9 Best RN to BSN Programs in Virginia (Online & Campus) – 2024 Rankings

Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

RN to BSN programs in Virginia give working registered nurses the opportunity to return to school online or at a campus to pursue their baccalaureate degrees in a way that is flexible and affordable. The demand for BSN-educated RNs in VA is on the rise as studies continue to show that this higher education has a direct impact on the quality of patient care. We have evaluated 17 schools offering RN to BSN degrees to compile a list of the top 9 in the state. This will help you make better choices about your education and career.

Online RN to BSN Programs in Virginia: What You Need to Know?

Online RN to BSN programs in VA build upon what you learned in your ADN or diploma program to provide you with more focused knowledge. You will get credit for your previous coursework and your experience as an RN, which reduces the length of time it typically takes to complete a BSN. Because the courses take place online, you can complete them at your own pace, which is invaluable if you are working full time, and because you will need fewer credits to complete the program, the costs are typically reduced, as well.

ACEN/CCNE Accredited & Approved by Virginia Board of Nursing: Now more than ever, employers in Virginia want to ensure they hire highly-educated nurses who will provide the best possible patient care. As such, the school you choose for your RN to BSN education should be approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing as well as either the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). These organizations set high standards for education in nursing.

Coursework: The courses you will take will vary depending on what you’ve already learned, but they will focus heavily on things like leadership and management in the nursing profession, advanced professional nursing concepts, research, and community nursing.

Sample Courses
Advanced Communication, Health Assessment, Pathophysiology, Research in Nursing, Nursing Concepts, Strategies for Community Health Care, Population Health, Leadership in Nursing, Nursing Management, and Advanced Concepts of Nursing Practice

Clinical Training: Clinical training gives you the opportunity to work directly with patients and put your newfound knowledge to the test in a hands-on setting. Some schools in VA may require you to complete this training in a partner facility, but others may give you credit for your current employment or allow you to fulfill these obligations via online simulations and discussions.

Program Length: Things like the number of credits you transfer and the amount of time you can dedicate to your education each term will ultimately determine the length of your program in Virginia. Full-time students may finish in as little as a year; part-time students may take two or even three years to graduate.

Common Admission Requirements: Though admission requirements will vary from one school to the next, you will need to have your ADN or nursing diploma to apply. Aside from this, it may help to look at the admission requirements for Liberty University, one of VA’s best online RN to BSN degree options. To attend, you will need:

• Your ADN or nursing diploma;
• Transcripts from each college or university you have attended;
• A GPA of at least 2.0 to be considered for admission on Good Standing (you may receive Acceptance on Caution if your GPA is lower);
• A valid RN license; and
• A high school self-certification form.

What are the 9 Best Accredited RN to BSN Programs in Virginia for 2024?

(Based on our ranking methodology, the following are the 9 best RN-to-BSN programs in Virginia (Online & Campus).)

1) James Madison University, Harrisonburg

Type: Online

Program Overview: James Madison University sets the tone for nursing students to flourish under the mentorship of an able faculty, who regularly engage in community service and nursing research. Offered as a part-time and full-time option, this 100% online RN to BSN is ideal for registered nurses who want to advance their education and career prospects, without compromising on a current work schedule. While full-time takes three, part-time takes five semesters to complete. The program is offered in a cohort format, so you move through it along with other learners. This helps you learn and share experiences and forge bonds. The coursework mainly focuses on nursing care of undeserved, rural and a culturally diverse population, thereby thoroughly preparing you to work in any kind of health setting.

Key Highlights

• The college offers a co-enrollment program that enables those who have enrolled in a nursing associate at any of the participating schools to compete their BSN concurrently. This helps you earn a dual degree in a much less time.
• The program entails completing 45 hours of clinical practicum in community health during one summer semester.

2) Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond

Type: Online

Program Overview: Virginia Commonwealth University is located centrally in the state’s capital of Richmond. Its school of nursing has been one of the leading providers of nursing education since 1893. This popular online RN to BSN program in the Mother of States requires completion of 124 credits to graduate. All the classes are delivered online and include courses such as nursing informatics, foundations of professional nursing, population health, evidence based nursing care, ethics and law that influence nursing practice, pathological conditions across the lifespan, interprofessional collaborative practice, leadership and management in nursing and a capstone, where you must apply clinical and management decision making skills within a healthcare setting. This coursework makes you proficient in leadership skills, critical thinking, evidence-based practice and effective communication.

Key Highlights

• You must be a graduate of a nursing diploma or associate and hold an active nurse license from any state in order to be eligible for this program.
• Being highly selective in its admission policy, a GPA of 3.0 in all college courses and minimum grade of B in any nursing class can greatly increase your odds of admission.

3) Radford University, Radford

Type: Online

Program Overview: With 40 years of experience in training nurses, Radford University has consistently delivered programs that have stayed abreast with the changing dynamics of the healthcare field. The RN to BSN is an online program that is meant for those who hold an associate or diploma in nursing or those who are currently enrolled in a nursing associate and have completed one year of study. All the courses are offered online, except for the clinical practicum that requires visiting a real-world location in your own community. There are nine nursing courses that you will complete for a total of 25 BSN credit hours. The curriculum enhances leadership skills, evidence- based practice, critical thinking and theoretical concepts of nursing.

Key Highlights

• With a course in Holistic Nursing Course, being part of the curriculum, you will have a deeper understanding of patient care by focusing on treating an individual as a whole, rather than just the illness.
• For those keen on pursing further education, the college allows applying to the DNP program in the last semester before you graduate.

4) Liberty University, Lynchburg

Type: Online

Program Overview: Liberty University has been consistently ranked amongst the top five online nursing programs in the nation for its high-quality and affordable education. Its RN to BSN is an online program that expands on your previous nursing knowledge and experience by enhancing critical thinking, decision making and leadership skills. The average length of time students take to complete this course is 2.5 years. Out of the total 120 credits required to earn this BSN, a minimum of 39 credits can be automatically transferred for your RN licensure. All the Core courses are offered online in an 8-week format, making it convenient to fulfill work and family commitments simultaneously.

Key Highlights

• If you are keen on pursuing an advanced nurse specialization, then the RN to BSN to MSN track, offered in a two-year accelerated format can be considered. The program offers three specialties to choose from- Nursing Administrator, Nursing Educator and Nursing Informatics.
• The college offers an RN to BSN track in Global Studies. This program mainly focuses on nursing practices in countries outside the U.S. It trains you in communication skills and culture relevant nursing practice and is apt for those keen on working as a nurse in foreign countries.

5) Bon Secours Memorial, Richmond

Type: Online

Program Overview: Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing provides a solid grounding for nursing graduates. Over 98% graduates successfully find jobs upon graduation, out of which most of them are placed within a Bon Secours hospital. With three start dates and a 100% online mode of study, you can complete this RN to BSN program in a convenient manner. Depending on the schedule you choose, you can complete this program in just three semesters. Prior to entering the program, you must complete 46 credits in general education courses. Registered nurses can transfer up to 41 credits for their past knowledge towards this BSN. The curriculum mainly focuses on advancing your nursing practice by training you in various aspects of nursing such as care for undeserved and vulnerable population, management and business of healthcare, nursing research and nursing leadership.

Key Highlights

• Your BSN coursework starts with one credit hour course of an online orientation, where you receive instructions on how take online didactic lessons.
• You will have a dedicated student success coach, helping you with web-based education. Moreover, you will even have access to faculty via email, online text and video chat.

6) Sentara College of Health Sciences, Chesapeake

Type: Online

Program Overview: Sentara College of Health Science has been providing quality nursing education for the past 125 years. The 97% placement rate of RN to BSN graduates is indicative of the employment ready training the college offers. This RN to BSN program is offered online and is typically meant for working nurses who wish to pursue a BSN part-time, alongside other commitments. Ten core courses to earn a total of 30 BSN credits must be completed in order to graduate. Starting twice every year in January and August, curriculum includes training in management of racially, culturally and ethnically diverse patients across the lifespan.

Key Highlights

• No classes are held in summer, so you are free to take an off during summers and come back rejuvenated.
• There is no clinical requirement to graduate. Your work experience as nurse is considered adequate.

7) Old Dominion University, Norfolk

Type: Online

Program Overview: Offering stellar nursing programs since 1967, Old Dominion University is particularly known for its distance education. If you are an RN with an ADN looking at broadening your professional skills and knowledge, then pursuing RN to BSN education in Virginia is what you should be looking at. Well, for busy individuals, this online program offers full-time and part-time options. The program requires completing a minimum of 30 hours in BSN coursework. To be eligible for entry, you must have a minimum GPA of 3.00 in all your previous coursework.

Key Highlights

• Upon successful completion of this program, you will be able to work as an advanced practice nurse in various healthcare settings, take up management positions or work for pharmaceutical or medical equipment sales and consultation.
• Students on active military duty are offered a special tuition cost.

8) Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg

Type: Online & Hybrid

Program Overview: Eastern Mennonite University is Christian liberal arts university that focuses on the growth and well-being of its students. An active RN license, a minimum GPA of 2.0 in your previous coursework and work experience is what makes you eligible to this RN to BSN course in Virginia. You can choose from the hybrid or online option to complete the BSN coursework in approximately 20 months. You will gain from the college’s interdisciplinary approach that focuses on delivering nursing care to a diverse population using evidence-based practices. The curriculum builds up on your past nursing experience, so you only study courses that expand on skills you have already developed.

Key Highlights

• Both the programs are offered in a cohort format. While the online cohort may keep changing, the hybrid remains the same from start to finish.
• The extensive BSN coursework includes a course in Biblical Perspectives, fostering nursing practice that is rooted in Christian values and ethics.

9) ECPI University, Virginia Beach

Type: Online

Program Overview: ECPI University is the nation’s leading online university that has consistently been ranked for its online programs that provide the same quality of education as traditional programs, all this, using state of art user friendly technology. With an increasing demand in professional nurses, completing an online RN and BSN program can significantly better job prospects and open up wider career avenues. You can choose to complete this program, either full-time or part-time. With each term being five weeks long, full-time entails completing two courses each term, while part-time will be a slower pace, completing one course each term. Out of a total of 10 core nursing courses you need to complete to earn your BSN, one is an orientation, two are clinicals and the remaining seven are didactic BSN courses.

Key Highlights

• You will complete 90 clock hours in two clinical courses of 45 hours each. These are self-designed clinical courses, where you plan your clinical experience based on your career goals.
• Before beginning the program, you will start with a five week long online orientation where you learn the nuances of online study.



Latest on Virginia’s Push Towards 80% BSN

In an effort to improve healthcare across the United States, the Institute of Medicine has challenged each state to educate at least 80% of its RN workforce at the BSN level by the year 2020. As a direct result of this challenge, the state has formed the Virginia Action Coalition, which is a group dedicated to expanding opportunities for nurses and increasing the percentage of nurses with baccalaureate degrees. There are five workgroups across the VA dedicated to this: education progression, team-based care, access to care, leadership, and workforce data.

The Virginia Department of Health Professions compiles reports each year to help better understand trends in nursing and provides access to various tools, as well. Per the 2017 Virginia’s Registered Nurse Workforce report, the state is making great strides toward reaching the 80% goal. As of October 2017, 45% of the VA’s RN workforce held BSN degrees as compared to 31% with associate degrees. The Virginia Nursing Education Programs report for 2016-2017 is promising, as well. It notes that of the 79 Registered Nursing programs in the state during that year, 29 offered RN to BSN options alongside their pre-licensure education.

Options to Fund Your RN to BSN in Virginia

RN to BSN education is designed to be more affordable and more flexible than traditional baccalaureate programs, but despite this, you may worry about the financial burden of going back to school. Fortunately, the following opportunities in Virginia can help you cover those costs.

Grants: To apply for grants at the federal and state level, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. You may qualify for federal grants, such as the Pell Grant, which is awarded based on your financial need. State grants include the Virginia Commonwealth Award Program and the Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program, both of which are need-based.

Loans: Student loans are another excellent option. You can obtain these from your own private bank or credit union, or you can apply for federally-backed loans when you fill out the FAFSA. The Virginia State Loan Repayment Program is yet another opportunity that will repay your loan on your behalf in exchange for an agreement to work for two years at one of several Health Professional Shortage Areas across the state.

Scholarships: Scholarships are available through individual Virginia schools, employers, and companies dedicated to improving healthcare across the state. Some of the most well-known scholarships for nursing students here are offered through the Virginia Department of Health Office of Minority Health and Health Equity. Through this site, you can apply for the Mary Marshall Scholarship Program, which is one of the best in the state.

Employer Assistance Programs: Employer assistance programs may come in the form of tuition reimbursement offered as an employment benefit or through any number of grants and scholarships you can receive from an organization in exchange for your agreement to work for that organization for a set period of time. For example, the National Nursing Education Initiative also offers RN to BSN specific scholarships for Virginia nurses who agree to work for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and help meet the demand for qualified healthcare professionals.

6 Advantages of Pursuing an RN to BSN in Virginia

Earning your RN to BSN degree in VA will open many new doors and provide a wonderful sense of self-satisfaction. Aside from this, the benefits of your higher education are many.

1. Expand Your Knowledge, Skills & Abilities: Your RN to BSN degree will provide you with the knowledge, skills, and abilities that will help you promote positive patient outcomes. With the research, leadership, and professional nursing skills you gain, you will provide outstanding patient care that has a positive effect on patients, both individually and in community settings throughout Virginia and beyond.

2. Salary Bump: Because these new skills and abilities will allow you to take on more responsibility, you can also expect a higher salary. Before earning baccalaureate degrees, RNs in VA earn $74,310 on average. However, after completing their RN to BSN education, they earn $85,280 a year – well above the national average for RNs. This is an increase of $10,970 a year, and if you work in Arlington or Alexandria, the salary bump is even larger at $6820 a year.

Before RN To BSN After RN to BSN How Much More Will I Earn
(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

3. More Job Openings: Across Virginia, hospitals are the largest employer of RNs. Working in a hospital means working nights, weekends, and even holidays. Many RNs vie for lucrative positions in clinics and doctors’ offices which offer better schedules and more predictability. ADN graduates in VA have access to 1,230 openings each year, but BSN graduates have access to 2,220. Many of the additional openings for BSN graduates in VA are in those lucrative environments, as well.

Virginia Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
Annual Openings for BSN Graduates 2,220
Annual Openings for ADN Graduates 1,230
(Source: Compiled using data from careeronestop.org)

4. The Outlook is Brighter for a BSN Graduate: Your job security as an RN is high regardless of your education but graduating an accredited RN to BSN program will give you even more peace of mind. Between 2020 and 2030, the employment of RNs with ADNs in VA is expected to grow 6.46% as 1,300 more RNs with associate-level education join the workforce. However, the employment of RNs with BSNs will climb 9.27% with the addition of 3,270 nurses with baccalaureate-level education across the state. This is a direct reflection of employers’ focus on providing better patient care through well-educated nurses.

10 Year (2020-2030) Job Outlook
Employment New Job Growth
2020 2030 Number %
BSN 35,29038,5603,2709.27%
ADN 20,13021,4301,3006.46%
(Source: Compiled using data from careeronestop.org)

5. Career Advancement: Furthering your career as an RN will require you to seek BSN-level education in the state of Virginia. The coursework focuses very heavily on leadership and management, so program completion qualifies you for positions like nurse manager or supervisor. You may also apply for Director of Nursing positions, work as a clinical nurse specialist, or even go into the research field.

Advancement Opportunities
Charge Nurse Director of Nursing
Chief Nursing Officer Nurse Educator
Clinical Nurse Specialist Nurse Manager
Clinical Research Nurse Nurse Supervisor

6. Post-RN to BSN Study Options: Your education does not have to end with your new undergraduate degree, either. You could continue on to earn an MSN degree (an additional two years of school) and work as a nurse practitioner, administrator, or certified nurse midwife and earn as much as $129,860 a year. If you want to pursue a PhD or DNP (an additional four to six years of education), you could work as an APRN or health system executive and earn well over $150,000 a year. The possibilities are endless, and your RN to BSN degree will provide you a solid foundation for any of these opportunities.

Type of Degree Length Roles and Responsibilities Salary
Master’s Degree (MSN/MS)Up to 2 yearsAdministrator, Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Clinical Leader, Clinical Nurse Specialist & Nurse Practitioner$82,000 - $129,860
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree4 to 6 yearsAdvanced Practice Registered Nurse, College Faculty, Nursing School Dean, Health System Executive, Researcher, & Senior Policy Analyst$82,000 - $151,610

RN to BSN Programs in Nearby States
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • North Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

  • RN to BSN Programs in other States

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