How Much Registered Nurses Make in Virginia

A nurse covering her face with the Virginia logo on it
A nurse covering her face with the Virginia logo on it

Registered nurses (RNs) are among the most trusted members of our communities. A Gallup poll published in 2023 showed that nurses continue to be perceived as the most ethical occupation, a distinction they have held for two decades. It’s easy to understand why the public values nursing so highly— nurses assess patient needs, make critical decisions, coordinate care within a healthcare team, advocate for their patients, and implement treatment plans. It’s crucial work, and nurses do it with competence, compassion, and pride. 

Employers in Virginia understand that attracting and retaining the best nurses is essential for high quality patient care (As they should —after all, staffing hospitals appropriately reduces the length of hospital stays and improves patient outcomes, which saves healthcare dollars in the long run). Nursing salaries in Virginia are some of the highest in the country, with some areas often offering nurses six figures. But how much do most nurses make in Virginia? 

The typical RN in Virginia earns between $70,000 and $80,000 annually. Most nurses in the state also have access to employee-sponsored benefit, such as health insurance and retirement funds. RNs working near the Arlington or D.C. areas earn 19% more than the national average salary for a registered nurse, drawing an average of $92,800 per year. And 22% of nurses in Virginia earn more than $100,000 annually. 

The range of what a nurse can earn in Virginia can vary according to their location, the population they serve the level of education they achieve. Let’s look at the outlook and salary expectations for RNs licensed in Virginia. 


What is the job outlook for nursing in Virginia?

Population growth combined with aging residents means a higher percentage of the population in Virginia will need healthcare in the next ten years. The state is growing at a rate of 1.15% each year and ranks 13th in the nation for population growth. According to Lightcast™ Labor Insights, Virginia expects a 10% increase in RN jobs by 2033. Additionally, half of the current nursing workforce plans to retire by 2047. These two factors combined will make it difficult for the nursing workforce to grow fast enough to keep up with demand. Many Virginia counties already have an exceptionally high amount of openings, including Fairfax, Chesterfield, and Norfolk. Nearly three-quarters of all nurses licensed in Virginia work in Central Virginia, Northern Virginia, or Hampton Roads. 

Nurses working in more urbanized areas tend to command higher salaries, and Virginia is no exception. Nurses who work in Washington, D.C. often opt to live outside the District’s limits and reside in nearby cities like Arlington and Alexandria, where they can enjoy a slightly lower cost of living while commanding a higher annual wage than their counterparts working in rural or suburban areas. This particular metropolitan area ranks 10th in the nation for employment of registered nurses. Marymount University nursing students who complete their clinical hours and their one-week residency at the Arlington campus get a taste of the beauty of Arlington, and many choose to stay in the area after their studies are complete. 

According to 2022 data from Virginia’s Department of Health Professions, the outlook for a nursing career in this state is outstanding. Nurses who live or work in Virginia report high job satisfaction, with 91% saying they are pleased in their profession. 

Part of why nurses in VA are so well-compensated could have something to do with their high level of education. If you’re considering becoming a nurse in Virginia, you should know that 69% of nurses in that state have a BSN or higher. Qualified candidates who have earned a BSN will be in higher demand than ADN-trained nurses. 

Nurses who hold an MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) or a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) can also expect to be in high demand, making a strong case for nurses to continue their education beyond a BSN. Nurse practitioners (NPs) in Virginia earn an average mean wage of $116,980 annually. Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) can also expect to earn more than $100,000 per year. 


How to become a nurse in Virginia

If you want to take advantage of the current hiring conditions for nurses in Virginia, you might want to act quickly. 

If you already hold a bachelor’s degree, you can leverage that education to join the nursing workforce through an Accelerated Bachelor of Science (ABSN) program. These second-degree programs focus on bringing students through a rigorous curriculum laser-focused on the nursing essentials. Coursework is immersive, challenging, and meant to prepare you well for the nursing workforce.

Marymount University offers one of the fastest online ABSN programs in Virginia, so you can change careers in just 16 months.

Limit your commute by traveling to our main campus in Arlington, Virginia, nestled among influential organizations and healthcare providers, for one in-person residency. Balance your commitments with convenient access to online courses and clinical hours in Virginia that are required to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) exam and become a licensed registered nurse.