Nursing Degree Programs in PA
Whether you’re interested in studying nursing at the certificate, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, or Master’s degree stage, Pennsylvania nursing schools have options for you. With LPN or RN schools in PA, you may get your certification in just one to two years. If you’re ready to jump into nursing at the baccalaureate level, you could learn more about BSN programs in PA.
Contact the nursing schools in Pennsylvania listed below to find out more about nursing programs in your area.
If you have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing or another field, explore your options in Master’s study or doctoral study. With the right combination of theory training and clinical experience, you may be ready to take on nursing duties in Pennsylvania clinics and hospitals.
As a profession, the field of nursing is quite promising. A recent survey in Pennsylvania indicated that 88% of Pennsylvania nurses are satisfied with their jobs. This is an extremely high satisfaction rate, and who doesn’t want to feel excited to go to work every day?
Nurses are also well-known for their advocacy for their patients. Local nurses rallied in Pennsylvania to boost health care funding for elderly and ailing patients. This could allow more people to benefit from state-funded care.
As a nursing student, you may also get the chance to learn about the social issues that affect patients. Nursing students in this state learn about poverty, its effect on health, and how it may affect patients’ health patterns. With this information, you can become a more culturally competent care provider.
Nursing Education & Career Information in your City
Nursing Education in Pennsylvania
You can plan on building a wide, diverse, and useful base of skills as a nursing student, whether you want to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN).
Pennsylvania nursing schools may prepare you to take on a number of job duties. Commonly, learning goals in Pennsylvania address the changing face of health care in the state and in the country, knowing how to change health care practices for people of different needs, being able to work autonomously and as part of a team, and integrating nursing research into your practice.
In your curriculum, you should find courses that focus on many different areas of nursing. Some of the classes you may be required to take include Professional Nursing Skills, Laws and Ethics in Nursing, Nursing Care of Adults, Emergency and Acute Care, Pharmacology, and Pathophysiology.
As a nursing student in Pennsylvania, you may find that there are many organizations and associations that fund scholarships for nursing students. The Nursing Foundation of Pennsylvania is one of the largest organizations in the state. You may also consider applying for the Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania. A variety of scholarships are provided by the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association.
Nursing Degree Programs in Pennsylvania
The links below take you to pages with further information about the program options in Pennsylvania. Below the links, we provide high-level overview of popular degree options.
Transition programs for nurses:
Graduate programs for nurses:
Entry level nursing programs:
Pennsylvania LPN Programs
- Need a high school diploma, strong physical health, and no criminal history
- Average program requires 36 credits
- Few programs have online classes; no programs are entirely online, since clinical hours are mandatory
- Must pass the NCLEX-PN before becoming licensed
At many nursing colleges in PA, LPN programs are a popular option. This is a good short-term training option for those who need to start working as quickly as possible. Most LPN programs are meant to be finished in two semesters, although some do extend to three semesters for students who need to finish prerequisite courses.
BSN Programs in Pennsylvania
- Must have a high school diploma, CNA license, strong physical health, and no criminal history
- Programs require no fewer than 120 credits
- No programs are 100% online, since you need close to 1000 hours of experience for licensure
- Must pass the NCLEX-RN to become licensed
With many facilities working to expand employment of baccalaureate nurses, it makes sense that many PA nursing schools have expanded their BSN offerings. A Bachelor’s program requires about four years of full-time study, during which time you learn how to work with patients of all ages and medical needs.
Pennsylvania MSN Schools
- Admissions requirements include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a current nursing license, and one to two years of nursing experience
- Credit requirements range from 30 to 50 credits
- Programs in administrative nursing specialties may have online study options
- Testing and certification mandatory for those in clinical specialties
A Master’s degree may give you the chance to explore career paths in administration, leadership, and research. Depending on which area of specialty you select, you may be in school for two to four years.
DNP and PhD Nursing Programs in Pennsylvania
- Must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a current Pennsylvania nursing license, and demonstrated academic ability
- Between 70 and 90 credits required for graduation
- Some courses may be completed online, but research and teaching experience must be done in person
- Testing required for licensure
DNP degrees are offered at a handful of Pennsylvania nursing programs. Both the DNP and PhD are doctoral degrees, but the DNP focuses on clinical work while the PhD emphasizes research and teaching.
Nursing Colleges in Pennsylvania with Nursing Bridge Programs
If you’re not following the conventional education path, bridge programs could be a good fit for your future. Many students earn their Associate’s in nursing first. With that ADN, you could get several years of nursing experience and become more confident in this field. Your clinical experience may help you complete your BSN with fewer student clinical hours, saving you time.
Most RN to BSN programs can be completely finished in 18 to 24 months. If you’d rather move straight to a graduate program, you could try an RN to MSN bridge program. Rather than finishing a BSN and waiting one or two semesters to enter an MSN, you can instead complete everything in one fell swoop in a three-year program.
There are also bridging options for those who have already earned a Bachelor’s degree in another area of study. In an accelerated BSN program, get the clinical experience and theoretical training needed in 12 to 24 months. Some of the best nursing schools in PA offer these programs, but they do require students to put in a lot of work and eschew outside employment. You may seek licensure via a non-traditional path with a direct entry MSN program. This type of degree helps you earn a nursing license in less than one year and immediately transition into graduate-level nursing courses.
Tips for Choosing the Top Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania
Depending on where you live in Pennsylvania, you may have many options when it comes to choosing a nursing school in PA. Think about what you want to get from your education, which work setting suits you, and which type of clinical experience you’d like to get.
Asking these questions may help you eliminate some choices and concentrate your application efforts on a handful of schools. As you reach out to local nursing schools, ask about the type of student support they offer, how many clinical hours students get, and where students go for their clinical hours.
Questions to Ask Nursing Programs in PA
- Is this program accredited by the CCNE or ACEN?
- What is the NCLEX pass rate?
- Does the school run any review programs for students getting ready to take the NCLEX?
- What percentage of graduating students are employed as nurses within six months of graduation?
- Are there any support options for struggling students?
- How many credits are required for graduation?
- Does the school have any nursing scholarships?
Don’t be afraid to remove questions from this list or add questions that are relevant to your priorities and interests. Get as much information as you can at this stage. Additional information may make you feel much more confident about your school choice.
2017 Career Outlook for Nursing Professions
Upon completion of any nursing program, you have to become licensed before you can start working in Pennsylvania facilities. If you attend one of Pennsylvania’s training programs for licensed practical nurses, you take the NCLEX-PN before applying through the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. Graduates of Pennsylvania Bachelor of Science in Nursing collegesand RN colleges are required to take the NCLEX-RN.
If you become a nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner, or clinical nurse specialist, you must apply for certification through a national organization. Accreditation for other Master of Science in Nursing programs may be available.
Across the state, the job outlook for nursing professionals is solid. As an added benefit, average salaries are in line with national averages. At the licensed practical nurse level, the average salary is $45,810 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). By the year 2024, job openings for LPNs are expected to jump 9% throughout Pennsylvania (O*Net, 2017).
Registered nurses claim an average salary of $68,770 per year in Pennsylvania (BLS, 2017). Demand for RNs is high and expected to hit 14% by the year 2024 (O*Net, 2017). Nurse practitioners can provide primary care in Pennsylvania, which makes them in extremely high demand in rural parts of the state. Between 2014 and 2024, demand for nurse practitioners may jump 28% (O*Net, 2017). Currently, nurse practitioners claim a mean annual income of $94,540 (BLS, 2017).
If you’ve been waiting for the right time to apply to the best nursing programs in Pennsylvania, this may be the chance you’ve been waiting for. Healthcare has seen massive growth in Pennsylvania since February 2016, with job openings up by 3.1% (Standard Speaker, 2017).
No matter which type of degree you earn, your education is one of the most important parts of starting your career. What you learn, where you do clinical work, and how many clinical hours you get may all play a role in your job opportunities. Don’t rush through the school selection process. Instead, go through as many school visits as possible to make sure you’re making the right choice for your future. As you tour schools in Pennsylvania for nursing, find out if you can sit in on lectures or lab courses. Seeing classes in progress may assist you in your decision.