In Northern Virginia, aspiring nurses can find associate's and bachelor's programs that prepare them for registered nursing licensure exams. These programs combine classroom learning with hands-on, clinical experiences in nursing fields. Accelerated bachelor's programs are also available for practicing registered nurses (RNs). Master of Science in Nursing programs can be found in some Northern Virginia schools along with doctoral programs for students interested in advanced nursing education and careers. Graduate programs offer a variety of specializations for students interested in a specific field of nursing.
George Mason University
Based in Fairfax, Virginia, George Mason University was ranked one of the top 5 'up-and-coming institutions' in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. In 2011, U.S. News & World Report also ranked the School of Nursing graduate program as a Top Online Education Program. The School of Nursing, through the College of Health and Human Services, offers both undergraduate and graduate program options. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program prepares students for nursing careers in hospitals, long-term care centers and other healthcare facilities. Students must complete 120 credit hours in prerequisite, core and elective nursing courses, as well as general education courses. Clinical experiences working with diverse populations and in community-based programs are required. Accelerated options for the BSN are available for working RNs and candidates holding bachelor's degrees in non-nursing fields.
The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs offer the concentration areas of nursing administration, nurse educator, advanced clinical nursing and nurse practitioner; the nurse practitioner program features the further specializations of family nurse practitioner and adult nurse practitioner. Focused on leadership and research, the PhD in Nursing program familiarizes students with the process of conducting quantitative and qualitative nursing research, analyzing data and proposing healthcare policy changes based on their findings. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is intended for those individuals who wish to become expert clinical nurses. Students may concentrate in advanced clinical nursing, adult gerontology nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner or nursing administration.
Marymount University in Arlington is located right outside of the nation's capital. It was founded in 1950 and remains a coeducational Catholic institution. BSN program options are available for individuals at all points in their careers: high school graduates, current RNs and second-degree students. Typical nursing courses include nursing fundamentals, health assessment, pharmacology and illness management. Students are also required to complete clinical experiences, a capstone project and internship.
The MSN program allows students to become family nurse practitioners. The curriculum comprises lab and clinical experiences and prepares students for certification exams offered by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Nurses Credentialing Committee. Coursework includes advanced pathophysiology, health care data analysis and nursing research design. There is also a DNP program available for students who wish to focus on advanced clinical practice. Prior to graduation, all DNP candidates must prepare a manuscript and present it at a national conference.
Northern Virginia Community College
Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) has six campuses across northern Virginia, with its main campus located in Annandale. NVCC's Nursing Division offers a number of options for its associate's degree in nursing. The Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree program prepares students for nursing positions in diverse healthcare environments. The program usually takes two years to complete and covers topics such as nursing principles, nursing management, pharmacology and psychology. Clinical and hands-on lab experiences are required in this program. The AAS program may be completed through a traditional 4-semester track, an accelerated track with summer classes, a hybrid online track or a transfer track designed for students continuing into bachelor's programs. Graduates of all tracks of the program are eligible to sit for the Virginia nursing licensure examinations and pursue registered nursing (RN) positions.
According to the Virginia Board of Nursing, aspiring RNs in Northern Virginia are required to complete an approved educational program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs in order to obtain a license. RNs who want to work as nurse practitioners (NPs) in the state also need a license. Licensure requirements for NPs include a graduate degree in a selected advanced practice nursing field and a passing score on an approved certification exam, such as those offered by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American Nurses Credentialing Committee. The schools summarized below offer programs that prepare students for either the NCLEX-RN exams or the advanced practice certification exams.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Nursing Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees 2015-2016|
|George Mason University||4-year, public; large suburb|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice
PhD in Nursing
|$10,952 in-state undergraduate *
$31,598 out-of-state undergraduate*
$31,424 out-of-state graduate*
|Marymount University||4-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice
| Undergraduate: $28,310*
|Northern Virginia Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Nursing||$5,138 in-state*
Source: *NCES College Navigator