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Licensed Nurse Practitioner Requirements in Virginia

Virginia's Licensed Nurse Practitioners (LNPs) are under the joint jurisdiction of the Board of Nursing and the Board of Medicine. Nurse midwife and nurse anesthetist are considered nurse practitioner specialties; the Board recognizes eight other specialties, representing various populations and areas of practice.

Nurse practitioners are licensed on the basis of graduate education and specialty certification.

Clinical nurse specialists are not considered nurse practitioners. However, they are registered with the Board of Nursing.

Nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists are licensed as registered nurses. If the nurse's home state is another state that is party to the nurse license compact, the nurse will hold RN licensure in the other state.

The University of Southern California (Nursing@USC) Master of Science in Nursing (MSN-FNP) program addresses both the biomedical and social factors affecting patient health. This is a first of its kind blend of nursing and social work education. This program trains Family Nurse Practitioners to deliver care across the life span in a variety of settings. Click Here to contact Nursing@USC for more information.

Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Sciences has an online Family Nurse Practitioner Master's program. Graduates will be eligible to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) Family Nurse Practitioner certification exams. Click here to contact Nursing@Georgetown and request additional information.

Select a Virginia Nurse Practitioner Topic:

Nurse Practitioner Specialties

Virginia nurse practitioner licensing is not generic; licenses are issued with a specialty designation. According to state regulation, the following specialties are available to new applicants:

  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Geriatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

The Committee of the Joint Boards of Nursing and Medicine may consider other specialties that meet requirements described in state code.

Nurse Practitioner Education

A prospective nurse practitioner will need to complete a graduate program in a clinical specialty. The program must be approved. A program can be considered approved if it is accredited by an acceptable organization. The Joint Committee has approved the following agencies:

  • American College of Nurse Midwives
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs/Schools
  • National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission*

The licensing agency may approve other programs that are located within schools of nursing or are offered jointly by schools of nursing and schools of medicine and meet other minimal standards (acceptable accreditation, issuance of graduate degree).

*The NCNAC is now the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (http://www.acenursing.net/acenursing/ACEN).

Nurse Practitioner Certification

A nurse practitioner may be granted provisional licensure after completing educational requirements. However, full licensure depends on achieving national certification.

There are multiple nationally recognized organizations that offer advanced practice nursing certification in the various specialty areas. The Board accepts nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, and nurse anesthetist certification agencies that are recognized by the United States Department of Education or accepted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Currently, the list includes the following:

  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
  • American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Certification Corporation
  • American Midwifery Certification Board
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists
  • National Certification Corporation
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

The Joint Committee has the authority to recommend other certifications for approval. They must be examination-based; the certification agency must make completion of an approved program an eligibility requirement.

Provisional Nurse Practitioner Licensing

Graduates may be issued provisional licenses that will authorize practice until such time as 1) they are awarded permanent licensure 2) they receive notification of examination failure or 3) six months elapse.

An applicant seeking provisional licensure will need to have the certifying agency provide documentation of examination eligibility directly to the licensing agency.

Obtaining Prescriptive Authority

A Virginia nurse practitioner who holds current certification can be granted prescriptive authority.

A nurse practitioner can also be granted prescriptive authority on the basis of recent coursework in pharmacology or pharmacotherapeutics, whether or not the coursework was taken for academic credit. The licensing agency will look for one academic course or 30 contact hours. To be creditable, education must have been obtained during the prior five year period.

An experienced nurse practitioner may be granted prescriptive authority on the basis of recent practice and continuing education related to his or her practice area; the licensing agency will look for 1,000 hours of practice and 15 hours of continuing education during each of the preceding two years.

An LNP who holds prescriptive authority will need at least eight hours of pharmacology/ pharmacotherapeutics continuing education during each two year renewal period.

Out-of-State Nurse Practitioners

An out-of-state nurse practitioner can be licensed in Virginia on the basis of a current or lapsed out-of-state license if national certification is current. The license must be in good status or have lapsed while in good status.

The endorsement candidate will need to provide evidence of national certification in a specialty that is consistent with his or her education.

The Nurse Practitioner Application Process

The application process for initial NP licensure is now online (https://www.dhp.virginia.gov/nursing/nursing_forms.htm).

The applicant will need to provide evidence of national certification and qualifying education.

The LNP application fee is $125.

Renewal Requirements

Nurse practitioners must provide evidence of current certification, unless they were licensed in the past without national certification, in which case they will provide evidence of continuing education (https://www.dhp.virginia.gov/nursing/nursing_faq.htm).

A nurse practitioner who is licensed in another compact state must also provide evidence of continued licensing.

Clinical Nurse Specialist Requirements and Application Process

Prospective clinical nurse specialists are also required to pursue graduate education in nursing specialties and then seek national certification.

The clinical nurse specialist can apply online for Virginia registration.

Additional Information

Licensing information is available from the Virginia Board of Nursing (http://www.dhp.virginia.gov/nursing). Nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, and nurse midwife credentialing requirements are described in “Regulations Governing the Licensure of Nurse Practitioners” (http://www.dhp.virginia.gov/nursing/nursing_laws_regs.htm). Clinical nurse specialist information is found in the chapter "Regulations Governing the Practice of Nursing" (http://www.dhp.virginia.gov/nursing/nursing_laws_regs.htm_). Regulations change periodically; there were some revisions in 2015. The Board can be reached by telephone at (804) 367-4515 or by email at 'nursebd at dhp.virginia.gov'.

The state boasts multiple advanced practice professional associations:

Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners http://www.vcnp.net/

Virginia Affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives http://virginia.midwife.org/

Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists http://www.vana.org/

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