MSN Programs West Virginia

As a registered nurse, you might be considering ways to take your career to the next level. One of the primary pathways to career advancement is to complete a master of science in nursing (MSN) program. This graduate program is essential for advanced practice, but it requires a substantial investment of time and money. The degree prepares students to make a difference in the lives of others, from a specialized standpoint, and lead the next generation of nurses. Graduates are eligible to assume advanced roles in nursing leadership, education, or clinical practice. Based on the program focus that you choose, you can pursue career opportunities as an administrator, clinical nurse leader, researcher, nurse practitioner, or instructor. You’ll have the confidence to direct healthcare teams, make critical decisions, and lead innovations.

What are some other incentives to enroll in a challenging MSN program? Consider your role as a registered nurse. Your primary duties will involve support services to physicians and other medical professionals. With an MSN degree and a title as an advanced practice registered nurse, you’ll have the autonomy to manage a wider scope of responsibilities. Keep in mind that APRNs in West Virginia do not have the full practice authority as other states. However, the state made strides in 2016, joining other states in the broadening of the legal scope of practice for nurse practitioners. Under the new provisions, qualified NPs can establish independent practices with only a few restrictions. To qualify, you must practice for 36 months (3 years) in a formal collaborative agreement with a physician. This period of collaborative practice is designed to develop clinical knowledge. Limited Prescriptive Authority is also available – under specific provisions outlined later on in this guide.

A postgraduate degree may not be a requirement for career advancement in many professions, but it is a growing trend in nursing mainly due to increased complexities in the healthcare system. Nurses need advanced degrees to collaborate effectively with other healthcare professionals and lead and coordinate teams. Apart from having a master’s degree for specialized care, you’ll find that employment opportunities at prestigious hospitals require an MSN degree at minimum. Therefore, getting the degree is in your best interest.

Specialty tracks in the MSN program provide in-depth studies in your chosen area so you’ll become an expert in your field. Your expertise will then increase your salary earning potential. One study found that for advanced specialties, such as Certified Nurse Anesthetists, the salary was almost twice that of a registered nurse. Ultimately, your decision to pursue the MSN will rest on your personal interests and professional goals. It truly is the next step to career advancement and specialized practice.

Specialized Learning

There are now more than one ways to earn an advanced nursing degree. MSN programs are available in accelerated formats, traditional formats, online delivery, part-time and full-time to cater to adult, working students. On the surface, the MSN is similar to other master’s level program in that it traditionally requires two years to complete. The duration depends a lot on the point of entry. If you’re entering with an associate’s degree in nursing, your completion time will be longer than if you entered with a BSN degree. The multiple points of entry are what makes the nursing program different from other traditional master’s programs.

While the MSN program offers numerous specialty tracks, all of them will commence with general topics, such as pharmacology, population health promotion, evidence-based practice methods, advanced pharmacotherapeutics, and healthcare leadership. As a part of the program, you’ll also be expected to complete clinical rotation hours, which can vary from 500 to 1000 hours depending on your specialty. The clinical rotations will be performed under the supervision of a preceptor.

Your choice of program is critical. The program must satisfy the requirements to sit the corresponding certification exams. The MSN degree and national certification from an accredited organization will confirm your eligibility to care for the specific patient population in a role that you’re passionate about. The specialized coursework and extensive clinical rotations will help you to prepare for the role. Examples of clinical roles you can pursue include family nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, pediatric acute care nurse practitioner, women’s health nurse practitioner, and certified nurse midwife. If you’re seeking a more administrative role, you might consider a degree to become a clinical nurse leader, public health nursing, or nursing informatics. More than the academics, you’ll gain valuable professional experience to add to your resume.

To obtain an MSN degree, you’ll have to choose from one of the following options:

RN to MSN: For practicing nurses who already have an associate degree in nursing program, the RN-to-MSN program provides a fast track to the graduate degree without having to earn a bachelor’s degree first. This program requires a greater investment of time and money than the direct-entry program since the material will be more intensive.

Direct Entry MSN: The direct entry pathway is the most common as nurses typically go for the masters after completing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Some programs will also admit students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and qualify them to take the NCLEX-RN as well as the certification exam for the area of focus.

Post-Master’s Certificate: The post-master’s certificate program provides an excellent opportunity for nurses with a master’s degree to gain additional knowledge and skills in another concentration in preparation for a new clinical role. The new role may be related to or entirely from their current role. The post-master’s plan of study is personalized for each student – based on previous study and experience. Graduates will have the option to sit a certification exam in the focus area.

Summary of Enrollment Criteria

  • A bachelor’s of science in nursing from a nationally accredited program
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA on all college coursework attempted
  • A current unencumbered registered nursing license
  • Complete 3 credits of undergraduate statistics
  • A completed graduate application
  • The graduate application fee
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae
  • An essay outlining how the MSN will help you to meet your goals
  • Three letters of reference
  • Official transcript from all institutions attended for undergraduate and graduate coursework

How Much Do MSN Programs Cost?

Advanced nursing degrees are a huge investment. They can cost thousands of dollars and leave you in debt. The good news is that they will pay for themselves in a few years. There are many options to relieve the costs, including employer reimbursement, loans, financial aid, grants for graduate nurses, and scholarships. At West Virginia University, the cost of tuition is $5,733 per semester for resident students enrolled in a graduate nursing program – based on 9 credit hours.

Requirements For Advanced Practice Registered Nurses West Virginia

As a candidate for licensure as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in West Virginia, you must have completed an advanced nursing education program and be recognized, licensed or certified in an advanced practice or a certified nurse midwife by West Virginia or another state before December 31, 2012. It is unlawful to practice or offer to practice or use a title as an advanced practice professional if you are not licensed under the provisions of the West Virginia Nurse Practice Act.

To obtain a license to practice as an APRN, you must submit an application (online registration) to the Board, the established application fee, and attest to your submission of accurate data. Ensure that you meet the following requirements before submitting your application to the Board – including documents that demonstrate satisfactory evidence of your claims:

(1) Be licensed in good standing as the registered professional nurse;

(2) Have successfully completed a master’s degree in nursing or doctor of nursing practice program that is accredited by a board-approved national accreditation body;

(3) Have current certification from a board-approved national certifying organization in one or more of the accepted advanced practice role: certified registered nurse anesthetist, certified nurse-midwife, clinical nurse specialist or certified nurse practitioner.

  • If you do not have a registered nurse license in West Virginia or any other state, you must submit an application packet for licensure as a registered nurse.
  • If you hold a current license in another state, submit an Endorsement application to transfer your license to West Virginia
  • If your West Virginia RN license has expired, submit an application to Reinstate your License.

Guidelines for Initial APRN Licensure  

  • Navigate to the Online Portal to commence the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse License Initial Application
  • Fill out all the fields – incomplete submissions will delay the processing of your application
  • Pay the license processing fee of $35 using a credit card or debit card
  • Request an official hard copy of your transcript from the graduate program to be sent directly to the Board’s office. The Board will not accept digital transcripts
  • Request official verification of your national certification to be sent directly from the accredited certifying organization to the Board’s office
  • If you answered “yes” to any questions that require documentation, upload the narrative statements related to the question(s) that you answered in the affirmative. For “yes” responses to legal matters, you must submit certified court documents to the Board’s office.

Guidelines for APRN Licensure by Endorsement

  • Navigate to the Online Portal to commence the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse License Initial Application
  • Fill out all the fields – incomplete submissions will delay the processing of your application
  • Pay the license processing fee of $35 using a credit card or debit card
  • Request an official hard copy of your transcript from the graduate program to be sent directly to the Board’s office. The Board will not accept digital transcripts
  • Request official verification of your national certification to be sent directly from the accredited certifying organization to the Board’s office
  • Request verification of APRN license from every state Board of Nursing in which you hold or have previously held an advanced practice license. Verification from each state must be sent directly from the licensing agency to the Board’s office
  • If you answered “yes” to any questions that require documentation, upload the narrative statements related to the question(s) that you answered in the affirmative. For “yes” responses to legal matters, you must submit certified court documents to the Board’s office.

Prescriptive Authority

If you need prescriptive authority to prescribe controlled and non-controlled substances, you must submit an online Prescriptive Authority Application.

Instructions for Prescriptive Authority without a Collaborative Agreement:

Apply for prescriptive authority without a collaborative agreement, if you have practiced for at least three years under a collaborative agreement with prescriptive authority in WV or another state where you are eligible to have prescriptive authority. Provide documentation to verify your collaborative agreement. Acceptable documentation includes:

  1. A copy of the collaborative agreement verifying 36 months of duly-documented relationship with approved prescriptive authority; or
  2. A letter attesting to at least 36 months in a collaborative relationship with granted prescriptive authority. The letter must indicate the name and license number of at least one physician, duration of the collaborative relationship, and your signature and date.

To place a request for Prescriptive Authority with the Board:

  • Navigate to the Online Portal to commence the Prescriptive Authority Privilege Initial Application
  • Fill out all the fields – incomplete submissions will delay the processing of your application
  • Pay the processing fee of $125 using a credit card or debit card
  • Fill out the APRN application if you do not have a license
  • Request verification of APRN license with prescriptive authority privilege from every state Board of Nursing in which you hold or have previously held an advanced practice license. Verification from each state must be sent directly from the licensing agency to the Board’s office
  • If you answered “yes” to any questions that require documentation, upload the narrative statements related to the question(s) that you answered in the affirmative. For “yes” responses to legal matters, you must submit certified court documents to the Board’s office
  • Scan, save and upload official certificates demonstrating that you completed 15 contact hours of advanced pharmacology within 2 years of your application submission. The certificates must designate pharmacology hours.

Instructions for Prescriptive Authority requiring a Collaborative Agreement:

To place a request for Prescriptive Authority with the Board:

  • Navigate to the Online Portal to commence the Prescriptive Authority Privilege Initial Application
  • Fill out all the fields – incomplete submissions will delay the processing of your application
  • Pay the processing fee of $125 using a credit card or debit card
  • Fill out the APRN application if you do not have a license
  • Request verification of APRN license with prescriptive authority privilege from every state Board of Nursing in which you hold or have previously held an advanced practice license. Verification from each state must be sent directly from the licensing agency to the Board’s office
  • Download and complete the collaborative agreement form with your collaborative physician and a notary. Mail the original completed signed notarized form to the Board’s office
  • If you answered “yes” to any questions that require documentation, upload the narrative statements related to the question(s) that you answered in the affirmative. For “yes” responses to legal matters, you must submit certified court documents to the Board’s office
  • Scan, save and upload official certificates demonstrating that you completed 15 contact hours of advanced pharmacology within 2 years of your application submission. The certificates must designate pharmacology hours
  • Obtain a hard copy of a letter from the Dean or Director of your graduate program documenting that you completed pharmacology as part of your graduate practicum. This is to be sent in addition to the uploaded pdf file.

Continuing Education Requirements for APRNs West Virginia

To renew your APRN license, you must meet the following continuing education requirements:

  • Complete a minimum of 24 contact hours of CEs within the last renewal cycle. The CEs must include 12 hours of pharmacotherapeutics – 8 hours will be used for renewing and reinstating Limited Prescriptive Authority. The other 12 hours must be in clinical management of patients. All continuing education hours must be completed with an approved continuing education provider that is approved by the Board.

The CE may be completed in one or more courses. However, the agenda must clearly describe the content and number of hours related to 12 hours of pharmacotherapeutics and 12 hours of clinical management approved by an RN CE provider. The target population must include advanced practice registered nurses. Your APRN CEs may be used to fulfill the requirements for renewing your RN license.

Approved RN CE providers (not exhaustive):

National APRN certification bodies:

  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
  • American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • National Board of Certification & Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA)
  • National Certification Corporation (NCC)
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)
  • American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA

Do not send your CE certificates to the Board. Print and keep your certificates in a safe place to present if contacted for an audit. The WV Board performs audits annually based on a random selection of licensees. 

Continuing Education Requirements for Renewing RN License:

You must renew your RN license and meet the continuing education requirements to maintain your APRN licensure.

  • Complete 12 hours of continuing education for each renewal period (1 year)
  • The CE must include 2 hours for mental health conditions common to veterans and their families, 3 hours initially followed by 1 hour yearly for best prescribing and drug diversion training if you prescribe, administer or dispense controlled substances.

APRN Renewal Requirements West Virginia

Your APRN/RXA license expires on June 30 of every odd year. You must initiate renewal online between May 1 and June 30 to continue practicing as an APRN. Pay the renewal fee of $35 using a credit card or debit to complete your request. Prescriptive Authority costs $125.

Remember that you must maintain a valid RN license to practice as an APRN. RN licenses expire on October 31 annually. The renewal period begins on September 1, and you must renew by October to prevent your license from expiring. The RN renewal fee is $65. Reinstatement of a lapsed license costs $115.

Contact the Board of Nursing

West Virginia Board Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses

90 MacCorkle Avenue, SW, Suite 203
South Charleston, WV 25303
Phone: 304-744-0900
Fax: 304-744-0600

MSN Programs West Virginia

Buckhannon, WV MSN programs:
West Virginia Wesleyan College
59 College Avenue, Buckhannon, WV 26201
304-473-8000

Huntington, WV MSN programs:
Marshall University
One John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25755
1-800-642-3463

Morgantown, WV MSN programs:
West Virginia University- Morgantown
P.O. Box 9600, Morgantown, WV 26506
1-304-293-4831

Wheeling, WV MSN programs:
Wheeling Jesuit University
Address: 316 Washington Avenue, Wheeling, WV 26003
800-624-6992

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