application fees
- RN: $190
- LPN: $170
- LNP: $125
- Fingerprint processing fee: $35.95
License renewal fees:
- RN: $140
- LPN: $120
- LNP: $80
Additionally, Virginia is a nursing compact state, which allows nurses to hold multi-state licenses.
*Fees are subject to change.
How to renew your Virginia nursing license
- Verify the status of your license
Visit the Verification page to confirm your license.
- Complete your Virginia nursing continuing education requirements before your license expires
You can complete your nursing CEUs online, on your schedule, and 100% free with Incredible Health.
- Go to the Virginia Board of Nursing to enter your renewal application
Visit the Renewal Information page for specific requirements. Virginia is a compact state. If your Primary State of Residency is in another compact state do not apply for licensure in Virginia unless you are declaring Virginia as your Primary State of Residency.
Virginia continuing education requirements
Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
RNs and LPNs are required to renew their licenses every two years. The nursing professionals need to complete at least one of the following:
- Thirty contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences, or courses relevant to the practice of nursing;
- Fifteen contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences, or courses related to the practice of nursing and 640 hours of active practice as a nurse;
- Current specialty certification by a national certifying organization;
- Completion of a minimum of three credit hours of post-licensure academic education relevant to nursing practice, offered by a regionally accredited college or university;
- A board-approved refresher course in nursing;
- Completion of nursing-related, evidence-based practice project of a research study;
- Completion of publication as the author or co-author during a renewal cycle;
- Teaching or developing a nursing-related course resulting in no less than three semester hours of college credit, a 15-week course, specialty certification;
- Teaching or developing nurse-related continuing education courses for up to 30 contact hours.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
If you were licensed on or after May 8, 2002
In order to renew a license biennially, a nurse practitioner initially licensed on or after May 8, 2002, shall hold current professional certification in the area of specialty practice.
If you were licensed before May 8, 2002
In order to renew a license biennially, nurse practitioners licensed prior to May 8, 2002, shall meet one of the following requirements:
- Hold current professional certification in the area of specialty practice from one of the certifying agencies; or
- Complete at least 40 hours of continuing education in the area of specialty practice.
Earn your CEUs free
Our easy online CE courses are ANCC-accredited and 100% free for nurses.
Job & salary outlook for nurses in Virginia
It’s no secret that there is a shortage of medical staff available in the United States. With an average growth of about 6% between 2021 and 2031, the nursing profession is a great place to be. The average salary for a nurse in Virginia is $76,680 per year.
Incredible Health can help you check salary estimates at your top hospitals or states to help determine if a Virginia nursing license is the way to go.
[ MORE: Average nurse salary in Virginia ]
Top hospitals in Virginia
Ready to move to Virginia and earn your nursing license? Maybe these top hospitals will attract you to Virginia. Here are some of the top Virginia hospitals:
This hospital in Falls Church, Virginia is a member of the Magnet Recognition Program® and is nationally ranked in 1 adult specialty and 1 pediatric specialty and rated high performing in 8 adult specialties and 16 procedures and conditions. Some specialties include:
- Gynecology (#6 in the nation)
- Cardiology & Heart Surgery
- Diabetes & Endocrinology
- Learn more
University of Virginia Medical Center
This hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia is a member of the Magnet Recognition Program® and is nationally ranked in 6 pediatric specialties and rated high performing in 6 adult specialties and 15 procedures and conditions. Some specialties include:
- Neonatology (#36 in the nation)
- Pediatric Cardiology & Heart Surgery (#37 in the nation)
- Pediatric Diabetes & Endocrinology (#42 in the nation)
- Pediatric Orthopedics (#42 in the nation)
- Learn more
Sentara Norfolk General Hospital
This facility in Norfolk, Virginia is nationally ranked in 1 adult specialty and rated high performing in 2 adult specialties and 11 procedures and conditions. Some specialties include:
- Urology (#40 in the nation)
- Pulmonology & Lung Surgery
- Learn more
VCU Medical Center
This hospital in Richmond, Virginia is a member of the Magnet Recognition Program® and is nationally ranked in 3 pediatric specialties and rated high performing in 5 adult specialties and 9 procedures and conditions. Some specialties include:
Pediatric Cancer (#50 in the nation)
Cardiology & Heart Surgery
Gastroenterology & GI Surgery
*Magnet status – Awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and is considered the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care. Hospitals must meet certain criteria and apply to be designated.
Top nursing jobs in Virginia on Incredible Health
Fairfax, VA | $69,000 to $109,000 /year
Leesburg, VA | $69,000 to $109,000 /year
Falls Church, VA | $69,000 to $109,000 /year
Fairfax, VA | $69,000 to $109,000 /year
Richmond, VA | $55,000 to $100,000 /year
Nursing organizations and associations in Virginia
Once you become a registered nurse (or even if you’re in the process), joining a nursing organization or association will give you access to networking, job opportunities, and a wealth of information shared between fellow nurses. Here are a few of the organizations and associations for nurses in Virginia:
The mission of this association is “promoting advocacy and education, advancing professional practice, and influencing the delivery of quality care.”
The mission of this association is to “foster the professional and personal development of student nurses by providing educational resources, leadership opportunities, and career guidance.”
“NOVA’s mission is to educate, communicate, and advocate for the Department of Veterans Affairs nurse professionally, personally and legislatively.”
Check out the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.
Expert advice from nurses like you
Virginia Department of Health Professions/Virginia Board of Nursing
Phone: (804) 367-4400
Fax: (804) 527-4475
9960 Mayland Drive
Henrico, VA 23233-1463
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