Practical Nursing (Certificate)

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question to read the answer.

What are the minimum academic requirements to be considered for the program?

A high school diploma or GED. Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. Most recent college GPA must be ≥ 2.0 (if completed at least 12 credit hours). High school graduates who earned less than a 2.0 GPA during high school will be considered for admission if they have generated a college GPA of 2.0 or above based on 12 or more credits. The GPA is determined at the end of the summer semester (2022). Please Note:  For spring 23 only, we will allow the GPA to be used at the end of summer 22 for spring 23 consideration. 

The following high school courses with a grade of “C” or higher: Algebra I (or MDE 10) and Biology (or BIO 101/NAS 2). Appropriate developmental or college course equivalents can be substituted. Must be completed by the end of Fall 2022 to be eligible for the Spring 2023 program. Please note that the Algebra I (or MDE 10) and Biology must be completed within five years prior to spring 23. Older coursework will need to be repeated to be within the five year limit prior to beginning the program in spring 2023.

Are there additional requirements?

Yes. You must submit a handwritten essay with your program application and official transcripts. Instructions are provided on the back of the program application form. This must be submitted prior to the September 1 deadline. Applicants being considered will be required to take an entrance examination (Kaplan) in the fall. All eligible applicants may be asked to attend a personal interview with the program faculty in the fall. However, please note that interviews have not been conducted since 2020.

When should I apply?

Deadline for all materials is September 1. Early application is encouraged for advising purposes. If you apply now, this will allow us to help you plan and suggest proper courses to begin your studies. Current enrollment in missing prerequisites is not required to apply early, but must be successfully completed before entering the program. You may benefit from advising by the Pre-Practical Nursing advisor, who will be able to discuss your transcript(s), placement testing, prerequisites, support classes, etc. and complete any needed transfer evaluations for you (if applicable).

Is admission to the program very competitive?

Approximately eighteen (18) students will be admitted to the Practical Nursing class that will begin January 2023. Meeting the program admission standards does not guarantee program admission.

Who makes the admission decisions? When are the results given to the applicants? How long is the program?

Admission decisions are made by the Practical Nursing Admissions Committee, which meets in December. Admission decisions are mailed to the applicants as soon as possible, usually by the end of December. The program that begins in the spring of each year, is 18 months in length (January to following May). We do not offer a part-time program at this time.

Will I need to take any courses to be eligible for the program?

Some applicants may need developmental courses for math or English (prior to prerequisites or support courses), which can be determined by reviewing your high school transcripts with a counselor, if graduated within the last five years. Outside of five years, direct enrollment upon your Virginia Western application will assist with math placement and also working with an Advisor. A review of your transcripts after application will assist in determining if you lack the required prerequisites (Algebra I and Biology) or if they have not been completed within the five year time-frame. If you need to establish a 2.0 GPA, please speak to the advisor to determine appropriate coursework. Applicants interested in taking additional curricular support courses prior to knowing if they are accepted are encouraged to work with the advisor to see if taking support classes is practical based on their individual circumstances (taking in consideration whether they are part-time, full-time, financial circumstances, holding a job, etc.). Some students elect to take some of the general education courses such as ENG 111, PSY 230, PHI 220, and SDV 101 before beginning the program, but they are not treated as prerequisites. Note: The eighteen month curriculum will be very intense and taking the support courses prior to admission can lessen the academic burden during that time. However, please note that completion of the support classes may impact your ability, if accepted, to remain part-time in the program due to less than six credit hours in a semester.

Should I be concerned if I have a felony or misdemeanor on my record?

The Board of Nursing can deny licensure to any applicant who has filed false credentials, who has falsely represented facts on the application for licensure, and/or has committed a felony or misdemeanor. Some health care facilities may not employ individuals who have committed certain criminal acts and may conduct criminal background checks before hiring. Criminal background checks and urine drug screens are required for entrance into some clinical agencies. Students who have convictions may be prohibited from clinical agencies and may not complete the certificate program. If you wish to discuss this issue, you may call the LPN Program Head at 540-857-6176.

How do I obtain licensure as a licensed practical nurse?

You must successfully complete an approved Practical Nursing education program and pass a licensure exam, which is administered by the National Council of the State Board of Nursing. You must apply to the regulatory board of the state in which you plan to practice. The general requirements include personal, character, and criminal background information. Application for the licensure examination will be provided toward the end of the fourth semester in the Practical Nursing program. Board application and NCLEX exam fees are the student’s responsibility.

Does VWCC have a transition program for LPNs who want to become RNs? What would be required?

Students must have a current LPN license (or anticipate LPN graduation and passing their board exam) and meet all prerequisite and GPA requirements to be considered for the transition curriculum. If you need more information, please view the transition website.

What process do I follow if I want to apply for a future year?

If you are interested in taking classes to prepare for future entry into the program, but you are unsure when you will be eligible, please submit the current application form with the appropriate transcripts. This will allow us to help you plan and suggest proper courses to begin your studies.

What is the policy regarding non-discrimination?

Applicants for admission to the practical nursing program are considered for class positions based on their ability to meet program admissions standards, without regard to race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, or other non-merit factors.


Est. Tuition*: $
Credits: 48 Hours
Time: 1.5 Years

*Estimated cost reflects in-state rate and is subject to change

 Fralin Center HP339
New Students: Chapman Hall
 540-857-7341 or 540-857-6644
Fax: 540-857-6640

Mailing address:
School of Health Professions
3091 Colonial Ave., SW
Roanoke, VA 24015


Jill Bass, DNP, MS, RN, GCNS-BC
Program Head, Practical Nursing

Diploma – Roanoke Memorial Hospital School of Professional Nursing, 1974
A. S. & A.A.S – Virginia Western Community College, 1984, 1988
B.A – Mary Baldwin College, 1988
B.S. – Radford University, 1995
M.S. – Radford University, 1997
Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist – Board Certified, 1999
Doctorate in Nursing Practice – Case Western Reserve University, 2009
Post Masters Graduate Certificate Nursing Education – Walden University, 2016


Martha Sullivan, Dean