Best Online RN to BSN Nursing Schools in Virginia

With Virginia’s historic wealth, political influence, and tradition for innovation and entrepreneurship, it should be no surprise that the Old Dominion is one of the best states in the union for healthcare. As such, the Commonwealth is also home to some of the nation’s best nursing schools; the top nursing schools Virginia has to offer can stand alongside any nursing school in New England, California, or anywhere else.

That exceptional healthcare system also creates a demand for well-educated nurses. As standards for working nurses increase, the pressure to add a BSN completion program to an RN license has created a slew of fully online BSN degree completion programs from the best nursing schools in Virginia. To help Virginia nurses decide what programs will have the best impact on their career, TopRNtoBSN has ranked the 15 Best Online RN to BSN in Virginia.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Nursing Schools in Virginia

To rank the Best Online RN to BSN in Virginia for 2019, TopRNtoBSN searched the best nursing college in Virginia for fully online and hybrid programs. We selected only accredited nursing schools Virginia students can trust. These are ranked according to three factors:

  • Reputation (Niche student reviews)
  • Cost (IPEDS data)
  • Employment rate (IPEDS data)

This combination of criteria gives students in nursing colleges in Virginia faith that they’re getting an online BSN degree that will have real job market pull, while staying affordable for working RNs.

1. James Madison University

The James Madison University BSN program was designed to offer a high level of flexibility to nursing students who are licensed in Virginia. The online RN to BSN option permits nurses to continue working while still earning credits toward their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. JMU has articulation agreements with a number of junior colleges within the Virginia Community College System, so students at these colleges are eligible to matriculate into the BSN program directly and start taking classes in advanced nursing practices and nursing leadership. As one of the accredited nursing schools in Virginia, James Madison University graduates have a proven success rate of finding long-term job placement.

From its beginning as a teacher’s college, James Madison University has grown into a major public research institution crucial to Virginia’s professional education. In particular, the college has a reputation for exceptional degree programs in the fields of science and technology. As a public research college, a number of state-of-the-art facilities are available for student use. With the low tuition costs imposed the college, James Madison University has been ranked nationally by “U.S. News & World Report” as a Best Value College.

Format: Fully online
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

2. Radford University

The Radford University online BSN degree was designed for the working professional in mind. Registered nurses can transfer previously earned credits towards their BSN requirements. Courses will cover topics like health assessment strategies and healthcare for global populations. Flexible online course scheduling and a high return on investment makes Radford University a good choice for students looking to attend one of the best nursing schools in Virginia.

Radford University has a reputation for providing exceptional learning experience both inside and outside of the classroom, as well as one of the top nursing schools Virginia has to offer. With a small student body of fewer than 10,000, faculty members have more chances for mentorship. The university recently expanded their graduate programs in the field of medical sciences with MSN and DNP degrees now available. With a rolling application deadline, Radford University allows for students to start earning their degrees throughout the calendar year.

Format: Fully online
Program Accreditation: N/A (SACS regional accreditation)
Cost: $$$$$

3. Jefferson College of Health Sciences

Jefferson College of Health Sciences online RN-BSN bridge program can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis with advanced nursing practicum and leadership classes done exclusively online. No campus visits are required and enrolled nursing students have access to the Carilion Clinic facilities. This nursing college in Virginia has accreditation through the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (CCNE) and offers professional placement assistance to students as a way to set them up for the best chance of post-graduate success.

Jefferson College of Health Sciences uses a well-rounded approach to prepare students for careers in healthcare. All degree programs are interdisciplinary and feature opportunities for interprofessional learning. One of the best nursing schools in Virginia, Jefferson College has received federal funding to offer veteran-friendly degree programs, including the Veteran’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Format: Fully online
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

4. Eastern Mennonite University

When students attend Eastern Mennonite University’s online RN-BSN degree program, they are receiving a quality education at an accelerated rate from one of the best nursing schools in Virginia. The 43-credit degree requirement can be completed within 20 months. With affordable tuition rates and CCNE accreditation, Eastern Mennonite University is considered a best value choice among nursing colleges in Virginia.

Eastern Mennonite University is a private Christian college that blends a respect for tradition with a willingness to embrace the modern, in one of the top nursing schools Virginia nurses trust. With 35 undergraduate degree programs, students have the opportunity to receive a specialized education in their desired field of study. The college emphasizes the importance of community, as the campus is home to one of the largest solar arrays in the state of Virginia.

Format: Fully online – accelerated 18-20 months
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

5. Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University’s RN to BSN online degree has been created with the goal of offering convenience to nurses who wish to further their careers. The curriculum can be completed solely online with courses focusing strongly on health policies, leadership, and medical assessments. Old Dominion University nursing school attendees have a reputation for success in locating post-graduate placement in mid to high-level positions.

Old Dominion University is regularly ranked one of the top nursing schools in Virginia that offers online degree programs at affordable costs. The university has a strong commitment to research and has been responsible for operating the Center for Accelerator Science and the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center. The rigorous academic curriculum and large club and sport presence on-campus makes the college a highly coveted choice among prospective students.

Format: Fully online
Program Accreditation: N/A (SACS regional accreditation)
Cost: $$$$$

6. Averett University

Averett University’s online RN to BSN degree allows for students to complete their courses both online and on campus in Danville, at one of the top nursing schools in Virginia. The RN to BSN track focuses on expanding clinical knowledge while also gaining improved communication skills, following ethical guidelines, and the development of strategies for delivering compassionate, quality care to diverse populations. The CCNE-accredited Virginia nursing school has won a number of awards for their programs, including being named a recipient of the 2018-2019 Nursing Colleges of Distinction.

Averett University was founded in the mid-19th century and has maintained a small study body since its inception. Although the college began as an all-female university, the college is now co-ed with a high number of international students enrolled. New technologies have been added on campus—including a new simulation department utilized by one of the top nursing schools Virginia nursing students can find. Averett University is known as offering a good return on investment with 90 percent of graduates working within a year of conferment.

Format: online and on campus
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

7. University of Mary Washington

The University of Mary Washington RN to BSN program was designed specifically for RNs in Virginia who also have an associate’s degree from an accredited college or university. Required classes will cover nursing informatics, nursing trends, medical ethics, and population health. One of several accredited CCNE nursing schools in Virginia, UMW sets up mentorships with students to help jumpstart their post-graduate careers.

The University of Mary Washington is one of the top nursing schools Virginia has ever produced, appearing year after year in U.S. News & World Report as a Top Public School, Best Value College, and Best College for Veterans. The college has a strong reputation of being a leader in the field of technology with initiatives that has allowed students more access to personal domains, web hosting, and digital learning pathways.

Format: Fully Online Option
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

8. Bluefield College

The Bluefield College online BSN degree aids in the career advancement of working nurses who currently have RN licenses. The program is completed exclusively online with clinical components being done in the area where the student resides. A few core subjects explored through the online BSN program at Bluefield College are healthcare policies, information management, patient safety, and improved patient outcomes. With a proven job market reputation, nursing school graduates from Bluefield College find employment in hospitals, physician offices, clinics, home health agencies, and more.

Bluefield College occupies a small campus that measures just over 80 acres. The faith-based college takes pride in offering challenging academic degree programs with the American Council of Trustees and Alumni rating the college’s curriculum with an “A” rating. A number of college publications, including Zippia, have ranked Bluefield College as one of the best nursing schools in Virginia, and the South in general.

Format: Fully Online
Program Accreditation: N/A (SACS regional accreditation)
Cost: $$$$$

9. George Mason University

With the online RN-BSN program from George Mason University\, nurses are able to earn a four-year degree at an accelerated pace. The 30-credit hours required can be finished in as little as two semesters of full-time study. Part-time options are available with CCNE-accredited classes being offered in a 7-week format. The quick pace and low in-state cost of George Mason University guarantees Virginia nursing students a high return on investment from one of the best nursing schools in Virginia.

George Mason University is a suburban college in Fairfax with enrollment rates rising steadily each year. International outreach is a strong component of the college’s mission with a satellite campus in Songdo, Korea. Due to the college’s close proximity to the nation’s capital, a large percentage of graduates secure jobs with the federal government.

Format: Online
Project Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

10. Virginia Commonwealth University

The online BSN program from Virginia Commonwealth University has been formatted in a way for students to complete their studies within six consecutive semesters. Part-time options are available, but require a minimum commitment of 32 credit hours per semester. Disease prevention, community health initiatives, healthcare policies, and patient care management are all studied in depth throughout the program. Virginia Commonwealth University’s online nursing school is highly respected in the job market.

Virginia Commonwealth University has an urban setting in Virginia’s capital city, making it a key part of the professional job market. The college is one of the top 100 public colleges in the nation and is home to VCU Medical Center, one of the largest academic-based healthcare facilities in the world. Dating back to 1838, when it began as Hampden-Sydney College’s medical school, the VCU Medical Center has been defining healthcare in the Commonwealth for nearly two centuries as well as one of the best nursing schools in Virginia.

Format: Fully Online
Program Accreditation: N/A (SACS regional accreditation)
Cost: $$$$$

11. Liberty University

Registered nurses who are ready to advance their careers choose Liberty University’s online RN-BSN degree program, one of the top online nursing schools in Virginia. The RN-BSN program is one of the best out of all nursing colleges in Virginia because students are able to transfer as many as 75 percent of credits already earned through an accredited program. Classes are done completely online with courses focusing on administrative and clinical areas of nursing. With accreditation through the CCNE, Liberty University’s BSN degree carries a large amount of credence in the field of nursing.

Liberty University is affiliated with the evangelical Baptist Church and does include a faith-based component to their curriculum. The college has recently undergone major renovations to offer new technology centers, a chapel, new academic building, and state-of-the-art athletic facilities. Students from around the country and the world study at Liberty University with a large number of degrees permitting online study with the potential for one to two week annual campus visits.

Format: Fully online
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

12. Stratford University

Stratford University is one of the few nursing schools in Virginia to offer BSN completion in three different formats: online, hybrid, and on campus. The Stratford University online BSN degree program is the most popular of the pathways since it gives working nurses the flexibility to continue with their current employers. Classes are accelerated with only 5 to 10 weeks needed to complete each one. Diagnostics, community nursing, and nursing leadership are a few highlights of the Stratford University curriculum. Stratford University is a great value for nurses since bachelor’s degrees can be conferred in 12 months time.

Stratford University is a private college with a mission to offer degree programs that correspond to the needs of the current job market. Online and hybrid degrees give students a chance to meet their work and family obligations while preparing for a better career. Stratford University uses strategic planning initiatives to best address the needs of students and put supports in place for improved professional development. Stratford University has a Virginia nursing school as well as satellite campuses throughout the Southeast.

Format: Online and Hybrid
Program Accreditation: N/A (SACS regional accreditation)
Cost: $$$$$

13. Shenandoah University

Shenandoah University’s hybrid BSN completion program is used to assist RNs with earning their four-year degrees. The nursing program is designed with those who need flexible scheduling and permits the student to attend a portion of his or her classes in-person and a portion online. On campus nursing classes are held in the university’s Health and Life Sciences Buildings—home to cutting-edge simulation suites. The low-cost per credit makes Shenandoah University a top Virginia nursing school choice.

Flexibility and diversity is at the foundation of Shenandoah University’s core values. The university offers over 150 programs of study to appeal to a broad student body. Professional development is emphasized with career counselors on hand to help place more than 80% of graduates within a year of degree conferment with the average starting salary exceeding $52,000 annually. That’s what makes Shenandoah one of the finest nursing schools in Virginia.

Format: Online Hybrid
Program Accreditation: N/A (SACS regional accreditation)
Cost: $$$$$

14. Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing

The online RN-BSN at Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing was created to fill the gap in leadership positions available in the nursing field. No class meetings are required and the program has a strong concentration on improved patient outcomes and health assessments. Full-time and part-time course scheduling is available with the option to complete the program in as little as three semesters. The Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing has a solid reputation as offering one of the best accelerated nursing programs, and best nursing schools, in Virginia.

The Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing was one of the very first training schools in the United States for nurses. In 2010, as the result of studies done on improved patient outcomes, this Virginia nursing school began to offer Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees. The Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing has retention and job placement rates that annually exceed 95%.

Format: Fully Online
Program Accreditation: N/A (SACS regional accreditation)
Cost: $$$$$

15. Sentara College of Health Sciences

The Sentara College of Health Sciences’ online BSN was created for students who face challenges juggling work while still pursuing a higher education. All classes are done online with admittance either in the spring or the fall. Additional clinicals are not required as part of the RN-BSN degree program with classes featuring specialized instruction on nursing leadership and community nursing skills. In 2017, Sentara College of Health Sciences boasted a RN to BSN graduate placement rate of 97%.

At Sentara College of Health Sciences, on campus courses are done in a clinical environment to offer hands-on experience to medical professionals. From certificate programs to master’s level degrees, the college helps further the education of healthcare providers at any stage of their careers. The college has a student body of less than 250, allowing for personalized attention for each student.

Format: Fully Online
Program Accreditation: N/A (SACS regional accreditation)
Cost: $$$$$

How Can I Find Online RN Programs in VA I Can Trust?

Finding a trustworthy RN program in VA requires applicants to use the same kind of diligence required to look for any type of education program. Applicants can easily narrow their nursing school choices in a number of ways. First, an applicant should know what program or degree they want and then look at the schools that offer them.

With a list of available nursing schools and programs in VA, an applicant can then start to narrow the search further. One of the most important considerations is accreditation. For accredited nursing schools Virginia is a good location. However, different types of nursing programs receive accreditation from different agencies. Two of the major national accrediting agencies include:

  • ACEN – Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, formerly the NLNAC
  • CCNE – Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

For accredited nursing schools Virginia uses the regional accrediting agency, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Other accrediting agencies exist as well, particularly for nursing specialization. Applicants should first look for one of the major national accreditations, followed by the regional. If a school or program has multiple accreditations, then that is even better.

This all also applies to online RN programs in VA. If an applicant wants to look for online RN programs in VA, then the applicant should remain cognizant of the need for official accreditation. That seal of approval and superior standards that accreditation represents is one of the most important aspects of choosing a good nursing school or program.

Are There Any Accelerated Nursing Programs in Virginia?

Accelerated nursing programs Virginia applicants have access to are wide and varied. The accelerated programs typically require between one year and one and a half years. These programs represent the quickest option for those pursuing a BSN. Online RN programs in VA are particularly suited to offering accelerated nursing programs.

For applicants who choose online accelerated nursing programs Virginia schools offer a challenging and intense environment. Accelerated programs help applicants earn their degree faster, but that speed comes with a rigorous program that includes all the study and relevant experience offered by other multiyear options.

As applicants develop their skills and knowledge, the accelerated program will prepare them for the NCLEX so they can graduate with their BS and proper licensing to become an RN.

Is It Hard to Get Into Nursing Schools in Virginia?

Undergraduate nursing schools and programs in Virginia will come with requirements, but those requirements can have some slight variations from school to school. In addition, nursing schools do not accept all applicants, so looking at acceptance rates can help as well. The nursing application process can be competitive and challenging anywhere, but organization and preparation can make it easier.

Beyond that, the type of nursing program an applicant seeks will have a bearing on the requirements as well. For example, there is a difference between choosing:

  • Traditional course with BSN as first degree
  • Traditional course with BSN as second degree
  • Course for RNs to complete a BSN
  • Accelerated BSN course

A good example of this is the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing. This school offers a path for all of the previously mentioned situations. In all cases, applicants must have a GPA of at least 2.5. In addition, applicants must have some credit hours in science courses.

The VCU nursing acceptance rate hovers around 80%, which means applicants have a very good chance of attending this particular school if they want to. Altogether, this is not a hard school to get into. However, different schools will have different application criteria and different acceptance rates.

Applicants should not assume the VCU nursing acceptance rate is representative of any other school’s acceptance rate. Nevertheless, getting into nursing schools in Virginia is not impossible for those that want to pursue their BSN.

Sandra Janowicz

Keeley Jones
Registered Nurse

Carrie Sealey-Morris