Last Updated/Verified: October 6, 2021
Virginia provides a rosy job outlook for those in the healthcare industry.
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And becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) in Virginia is the best way to have a promising career in this industry without going through the rigorous four-year process that registered nurses often undertake. Plus, should you decide to keep the learning process going, there’s always that possibility of obtaining an RN degree in the future.
LPN in Virginia Quick Facts:
- LPN programs in Virginia usually take 1-2 years to complete.
- Occupational Profile in the state of Virginia estimates an 18% increase in LPN job opportunities by 2026.
- LPNs make up around 25% of nurses in Virginia.
- Industries with the highest level of employment for LPNs are nursing care facilities, offices of physicians, home health care services, and hospitals.
- LPNs in this state enjoy an hourly average wage of $27.18 and an annual median salary of $48,796.
Overview of LPN Schools in Virginia
There are over 50 private and public schools, community colleges, and vocational schools that offer LPN programs in Virginia. Aside from location and tuition costs, another important consideration in choosing a program is whether it’s designed for full-time or part-time students. One-year programs are typically for full-time students while part-time students will have to finish a two-year program.
While course design may vary, the program load across different colleges are more or less the same with topics like:
- Nursing Fundamentals
- Body Structure and Functions
- Drug Dosage Calculation
- Medical-Surgical Nursing
- Care of Maternal, Newborn, and Pediatric Patients
Aspiring practical nurses must choose a state-approved program to make sure that the school has complied with the proper standard and requirements. The Virginia Nursing Board provides a list of their approved schools.
Aside from nursing board approval, some programs are accredited by national nursing education organizations like the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
LPN Admissions Requirements
Admissions requirements vary across different schools. Thus, it’s best for students to inquire from colleges of their choice. At a minimum, schools would require:
- High school diploma, GED certificate or its equivalent, and transcripts.
- Cumulative grade point average of 2.5 in relevant coursework and prerequisite courses.
- Successful completion of prerequisite courses like Basic Anatomy & Physiology, English I, and college-level math.
- Proficient score on the ATI Test for Essential Academic Skills (TEAS).
- Physical exam, drug test, background check, and proof of taking required immunization.
- Complete application form and payment of associated fees.
LPN Tuition & Costs
With many schools offering practical nursing programs in Virginia, it’s quite expected that tuition and other related costs vary. Related costs may include course fees and supplies like textbooks and other supplies (textbooks, scrubs, stethoscopes, etc.)
For instance, the program cost at Lord Fairfax Community College is $9,463 — $6,850 of which is for the tuition while the remaining is for supplies and books. Another example is Valley Vocational Technical Center with a program cost of $4,300 and this would cover the tuition and other fees. Some programs offer financial aid and grants to qualified students.
LPN Licensing Requirements in Virginia
To obtain a state license in Virginia, you must complete an LPN program from a state-approved school. The program must include a minimum of 400 hours of client care across all stages of life. After the program, you must pass National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN), an exam that determines your readiness to start practice as a practical nurse.
Checklist to become a Virginia LPN
To apply for an LPN license at the Virginia Board of Nursing, submit the following requirements:
- Official transcript from a state-approved school.
- NCLEX-PN certificate to serve as proof that you have passed the exam.
- Completed criminal background check using fingerprints.
- Application fee payment of $170.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing developed the NCLEX exam to check the competency of incoming nurses. The NCLEX-PM exam typically has four categories and eight subcategories, which are randomly spread throughout the exam. The major categories include:
- Safe and Effective Care Environment
- Health Promotion and Maintenance
- Psychosocial Integrity
- Physiological Integrity
Virginia is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows for interstate practice of the nursing profession within NLC states without applying for another license. In addition, practical nurses from non-NLC states can apply for a Virginia state license through endorsement. Submit proof of current license and NCLEX-PN certificate to do this.
Students who graduated abroad may also apply for an LPN license in Virginia. But first, they will have to go through an English proficiency test and course-by-course transcript review. Once the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing School (CGFNS) approves the application, the applicant will have to take and pass the NCLEX-PN exam.
LPN Salaries in Virginia
Licensed practical nurses in Virginia earn an average hourly salary of $22.79 and an average annual salary of $48,796. Location is a big factor in gauging salary rates. LPN jobs in major metropolises offer a much higher salary than those in the suburbs or rural areas.
Here are the average annual salaries of LPNs in different parts of Virginia:
- Arlington, Virginia: $55,720
- Charlottesville, Virginia: $50,710
- Richmond, Virginia: $49,490
- Winchester, Virginia: $48,150
- Roanoke: $45,430
Aside from location, the type of industry where an LPN works and the nature of work also determines the salary rate. For instance, practical nurses who work in hospitals typically earn more than those who work in physician’s offices. LPNs who work on graveyard and weekend shifts also earn more than those who work regular hours.
Due to population trends, there is a higher demand for LPNs with geriatric care experience.
Most of these job opportunities are concentrated in nursing care facilities. All else being equal, LPNs with more experience will earn more than those who’ve just started out in their career.
Job Outlook for LPNs in Virginia
You can expect a solid job outlook for practical nurses in Virginia in the years to come. For instance, the Occupational Profile for Virginia estimates an 18% increase in practical nursing jobs by 2026. This means approximately 2,030 LPN job opportunities every year.
It is pretty common for employers to recruit the best practical nurses by enticing them with benefits like tuition and license reimbursement, paid time off, 401(k), referral program, flexible schedule, and free insurance. In addition, there’s also the opportunity for practical nurses to level up and study to become an RN through the many LPN to RN programs here. Thus, in terms of job outlook and career advancements, the future looks bright for practical nurses in Virginia.
Top LPN Schools in Virginia
173 Skirmisher Lane
Middletown, VA 22645
Boasting an average pass rate of 98.3% for first-time takers of NCLEX-PN for calendar years 2009 through 2018, Lord Fairfax Community College has the top LPN program in Virginia. The college offers a one-year full-time LPN program, divided into three semesters. A minimum grade of “C” for all courses is required to graduate from their program.
2925 North Landing Road
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
Taking the second spot is Virginia Beach School of Practical Nursing with an NCLEX-PN pass rate of 97.1%. For many decades, this college has been producing quality nursing professionals. The program is an 18-month course with clinical sessions held in various rehabilitation centers and hospitals. To keep its commitment to giving the best education to aspiring nurses, the school maintains a low faculty to students ratio.
49 Hornet Road
Fishersville, VA 22939
With a pass rate of 96.0%, Valley Career & Technical Center’s strength is its dedication to striking a good balance between the practical and theoretical aspects of nursing. They offer an 18-month program, which sums up to 1,460 hours and divided into three levels. In level III, this program requires students to complete 440 clinical hours.
40 Eagle Way
Luray, VA 22835
Page County Technical Center has a pass rate of 95.8% among its first-time NCLEX-PN takers. This is one of the excellent public schools, which offers an 18-month LPN program focusing on direct patient care. Students go through supervised experiences in clinical labs. To successfully complete the program, students have to maintain a minimum grade of “B” or 80% in all units.
1008 South Main Street
Danville, VA 24541
Danville Community College boasts of a pass rate of 95.7% among its first-time takers of NCLEX-PN. This college offers a two-year, full-time, 65-credit course LPN program. The four-semester program integrates both theoretical and practical parts of nursing. Classroom teaching lays the groundwork of concepts and clinical sessions provide the much-needed hands-on experience — both necessary in producing highly competent healthcare professionals.
Chesapeake Career Center
1617 Cedar Road
Chesapeake, VA 23322
Chesapeake Career Center’s LPN program is a 2-year course open for high school graduates with at least a GPA of 2.5. The school has a pass rate of 90.8%. Upon successful completion, graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-PN exam and they earn at least 16 credits towards an RN degree.
St. Mary’s Hospital School of Practical Nursing
7850 Carousel Lane
Henrico, VA 23294
Aside from being approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing, this LPN program is also accredited by ACEN. The school boasts of a pass rate of 94.8%.
10304 Spotsylvania Avenue, Suite 400
Fredericksburg, VA 22408
With a pass rate of 94% among its first-time NCLEX-LPN test-takers, Eastern Virginia Career College prides itself in providing high-quality theoretical and clinical education. Their 45-week, 3-semester program produces professional nurses that are well-equipped to become part of the healthcare workforce.
Dabney S. Lancaster Community College
1000 Dabney Drive
Clifton Forge, VA 24422
Dabney S. Lancaster Community College has a pass rate of 93.5% among its first-time NCLEX-PN exam takers. Aside from their 44-credit hours LPN program, they also offer LPN to RN pathway courses for practical nurses who want to advance their career and become registered nurses.
Massanutten Technical Center
325 Pleasant Valley Road
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Massanutten Technical Center has an average pass rate of 91.8% from 2009 to 2018. Their full-time, 18-month LPN program begins every August. The program features a good balance of classroom instruction and clinical education, where students, while closely supervised, provide nursing care in a long-term care setting and acute care setting.
For more information on how to become a licensed practical nurse in Virginia, check out these resources:
Virginia State Board of Nursing: The Virginia State Board of Nursing is a 14-member board that regulates nurses and nurse practitioners within the state through licensure. They also regulate and approve all in-state nursing education programs.
National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN): This not-for-profit organization designed the NCLEX-PN exam to help state regulators grant nursing licenses only to competent professionals.