How Can I Become a Nurse Practitioner in Pennsylvania?
The national demand for healthcare providers has increased rapidly in the last several years, due in part to the Affordable Care Act and the sudden influx of new patients. As a registered nurse, this has likely impacted your workload and responsibilities.
The greatest need in many parts of the country is primary care. By earning a Master’s degree or doctoral degree in nursing, you may be able to become a nurse practitioner and meet this need. Are you ready to learn more about nurse practitioner programs? PA schools can help you find the right option for you.
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Average Master’s Degree Requirements in Pennsylvania
- Credit hours required: 40 credits
- Average cost: $900 per credit hour
- Clinical hours required: At least 500 hours
- Timeframe: Two years
Average Doctoral Requirements in Pennsylvania
- Credit hours required: 80 credits
- Clinical hours required: At least 1,000 hours
- Timeframe: Five years
What Types of Nurse Practitioner Programs Are Available in Pennsylvania?
The goal of a nurse practitioner program is to take your nursing experience, apply it to advanced practice, and help you turn into a leader in the healthcare industry. You must be able to transition smoothly into your advanced care role, which often involves creating care plans, supervising nurses, and making care decisions.
Many of your required classes focus on these skills, since these skills are applicable to all areas of nursing. However, from there, you split off into courses that relate to an area of specialized care.
Options in Pennsylvania include family care, adult care, psychiatric health, pediatric care, and women’s health. FNP programs may allow you to specialize in acute care or primary care.
Common Course Options in Pennsylvania
- Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Practice Nursing Across the Lifespan
- Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Nursing
- Advanced Assessment and Clinical Decision Making
- Research in Nursing
- Management of Health Concerns
- Management of Adult Healthcare
- Management of Pediatric Healthcare
Theory is just one side of the coin; the flip side is clinical practice. Many schools go beyond the minimum of 500 or 1,000 hours to help students develop solid clinical judgment. After completing clinical rotations at a variety of institutions, you may be assigned to an internship location to finish out your hours.
How Can I Pay for Nurse Practitioner School in Pennsylvania?
- BestNursingDegree.com: Our scholarship program runs year-round, so there’s always an application cycle that you can apply in. Awards are given four times per year.
- NHSC Loan Repayment Program: This program pays back up to $50,000 of debt for applicants who spend two years working in an NHSC-approved location.
- NURSE Corps Scholarship Program: Similar to the NHSC program, this scholarship program requires a two-year post-graduation commitment. The scholarship may help you minimize you student debt.
- Nursing Foundation of Pennsylvania: This local group awards scholarships at all levels of education, including grants that are only open to MSN students.
Licensing and Practice Requirements for NPs in Pennsylvania
The final step to becoming a nurse practitioner is getting an advanced practice nursing license in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing requires an RN license, a graduate degree, and national nurse practitioner certification in your area of nursing. Currently, nurse practitioners have reduced practice rights in Pennsylvania (AANP, 2016).
Nurse Practitioner Careers in Pennsylvania
Completing this degree can pay off in many different ways. It can really improve your job outlook and give you the opportunity to explore new work settings and duties.
By 2024, O*Net expects job openings for nurse practitioners to increase 28% (2016). Your salary potential may also see a considerable increase. Pennsylvania nurse practitioners earn an average income of $92,670 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016).
As an RN, you should already be part of local nursing groups. However, it’s also important to connect specifically with other NPs. Consider joining the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and other groups in your area. You may learn about job openings and legislative changes.
Nurse practitioner schooling can strengthen your ability to work independently and give you the chance to have greater influence in your patients’ care.
Take the first step toward a new career by contacting Pennsylvania schools below.
There are many options for NP degree programs in the state, and we suggest obtaining information from several different schools to aid you in making the best decision for your nursing education. Pennsylvania nurses who wish to become nurse practitioners can attend an online college, such as Georgetown University, or an in-state institution, such as:
- Drexel University. Located in Philadelphia, Drexel University offers a master's-level Women's Health Nurse Practitioner program online. Online adult Acute Care and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programs are also available, but both of those programs require periodic visits to the campus.
- Pennsylvania State University. Penn State offers master's-level NP specializations such as: adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner and family nurse practitioner. Courses are delivered online and via special videoconferencing software to satellite campuses.
- University of Pittsburgh. Since mid-2011, most of the University of Pittsburgh's NP programs have been offered at the Doctoral level. Interested students will enroll in a Doctorate of Nursing Practice program and may choose to specialize in acute care, adult care, family care, neonatology or pediatrics. The psych/mental health nurse practitioner program is still a master's-level program as of November 2011.