Nurses are in high demand across the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2026 the number of registered nurses will grow 15% and the number of nurse practitioners and other nursing specialists will increase by 30%. An on-campus or online nursing degree prepares students for positions in the healthcare industry, training students to administer treatment and medications to patients. Nurses work in setting such as schools, hospitals, doctor’s offices, and private and elderly care facilities.
Professionals with an online nursing degree may work as registered nurses, licensed practical and vocational nurses, or nurse practitioners. Graduates of two-year nursing schools in West Virginia are qualified to become an RN. Graduates of BSN programs in West Virginia earn higher salaries and have opportunities to pursue management roles and advance their careers. Nurse practitioners must have a master’s degree in nursing.
How to Become a Nurse in West Virginia
Nursing licensure in West Virginia is awarded by the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Nurse Professionals and by the West Virginia State Board Of Examiners for Licensed Nurse Practitioners for RNs and LPNs, respectively. LPNs may practice after completing a 12-month program at one of the nursing schools in West Virginia and passing the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX). To become licensed, LPN candidates must also complete an application, undergo a background check, and pay a $75 fee.
Choose the Path That's Right for You
Applicants for RN and advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) licensure must submit an application and endorsement forms and must register to take the NCLEX-RN. Nurses licensed in other states who want to practice in West Virginia should fill out the RN verification form.
Nursing candidates must complete an ADN or BSN program at an accredited institution before applying for licensure. Advanced practice nurses need a graduate degree in an area of specialization, such as prescriptive authority. A doctor of nursing practice is required to teach at most universities and nursing colleges in West Virginia. Nurses with higher levels of education have increased job opportunities and greater earning potential.
Earn Your Nursing Degree
The West Virginia RN Board maintains a list of state-approved on-campus and online nursing degrees in West Virginia, at both undergraduate and graduate levels. WVU offers several online nursing programs, including an RN to BSN program and an MSN program. No online BSN program exists in West Virginia.
Applicants to WVU’s online RN to BSN program should have an ADN or certificate of nursing from an accredited program, a 2.5 GPA, and an unrestricted nursing license. Applicants to the online MSN program must have a BSN, a 3.0 GPA, an unrestricted nursing license, and graduate coursework in statistics.
Students in WVU’s online RN to BSN program complete 128 credits, and full-time students earn the degree in one year. The online master’s degree requires 44 clinical hours.
Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
On-campus and online nursing programs in West Virginia prepare students for the NCLEX-RN, but most candidates study additional hours for the exam. Candidates pay a $200 exam fee and have six hours to complete the NCLEX-RN.
Graduates of online nursing schools in West Virginia pursue job opportunities across the country. Because West Virginia is a member of the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), nurses licensed in the state may practice in any eNLC state.
Nursing Licensure in West Virginia
To become a licensed nurse practitioner in West Virginia, students must pass the NCLEX-LPN, which costs $200. To become a registered nurse in West Virginia, candidates must pass the NCLEX-RN, which covers all aspects of nursing, including patient interactions, clinical integrity, and management. Prospective nurses must hold an RN degree, such as an ADN or BSN, to take the exam. The NCLEX-RN is offered throughout the year at approved testing sites. On the day of the test, students present identification before taking the all-day exam, which is split into two sessions.
After passing the NCLEX-RN, candidates may apply for a nursing license. Because of West Virginia’s inclusion in the eNLC, nurses in the state may practice in other eNLC states, including Iowa, Missouri, and New Hampshire.
Nursing Licensing Costs in West Virginia
Licensing Fee $100
Career Outlook for Nurses in West Virginia
More than 20,000 nursing professionals practice in West Virginia, including licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and advanced practice nurses. An on-campus or online nursing degree from a nursing school in West Virginia prepares students for all these careers. Hospitals employ the largest number of nurses in the state, but West Virginia also has medical facilities in urban areas, such as Charleston and Morgantown. LPNs, RNs, and other nursing professionals in West Virginia may also find employment opportunities in rural clinics.
Nationwide, the BLS projects the number of licensed practical nurses and vocational nurses will grow 12% by 2026. The BLS projects a 15% growth for RNs and a 31% increase in the number of nurse practitioners and other advanced practice nurses. The exact salary of a nursing professional depends on education level. For example, in 2016, LPNs in West Virginia earned an average mean salary of $36,050, while nurse anesthetists, who must hold an MSN, earned $176,110.
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Biggest Hospitals in West Virginia
The hospitals in Charleston and Morgantown are two of the largest healthcare and research centers in the state. Most of the smaller hospitals and medical facilities in West Virginia serve as triage centers, often moving patients to larger hospitals. Many hospitals are affiliated with nursing schools in West Virginia, making them ideal places for recent graduates of nursing schools in West Virginia to seek employment. Large hospitals also provide internship and fellowship opportunities for nursing students.
- Charleston Area Medical Center: CAMC has several campuses and employs 7,000 individuals across the state. CAMC serves patients in all areas of healthcare, prevention, and education and offers services such as urgent and emergency care, inpatient and outpatient facilities, family and surgical centers, and transplant services.
- West Virginia University Medicine: WVU Medicine’s hospitals, clinics, and institutes extend throughout West Virginia, including J.W. Ruby Memorial and Children’s Hospital in Morgantown. In 2016, WVU Medicine employed 15,695 people and served more than 1.5 million patients.
Additional Nursing Resources in West Virginia
West Virginia Nursing Association
WVNA brings together nursing professionals in West Virginia to improve their knowledge and skills and the overall health of the state’s residents. Members have access to continuing education opportunities, job boards, and recent state and national news regarding the nursing profession.
West Virginia Association of School Nurses
WVASN emphasizes the quality of school health and health education in West Virginia and advocates for school nurses and students. Members receive news and updates about school nursing and access to continuing education opportunities.
West Virginia University Student Nurses’ Association
Based on WVU’s campus, the WVU Student Nurses’ Association supports and unites nursing students. Members host activities and meetings, and they outreach with faculty and other WVU students.
West Virginia Health Care Association
WVHCA emphasizes quality and professionalism in long-term care facilities and advocates for the patients and employees at these facilities. WVHCA represents 130 nursing facilities, assisted-living communities, and residential retirement centers in West Virginia.
West Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists
WVANA encourages cooperation among the state’s nurse anesthetists to promote patient care and safety. Members receive state and national resources, continuing education opportunities, and access to WVANA’s annual meeting.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in West Virginia
For students who wish to attend nursing school online, West Virginia University is the only option. No community or technical colleges in West Virginia offer online nursing degrees at the associate level (ADN). West Virginia University offers an online RN to BSN nursing program, which is designed for practicing RNs who want to earn their bachelor’s degree, and an online MSN program.