Nursing Schools in West Virginia
Registered nursing is expected to continue its alarming growth in the health care industry over the course of the next decade. You can get started in this exciting career field in under two years by earning a diploma or certification and passing the NCLEX-RN licensing exam. Upon graduation and licensing as a registered nurse, you can start working with an employer as you continue your education. Experience is key in making the most of your career and this path ensures that you start earning it as early as possible. Though this particular path may not be for everyone, continuing your education to earn a BSN, MSN, DNP or PhD in Nursing should be part of any registered nursing career plan.
With around 18,000 total registered nurses working in West Virginia, the state’s population is feeling the side effects of the lack of access to basic health care for the almost 2 million residents as a result of this shortage in RNs. Fortunately, the average income for registered nurses in the state is almost $55,000 a year and that number is driving more and more students towards an education in nursing. Your education and the experience you bring to a new position will have a significant impact on where you fall on the income scale, so look for an education that will provide plenty of hands on experience, or pursue entry level positions in related fields until you reach the educational level you are striving for.
You will likely find the least competition for positions in Charleston and Parkersburg as they have the lowest percentage of registered nurses relative to the population. On the other hand, Weirton and Huntington may cause registered nurses to compete more aggressively for positions as they are the cities with the highest percentage of RNs relative to their population. There is some reason to look at the more competitive areas though, Huntington and Charleston have the highest median salaries in the state. Use this information as a way to more effectively search for an employer.
Other relevant information that may help you on your career path is listed here. The following employers rank among the top 20 in the state, regardless of industry; Ruby Day Surgery Center in Morgantown, Charleston Area Medical Center in Charleston, St. Mary Medical Center in Huntington, United Hospital Center in Bridgeport, Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling and Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston. While these aren’t the only employers you should consider, they are some of the largest and likely have constant positions they need to fill.
Paying for College
Tuition and other education related expenses are a necessary stress that comes with any education. Talk to your employer about potential tuition assistance programs that may be offered if you study in a related field. As you explore potential educational facilities, look to their financial aid department for unique loans, scholarships and grants that are only offered to students enrolling in their programs. Finally, look here for loans, scholarships and loan repayment options offered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Loan repayment options are especially important as they offer multiple benefits for you and the community you serve. By working in an underserved area over the course of a two year commitment upon graduation and licensure, you will be awarded a large payment towards your educational debt. In addition, the experience that you earn during this tour will give you a leg up on the competition as employers will value it very highly.
You will find that many colleges offer their programs nationwide, often through online degree programs. Check the schools listed as part of this article to see if they meet your particular goals. You may find that online colleges give you the freedom to earn your education on your schedule, which may be key for busy working professionals. If you are looking for something closer to home, explore the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses site. You will find a listing of all of the state approved nursing programs listed by education level. Each student is unique, and the learning goals will be specific for each, if you don’t see what you are looking for on the colleges listed in this article, you may find something else on the VRNBoard’s site. Keep in mind, the national online colleges often have campuses near you, so if you want to ensure that you can attend classes in person, you should still find that option available, regardless of what path you choose.