9 Best Nurse Practitioner (NP) Programs in Virginia | 2024

Discover the best nurse practitioner (NP) programs available in Virginia, along with insights into the role, responsibilities, salary expectations, and how to become one. Programs

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From acute care environments to primary healthcare clinics, Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in Virginia are pivotal in bridging the gap between traditional nursing roles and physician services. For those considering a career as an NP, check out the best programs below, with detailed information about their requirements, salary expectations, and more.

Best NP Programs in Virginia

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most, with the addition of graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, and admission rates of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

1. University of Virginia

Established in 1901, the University of Virginia School of Nursing stands as a beacon of excellence in nursing education. UVA Nursing offers dynamic, innovative programs catering to nurses at every professional stage. Rooted in compassion and respect, the school emphasizes equity and inclusivity, preparing its students to practice safely and compassionately on regional, national, and global scales.

Through its MSN and graduate certificates, UVA offers several NP concentrations:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGAC-NP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)
  • Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (PAC-NP)
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (PPC-NP)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

2. Old Dominion University

Established in 1967, the School of Nursing at Old Dominion University boasts a rich history of over 56 years in preparing exceptional nurses for professional practice. The school offers a comprehensive range of programs, from bachelor's to doctoral degrees. ODU's nursing curriculum is a blend of strong theoretical foundations and practical clinical skills, ensuring students are well-equipped for entry-level professional roles in various healthcare settings, including acute care, ambulatory care, rehabilitation, home, and community environments.

Old Dominion offers four NP concentrations through its MSN degree:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

3. Virginia Commonwealth University

Founded as a part of the University College of Medicine in 1893, the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing has grown to become a leading institution in nursing education. The school offers a range of academic programs, from bachelor's to Ph.D. levels, integrating classroom study with clinical practice. VCU's nursing curriculum is known for its interdisciplinary approach, emphasizing patient safety, quality improvement, leadership, and health policy.

Through its MSN, DNP, and post-graduate certificates, VCU offers three NP concentrations:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGAC-NP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

4. George Mason University

George Mason University's School of Nursing is dedicated to molding students for interdisciplinary roles as clinicians, educators, researchers, and administrators. With a foundation rooted in comprehensive general education, the school has garnered both national and international academic recognition. GMU's nursing students are equipped to address the challenges of modern healthcare, benefiting from a curriculum that seamlessly integrates theoretical knowledge with practical clinical experience.

GMU offers two NP concentrations through its MSN and graduate certificates:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

5. James Madison University

The School of Nursing at James Madison University is deeply committed to fostering an inclusive, dynamic, and innovative environment for nursing education, practice, and scholarship. With a focus on engaging with communities both locally and globally, JMU's nursing program aims to create health equity. 

Through its MSN degree, JMU offers three NP concentrations:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPC-NP)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

6. Shenandoah University

Located in Winchester, Virginia, Shenandoah University's Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing is dedicated to shaping the next generation of nursing professionals, which extends to its graduate nursing programs. The curricula for the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs are designed to blend vital knowledge and skills with a nurturing spirit.

The school's state-of-the-art simulation suite offers high-fidelity simulation spaces that replicate real-world clinical settings. These spaces, equipped with advanced adult, pediatric, birthing, and newborn simulators, provide students with a safe environment to hone their skills, challenge their thinking, and develop clinical judgment.

Through its DNP, MSN, and graduate certificates, Shenandoah University offers two NP concentrations:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

7. Radford University

Established in 1966, Radford University's School of Nursing has a rich history of excellence in nursing education. The school admitted its first students in 1969, and by 1976, it achieved accreditation from the National League for Nursing. Over the years, the nursing program has seen significant growth and development. In 1988, the Roanoke Higher Education Center site was established in collaboration with Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

The graduate program in nursing began in 1988, offering an MSN with various concentrations, including home health nursing and family nurse practitioner. The school has always been at the forefront of innovation, launching the DNP program in 2010, which was the first of its kind in Virginia to be offered in a distance-learning format.

Through its DNP and graduate certificates, Radford University offers two NP concentrations:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

8. Marymount University

Marymount University's Malek School of Nursing Professions stands as a beacon of excellence in nursing education. Recognized for its commitment to cultivating skilled and compassionate nursing professionals, the school offers a diverse range of programs, including the BSN in both accelerated and traditional formats, MSN with specializations in Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), and the DNP.

9. Liberty University

Liberty University's School of Nursing is dedicated to equipping students for a fulfilling career in nursing, whether their aspirations involve medical missions abroad or providing exceptional patient care domestically. Liberty's nursing programs stand out for their holistic approach to student support, encompassing personal, spiritual, and academic dimensions. While the programs are rigorous and competitive, the faculty is deeply committed to guiding students throughout their academic journey, ensuring they are well-prepared for the challenges of the nursing profession. Liberty University offers a Family NP concentration through its online DNP program.

NP Overview

In Virginia, NPs stand as pivotal figures in the realm of advanced nursing practice, delivering clinical proficiency across diverse healthcare environments, from acute care facilities to primary healthcare clinics. The journey of an NP in Virginia often begins with securing an RN license, which then progresses to an in-depth academic pursuit, culminating in either an MSN or DNP degree.

Upon completing their NP education, Virginia graduates must successfully pass a rigorous national certification examination to obtain their advanced practice license. Their clinical competencies are consistently evaluated, and they participate in regular peer reviews to ensure compliance with the pinnacle of patient care standards.

Virginia's NPs are held in high esteem across multiple healthcare sectors, including emergency departments, urgent care centers, outpatient clinics, hospitals, and private medical practices.

Primary NP Responsibilities

  • Conduct thorough physical health evaluations
  • Initiate and interpret diagnostic procedures, such as X-rays and lab tests
  • Diagnose and manage both acute and chronic health issues
  • Prescribe medications and therapeutic interventions
  • Educate patients on preventive measures, potential treatment pathways, and self-care best practices

NP Specializations in Virginia

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP): FNPs provide comprehensive health care for individuals across all age groups. They advocate for wellness, emphasize illness prevention, and manage long-term health conditions, often becoming the primary health advisors for numerous families.
  • Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP): WHNPs specialize in addressing the unique health needs of women, from adolescence to post-menopause. Their expertise spans reproductive health, gynecology, and guidance during prenatal and postnatal stages.
  • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP): AGNPs deliver tailored care for adults, from early adulthood to senior years. Their services range from addressing sudden health issues to managing chronic conditions, with a significant emphasis on personalized health education and promotion.
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP): NNPs excel in catering to the requirements of newborns, particularly preterm infants or those with critical health challenges. They primarily work in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and collaborate with an extensive medical team.
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP): PNPs focus on the health and development of children, from infancy to adolescence. They address common pediatric health issues, conduct regular wellness checks, and provide guidance on nutrition and developmental milestones.
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP): PMHNPs possess the skills to address mental health concerns. They perform mental health evaluations, provide therapeutic solutions, and ensure comprehensive care for a range of mental health disorders.

How to Become an NP

Although the pathway to becoming an NP may vary, the following steps provide a general overview.

  1. Get Your Graduate Degree: To become an NP in Virginia, you must first obtain a graduate degree in nursing. This could be an MSN or DNP degree, depending on the program and your career goals.
  2. Earn Your National Certification: After completing your graduate degree, you will need to earn a national certification in your chosen NP specialty. This certification is obtained by passing a national certification exam relevant to your area of specialization.
  3. Apply for Your License/Registration: With your national certification in hand, you can then apply for licensure or registration as an NP in Virginia. This involves submitting the necessary documentation and meeting any additional state-specific requirements.
  4. Renew Your License/Registration: Like all healthcare licenses, your NP license or registration in Virginia will need to be periodically renewed. This typically involves completing continuing education requirements and ensuring that you remain in good standing with the state's nursing board.
  5. Engage in Continuous Learning and Professional Development: While not a formal step in the licensing process, it's essential for NPs to stay updated with the latest in nursing practice, research, and technology. Engaging in continuous learning and participating in professional development opportunities can help ensure that you provide the highest quality of care to your patients.

Nurse Practitioner Salary Expectations

According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), NPs in Virginia earn a mean annual salary of $116,980 or $56.24 per hour. This figure is slightly lower than the national average of $124,680.

Top-Paying States for NPs:

  • California: $158,130
  • New Jersey: $143,250
  • Massachusetts: $138,700
  • Oregon: $136,250
  • Nevada: $136,230

It's important to note that the salary expectations for NPs will vary based on several factors including location, institution of employment, years of experience, education, and more.

NP Programs Near Me

Discover NP programs in a state near you:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What are the GPA and other admission requirements for enrollment in an NP nursing degree program?

  • The admission requirements vary by program, but typically, an in-state GPA of 3.0 or higher is preferred. Additionally, some programs may require prerequisite coursework, clinical experiences, or other specific criteria to be met by nursing students before enrollment.

Q: Do the DNP programs and other advanced practice nursing courses require clinical hours or practicum experiences?

  • Yes, most DNP programs and advanced practice nursing courses necessitate a certain number of clinical hours or practicum experiences. These are designed to provide hands-on experience and prepare students for a successful nursing career.

Q: Can I pursue the APRN program online, and is there a choice between part-time and full-time?

  • Many institutions offer online programs for APRN courses, allowing flexibility for students. Depending on the program and the institution, students might have the option to enroll on a part-time or full-time basis.

Q: What concentrations are available within the nursing degree programs, and do they cover the entire lifespan?

  • Nursing degree programs often offer various concentrations, such as primary care, pediatric care, and more. Some concentrations, like the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), cover care across the entire lifespan, from infants to the elderly.

Q: Are the online programs and DNP programs accredited, and what's the significance of CCNE accreditation?

  • Accreditation, such as CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education), ensures that the program meets specific standards of quality and prepares students adequately for their nursing careers. Before enrolling, it's essential to check if the program, whether online or in-person, holds CCNE or other relevant accreditations.
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