Whether you’re a recent nursing school graduate or an experienced professional looking to move to the state, you need to know the process of applying for and obtaining a nursing license in Virginia.
In this article, we will cover:
- How to get your Virginia nursing license by exam
- How to get your license by endorsement
- How to renew your Virginia nursing license
- Licensing fees
- Continuing education requirements
- How to contact the Virginia Board of Nursing
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How to get your Virginia nursing license by examination
Step 1: Education
The first step to becoming a registered nurse in Virginia is to earn your nursing degree from an accredited nursing school. The state provides a helpful list of pre-licensure educational programs that have been approved by the Board of Nursing. These programs offer diverse campus experiences and programs for the degrees listed below.
- Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing for those who have achieved a bachelor’s degree and who take the additional classes necessary to become a registered nurse.
You may also pursue a nursing degree at a school that is out of state.
Step 2: Apply
Once you have completed your nursing education, you will qualify for Licensure as a Registered Nurse by Exam. In order to apply you will need to have a fingerprint-based criminal background check, complete and submit the application, and register for the NCLEX test on the Pearson VUE website. Applications for licensure by examination are only accepted online. You can begin the process here. You will be required to submit a non-refundable fee of $200 along with your application.
To begin, you will need to register by clicking the “Register a Person” link on the left side of the Initial Applications page. If you need to edit your application you will be able to return to this page using the User ID and Password you created.
Step 3: Transcripts
Graduates of Virginia nursing programs can request that an Attestation letter confirming program completion be sent directly to the Virginia Board of Nursing. Your nursing program director can confirm whether your program sends Attestations. If they do, this letter can be offered in lieu of a transcript. Otherwise, a transcript will be required.
Graduates of nursing schools located in other states must request that a final official transcript be sent to the Virginia Board of Nursing. This transcript must include evidence of actual clinical hours broken down for each course.
Transcripts and Attestations should be sent to:
Virginia Board of Nursing
9960 Mayland Drive #300
Henrico, VA 23233
Alternatively, transcripts or letters of Attestation can be emailed to [email protected] The subject line of your email must include: Applicant’s Name: official Transcript; OR Attestation Letter.
Step 4: Criminal Record Check
The state of Virginia requires a complete fingerprint-based Criminal Background Check in order for a registered nursing license to be issued. The program is administered through Fieldprint VA. You must submit an application to the Board of Nursing prior to registering for fingerprinting.
Upon online registration, you will receive an application confirmation receipt that contains a VBON Fieldprint Code. This code is required to register for fingerprinting.
Step 5: Take the NCLEX
An additional application must be completed in order to take the NCLEX-RN exam. You can register for the exam online at www.pearsonvue.com/nclex or call 1-866-496-2539 to register. Registration for the NCLEX should be completed immediately after filing your application with the Virginia Board of Nursing. Failure to do so may result in a delay in receiving your Authorization to Test. The cost of the NCLEX-RN exam is $200.
Topics that may be included on the exam are:
- Safe and Effective Care Environment
- Management of Care
- Safety and Infection Control
- Health Promotion and Maintenance
- Psychosocial Integrity
- Physiological Integrity
- Basic Care and Comfort
- Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies
- Physiological Adaptation
The state of Virginia permits applicants to take the NCLEX eight times a year. There must be 45 test-free days between each examination. To check your license status in real time, you can visit License Lookup.
Expert advice from nurses like you
Licensing by endorsement (already have RN licensure)
If you have valid registered nurse licensure in another state and you would like to move to and practice in Virginia, you need to apply for licensure by endorsement. To do so you will need to:
- Submit your application online and pay the required, non-refundable fee.
- Complete a fingerprint-based criminal background check through Fieldprint Va. Online applicants will receive an application confirmation that contains the code required to register for fingerprinting. If you apply by mail you must contact the Virginia Board of Nursing CBC unit at [email protected] for your Fieldprint code.
If your original state of licensure (Exam state) works with NURSYS, request License Verification through the NURSYS link. Otherwise request that your original state of licensure send verification electronically to the Board of Nursing at [email protected]
How to renew your Virginia nursing license
Step 1: Know when to submit your renewal application
Virginia’s registered nurses must renew their licenses every two years. A License Renewal Notice will be sent out approximately 60 days before your license is scheduled to expire. This notice will include an online renewal Personal Identification Number (PIN). Either the PIN or your username and password will be required to renew online.
Step 2: Fulfill continuing competency requirements
Virginia offers multiple opportunities for meeting its continued competency requirements to renew your nursing license. A complete list can be found here. Most registered nurses choose to participate in either 15 contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences or courses relevant to the practice of nursing and 640 hours of active practice or 30 contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences or courses relevant to the practice of nursing.
Incredible Health offers Virginia nurses free nursing CEUs that come with instant certificates of completion. Nurses are required to maintain original documentation of the completion of their continued competency requirements for two years following renewal and to provide the documentation within 30 days if requested.
Step 3: Submit your renewal application
You can log in here using your username and password if you have previously logged into the Online Licensing site. Otherwise, register as a new user using the PIN and license number provided in your renewal notice.
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.
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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.
How to contact the Virginia Board of Nursing
Virginia Board of Nursing
Phone: (804) 367-4400
Fax: (804) 527-4475
9960 Mayland Drive
Henrico, VA 23233-1463