How to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Virginia

Nurse practitioners, also referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN), can perform several tasks beyond the responsibilities of a registered nurse. These include performing physical exams, prescribing medication, and making diagnoses. Read this article to learn how to become a nurse practitioner in Virginia.


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    Graduate from high school. Alternatively, you can pass the General Education Development (GED) exam. While in high school, pay special attention to science courses like physiology, biology, and chemistry. Your performance in these types of courses will serve as an indicator of whether a career in medicine is right for you.
    • Take the SATs, the required standardized test for college admissions, your junior year and apply to various schools in order to increase your likelihood of acceptance.
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    Get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. These programs typically take four to five years to complete. Specific courses and requirements will vary between schools, but typical coursework includes pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology.[1] Students will gain both theoretical and practical training in nursing, and meet some of the necessary requirements for RN (registered nurse) certification.[2]
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    Become a registered nurse. You will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become a registered nurse.[3] Completion of this exam is necessary before you can pursue a graduate program in nursing or get advanced nursing licensure.[4]
    • You will need to complete at least one year of work as a registered nurse before you can be eligible to become a nurse practitioner.[5]
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    Complete a graduate degree in nursing.[6] Graduate programs will either earn you a master's degree in nursing or a doctorate of nursing.[7] These programs usually take 2 to 3 years to complete, and include both classroom instruction and clinical training.[8] Coursework includes healthcare management, pathophysiology, and advanced pharmacology.[9]
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    Get board certified. Once you have completed a graduate program in nursing, you will need to pass the national certification examination for nurse practitioners in order to become a licensed nurse practitioner.[10][11]
    • The state of Virginia requires that nurse practitioner licenses be renewed every two years.[12] License renewal requires a $145 fee, and the completion of 8 hours of continuing education credits.[13]


  • There are several scholarships available to qualified candidates pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner. Refer to the Virginia Department of Health for a complete list of scholarships, applications, and scholarship guidelines.
  • Consider interviewing a nurse practitioner in your desired specialty. This will help you verify job requirements, job responsibilities, and whether you are pursuing the right track for you.
  • Several organizations are qualified to administer the nurse practitioner licensing exam. These include the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).[14]

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Categories: Health Care