West Virginia Nursing License Requirements

Learn how to get your RN license in West Virginia, including application requirements and licensure pathways.
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Updated on January 12, 2024
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  • West Virginia's RN Board regulates nursing licenses and monitors legislative action.
  • West Virginia nurses must graduate from an accredited program, pass the NCLEX, and complete a criminal background check.
  • Nurses renew their licenses every two years and must submit proof of 12 CE credits.

In 2021, West Virginia had nearly 30,000 registered nurses (RNs), according to the state's nursing board. However, only 18,520 were actively working. As more baby boomers retire, West Virginia will face a growing need for skilled nurses.

Now is an excellent time to complete your nursing education and obtain your license in West Virginia. Explore how to get and maintain your RN license in the state.

West Virginia State Board of Nursing

The West Virginia RN Board protects public health and safety by regulating registered nursing licenses. It also verifies license and education, evaluates license applications, grants license renewals, and takes disciplinary action as needed.

The board also monitors legislative action in the state. They maintain resources for RNs on continuing education opportunities, recovery programs, commission reports, and licensure guidance.

Popular Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

West Virginia Nursing Education Requirements

You can choose from two degrees to fulfill West Virginia’s education requirements for nursing licensure: an associate degree in nursing (ADN) and a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

An ADN typically takes two years to complete. Many programs require applicants to finish prerequisite courses before enrollment and meet a minimum GPA requirement. ADN students develop the necessary skills to become registered nurses.

An ADN is the minimum degree required to become an RN. Nursing candidates who want or need to start working sooner may choose an ADN degree. They may also enroll in an RN-to-BSN program to complete their BSN in the future.

Bachelor's in Nursing (BSN)

Most employers prefer BSN-prepared nurses. A BSN program typically takes four years to complete. RN-to-BSN programs can take two years, and many schools offer them online.

You may also enroll in an accelerated BSN program if you have a bachelor's degree in another subject. These programs include science and nursing courses as long as your prerequisite courses can transfer from another accredited university. In addition to the same foundational skills an ADN learns, BSN-prepared nurses also learn leadership, critical thinking, informatics, and research skills.

Applying for a Nursing License in West Virginia

There are two pathways to meet the West Virginia nursing licensure requirements: examination and endorsement. The RN Board publishes the West Virginia nursing requirements for those seeking licensure.

West Virginia requires RNs to complete an accredited nursing education program, an application, and pay a fee. The application must include an electronic copy of your fingerprints and a national electronic criminal history record check.

RN Licensure by Examination

West Virginia nursing licensure by examination is intended for new ADN or BSN graduates. Nurses residing in West Virginia are eligible for a multi-state license since West Virginia is part of the nurse licensure compact.

Nursing candidates first apply for their West Virginia nursing license on the West Virginia RN Board portal before taking the NCLEX. The Board no longer accepts paper applications.

The West Virginia RN Board must qualify you to take the NCLEX examination after completing your application and criminal history check.

It can take approximately two weeks to receive your West Virginia nursing license after passing the NCLEX examination. License by examination candidates are not eligible for a temporary or provisional permit.

RN Licensure by Endorsement

West Virginia has a pathway if you did not get your primary RN license in a Nursing Licensure Compact state. In this case, you can apply for licensure by endorsement. Nurses can hold multiple licenses in non-compact states.

If you apply for a West Virginia nursing license by endorsement, you must fill out an application through the online portal and pay a fee.

Licensure by endorsement requires verification of your license in the original state through Nursys. If your state does not participate in Nursys, verification must be sent directly from your State Board of Nursing to West Virginia's RN Board.

You must also provide fingerprints and complete a national criminal background check using instructions from the West Virginia RN Board.

You may request a 6-month temporary or provisional permit. You may be issued a provisional license once the RN board has received all the necessary items other than the background check.

How to Maintain Your Nursing License in West Virginia

Every RN must renew their license to practice in West Virginia. RN licenses expire on October 31 of every even year. Nurses can start the renewal process on September 1 of an even year. If your renewal application has not been completed and renewed by October 31, it will expire.

The RN renewal fee is $90. RNs are required to submit 12 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years from an approved CE provider. Within the first year of receiving your initial nursing license, you must complete three contact hours for drug diversion training. Annual drug diversion training is no longer required.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in West Virginia

How long does it take to get a West Virginia RN license?

It takes roughly 14 days to get a nursing license in West Virginia, from the time your application is complete to passing your NCLEX-RN examination.

What do you need to become an RN in West Virginia?

RN candidates must have graduated from an approved and accredited nursing program, applied for their license through the West Virginia RN Board portal, passed a national criminal background check, and passed the NCLEX-RN.

How much does an RN earn in West Virginia?

The average hourly salary for an RN in West Virginia is nearly $35, and the average annual salary is $72,230, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How often do you renew a West Virginia nursing license?

The West Virginia nursing requirement for license renewal is every two years, on the even years. All licenses expire on October 31, and the portal to submit documentation to renew your license opens on September 1.

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