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Nursing License Requirements in WV: Become a Nurse in West Virginia!

In West Virginia, there are two different licensing agencies for nurses. The West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses licenses RNs. The West Virginia State Board of Examiners for Licensed Practical Nurses licenses LPNs (http://www.lpnboard.state.wv.us). The state currently has 11,726 PNs and 30,038 RNs.

West Virginia is not a nurse licensure compact state. Nurses need a license, or temporary permit, issued by the appropriate licensing agency in order to practice. Candidates who are licensed in other jurisdictions apply by endorsement. New graduates (and others who have not passed an acceptable exam) apply by examination.

As in other states, the NCLEX is the adopted exam. The RN Board posts pass rates by school. In 2012, West Virginia RN candidates had an 88.87% pass rate, just below the national average of 90.34%.

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The state has a nursing workforce center, aimed at recruitment and retention of nurses. Among the projects has been the development of a nurse residency model.

Students can visit the site of the West Virginia Center for Nursing to find scholarship information (http://www.wvcenterfornursing.org/scholarships/index.php).

Both RNs and LPNs may become members of the West Virginia Nurses Association. Affiliation is not ties to licensure.

LPN Requirements in West Virginia

LPN Education

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A prospective LPN should enroll in an accredited program. There is a list on the Board site. Click Here for the list of Nursing Schools in West Virginia. The Board requires, in addition to nursing education, secondary school education at the 10th grade level or higher. Nursing programs are expected to have evidence of high school education (or GED) on file.

Medical corpsmen are also eligible to apply for LPN status. One of the requirements is recent service (having been on active duty at least one year out of the prior three). Veterans candidates are requested to call the Board.

There are several factors to consider prior to selecting a practical nursing program. The article, LPN programs in West Virginia, will help you better understand these factors during your LPN program selection process.

Applying for the LPN License

Eventually, an LPN student will have a background check and apply to the West Virginia Board (http://www.lpnboard.state.wv.us). It costs $75 to apply for license by examination. There is an additional $10 charge for a temporary permit that allows an LPN to work pending NCLEX results.

The candidate will register separately for the NCLEX-PN (https://www.ncsbn.org/1202.htm). This will cost an additional $200. The Board notes that the original registration will remain open for 365 days. If the candidate hasn’t provided all the information necessary to determine eligibility by that time, it will close.

The candidate will wait for an ATT before attempting to schedule. The ATT should be issued within two weeks of the time that West Virginia deems the candidate eligible. It will grant the candidate a window of time in which to schedule.

An examination candidate who fails an attempt must return any temporary permit to the Board. However, the candidate is allowed to continue to retake the exam. The candidate must submit a one page application. Generally, a $75 fee is due to the West Virginia Board. However, there is no fee due on the 3rd attempt. (An exam fee must still be paid to the testing company.)

An international candidate is eligible for licensure if the candidate graduated from a program that 1) had the approval of its own jurisdiction and 2) meets West Virginia’s minimum standards. The latter is to be determined by a credential evaluation, carried out by one of the approved organizations (CGFNS, ERES, IREF, Joseph Silny and Associates). If the program was not carried out in English (with primarily English clinical experiences), the nurse will need to demonstrate language proficiency through testing. The candidate may provide evidence of successful performance on either the TOEFL or TOEIC in combination with the TSE. A VisaScreen certificate will also demonstrate English proficiency.

A candidate with questions may find the Board’s phone number easy to remember: 558-LPNs.

LPN by Endorsement

An LPN who is currently licensed in another state is eligible to be endorsed into West Virginia – and to practice under a temporary permit pending the arrival of some documentation. Maintaining the active license in another state is among the requirements for practicing prior to full endorsement.

The endorsement application can be completed online or via paper form. It must be accompanied by a $50 fee in an appropriate form. Personal checks are not accepted.

If the state of licensure does not use the Nursys online verification form, the candidate will need to submit a paper license verification form to the licensing agency.

RN License Requirements in WV

RN Education

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An RN candidate should complete an approved program. The RN Board has approved programs at the associate and baccalaureate levels (http://www.wvrnboard.com/images/schoolsfeb2013.pdf). Those already practicing as practical nurses will find some approved LPN to RN programs here as well. *Check the Board site for an updated approved program list as well (Click Here for the Board webpage listing Nursing Schools in West Virginia).

Generally, out-of-state programs undergo an equivalent process in their own state. If a student is doing clinical rotations in West Virginia, however, the program must have the prior authorization of the Board. The Boards notes that otherwise the student is an illegal practitioner. Approval is only granted to programs that are accredited by CCNE or NLNAC and also have the approval of their own state board (if the board in that jurisdiction does indeed carry out an approval process).

Read the "RN Programs in West Virginia" article to learn about factors to consider when choosing a Registered Nursing program.

Applying for RN Licensure

A criminal background check will be required before licensing. In-state candidates should schedule an appointment with the Board’s approved vendor, L-1 Identity Solutions. The scheduling can be done online.

Out-of-state candidates may have the prints done at a local law enforcement agency, as per instructions found in the application packet. The process may take longer. The RN Board will accept fingerprints done up to 12 months before the candidate’s graduation.

Forms are available on the site of the West Virginia RN Board (http://www.wvrnboard.com/default2.asp?active_page_id=57). The fee for license by examination is $51.50 (http://www.wvrnboard.com/). This is separate from the cost of the exam itself, which is $200 and payable to the testing company (http://www.pearsonvue.com/nclex/).

The application packet includes two certifications that must be filled out by others. The first one is to be signed by someone who has known the applicant for five or more years; it attests to good moral character. The second is to be given to the director or dean of the nursing program. It certifies that the applicant has graduated, or is expected to graduate; it also asks whether the candidate has been disciplined for academic dishonesty or is known to have committed misconduct.

A candidate who applies promptly can be issued a temporary permit, good for up to 90 days after graduation. If the candidate fails a first attempt at the NCLEX, the candidate will lose the privilege of working under a temporary permit. The candidate can test again. The candidate will need to reapply and pay additional fees. If the candidate fails two times, the RN Board will impose additional requirements before authorizing testing. The candidate will need a plan for remedying deficiencies. (The candidate will select one activity each from Category A and Category B which are listed in the application packet.)

International Applicants for Nursing Licensure in WV

Internationally educated RN candidates need to pursue certification by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) before applying to the West Virginia Board to take the NCLEX-RN.

Endorsement costs $60 (or $70 if the RN needs to begin work under a temporary permit).

Professional and Student Nursing Associations in West Virginia

West Virginia State Board of Nursing

West Virginia State Nurses Association

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