Are you considering pursuing a career in nursing? Virginia has a great selection of nursing schools to choose from. However, finding the right nursing school can be challenging. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which program is right for you.
In this guide, we’ll explore the different types of nursing programs available in Virginia, what you need to know before choosing a nursing school, and some top-ranked nursing schools in Virginia.
Types of Nursing Programs
There are several types of nursing programs available in Virginia:
1. Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
An ADN program typically takes two years to complete and is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions as registered nurses. ADN programs cover essential nursing topics such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and patient care.
2. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
A BSN program typically takes four years to complete and provides students with a comprehensive education in nursing theory and clinical practice. A BSN also prepares students for leadership roles within healthcare organizations.
3. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
An MSN program is designed for registered nurses who want to advance their careers by obtaining a graduate degree. An MSN provides specialized training in advanced practice areas such as nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist.
4. Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
A DNP program is the highest level of education for nurses and is designed for those who want to focus on leadership or research roles within healthcare organizations.
What You Need To Know Before Choosing a Nursing School
Before choosing a nursing school, there are several things you should consider:
It’s crucial that you choose an accredited school because accreditation ensures that the program meets certain academic standards. Accreditation also affects your eligibility for financial aid and your ability to transfer credits to other institutions.
2. Program Reputation
The reputation of the nursing program is an essential factor to consider when choosing a school. A highly ranked program can provide more opportunities for jobs and career advancement.
3. Tuition and Fees
Nursing education can be expensive, so it’s important to consider tuition and fees when choosing a school. You should also look into financial aid opportunities such as scholarships, grants, and loans.
4. Clinical Rotations
Clinical rotations are an essential part of nursing education, so you should look into the availability of clinical rotations when choosing a school. Ideally, you want to choose a school that has partnerships with various healthcare organizations in Virginia.
Top-Ranked Nursing Schools in Virginia
Now that we’ve talked about what you need to know before choosing a nursing school let’s explore some top-ranked nursing schools in Virginia:
1. University of Virginia School of Nursing
The University of Virginia’s School of Nursing is consistently ranked among the top nursing schools in the country. The school offers several programs, including BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD degrees.
2. George Mason University School of Nursing
George Mason University’s School of Nursing offers a variety of programs including BSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN (with several tracks) and DNP degrees. The school is known for its strong focus on innovation in healthcare delivery.
3. Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing
Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Nursing is known for its exceptional faculty and strong research programs. The school offers several programs including BSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN (with specialized tracks), DNP, and PhD degrees.
4. Old Dominion University School of Nursing
Old Dominion University’s School of Nursing offers several programs including BSN (on-campus or online), RN-to-BSN (online), MSN (with several tracks), and DNP degrees. The school is known for its emphasis on community health and cultural diversity.
5. Hampton University School of Nursing
Hampton University’s School of Nursing offers BSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN (with several tracks), and DNP degrees. The school is known for its commitment to providing high-quality nursing education to underrepresented communities.
Choosing a nursing school in Virginia can be challenging, but with the right information, you can make an informed decision. Consider the type of program you want to pursue, the accreditation of the school, the reputation of the program, tuition and fees, and clinical rotations. And if you’re looking for a top-ranked nursing school in Virginia, consider one of the five schools we’ve highlighted in this guide.
What are the best nursing schools in Virginia?
Some of the top nursing schools in Virginia include the University of Virginia School of Nursing, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, and George Mason University College of Health and Human Services.
How long does it typically take to complete a nursing program?
Nursing programs can range from two to four years depending on whether you choose an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree program.
Can I become a registered nurse with an associate’s degree in nursing?
Yes, you can become a registered nurse with an associate’s degree in nursing. However, some employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree.
Are there any online nursing programs available in Virginia?
Yes, there are several online nursing programs available in Virginia, including those offered by Old Dominion University and Liberty University.
What are the admission requirements for nursing schools in Virginia?
Admission requirements vary among schools but typically include completing prerequisite courses, submitting transcripts and essays, taking entrance exams such as the TEAS or HESI, and providing letters of recommendation.
How much does it cost to attend nursing school in Virginia?
The cost varies among schools but generally ranges from $10,000 to $30,000 per year for tuition and fees. Financial aid may be available to help offset these costs.
What kind of career options do I have as a nurse in Virginia?
Career options for nurses in Virginia include hospital staff nurse, healthcare administrator, research nurse, travel nurse, and more specialized roles such as forensic nurse or hospice care nurse.
Do I need to be licensed to practice as a nurse in Virginia?
Yes, you must be licensed by the state board of nursing after completing your education program and passing the NCLEX-RN exam.
How often do I need to renew my nursing license in Virginia?
Nursing licenses in Virginia must be renewed every two years, with continuing education requirements that vary depending on the type of license held.
What kind of salary can I expect as a nurse in Virginia?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for registered nurses in Virginia is around $73,000, but this varies based on experience level and specialty area.