How to Become a Registered Nurse in Virginia

Virginia map

Working toward a career as a registered nurse in Virginia is a straightforward process.

Students can enroll in any number of universities that offer a nursing program.

From here, the pathway to success follows registered nurse certification and sitting for a board exam.

As you consider whether you would be a good candidate for nursing school–and ready to work as a registered nurse, read this guide.

We have covered five universities in VA that train registered nurses, along with other key information for incoming nursing students.

Marymount University

Marymount University Logo

Attend Marymount University located near Washington, D. C. to attend this private school for nursing.

The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), which is a traditional way to become a registered nurse in Virginia.

This program requires nursing students to attend four years of school and then certify by sitting for the NCLEX-RN.

This is the national board exam that is recommended for VA RN students.

The cost for this private college and a four-year degree is $37,751 a year or over $151,000 for the total degree.

University of Virginia

University of Virginia Logo

At the University of Virginia, students in the nursing program pay a fraction of the cost of Marymount University.

Here the annual cost of tuition is approximately $14,000, and for the BSN degree available to registered nursing hopefuls, this averages out to four years of school and $56,000.

The program includes an RN to BSN pathway as well.

This is good in case you are interested in becoming an RN at another school and transferring to UV and getting a four-year nursing degree.

George Mason University

George Mason University Logo

George Mason University provides nursing students with the skills needed to become a registered nurse in Virginia.

This includes a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

Note that the school’s nursing program is very competitive and students will want to have top marks before submitting an application.

This is another four-year program for RNs and the cost of tuition is $13,119 a year or about $52,000 for the total training.

Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University Logo

Registered nurse training at Virginia Commonwealth University is slightly more expensive than other public universities at $15,642 a year for tuition.

However, this school is the first on the list to offer some online nursing programs.

Here, if you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can earn a second bachelor’s degree.

This is a great option for students who have a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or another BS degree, and want to pursue a BSN.

The program is a four-year program, and it leads to the NCLEX-RN boards upon graduation.

Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University Logo

At Old Dominion University, nursing students pay the least amount than the other nursing schools in the state.

Yet ODU is one of the top-ranked programs for nurses in VA.

Study here and receive an education for registered nursing.

Follow up that BSN with an MSN degree, which is a Master’s of Science in Nursing.

The school has eight programs for the MSN program, all for advanced-level nursing students.

The RN training takes four years and is approximately $10,800 a year or $42,000 for the overall cost.

Registered Nurse Schools in Virginia – Summary Table

Top 5 Schools in Virginia

School NameAddress
Marymount University2807 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207
University of VirginiaCharlottesville, VA
George Mason University4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030
Virginia Commonwealth University907 Floyd Ave, Richmond, VA 23284
Old Dominion University5115 Terminal Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23529

Salary for a Registered Nurse

Expect to earn anywhere from $59,570 and $106,830 when working in the US as a registered nurse.

This is the annual salary range for RNs.

In Virginia, the average cost of living is one percent higher than the national average.

Therefore, you want to look for jobs that pay an increased salary to account for the higher cost of living.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Registered Nurse (RN)s in Virginia

City NameSalary
Virginia Beach$63,490
Newport News$62,210
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Virginia

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA1,020$70,340$33.82$78,990$51,110
Charlottesville, VA3,570$80,890$38.89$106,870$59,390
Harrisonburg, VA1,070$73,840$35.5$102,010$56,030
Lynchburg, VA2,100$73,650$35.41$96,790$59,840
Richmond, VA13,130$82,670$39.75$104,270$64,110
Roanoke, VA5,070$74,760$35.94$98,150$62,610
Staunton-Waynesboro, VA940$73,370$35.27$84,200$60,170
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC15,070$79,450$38.2$102,090$62,290
Winchester, VA-WV1,610$78,930$37.95$104,270$62,880
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Registered Nurses, OCC Code 29-1141, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I work when I become an RN in Virginia?

There are many places that hire RNs in VA.

This includes the Veterans Affairs (VA) offices and clinics, as well as public and private hospitals.

Colleges also hire RNs to teach classes for nursing students.

You can also work with emergency teams on medical helicopters or in emergency rooms.

Birthing clinics and health departments, as well as clinicians and physicians, also hire RNs.

How many times can I take the NCLEX-RN in Virginia?

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is the controller for the National Council Licensure Examinations (NCLEX).

The NCLEX-RN is the main certification exam required for nursing candidates interested in becoming registered nurses.

Individuals who apply for the NCLEX board are able to take the test up to eight times annually.

Additionally, candidates for the NCLEX have to wait for 45 days before retaking the test.

How much does it cost to become an RN in Virginia?

The total cost to become an RN in Virginia includes the cost of education, such as an associate degree or bachelor’s degree.

That amount is tuition plus living expenses.

Once a student graduates from a school where they study nursing, they must pay $200 to take the NCLEX-RN.

How long is a nursing school in Virginia?

Nursing school in Virginia runs for two to four years, but students may graduate in as few as one in an accelerated program.

How do I become an RN in Virginia?

Start by going to an accredited college in Virginia that specializes in nursing with a pathway to registered nurse certification.

This will prepare you to take the national exam, which is called the NCLEX-RN, as required to gain employment in the state.

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