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Nurse Practitioner Programs in Virginia - 2020 Rankings


Once they have five years of experience working under a collaborative agreement with a supervising physician, nurse practitioners in Virginia may be certified to practice and prescribe independently. There’s a high demand for the services of graduates from accredited nurse practitioner schools in Virginia; within the next decade, the number of NPs working in The Old Dominion State is projected to rise by nearly 44 percent. As an NP in Virginia, you can anticipate earning more than $109,000 annually. If you’d like to learn about the best nurse practitioner programs in Virginia for 2020, keep scrolling down this page.

What are the 9 Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Virginia (Online & Campus) for 2020?


1) University of Virginia - Charlottesville


Programs Offered: MSN, BSN to DNP, and Post-Master's Certificate

The University of Virginia’s Charlottesville campus is the only university in the United States that UNESCO has designated a World Heritage Site. UVA’s School of Nursing places great emphasis on interprofessional education; the nursing school’s Center for Interprofessional Collaboration is dedicated to teaching nurses how to become more effective members of health care teams. The university’s collaborative mission is reinforced by its close relationship with Virginia’s top hospital, UVA Health, which is a 580-bed, Level I trauma center. This NP school in VA offers six advanced practice specialties, which is more than any other school in the Old Dominion State. These specialties can be pursued in conjunction with UVA’s MSN, and BSN to DNP programs, or as standalone clinical pathways as part of the university’s post-master’s certificate program.

MSN Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Family NP, Neonatal NP, Pediatric NP - Acute Care, Pediatric NP - Primary Care, and Psychiatric-Mental Health NP

“U.S. News & World Report” ranks UVA’s MSN program as the ninth-best in the nation. Its six advance practice tracks are open to part-time as well as full-time students. Full-time students should be able to complete their specialty training in two years while part-time students will take three years. All coursework takes place on the UVA campus.

The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP specialty requires 86 credits, which includes a minimum of 500 clinical hours. UVA’s focus within this specialty is upon the provision of palliative care. Two semester-long preceptorships are associated with this specialty, the first of which will be scheduled at UVA Health.

The Family NP specialty entails 92 credits, which includes a minimum of 600 clinical hours. The Neonatal NP specialty involves between 91 and 97 credits, which includes a minimum of 600 clinical hours. The Pediatric NP - Acute Care specialty consists of 90 credits, which includes a minimum of 600 clinical hours, while the Pediatric NP - Primary Care specialty requires 87 credits. The Psychiatric-Mental Health NP specialty consists of 84 credits, which includes a minimum of 500 clinical hours.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Family NP, Neonatal NP, Pediatric NP: Acute Care, Pediatric NP: Primary Care, and Psychiatric-Mental Health NP

Applicants to UVA’s BSN to DNP program must have at least two years of experience as a registered nurse before they will be considered. Applicants to the Neonatal NP track must have two years of experience in a NICU setting. The standard program takes four years to complete; there is also an accelerated three-year program, but you’ll need approval from the program director to participate in it.

Aspiring NPs will need to complete 1,000 clinical hours as part of the BSN to DNP program. Most clinical rotations will be scheduled for health care facilities within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Other academic requirements for the NP specialties within the BSN to DNP track are similar to the requirements for the NP specialties associated with the MSN track.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Family NP, Neonatal NP, Pediatric NP - Acute Care, Pediatric NP - Primary Care, and Psychiatric-Mental Health NP

Post-master’s certificates can be completed in two years. Classes take place on the UVA campus. As a certificate specialty, the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP specialty requires 20 credits and 560 clinical hours for completion. If you want to earn a Family NP certificate, you must finish 23 credits and 616 clinical hours. The Pediatric NP - Acute Care track entails 21 credits and 616 clinical hours; the Pediatric NP: Primary Care track, 19 credits and 616 clinical hours; and the Neonatal NP track, 22 credits, and 616 clinical hours. The Psychiatric-Mental Health NP specialty involves 19 credits and 560 clinical hours.

2) Virginia Commonwealth University - Richmond


Programs Offered: MSN and Post-Master’s Certificate

Virginia Commonwealth University got its start in 1838 as a medical school. To this day, the university retains close ties with VCU Medical Center and its affiliated hospitals. The School of Nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University is located on the VCU Medical Center campus in downtown Richmond. In addition to being a prominent nursing education center, this nursing school is also a prominent center for nursing education. VCU offers three NP specialties in conjunction with its MSN program. The same three NP specialties are offered as part of VCU’s post-MSN certificate training program.

MSN Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

“U.S. News & World Report” has cited VCU’s MSN NP specialty as among best nurse practitioner programs in Virginia. All classes take place on Virginia Commonwealth University’s Richmond campus. If you attend school fulltime, you can complete the program in two years; otherwise, it will take you three years. All nurse practitioner students must complete a minimum of 540 clinical hours. The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty requires 49 credits; the Family Nurse Practitioner specialty, 51 credits; and the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty, 47 credits.

Post-Master’s Certificate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Virginia Commonwealth University’s NP certificate concentrations are open to advance practice nurses with master’s or doctoral degrees who want to expand their scope of practice into a new area. Specific study plans will be drawn up on the basis of a gap analysis that compares each candidate’s transcripts with the certification requirements in each specialty field; but in general, the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty requires 25 credits; the Family Nurse Practitioner specialty, 27 credits; and the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty, 23 credits.

3) George Mason University - Fairfax


Programs Offered: MSN, BSN to DNP, and Graduate Certificate

George Mason University is the largest public four-year university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The university administers a network of health care centers called George Mason University's Mason and Partners (MAP) clinics, which provide no-cost health care services, school physicals, screenings, and mental health services for vulnerable populations located in low income and medically underserved areas around the capital district. If you want to become a nurse practitioner in Virginia, Mason offers two NP options in conjunction with its MSN program and three NP options in conjunction with its BSN to DNP program. The university also makes one nurse practitioner option available to NPs who want to acquire the clinical skills and knowledge necessary for a change in professional direction.

MSN Concentrations: Nurse Practitioner and Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Mason’s Family Nurse Practitioner and Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialties can be completed in two years of full-time study or three years of part-time study. Both options require the completion of 49 graduate credits and a minimum of 600 clinical hours. While many of the classes are held on campus, a few are offered online.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, and Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Mason’s three BSN to DNP nurse practitioner specialties—Family Nurse Practice, Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practice, and Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practice—all consist of 72 credits and a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours and usually take four years to complete.

Graduate Certificate Concentrations: Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Mason’s post-graduate Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certificate program is open to MSN-prepared applicants. Students must complete 21 graduate credits in order to earn this certificate.

4) James Madison University - Harrisonburg


Programs Offered: MSN

James Madison University was founded in 1908 as a normal school for the female teachers but began accepting male students in 1966. The university’s nursing school is involved in many innovative collaborations designed to help alleviate the shortage of primary health care providers in the Old Dominion State. One of Madison’s closest academic partners is nearby Shenandoah University. Students pursuing a Master’s of Nursing Science at Madison can take advantage of three NP tracks to enhance their scope of practice. The university also offers a single NP specialty that MSN-prepared nurses who are interested in expanding their clinical competencies can enroll in.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Students can enroll in Madison’s MSN-affiliated NP programs either fulltime (two years) or part-time (three years.) The FNP program consists of 49-semester credits and 650 clinical hours while the AGPCNP program requires 46-semester credits and 650 clinical hours. The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner is delivered in collaboration with Shenandoah University; students will graduate with an MSN from James Madison University and a post-graduate certificate in Psychiatric Mental Health from Shenandoah University. Students will complete their first year of study (22 credits) at Madison and go on to spend their second year (29 credits) at Shenandoah.

5) Old Dominion University - Norfolk


Programs Offered: MSN

Old Dominion University got its start as the Norfolk branch of the College of William & Mary. It was spun off from William & Mary in 1962, and today is one of Virginia’s largest institutions of higher learning. This online nurse practitioner program in Virginia is nationally recognized as a leader in distance learning. Four NP specialties are offered in conjunction with Old Dominion University’s Master’s of Nursing Science degree.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Course offerings for all four of ODU’s NP offerings are delivered over the internet, however, you will need to travel to the ODU campus in Norfolk at several points throughout your studies for skills training and testing. Some synchronous classes will be taught through the use of the WebEx software or through streaming video. The Student Clinical Services Coordinator works with NP program directors to identify appropriate practicum experiences close to where students live and work.

The Family Nurse Practitioner program consists of 49 credits. One of the FNP program’s highlights is grounding in innovative telehealth solutions that are designed to improve access to health care in rural areas. The FNP program can also be used as a stepping-stone into ODU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program can be taken full-time or part-time; it consists of 49 credits and 560 clinical hours. The Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program can also be pursued either full-time or part-time; it requires 50 credits and 600 clinical hours.

The university’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty is a collaboration between ODU and Shenandoah University, another one of the nurse practitioner programs in VA. The program consists of 50-semester credits and 600 clinical hours and is mostly taught online. ODU designs the curriculum for the core advanced nursing practice classes while Shenandoah designs the course of study for the specific psychiatric mental health classes. When you graduate, you will receive an MSN from Old Dominion University and a post-master’s certificate in psychiatric mental health from Shenandoah.

6) Shenandoah University - Winchester


Programs Offered: MSN, RN-MSN, BSN-to-DNP, and Post-Graduate Certificate

Shenandoah University is one of five Virginia institutions of higher learning that are affiliated with the United Methodist Church; the university accepts students of all faiths, however. Shenandoah’s Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing advocates a holistic approach toward patient care. Shenandoah has many partnerships with other schools such as James Madison University and Old Dominion University, as well as with health care providers such as Inova. This is one of the nurse practitioner schools in Virginia that offers both campus and online courses. Classes are streamed synchronously as they take place, and students may participate in the manner that’s most convenient to them, whether that’s in the classroom or at their computers. Shenandoah offers two NP specialties, which can be taken as part of the MSN track, as part of the RN-MSN track or as part of the BSN-to-DNP track. The two NP specialties can also be pursued as post-graduate certificate concentrations.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Practitioner (PMHNP)

Students who enroll fulltime in the Family Nurse Practitioner track of Shenandoah’s MSN program can expect to take two years (six semesters) to graduate; part-time students will graduate in three years (eight semesters.) The curriculum consists of 47 credits and 600 clinical hours.

The Psychiatric Mental Health Practitioner specialty is also offered as a full-time or part-time option. It requires 51 credits and 600 clinical hours for completion.

RN-MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental-Health Nurse Practitioner

Registered nurses who’ve graduated from a diploma or an associate degree program may be interested in enrolling in Shenandoah’s RN-MSN pathway, which will allow them to pursue a Master’s of Nursing Science degree without having to earn a Bachelor’s of Nursing Science degree first. The initial 13 to 17 credits in this program will serve as the functional equivalent to a BSN. Thereafter, students will prepare for their NP specialty area following the same curricula that MSN students follow. Shenandoah University’s RN-MSN program is not taking students at this time.

BSN-to-DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Core coursework associated with Shenandoah’s BSN-to-DNP track as well as the specific classes for the Family Nurse Practitioner specialty are taught on campus every Wednesday; the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty, however, is taught online. The FNP specialty consists of 71 to 72-semester credits and 1,000 clinical hours. The PMHNP specialty entails 77 to 78-semester credits and 1,000 clinical hours.

Post-Graduate Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental-Health Nurse Practitioner

Shenandoah’s post-graduate certificate program was set up for MSN-prepared nurses who are interested in branching out into a new clinical role. Full-time students should be able to complete the Family Nurse Practitioner track in 15 months by completing 25 credits and 600 clinical hours. Nurse practitioners who enroll in the Psychiatric Mental-Health Nurse Practitioner will need to take 27 credits and 600 clinical hours; nurses who have not been certified in advanced practice will need to earn 29 credits and finish 600 clinical hours.

7) Radford University - Radford


Programs Offered:MSN, DNP, and Post Master’s Certificate

Radford University is another one of the NP schools in Virginia that started off as a women’s college for training teachers. Radford’s School of Nursing is primarily concerned with helping the Commonwealth of Virginia meet its escalating need for competent health care providers. Radford offers one NP track in association with its Master’s in Nursing Science degree program and two NP tracks in conjunction with its Doctor of Nursing Practice program. Radford also offers one NP track as a post-master’s certificate.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

Radford’s MSN-affiliated FNP specialty is designed as a part-time program for working nurses who want to expand their professional roles. Students are responsible for completing 50 credits and 605 clinical hours in eight semesters. While most of the program is taught online, students must participate in two or three campus intensives during the course of their studies.

DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

In order to be admitted into Radford’s Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program, applicants must have at least 2,000 hours of professional experience. Students pursuing the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty may apply to either the BSN-to-DNP or the MSN-to-DNP track. Aspiring PMHNPs applying to the BSN-to-DNP track will need to complete 81 credits; candidates applying to the MSN-to-DNP track will need to complete 79 credits. The Family Nurse Practitioner specialty is only available as part of the BSN-to-DNP track and consists of 81 credits. All DNP candidates must complete 1,000 clinical hours.

Post Master’s Certificate Concentrations: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practice specialty is open to nurses with graduate degrees who wish to take on a new clinical role. Students will need to complete 23 credits in five semesters.

8) Marymount University - Arlington


Programs Offered: MSN, BSN to DNP, and Post-Master’s Certificate

Though Marymount University is a Catholic institution of higher learning, it welcomes students from all religious and cultural backgrounds. Marymount is a member of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, which also includes Georgetown University, the University of Maryland and Howard University; students at any one of the 13 member schools can enroll in courses at any of the other schools. Marymount offers a single NP program that can be taken in conjunction with either the MSN or BSN to DNP track. This NP program is also offered as a post-master’s certificate concentration.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Marymount’s MSN-affiliated Family Nurse Practitioner program requires 45-semester credits and 700 clinical hours. Students can enroll in this Virginia NP program either fulltime (five semesters) or part-time (seven semesters.)

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

Marymount offers two pathways for nurses who wish to master Family Nurse practitioner skills while earning a DNP. The BSN to DNP track involves 75-semester credits, 700 clinical hours, and 500 project hours; it can be completed in eight semesters (fulltime) or 11 semesters (part-time.) Nurses who already have an MSN have the option to pursue their DNP part-time (six semesters) and will need to complete 31 to 35-semester credits and 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical hours. Five hundred of those clinical hours can be carried over from their MSN training.

Post-Master’s Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Applicants to post-master’s certificate program must have an active Virginia RN license. The program requires the completion of 30-semester credits and 700 clinical hours.

9) Liberty University - Lynchburg


Programs Offered: BSN to DNP, MSN to DNP, and Post Graduate Certificate

Liberty University is one of the largest evangelical Christian universities in the world. Like many other Christian-identified nurse practitioner programs in Virginia, Liberty accepts students from all religious denominations, but education here has a conservative Christian orientation. Liberty makes one NP specialization available to students pursuing the university’s BSN to DNP track and another NP specialization available to students pursuing the MSN to DNP track. Nursing professionals with prior master’s or doctoral training as a nurse practitioner can also expand their scope of practice through Liberty’s NP certificate program.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

Liberty offers a Family Nurse Practitioner pathway in conjunction with its BSN to DNP program. Coursework is delivered online and consists of 75 credits and 1,000 clinical hours. Liberty is unable to accept students from Colorado, Delaware, Maine, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington or Wyoming into this program.

MSN to DNP Concentrations: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

MSN-prepared nurses can enter Liberty’s DNP program to pursue the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty. Students are responsible for completing 58 credits. Liberty is unable to accept students from Colorado, Delaware, Maine, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington or Wyoming into this program.

Post Graduate Certificate Concentrations: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

NPs with graduate degrees can learn the clinical competencies associated with Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practice by enrolling in Liberty’s post-graduate certificate program. The program, which entails 17-semester credits and 504 clinical hours, typically takes a year and a half (three semesters) to complete.

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