Registered Nurse Certification in How to Become an RN in West Virginia: Nursing License Application and Renewal Guide

The registered nursing (RN) certification is provided by the West Virginia RN Board, which works towards protecting and promoting welfare, safety, and public health by regulating certified professional nurses. Licensure serves as the validation of demonstrated skills, experience, and knowledge that every RN should possess. There are many accredited schools that offer each type of nursing degree, which are: 

  • Associate’s degrees in nursing (ADN);
  • Bachelor’s degrees in nursing (BSN);
  • Licensed practical nursing degrees (LPN);
  • Registered nurse (RN);
  • Master’s of Science in nursing degrees (MSN);
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees (DNP).

Based on 2018 estimates, RNs in West Virginia earned an average of $60,380 annually, which is less than the national average salary for RNs.

West Virginia Licensing Board, Office, or Authority

The West Virginia RN Board makes it their mission to “promote and protect public health, safety, and welfare through the regulation of registered professional nurses and dialysis technicians.” They can be contacted at:
90 MacCorkle Ave. SW, Suite 203
South Charleston, WV 25303
Tel: (304) 744-0900 or 1 (877) 743-6877
Fax: (304) 744-0600

Registered Nurse Education Requirements

The national certification standards for an RN require that prospective students obtain a degree from an accredited agency and/or nursing school that the West Virginia State Board approves, whether the school is in-state or otherwise. In order to qualify for these state-approved programs, applicants must complete the application for licensure (by examination or endorsement).

  • Complete the corresponding nursing school’s application;
  • Declare their nursing major;
  • Send in ACT or SAT scores and high school transcript to the ideal university;
  • Successfully finish courses in an undergraduate program of study.

It is important to keep in mind that each school/university may have its own requirements that must be met prior to admittance — applicants will want to research these requirements to make sure each one has been met.

RN Licensure by Examination

Obtaining a nursing license by examination is just one way students are able to get their license. To do so, students must complete the following examination requirements:

  • Submit the requisite non-refundable fee of $75;
  • Complete and submit an online application (paper applications are no longer available);
  • Complete criminal background check;
  • Provide your U.S. Social Security number;
  • Attach identification photograph (passport type) to the application form;
  • Must be a citizen or legal resident of the United States;
  • Graduated from an accredited nursing program;
  • Request an official transcript from your nursing program and have it sent to the ABN in a sealed envelope (transcripts that are faxed are not accepted);
  • Register with Pearson VUE and pay the $200 required fee.

Fingerprinting and Background Checks

All applicants will need to complete a fingerprinting and background check. This needs to be done by:

  • Scheduling an appointment;
  • Entering service code 228NJX to get started;
  • Selecting ‘Schedule or Manage Appointment’ to schedule an appointment;
  • Writing down your confirmation number and taking it with you to your fingerprint appointment;
  • State and federal background checks are now all electronic;
  • License applicants whose fingerprint submissions are rejected twice by Idemia i.e. IdentoGO, must contact the WV RN Board directly at or call them at (304) 744-0900.

It can take 2 – 3 business days for the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses to receive the results.

Approved Exams

The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is an exam used by Nursing Regulatory Bodies to test the competence of entry-level nursing candidates. The NCLEX exam is an exclusive computerized adaptive test. When taking the exam, one must answer a minimum of 75 questions. Their level of understanding of those 75 questions will determine whether or not you will be required to answer more questions. Practice questions for the test may be accessed online for free ahead of time to help applicants prepare.

Applying to Take a Certification Exam

When registering to take the NCLEX-RN exam, applicants will need to:

  • Submit an application for licensure/registration to the Nursing Regulatory Body where they wish to be licensed/registered;
  • Meet all of the Nursing Regulatory Body’s eligibility requirements to take the NCLEX Examination;
  • Register and pay for the NCLEX examination with Pearson VUE;
  • Receive eligibility from their Nursing Regulatory Body.

Testing Vendors and Proctors

There are two testing locations in West Virginia:

Pearson Professional Centers-Charleston WV
300 Summers Street
Suite 430
BB&T Square
Charleston, West Virginia 25301
United States

Pearson Professional Centers-Morgantown WV
150 Clay Street
Suite 420
The Jackson & Kelly Building
Morgantown, West Virginia 26501
United States

Applying for Licensure

Applicants will fill out the application that consists of the following categories:

  • License type;
  • Education;
  • Exam and temporary permits;
  • Regulatory questions;

After filling out these sections, the applicant will be prompted to preview the application to check it for errors. After verifying that everything is indeed correct, the applicant may then submit the application with the appropriate fees attached.

RN Licensure by Endorsement (Out-of-State Applicants)

All candidates applying for RN licensure by endorsement must follow the below procedure:

  • Complete the endorsement application form;
  • Pay the required fee of $50;
  • Attach a colored 2″ x 2″ passport type photograph and sign it across the face on the bottom of the photo.

RN License Renewal

All RN licenses in West Virginia expire on October 31st every year. In order to renew licenses, nurses are required to complete:

  • 12 contact hours from a continuing education provider approved by the Board; or
  • 6 contact hours from any CE provider approved by the Board, which includes two contact hours of self-study and any 1 of the following within the specified time period:
    • National certification received initially or throughout the entire reporting period;
    • Complete at least one nursing research project as principal investigator, project director, or co-investigator;
    • Publish an article related to nursing in a national healthcare or nursing journal;
    • Develop and present a professional presentation which must be related to nursing education;
    • Contribute as a clinical preceptor for at least one new employee or one student undergoing orientation and have 120 hours of one-on-one correspondence as a clinical preceptor during the specified reporting period;
    • Proof of assessment of employment covering a minimum of six months of the reporting period;
    • Complete re-entry or refresher course in the nursing field which must be approved by the Board.

Continuing Education Requirements

In West Virginia, registered nurses are required to complete continuing education (CE) credits in order to renew their license. To do so they must abide by the following requirements:

  • Complete 12 hours of CE courses;
  • Complete two contact hours of CE for mental health conditions common to veterans and their families;
  • Complete three contact hours initially and then one contact hour per year after.

West Virginia Nursing License Verification

To verify your RN license in West Virginia, you may use any of the following online methods:

quick RN guide links