Have you been thinking about becoming a nurse but don’t quite feel ready to commit to a two- or four-year degree program? Becoming a Licensed Professional Nurse (LPN) in Virginia takes less time than an RN program but still provides the opportunity to make an incredible difference in patients’ lives.
Whether you decide to complete your LPN diploma or certificate from a local community college or technical school, you can find plenty of approved in-person and partially online programs throughout the state. Keep reading to learn about top LPN programs approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing, common coursework, licensure requirements, and the job market for LPNs in Virginia.
College Spotlights: Best LPN Programs in Virginia
With so many LPN programs in Virginia to pick from, finding the right one can be challenging. To make the process easier, we’ve identified some of the top, state-approved LPN programs that prioritize academics, affordability, and flexibility. Each of the programs spotlighted below holds the approval needed to seek licensure after graduating. See which Virginia LPN programs stand above the rest.
Located in Roanoke, VWCC provides a practical nursing program with both spring and fall start dates. Regardless of starting point, VWCC’s LPN program takes four semesters to complete and consists of 48 credits. Topics covered include practical nursing health and disease, trends in practical nursing, body structure and function, and ethics. Learners also participate in two semesters of clinical experience.
The program holds approval from the Virginia Board of Nursing; the latest NCLEX-PN pass rates show a 100% pass for the 2016 class. Required application materials include an online application, handwritten essay, official high school transcript/GED scores, and a passing score on an entrance exam. The department may also require applicants to take part in an interview.
The practical nursing certificate program offered by Piedmont Virginia Community College consists of 37 credits. Topics explored include human anatomy and physiology for health sciences, pharmacology for practical nursing, and nursing concepts. The department provides information sessions monthly to help learners make an informed decision. Interested students can decide to attend these sessions either in person or via Zoom.
Admission requirements for this LPN program include a completed application and nonrefundable application fee, high school transcripts or GED scores demonstrating a minimum 2.0 GPA, and a minimum 50% TEAS exam score. As of 2020, the NCLEX-PN pass rates for PVCC were 91%.
From its home base in Melfa, ESCC offers a practical nursing certificate that prepares them to sit for the NCLEX-PN exam after graduation. Holding full approval from the Virginia State Board of Nursing, ESCC’s LPN program takes three semesters to complete and consists of 51 credits. Topics explored include mental health and psychiatric nursing, drug dosage calculations, and nutrition and diet therapy.
Admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED, passing score on preadmission exam, current CPR certification, a PA of 2.0 or higher, and a program application. After admittance to the program, all students must complete a physical examination and show documentation of receiving a set of immunizations and vaccinations. After being accepted, students must also obtain liability insurance. The department accepts new applications each winter between January 10-February 25.
FAQs About LPN Programs in Virginia
What skills do you learn in LPN programs in VA?
Students enrolled in one of the many LPN programs in Virginia learn a variety of essential hands-on nursing skills and theoretical knowledge over the course of their training. At Southwest Virginia Community College, students take semester-long classes in topics such as the fundamentals of practical nursing, maternity and pediatric nursing, and NCLEX-PN exam success. Meanwhile, at Southside Virginia Community College, LPN students can expect to learn about topics such as nursing terminology and charting, trends in practical nursing, and drug dosage calculations. Prospective students should review individual plans of study to get a sense of what to expect.
How much do LPN programs cost in Virginia?
The cost of an LPN program in VA can vary based on the school you attend and how much funding you receive. Some schools, such as Southside Virginia Community College, charge per credit at $156 per credit. Most community colleges use this model, and provide cheaper tuition than a standard four-year university. Students can also sometimes complete practical nursing training in high school for free. Fairfax County Public Schools currently offers a program to all rising high school seniors.
Can I get financial aid to help pay for my LPN program in VA?
Although LPN programs in Virginia cost less than completing an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing, qualified students may still need help covering their tuition and fees. The Virginia Department of Health provides several nursing scholarship programs, including those focused on supporting learners working towards an LPN certificate.
In addition to applying to awards provided by local, state, and federal government agencies, students looking to find even more financial aid support can check with local and statewide chapters of professional nursing associations, nearby hospitals and clinics, and more general LPN scholarships focused on merit and/or need.
How long do LPN programs in Virginia take to finish?
The majority of LPN programs offered in Virginia take either three or four semesters to complete, depending on the number of credits required to graduate. As an example, at Southwest Virginia Community College, it takes students four semesters to complete the required 49 credits.
Another factor than can influence how long it takes to graduate includes whether students enroll on a part-time or full-time schedule. Those who enroll part-time will typically need between six and eight semesters to graduate. Some students may be able to find an accelerated program that allows them to graduate in as few as 12 months.
Inside Look at Online LPN Programs in Virginia
Because LPN licensure requirements in Virginia require individuals to complete at least 400 hours of clinical experiences at an approved medical facility, no LPN program can be fully online. That said, some schools in the state have started offering hybrid programs to help add flexibility for busy students with professional and personal responsibilities outside classes.
At North Virginia Community College, for example, students can combine face-to-face learning with a few online classes. Some required prerequisites may also be available via distance learning. Students who need this added flexibility should consider this when looking at prospective programs and talk to admissions counselors about their options.
LPN Licensing Information and Requirements in VA
Before ever starting an LPN program in Virginia, make sure you understand the specific licensing requirements set out by the Virginia Board of Nursing. These requirements may look similar to other states, but it’s important that you know the specifics. We outline requirements below.
Education and Training
Any LPN program you consider attending in Virginia must be approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing. The board provides a regularly updated list of approved practical nursing education programs to help you make an informed decision. Ideally, these programs should also hold ACEN accreditation – especially if you may move out of state and seek licensure elsewhere in the future.
Professional Nursing Examination
As part of the licensing process, prospective LPNs must pass the NCLEX-PN examination to demonstrate their competencies and knowledge. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing created these exams and Pearson VUE currently administers them. You can find details on what to expect along with test prep plans on the NCSBN – as well as information on how to prepare for exam day and how long it takes to typically receive your scores back.
Online Application & Required Materials
All individuals looking to receive LPN licensure must submit an online application to the Virginia Board of Nursing. They must also pay a nonrefundable $170 application fee by check, money order, or credit/debit card. Along with their application, they need to provide official attestation of graduation or a final transcript; those from other states must also submit a verification of clinical hours.
All individuals applying for LPN licensure must submit to a fingerprint-based criminal background check conducted through Fieldprint VA. However, you cannot apply for fingerprinting until after you submit an application. Once this step is finished, you will receive a Board of Nursing Fieldprint Code that allows you to register online for fingerprinting and select a date.
License Renewal & Continuing Education
LPNs practicing in Virginia must renew their licenses every two years and can do so starting 60 days before the expiration date. This can be done online and costs $60. LPNs hoping to complete this step online must have a Virginia Board of Nursing username and password or PIN number to use the renewal portal. LPNs must complete continued competency coursework between renewals, and the Board provides a comprehensive list of approved options.
Salary and Job Outlook for LPNs in Virginia
Jobs for LPNs working in Virginia are projected to grow by nearly 12% between 2018 and 2028, more than a percent faster than the national average for LPNs. While over 20,000 LPNs currently work in the state, Projections Central expects about 2,500 new positions to be created by 2028.
While the overall earnings for LPNs in Virginia fall slightly below the national average of $47,480, those living in larger cities with higher cost of living can expect to earn more. For instance, LPNs working in Charlottesville took home median annual earnings of $50,650. Those in the top 10% of earners can expect to receive closer to $63,320.
While LPNs do not earn as much as registered nurses or nurse practitioners, they also spend far less time in school earning required credentials. Those who want to earn more often decide to complete an LPN-to-RN degree after working a few years.
Job Outlook for Licensed Practical Nurses in Virginia (2018-2028)
Source: Projections Central
Annual Earnings for Licensed Practical Nurses in Virginia
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020