Best Nursing Schools in Virginia

Updated on January 9, 2024

At a Glance

  • Virginia has over 35 nursing schools with strong demand for nurses.
  • Top nursing schools in Virginia include University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and James Madison University.
  • The average salary for nurses in Virginia is $71,730 per year.
  • Prerequisites for nursing school in Virginia include courses in microbiology, anatomy, and psychology.

Virginia is home to over 35 nursing schools that offer a mix of undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. The state has an aging population that requires quality healthcare, leading to strong demand for nurses. Nursing is a fulfilling career in Virginia, with the average registered nurse earning over $71,000 per year.

When researching nursing schools in Virginia, it’s important to compare factors like graduation rates, tuition costs, program reputation and graduate salaries. Here are 10 of the best nursing schools in Virginia based on these metrics.

University of Virginia School of Nursing

Location: Charlottesville, VA

Rating: 9.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 7%

Tuition: $32,000 per year (in-state)

Avg Salary: $75,500

Website: nursing.virginia.edu

The University of Virginia School of Nursing is widely considered one of the best in the state and country. It offers BSN, MSN, DNP and PhD nursing programs. The school has an excellent reputation and high NCLEX exam pass rates. Graduates earn well above average nursing salaries in Virginia.

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing

Location: Richmond, VA

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 71%

Avg SAT: 1250

Tuition: $12,852 per year (in-state)

Avg Salary: $70,300

Website: nursing.vcu.edu

VCU School of Nursing offers traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, MSN, DNP and PhD programs. It’s one of the larger nursing schools in Virginia with high NCLEX pass rates. Graduates typically find jobs easily in the Richmond area’s high-demand health systems.

James Madison University School of Nursing

Location: Harrisonburg, VA

Rating: 8.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 73%

Avg SAT: 1210

Tuition: $12,334 per year (in-state)

Avg Salary: $67,400

Website: nursing.jmu.edu

JMU’s nursing school provides strong clinical training opportunities at its Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services. It offers traditional BSN and RN-to-BSN programs. Graduates have high job placement rates at hospitals across Virginia.

Radford University Carilion School of Nursing

Location: Roanoke, VA

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 74%

Avg SAT: 1090

Tuition: $10,524 per year (in-state)

Avg Salary: $65,800

Website: nursing.radford.edu

Radford offers traditional BSN, RN-BSN and MSN programs at its modern downtown Roanoke campus. It partners closely with the Carilion Clinic healthcare network for clinical experiences. Graduates are prepared to handle medical and trauma cases.

Shenandoah University Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing

Location: Winchester, VA

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 74%

Tuition: $34,370 per year

Avg Salary: $68,900

Website: www.su.edu/nursing

Shenandoah is a private university with pricier tuition but excellent nursing education. It offers traditional BSN, accelerated BSN and MSN programs. Students train on the state-of-the-art human patient simulators. Graduates have high job placement in Northern Virginia.

George Mason University School of Nursing

Location: Fairfax, VA

Rating: 7.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 81%

Avg SAT: 1230

Tuition: $12,462 per year (in-state)

Avg Salary: $68,600

Website: nursing.gmu.edu

Mason’s School of Nursing is based just outside Washington D.C. with access to prestigious clinical sites. It offers traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN and DNP degree options. Graduates are prepared for nursing leadership and practice transformation roles.

Old Dominion University School of Nursing

Location: Norfolk, VA

Rating: 7.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 79%

Avg SAT: 1110

Tuition: $10,878 per year (in-state)

Avg Salary: $63,700

Website: www.odu.edu/nursing

ODU School of Nursing offers traditional BSN, accelerated 2nd degree BSN, and online RN-to-BSN completion programs. It has a state-of-the-art simulation center for clinical skills practice. Graduates have high job placement locally and throughout southeastern Virginia.

Liberty University School of Nursing

Location: Lynchburg, VA

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 47%

Avg SAT: 1050

Tuition: $22,021 per year

Avg Salary: $63,200

Website: www.liberty.edu/nursing

Liberty is a private Christian university with faith-based nursing programs. It offers traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, MSN and certificate options in Nurse Educator and Nurse Administrator tracks. Many graduates work in faith-based health systems nationally.

Norfolk State University School of Nursing

Location: Norfolk, VA

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 75%

Avg SAT: 940

Tuition: $9,816 per year (in-state)

Avg Salary: $60,500

Website: www.nsu.edu/nursing

Norfolk State nursing graduates have an excellent first-time NCLEX-RN exam pass rate over 90%. The school provides lots of hands-on clinical experience and community health outreach opportunities. Many alumni stay to work locally after graduation.

University of Lynchburg School of Nursing

Location: Lynchburg, VA

Rating: 6.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 65%

Avg SAT: 1120

Tuition: $37,800 per year

Avg Salary: $61,300

Website: www.lynchburg.edu/nursing

The University of Lynchburg offers small BSN class sizes focused on individual guidance and support for each nursing student. Students receive clinical training at a brand new simulation center and Centra Lynchburg Hospital. Graduates are well prepared for community health and pediatric cases.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average salary for nurses in Virginia?

The average registered nurse salary in Virginia is $71,730 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is higher than the national RN average. Top nurses at major hospitals can make over $90,000 annually.

What degree do I need to become a nurse in Virginia?

You need either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree to qualify for RN licensure in Virginia. Many employers are now requiring new graduate nurses to hold a BSN degree.

What are the prerequisites for nursing school in Virginia?

Common prerequisites include microbiology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, statistics, psychology and other general education courses. You must have a high school degree or equivalent with a competitive GPA to apply to Virginia nursing schools.

Do I have to be certified to practice nursing in Virginia?

Yes, you must pass the national NCLEX-RN exam after graduating from nursing school to receive an RN license in Virginia. You will also need to pass a criminal background check. Licenses must be renewed every 2 years.

Can I do part of my nursing degree online in Virginia?

Many schools offer hybrid online RN-to-BSN and MSN programs for working nurses looking to further education. Some accelerated BSN programs blend online and in-person learning. But traditional BSN degrees require extensive in-person clinical hours.

How long does it take to complete nursing school in Virginia?

Traditional BSN programs take 4 years. Accelerated BSN programs for those who already have bachelor’s degrees take about 15 months. ADN degrees take 2-3 years. RN-to-BSN completion programs range from 1-2 years online.

When should I apply to nursing school in Virginia?

For traditional BSN programs, you should apply 10-12 months before you intend to start. Accelerated BSN and RN-to-BSN programs often have rolling admissions with more flexibility. Check with your desired program regarding deadlines.

Can I work during nursing school in Virginia?

Many students work part-time as nurse techs or assistants while enrolled. But nursing school should be treated like a demanding full-time job with lengthy clinical requirements. Avoid taking on too much extra work if possible.

What financial aid is available for nursing students?

Virginia nursing schools often provide scholarships or tuition remission for high-achieving students. You can also apply for federal loans, grants and Nurse Corps programs that repay some loans in return for service after graduation.

Can I transfer nursing credits from out-of-state?

It depends on the school, but many do not accept nursing credits transferred from an out-of-state institution. General education credits can often transfer, but clinical nursing coursework usually needs to be completed at the degree-granting school. Check transfer policies.

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 100,000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn more about finance, immigration, and more!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.