With more and more registered nurses (RNs) and nurse educators retiring in West Virginia, the state is facing a shortage of not only nurses but also the people who train them. As a result, healthcare facilities such as hospitals, home health centers, public health agencies and nursing homes are expected to see increased demand in the years ahead, which makes nursing a solid choice for those looking to change careers or enter the job market for the first time.

In order to meet the challenges of the nursing field, students need plenty of information about the field: what might be expected of them, where to find it, and who can help them once they get there. Continue reading to find out how to become a nurse in West Virginia, learn about the best nursing programs in the state and see some details about state standards for nursing certification and licensing.

Best Nursing Schools in West Virginia

West Virginia Badge ImageChoosing a nursing school is one of the biggest decisions aspiring professionals can make, so it’s imperative that they are well-informed before they make their decision. In order to help inform future nurses, we gathered data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and evaluated each of the 21 nursing schools in Virginia based on a specific set of criteria. With this process, we determined the best graduate and undergraduate nursing schools in the state, and listed them below. If you’d like to know more about the criteria we chose to create our rankings, check out our methodology at the bottom of this page.

Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$6,032
Undergraduate graduation rate
45%
Undergraduate retention rate
75%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
95%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$6,408
Undergraduate graduation rate
25%
Undergraduate retention rate
69%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
97%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$5,216
Undergraduate graduation rate
28%
Undergraduate retention rate
69%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
91%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$288
Undergraduate graduation rate
29%
Undergraduate retention rate
65%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
85%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$28,000
Undergraduate graduation rate
44%
Undergraduate retention rate
66%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
99%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$6,480
Undergraduate graduation rate
36%
Undergraduate retention rate
76%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
100%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,144
Undergraduate graduation rate
20%
Undergraduate retention rate
54%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
90%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$7,038
Undergraduate graduation rate
43%
Undergraduate retention rate
72%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
96%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$7,992
Undergraduate graduation rate
57%
Undergraduate retention rate
79%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
91%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$27,000
Undergraduate graduation rate
58%
Undergraduate retention rate
71%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
100%
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
6
Graduate Tuition
$10,035
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$6,298
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$9,000
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$7,398
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$11,970
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
2

Nursing Accreditation in West Virginia

Just as West Virginians expect to receive quality care when they have medical issues, prospective nursing students expect a quality education when they enroll in a degree program. In order to do so, students should make sure that their chosen nursing programs have earned accreditation. The accreditation process assesses a program’s curriculum and judges whether or not it meets the educational standards expected by the state nursing board. The following are a few of the organizations that accredit schools in the Mountain State:

  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools
  • West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Nurses

West Virginia Nursing Licensure

Aspiring registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in West Virginia must successfully apply for a state license before they can find work. Licensing requirements include completing a state-approved nursing degree program, passing a National Council Licensing Examination — either the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN, depending on your field — submitting to a criminal background check and sending a payment of $70 to the state nursing board.

Those who wish to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), whether focusing on nurse practitioner (NP) work or another specialty, are required to earn at least a master’s degree in their chosen specialty, submit to a criminal background check and pay a $35 application fee.

West Virginia Nursing Organizations

Whether you’re just beginning your career or you have several years of experience, West Virginia nursing organizations can help you get the most out of your career. Some may offer professional development opportunities that may otherwise be unavailable; others may help nurses to participate in lobbying and governmental advocacy for their field. Here’s a few organizations that can offer such benefits to nursing professionals:

  • West Virginia Nurses Association:

    This organization fights for the rights of nurses around the state, which includes lobbying the legislature about issues related to staffing, overtime pay and safety in the workplace. WVNA members receive access to continuing education resources, networking events and publications such as The Online Journal of Issues in NursingThe American Nurse and American Nurse Today

  • West Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists:

    The WVANA primarily works to advance the field of nurse anesthesiology through education. To that end, it conducts professional events and provides avenues for members to stay up-to-date on research and trends in the discipline.

  • West Virginia Association of School Nurses:

    School nurses who join this organization can connect with each other and sharpen the knowledge and skills necessary to do their jobs well. The WVASA offers discounts on educational supplies, advocacy support and access to news that affects school nursing in West Virginia.

  • WV Center For Nursing:

    This organization adds value to the nursing profession in West Virginia by conducting research and searching for solutions to the problems faced by working nurses, administrators and other members of the industry. In addition, the Center hosts scholarships for nursing students.

West Virginia-Specific Continuing Education

Practicing RNs in West Virginia are required to complete at least 12 hours of continuing education (CE) coursework every year in order to keep their licenses current. Meanwhile, the license renewal period for APRNs is two years long and requires a total of 24 hours of CE, split half-and-half between the study of pharmacotherapeutics and clinical management of patients.

Some of the topics that may be studied in CE courses — regardless of the type of nursing licensure you are working to renew — include substance abuse, mental health conditions, end-of-life pain management and veteran health care.

Hospitals in West Virginia

Hospitals aren’t just one of the largest employers of nurses in West Virginia — they also contribute to nurse training by offering vital clinical experiences. Take a look at this list of some of the largest hospital facilities in the state and see if one sounds like a working environment you might enjoy once you graduate from your nursing program.

  • Charleston Area Medical Center General Hospital (Charleston): As a recognized trauma center, Charleston Area Medical Center General Hospital provides trauma care to about 3,100 patients each year, as well as neurosurgery for 1,500 patients annually. The facility is also home to nationally accredited centers of excellence, such as its Kidney Transplant Center, Sleep Center and Facial Surgery Center.
  • Ruby Memorial Hospital (Morgantown): Ruby Memorial Hospital provides a continuum of care to the community, from primary care to specialty and urgent care services. The facility is the flagship teaching center of West Virginia University.
  • Saint Mary’s Medical Center (Huntington): Saint Mary’s Medical Center is associated with the Joan C. Edwards Marshall University School of Medicine. In addition, the facility operates schools of nursing, respiratory care and medical imaging. As part of this focus on education, the Center hosts multiple classes, community events and support groups. Examples include yoga classes, health insurance counseling and a breast cancer support group.
Sources & Methodology

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we gathered data for 6,758 United States institutions. We then filtered that list of schools by state and analyzed the data for each state with two different methodologies, in order to create two different lists: our undergraduate list, based on 11 ranking criteria, and our graduate list, based on 9 ranking criteria.

Final data for the 2016-17 school year was used for these rankings. Schools that did not provide data for all of the required ranking criteria were disqualified from that ranking.

The 11 criteria for the undergraduate school ranking were as follows:

  1. Number of associate- and bachelor’s-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of associate- and bachelor’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of associate- and bachelor’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Average amount of federal grant aid awarded to full-time first-time undergraduates
  8. Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
  9. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  10. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  11. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

The graduate school ranking scored schools based on 9 criteria, different from the undergraduate list. These 9 criteria were as follows:

  1. Number of master’s- and doctoral-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of master’s- and doctoral-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of master’s- and doctoral-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  8. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  9. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools’ tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

 

Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed January 2018, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • American Hospital Directory, Accessed August 2018, https://www.ahd.com/
  • Nurses work to address staffing shortage in W.Va., WCHS Network, Accessed August 2018, http://wchsnetwork.com/nurses-work-to-address-staffing-shortage-in-w-va/
  • Data & Reports, WV Center For Nursing, Accessed August 2018, http://wvcenterfornursing.org/data-reports/
  • W.Va. Nursing Shortage Starts with Lack of Teachers, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Accessed August 2018, http://www.wvpublic.org/post/wva-nursing-shortage-starts-lack-teachers
  • About, School of Nursing West Virginia University, Accessed August 2018, http://nursing.wvu.edu/about/
  • Nursing Program, WVJC Career School, Accessed August 2018,
  • https://www.wvjc.edu/nursing-programs/
  • Nursing, West Virginia University Institute of Technology, Accessed August 2018, https://admissions.wvutech.edu/academics/majors/nursing
  • Accreditation and Achievements, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Accessed August 2018, https://www.wvwc.edu/academics/schools-departments/school-of-nursing/accreditation-and-achievements/
  • Licensing, WV RN Board, Accessed August 2018, https://wvrnboard.wv.gov/licensing/Pages/default.aspx
  • Become Nurse In West Virginia + Requirements, NurseJournal.org, Accessed August 2018, https://nursejournal.org/licensing/west-virginia-nursing-requirements/
  • Licensing, WV RN Board, Accessed August 2018, https://wvrnboard.wv.gov/licensing/Pages/default.aspx
  • Continuing Education Requirements, West Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Accessed August 2018, https://www.wvana.com/continuing-education-requirements/
  • Education, WV RN Board, Accessed August 2018, https://wvrnboard.wv.gov/education/Pages/default.aspx
  • West Virginia: Board of Nursing CE Requirements, Nurse.com, Accessed August 2018, https://www.nurse.com/state-nurse-ce-requirements/west-virginia
  • West Virginia Nurses CE Requirements, NetCE, Accessed August 2018, https://www.netce.com/ce-requirements/nursing/WV/
  • WV RN & APRN License Renewal Details, West Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Accessed December 2018, https://www.wvana.com/wv-rn-aprn-license-renewal-details/
  • West Virginia Nurses Association, Accessed August 2018, http://www.wvnurses.org/
  • West Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Accessed August 2018, https://www.wvana.com/
  • West Virginia Association of School Nurses, Accessed August 2018, https://wvasn.org/
  • WV Center For Nursing, Accessed August 2018, http://wvcenterfornursing.org/
  • Charleston Area Medical Center General Hospital, Accessed August 2018, http://www.camc.org/gh
  • Ruby Memorial Hospital, Accessed August 2018, https://wvumedicine.org/ruby-memorial-hospital/
  • Saint Mary’s Medical Center, Accessed August 2018, https://www.st-marys.org/

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