Nearly 100,000 registered nurses work in Virginia, according to the latest report from Virginia’s Healthcare Workforce Data Center — and that number is growing each year. About half of the state’s registered nurse workforce hold a baccalaureate degree. You can be one of them.
Earning your BSN in Virginia brings several benefits: You’ll be able to increase your earning potential, boost your competitiveness when applying for new positions, and adopt a new set of critical responsibilities in patient care.
If you’re looking to expand your knowledge and skills, take on more responsibility and leadership in healthcare, or looking to earn more money, pursuing an RN to BSN program in Virginia could be a great next step for you.
Nursing School Spotlights: Best RN to BSN Programs in Virginia
So, you’ve decided to take your nursing career to the next level — but maybe you’re unsure where to start. To help you start your search, we’re highlighting three high-quality RN to BSN programs in Virginia. Focusing on affordability, academic excellence, and flexibility, these programs will give you the skills to expand your knowledge and patient care expertise.
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia (UVA), located in Charlottesville, offers a path for working RNs to earn their BSN degrees in a two-year part-time program. A hybrid format with mostly online courses helps students create flexible schedules while connecting with classmates monthly. Students can choose from three campuses in the state: Charlottesville, Richmond, or Fairfax.
All Virginia Community College System (VCCS) students are guaranteed admission into this program. Before starting at UVA, students must complete general education requirements, such as human anatomy and physiology and microbiology. However, you’ll have the option of taking up to three RN to BSN classes at the Charlottesville location before being admitted into the program.
UVA also boasts one of the highest NCLEX pass rates in the country: 93.1%. Opportunities for students go well beyond the classroom as well. For example, admitted students are also guaranteed a job interview with the UVA Medical Center.
George Mason University
George Mason University is another top option for students who want to enroll in an online RN to BSN program. GMU’s full-time program can be completed in one year. The school also offers a part-time option for students who want to work alongside their studies. Admitted students must complete nursing prerequisite courses, hold a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing, and hold a U.S.-based license as registered nurses.
GMU’s BSN program is accredited by the Virginia State Board of Nursing (VA-BON) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The program emphasizes health promotion and disease prevention, capitalizing on the early detection of potential health problems and preparation for leadership responsibilities. Students will gain a better understanding of the complex and challenging field of healthcare and will learn how to deliver high-quality care.
For more information on the school’s bachelor’s degree in nursing, read GMU’s catalog.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Nursing is located in Richmond. Through VCU’s online RN to BSN program, you can earn a baccalaureate degree in six semesters while still working full-time. The fully online RN to BSN program requires Virginian students to complete 124 total credits.
With co-enrollment, students can concurrently enroll in John Tyler, Southside Virginia, Rappahannock, and J. Sargeant Reynolds community colleges, and VCU’s online programs. All co-enrollment students also are eligible for a scholarship that covers the entire cost of all four co-enrollment courses.
VCU also recommends having a 3.0 GPA or higher, as well as B+ grades, to be a competitive applicant. VCU is also known for extremely high NCLEX pass rates. The passing average in 2020 for first-time test-takers was 95%.
FAQs About Virginia RN to BSN Programs
How will an RN to BSN program in Virginia prepare me for more opportunities?
Earning a BSN degree will strengthen the foundations you’ve learned as a registered nurse. Your specific course load will depend on which credits you have already completed upon enrollment.
These nursing degree programs cover a range of topics, from healthcare leadership and management to clinical decision-making. You’ll also have the opportunity to complete clinical training, which gives you hands-on experience working with patients. All of which will set you up for success upon graduation and your next nursing role.
How long does it take to complete an RN to BSN program in Virginia?
Many factors will influence how long it will take to complete an RN to BSN program in Virginia. Factors include which program you enroll in, how many credits you hold before enrollment, and whether you enroll part-time or full-time. Full-time students at some Virginia schools could finish courses in as little as a year. However, earning your degree could take two or three years if you opt to work while taking part-time classes.
How affordable are RN to BSN programs in Virginia?
Online and hybrid RN to BSN programs in Virginia are designed to save students money. By completing coursework through a separate associate’s or nursing program, you’ll be eligible to start at a more advanced place in your studies.
On average, these BSN programs will require around 30 additional credits in combination with your prior certification. Average costs range from $300 to $500 per credit, depending on your specific program.
Here’s a financial comparison of three online and hybrid RN to BSN programs in Virginia:
University of Virginia School of Nursing
RN to BSN
Total Credits: 30
Virginia Commonwealth University
RN to BSN
Total Credits: 39
$416/credit (in-state); 1,124/credit (out-of-state)
RN to BSN
Total Credits: 30
Is there financial aid available to Virginia RN to BSN students?
A range of financial aid options is available to students in an RN to BSN program, including scholarships and loans. The Virginia Department of Health is a great resource for finding more information on nursing scholarship programs in the state. Students of approved education programs are eligible for a one-year student loan repayment program in exchange for service in Virginia after graduation.
One scholarship that students in Virginia can consider is the Mary Marshall Nursing Scholarship Program for Registered Nurses, which offers an award of $2,000 per year. You can also find scholarships specific to the school you are attending, such as The University of Virginia.
For more help on your search, be sure to check out our nursing scholarship guide and main financial aid guide.
What are the admission requirements for RN to BSN programs in Virginia?
Admission requirements could vary slightly from school to school. However, many of the core necessities are the same.
To be admitted, here’s what you’ll need to include with your application:
- Your associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) diploma;
- A 2.5 GPA or higher on any prerequisite courses;
- A nursing license that’s valid by the start of the academic year;
- Official transcripts from any school attended.
Preparing your documents ahead of time should give you confidence in your application process. It’s also helpful to look at each school to see what courses should be completed upon enrollment. VCU, for example, requires 14 credit hours that include human anatomy, physiology, and focused inquiry.
In Virginia, what should I look for in a quality RN to BSN program?
When choosing a school, you should check that your RN to BSN degree program is approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) are helpful resources for searching for an accredited program. These organizations help set common standards for nursing education.
There are several things to consider when choosing a specific program. The Virginia Board of Nursing recommends looking at the NCLEX pass rates for the past few years. A pass rate of 80% is a strong indicator of the program’s success. The state’s board also requires 500 hours of direct client care experience.
Inside Look at RN to BSN Online Programs in Virginia
Many Virginia schools offer online RN to BSN programs — which gives working nurses an immense amount of flexibility in terms of time and cost. Several programs, such as Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University, are completely online.
Online courses allow you to plan a schedule around your life, current work commitments, and family obligations. You can choose how long you want to be in the program, whether that’s as short as a year (full-time) or taking it slowly over the next few years (part-time).
Many students in an online RN to BSN program participate in on-site clinical placements as part of their degree. Each school has different visits and clinical requirements, so check each university’s website. UVA’s hybrid format, for example, requires students to attend monthly in-person classes while the rest of the courses are online.
Check out our guide to online RN to BSN programs to learn more about what you can expect as a student in an online RN to BSN program in Virginia.
In Virginia, How Do I Become an RN with a BSN?
You’ll need to ensure that you will have your RN license by the time you begin classes in the program. You will need to take the NCLEX (state board) exams to get your licensure.
While completing your licensure application, you can begin your search for an RN-to-BSN program. Here are some helpful tips for choosing a school:
- Search for a school that’s accredited by an independent accreditation agency.
- Decide whether you prefer online versus hybrid classes as well as part-time vs. full-time. This will help narrow your search.
- Look at the prerequisites needed for your school of choice and complete them before enrollment.
For more information on becoming an RN with a BSN in Virginia, check out the state’s nursing board website.
RN to BSN Salary and Employment Trends in Virginia
Earning your BSN degree widens your career opportunities and increases your earnings potential. But what should you expect, specifically, as a nurse in Virginia? We’ve compiled what you need to know about salary, job outlooks and more.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the career outcomes for nurses with a BSN degree:
How much more does a BSN nurse make in Virginia?
Increasing your salary potential is one of the biggest benefits of going from an RN to a BSN in Virginia. On average, RNs in Virginia earn $73,006 a year. However, nurses with a BSN degree earn nearly $14,000 more, an average of $87,640.
Across the state, the lowest percentile of earners takes in $59,170, while the highest earners make $100,990. Cities like Charlottesville and Winchester have the highest median earners.
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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021
What is the job market like for registered nurses with a BSN in Virginia?
Along with higher earning potential as a BSN, you’ll also have access to a range of new job opportunities that you wouldn’t have as an RN. According to the BLS, jobs are expected to grow 6% nationwide over the next decade.
You can also choose to continue your studies to earn a master’s in nursing degree or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) — which would open up leadership roles in healthcare.