Beginning your career as a registered nurse in the state of Virginia couldn't come at a more opportune time. According to the Virginia Nurses Association, there is a nursing shortage in the state. In fact, by the year 2020, one in three Virginians may have to go without the healthcare needed due to the shortage. Needless to say, registered nurses are in high demand in the state. With an average salary of roughly $65,340 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), a career in registered nursing that is both rewarding and lucrative can be a reality in Virginia.

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ADN Programs in Virginia

A 2-year Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) is a great way to start your career as a registered nurse. The shorter length makes it particularly attractive to those who are looking to get started in the field as quickly as possible. Since ADN programs are often offered at community and technical colleges, it can also be an a more cost effective way to become an RN.

With an astounding 40-plus schools in the state that offer an ADN program, students from both rural and urban areas have the ability to find schools that suit their needs.

What to Look For in an ADN Program in Virginia

There are many things to think about when trying to choose the right ADN program. Here are a few examples of what you'll want to look for as you check out different schools:


Choosing a school with the proper accreditations is crucial. You'll want to be sure the schools you consider hold accreditation from national organizations such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and/or the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). You'll also want to ensure that your school's program is accredited locally by the Virginia Board of Nursing.


It's important that your school of choice's program fully prepares you to take the National Council Licensure Examination for licensure as a Registered Nurse (NCLEX). The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports that 87% of new nurse graduates in Virginia passed their NCLEX exam in 2015 and received licenses.

Program Outcomes

A main indicator of a program's success is statistics of its outcomes, which many schools are happy to report. The following are all good indications of the school's reputation:

  • Graduation rate
  • Licensure exam pass rate
  • Graduate satisfaction
  • Employment rate

Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Centra College of Nursing is just one example of a school that offers an accredited ADN program in the state.

ADN Program Admission Requirements in Virginia

Each ADN program will have its own specific set of requirements for admission. Here are a few that you may find when looking at programs in the area:

  • Must supply official transcripts
  • Completed pre-requisite courses with a grade of C or higher
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher

Tuition and Costs of ADN Programs in Virginia

It's crucial to consider tuition costs as you compare ADN programs. You'll also need to remember that tuition is just one portion of what you'll be paying for in order to earn your degree. Textbooks, fees, and uniforms are all examples of costs you may incur, and these may or may not be included in the price of your school's tuition. As an example, the ADN program at Virginia Western University, located in Roanoke, Virginia, has an estimated cost of $15,467.06, including textbooks and additional fees.

Advantages of ADN Programs

There are many advantages to going through an ADN program, but arguably the two biggest advantages are length and cost. At 2 years, it's one of the fastest ways of becoming a registered nurse. Because of the shorter length of the program, it also costs considerably less than other 4 year programs, and can be found at affordable institutions such as community colleges.

BSN Programs in Virginia

If you are looking for a more advanced nursing career, a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) is an excellent option. Earning your BSN opens you up to a larger pool of job opportunities, including public health nurse and nurse educator. These jobs often come with a substantially higher salary as well. The trade-off is that the program is a bit longer, at roughly 4 years to completion for a traditional BSN. With over 20 BSN programs offered at schools all over the state, Virginia is a great place to earn your BSN.

What To Look For in a BSN Program in Virginia

Just like you would for an ADN, you'll want to look for a few main things when considering a school to earn your BSN. Things like legitimate accreditation, program outcomes, and proper preparation for your licensure exam are all very important when it comes to comparing programs. You may also want to see if your school offers an RN to BSN program if you already hold a nursing license.

As an example, Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia offers an accredited BSN program.

BSN Program Length in Virginia

A traditional BSN program will last 4 years. However, programs are considerably shorter if you are already an RN, as many schools also offer an RN to BSN program. If getting done quickly is of utmost importance, you can also look for a school that offers an Accelerated BSN program.

BSN Program Admission Requirements in Virginia

While each program will have its own requirements, here is sampling of some typical BSN admission requirements:

  • Official transcripts from previously attended colleges or high school
  • Completion of one biology course and one algebra course, with grade of C or better
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher

Tuition and Costs of BSN Programs in Virginia

Tuition and other costs and fees for your BSN can be hard to decipher, and can vary from school to school. Sometimes a school's tuition includes additional costs, like books and uniforms, and sometimes these fees are separate. For example, Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing, located in Richmond, Virginia, has an estimated total BSN program cost of $46,320, including tuition, fees, books, and other costs.

Advantages of BSN Programs

The great thing about earning a BSN is the amount of options it gives you. Increased job opportunities and a higher salary are just two of the reasons that going for a BSN can be advantageous. Even those who are already registered nurses choose to go on and complete their BSN to advance their careers.

MSN Programs in Virginia

If you're looking to go beyond a BSN, a Masters of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) (link to ) is the logical next step. This advanced degree can lead to nursing jobs including Clinical Nurse Specialist, Certified Nurse Midwife, and Nurse Practitioner, among other specialties. You must already hold a BSN if you want to move on and earn an MSN.

MSN Program Length in Washington

Most MSN programs last roughly 3 years. Many schools structure the MSN programs so that they are flexible, since most students in the program are busy working nurses. It's a good idea to see what kinds of schedules your desired MSN program offers; part-time, night classes, and even online classes are sometimes available, depending on the school.

MSN Admission Requirements in Virginia

MSN admission requirements can vary, so always check your school of choice for details. Here are a few standard MSN admission requirements to give you a general idea:

  • A BSN degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Active Virginia RN license
  • Current CPR card
  • Work experience as an RN

Tuition and Costs of MSN Programs in Virginia

As with other nursing degrees, tuition and costs for MSN programs can vary widely. As an example, the University of Virginia School of Nursing lists their estimated tuition for in-state residents at $18,128, not including supplemental fees.

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Getting a Virginia Nursing License

Virginia State Board of Nursing mandates that candidates looking to procure a license meet certain criteria, as well as completing an application, candidates must submit supporting documentation.

If applying for licensure through examination candidates must complete the appropriate application and also submit:

  • Official transcripts - sent directly to the Board via the school
  • Criminal Background Check - with fingerprint
  • Register for NCLEX - successful outcome upon completion

If applying for licensure through endorsement candidates must submit the above criteria, as well as this additional information:

  • Verification of licensure from originating state - either by request form or through NURSYS

Accelerated Nursing Programs in Virginia

How long is too long to fast track your career? If you complete an accelerated program in 12 to 18 months, would you consider taking the full-time commitment that it requires? Accelerated programs are rigorous in nature and require participants to attend as full-time studies, working during these programs is not recommended. Gaining entrance into the programs will be dependent upon any required credits that need to be completed prior to the beginning of the program. Fees for these programs are based on the rate charged per credit hour, which means if there any additional credits required, fees may increase.

Best RN Programs in Virginia


Selecting the best nursing school in Virginia can be difficult. To make the process easier first look for a school that supports students towards licensure and beyond. A great way to measure this is through NCLEX-RN "pass rates." We have ranked the top 20 nursing schools in Virginia by analyzing current and historical NCLEX-RN "pass rates", meaning the percentage of graduates who pass the exam, out of the 49 RN programs in the state. Programs reviewed include schools that offer an Associate in Nursing (ADN/ASN), BSN, or Direct-Entry MSN Degree.

For more information on our top nursing school rankings, see our Methodology Page (

Note: At the time our analysis was conducted, 2014 was the most recent NCLEX-RN pass rates published by the state.


Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing

8550 Magellan Pkwy, Richmond, VA 23227 (804) 627-5300

Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing in Richmond, Virginia is foremost when discussing their BSN program. Small class sizes, modern technology in simulation labs, theoretical and practical elements that are all taught by dedicated experienced faculty. Visit the to learn more.

Score: 100.00| Programs: BSN

Rappahannock Community College

12745 College Dr, Saluda, VA 23149 (804) 758-6700

The nursing program at Rappahannock Community College in Saluda, Virginia focuses on student centered education to ensure the success of every student. The ADN program maybe challenging, but you will reap the rewards of being sought-after in the nursing field. Visit the to learn more.

Score: 96.85| Programs: Associate in Nursing

Thomas Nelson Community College - Historic Triangle Campus

4601 Opportunity Way, Williamsburg, VA 23188 (757) 253-4300

Thomas Nelson Community College - Historic Triangle Campus is an important part of Williamsburg, Virginia's scholarly and healthcare networks. TNCC nursing graduates are capable and effective advocates of both their patients and modern healthcare practices. Check out the official .

Score: 95.73| Programs: Associate in Nursing

Radford University - Roanoke

108 North Jefferson Street, Radford, VA 24016 (540) 767-6190

The BSN programs offered at Radford University - Roanoke, Virginia campus are delivered by experienced, supportive faculty that practice under four basic concepts. Healthcare revolves around client, environment, health and nursing; graduates are able to confidently execute these values. Get all the program details by visiting the .

Score: 95.31| Programs: BSN

New River Community College

5251 College Drive, Dublin, VA 24084 (540) 674-3600 x4206

Graduates from the ADN program at New River Community college in Dublin, Virginia can confidently enter into the professional world with the knowledge and experience they need to make a difference in the ever changing needs of the health care system. Visit the to learn more.

Score: 94.57| Programs: Associate in Nursing

Southside Regional Medical Center School of Nursing

430 Clairmont Court, Suite 200, Colonial Heights, VA 23834 (804) 765-5800

Southside Regional Medical Center School of Nursing is located in Colonial Heights, Virginia and provides graduates with experience in and out of the classroom that will allow graduates to confidently provide exemplary nursing care. Supportive and knowledgeable faculty foster excellence in care and learning. Check out the official .

Score: 94.21| Programs: Associate in Nursing, Diploma

Radford University

801 E Main St, Radford, VA 24142 (540) 831-5000

Radford University - Radford Campus is located in the beautiful town of Radford, just west of Roanoke. The campus boasts a newly constructed building that offers state-of-the art technology, simulation labs and seasoned faculty to guide your way. Follow the link to learn more about the .

Score: 93.05| Programs: BSN

James Madison University

800 S Main St, Harrisonburg, VA 22807 (540) 568-6211

James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia has a renowned BSN nursing program that sees graduates flourish in the nursing profession to leadership roles quickly. State-of-the art equipment and 'real-world' experiences are some aspects of the program that help graduates successfully enter the nursing profession. Check out the official .

Score: 92.18| Programs: BSN

Liberty University

1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, VA 24515 (434) 582-2519

Liberty University in Lynchburg centers its nursing programs on the Patricia Benner framework, as well as high Christian standards. Theoretical and practical teachings are viewed as a 'ministry of caring' and are carried over to professional standards upon entering the nursing field. Get all the program details by visiting the .

Score: 91.54| Programs: BSN

Virginia Commonwealth University

907 Floyd Ave, Richmond, VA 23284 (804) 828-0100

Virginia Commonwealth University's nursing program's core values revolve around lifelong learning, ethical and critical decision-making, as well as a holistic approach to nursing. Located in Richmond, Virginia, graduates can confidently portray all of these core values. Visit the to learn more.

Score: 91.42| Programs: Associate in Nursing, BSN

University of Virginia

225 Jeanette Lancaster Way, Charlottesville, VA 22903 (434) 924-2743

University of Virginia at Charlottesville's nursing program is committed to teaching nurses to put priority in compassionate care, and adapting to the changes of the health care system. Clinical, theory and simulations are all designed to have graduates confidently transitioning into the nursing profession. Get all the program details by visiting the .

Score: 91.19| Programs: BSN, MSN

Sentara College of Health Sciences

1441 Crossways Blvd, Chesapeake, VA 23320 (757) 388-2900

Sentara College of Health Sciences in Chesapeake, Virginia has over 100 years of contributing extraordinary nursing professionals into the community. The BSN program exposes students to a variety of challenges and practices to guarantee they will graduate with confidence in their skills and knowledge. Visit the to learn more.

Score: 89.91| Programs: BSN

Standard Healthcare Services, Inc.

7704 Leesburg Pike #1000, Falls Church, VA 22043 (703) 891-1787

Standard Healthcare Services Inc. is a private institution in Falls Church, Virginia that offers pre-licensure and BSN programs. Evidence-based nursing is the framework of the program, and offers a supportive and diverse learning environment. Check out the official .

Score: 89.33| Programs: ADN

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise

1 College Ave, Wise, VA 24293 (276) 376-4690

The University of Virginia?s College at Wise is located on 369-acres of beautiful campus in the Virginian Appalachian Mountains. The BSN Program teaches all the skills needed for lifelong learning and a long professional career in nursing. Check out the official .

Score: 89.05| Programs: BSN

Hampton University - College of Virginia Beach

253 Town Center Drive, Suite 1035, Virginia Beach, VA 23462 (757) 637-2200

Hampton University - College of Virginia Beach offers state-of-the art facilities, immersion into real world situations, and experience in a wide variety of settings. Since the college's inception in 2003, it has become one of leading edge institutions, with graduates that become licensed and who are then readily accepted in the nursing profession. Learn more by visiting the .

Score: 88.71| Programs: BSN

Riverside College of Health Careers

316 Main St, Newport News, VA 23601 (757) 240-2200

Riverside College of Health Careers in Newport News, Virginia has a philosophy that nurses should care for patients as they would care for their loved ones. This philosophy is carried throughout the curriculum and is well received by the community they serve. Graduates whole-heartedly embody this philosophy. Follow the link to learn more about the .

Score: 88.41| Programs: Diploma, Associate in Nursing

Jefferson College of Health Sciences

101 Elm Ave SE, Roanoke, VA 24013 (888) 985-8483

Jefferson College of Health Science in Roanoke, Virginia has been given accolades for the high quality of nursing graduates from the BSN program. Praises have been given for the competency, clinical skills and the ability to adapt to challenging situations; JCHS graduates are welcome additions to the healthcare team. Get all the program details by visiting the .

Score: 87.53| Programs: Accelerated BSN, BSN

Piedmont Virginia Community College

501 College Dr, Charlottesville, VA 22902 (434) 977-3900

Piedmont Virginia Community College is located on a picturesque campus in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia. PVCC nursing department is contributing high quality nurses to the local area, helping to fight the demand for highly skilled health care professionals. Get all the program details by visiting the .

Score: 87.47| Programs: Associate in Nursing

Old Dominion University

2152 Health Sciences Bldg, Norfolk, VA 23529 (757) 683-4297

Norfolk's Old Dominion University has a variety of options when looking for a nursing degree, all of which have been noted to have exceptional passing rates on the licensure exams. Norfolk's ODU prepares extraordinary nurses for professional roles. Check out the official .

Score: 87.46| Programs: BSN

Southside Virginia Community College

109 Campus Dr, Alberta, VA 23821 (434) 949-1000

Graduates from Southside Virginia Community College in Alberta, Virginia are given five core values throughout the education process including 'patient-centered care, professional identity, nursing judgement, collaboration, and safe and effective care'. These values are what make the graduates an exceptional addition to the nursing field. Learn more by visiting the .

Score: 87.33| Programs: Associate in Nursing

Continued List of All RN Programs in Virginia

#21 Northern Virginia Community College
6699 Springfield Center Dr, Springfield, VA 22150
(703) 323-3000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#22 Virginia Appalachian Tri-College
3441 Mountain Empire Road, Big Stone Gap, VA 24219
(276) 739-2439
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#23 The George Washington University
45085 University Dr, Innovation Hall, Ste 201, Ashburn, VA 20147
(571) 553-4498
Programs: BSN
#24 Marymount University
2807 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207
(703) 284-1500
Programs: Accelerated BSN, BSN
#25 Wytheville Community College
1000 E Main St, Wytheville, VA 24382
(276) 223-4700
Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to ADN
#26 Paul D. Camp Community College
100 N College Dr, Franklin, VA 23851
(757) 569-6700
Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to RN
#27 Shenandoah University
1460 University Drive, Winchester, VA 22601
(540) 665-4581
Programs: BSN
#28 Danville Regional Medical Center School of Nursing
142 S Main St, Danville, VA 24541
(434) 799-2100
Programs: Diploma
#29 Lynchburg College
1501 Lakeside Dr, Lynchburg, VA 24501
(434) 544-8461
Programs: BSN
#30 Patrick Henry Community College
645 Patriots Avenue, Martinsville, VA 24112
(276) 638-8777
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#31 Tidewater Community College
121 College Pl, Norfolk, VA 23510
(757) 822-1122
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#32 Thomas Nelson Community College
99 Thomas Nelson Dr, Hampton, VA 23666
(757) 825-2700
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#33 Eastern Mennonite University
1200 Park Rd, Harrisonburg, VA 22802
(540) 432-4000
Programs: BSN
#34 Virginia Western Community College
3094 Colonial Ave, Roanoke, VA 24015
(540) 857-7306
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#35 Southside Virginia Community College - John H. Daniel
200 Daniel Road, Virginia, VA 23947
(434) 736-2214
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#36 George Mason University
4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 993-1901
Programs: BSN
#37 Southside Virginia Community College - South Boston
820 Bruce St, South Boston, VA 24592
(434) 572-5451
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#38 Chamberlain College of Nursing
2450 Crystal Drive, Suite 319, Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 416-7300
Programs: BSN
#39 Longwood University
201 High St, Farmville, VA 23909
(434) 395-2000
Programs: BSN
#40 South University
2151 Old Brick Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
(888) 422-5076
Programs: BSN
#41 Saint Michael College of Allied Health
8305 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22309
(703) 746-8708
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#42 Stratford University - Falls Church
7777 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043
(703) 821-8570
Programs: BSN
#43 Hampton University
100 E Queen St, Hampton, VA 23668
(757) 727-5251
Programs: BSN
#44 Virginia State University
1 Hayden St, Petersburg, VA 23806
(804) 524-1162
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#45 Norfolk State University
700 Park Ave, Norfolk, VA 23504
(757) 823-2205
Programs: Associate in Nursing, BSN
#46 Stratford University - Woodbridge
14349 Gideon Dr, Woodbridge, VA 22192
(703) 897-1982
Programs: BSN
#47 South University - VA Beach
301 Bendix Rd Suite 100, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
(877) 206-1845
Programs: BSN
#48 Shenandoah University - Leesburg
44160 Scholar Plaza Suite 100, Leesburg, VA 20176
(540) 545-7356
Programs: BSN
#49 Averett University
420 West Main St., Danville, VA 24541
(434) 791-5600
Programs: BSN

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