Introduction to Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania

Nursing requires a certain level of scientific expertise, compassion, and hands-on skills. Now is a great time for registered nurses to pursue higher education and obtain a bachelor’s of science in nursing degree. Nurses will be able complete programs both online and in a traditional campus setting. With the healthcare reform, advanced medical interventions, and preventative medicine, the role of registered nurses is expanding. Education beyond an associate’s degree is necessary for nurses to achieve optimal patient care. There have been many stories about how hospitals require nurses to have their BSN and give preference to those who do.

In our Pennsylvania RN program guide, find rankings for both ADN and BSN Degree programs, tuition costs, NCLEX passing rates, and more. Research key Pennsylvania RN Program information to help you compare program metrics and to apply to best RN program for your career in nursing.

In the State of Pennsylvania, nurses are helping to change the face of healthcare. To ensure that they have the best education and preparation for future health care challenges, registered nurses need to graduate from a state-approved associate's degree in nursing program or a BSN degree program.

Nurses who graduate from an RN program can obtain certification in over 100 nursing specialties, go on to earn an RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree.

BSN degree holders have options to earn an Advance Practice Register Nursing (APRN) degree and become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or earn an advanced degree for a career in any number of nursing leadership roles such Nurse Educator or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Pennsylvania RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN Programs ADN BSN
Number of Nursing Programs 31 58
Average NCLEX Passing Rate 84.99% 90.05%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range 71.15% to 92.37% 82.33% to 99.01%
Average Net Price $13,391.00 $20,705.63
Average Net Price Range $2,530.00 to $23,801.00 $12,123.00 to $36,049.00
Average Student Loan $15,570.13 $23,550.89
Average Student Loan Range $5,100.00 to $25,000.00 $17,500.00 to $28,000.00
See Additional Detail ADN Rankings for Pennsylvania State BSN Rankings for Pennsylvania State

Best Ranked RN Programs in Pennsylvania

Best Ranked RN Programs in PennsylvaniaTo help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at RNCareers.org publish their annual findings of the best nursing schools for both Pennsylvania and the country. Schools ranked on our list have proven their ability to educate highly competent nurses.

To create our rankings, we evaluated 22 ADN degree programs and 36 BSN degree programs in Pennsylvania. We obtained each institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, the program nursing accreditation and more. We then compared the results against other nursing programs in Pennsylvania to provide our state rankings. View our methodology.

Best Nursing Schools (BSN) in Pennsylvania

#1

Saint Francis University

  • 117 Evergreen Dr, Loretto, PA - 15940
  • (814) 472-3000
  • Grade: (A) 100.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor

Saint Francis University is located in Loretto, Pennsylvania.  In terms of undergraduate programs, they offer a BSN program and an RN to BSN program.  They also are extremely proud of the fact that their faculty to student ratio is 8:1 in the clinical setting.  Their faculty and nursing students regularly volunteer in clinics for underserved populations.

#2

Carlow University

  • 3333 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA - 15213-3165
  • (412) 578-6000
  • Grade: (A) 98.60%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: APRN Certificate, Bachelor, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
#3

Cedar Crest College

  • 100 College Drive, Allentown, PA - 18104-6196
  • (610) 606-4666
  • Grade: (A) 97.61%
  • Programs: Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursingg, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor

Cedar Crest College is located in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  They offer a BSN program and an BSN Completion Program for RNs.  Unique to Cedar Crest College is the School Nurse Certification that is offered; it can be completed on-campus, online  or a combination of the two.  It can be completed in 18 months to 2 years.

#4

Messiah University

  • One College Ave, Mechanicsburg, PA - 17055
  • (717) 766-2511
  • Grade: (A) 97.48%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP, RN to MSN
#5

Pennsylvania College of Technology

  • One College Ave, Williamsport, PA - 17701-5799
  • (570) 326-3761
  • Grade: (A) 97.43%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor
#6

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

  • 400 E Second St, Bloomsburg, PA - 17815
  • (570) 389-4000
  • Grade: (A) 96.99%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, RN to MSN

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is located in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.  They offer a BSN program and an RN to BSN program.  Their RN to BSN program is offered entirely online; at this time, their online program is available only to PA residents but they are seeking to expand to non-PA residents in the very near future.

#7

Eastern University

  • 1300 Eagle Rd, Saint Davids, PA - 19087-3696
  • (610) 341-5800
  • Grade: (A) 96.98%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor
#8

Waynesburg University

  • 51 W College St, Waynesburg, PA - 15370-1257
  • (724) 627-8191
  • Grade: (A) 96.47%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP
#9

DeSales University

  • 2755 Station Avenue, Center Valley, PA - 18034-9568
  • (610) 282-1100
  • Grade: (A) 96.37%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to MSN
#10

PA State University

  • 201 Old Main, University Park, PA - 16802-1503
  • (814) 865-4700
  • Grade: (A) 95.67%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Associate, Bachelor, BSN to PhD, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
#11

Drexel University

  • 3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA - 19104
  • (215) 895-2000
  • Grade: (A) 95.13%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to MSN

Drexel University is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Their nursing programs are unique; their traditional BSN option is not so traditional.  Students are eligible for 3 paid, 6-month cooperative education experiences.  They also offer an accelerated BSN option, which is available to students with a prior bachelor's degree.  This can be completed in 11 months for students attending full-time or 24 months for students attending part-time.

#12

Villanova University

  • 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA - 19085-1699
  • (610) 519-4500
  • Grade: (A) 95.11%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, BSN to PhD, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
#13

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

  • University Avenue and High Street, West Chester, PA - 19383
  • (610) 436-1000
  • Grade: (A) 95.10%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, MSN, MSN to DNP
#14

La Salle University

  • 1900 W Olney Ave, Philadelphia, PA - 19141-1199
  • (215) 951-1000
  • Grade: (A) 94.88%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: APRN Certificate, Bachelor, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
#15

Misericordia University

  • 301 Lake St, Dallas, PA - 18612-1098
  • (570) 674-6400
  • Grade: (A) 94.70%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
#16

Alvernia University

  • 400 Saint Bernardine St, Reading, PA - 19607-1799
  • (610) 796-8200
  • Grade: (A) 94.54%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN
#17

University of Pennsylvania

  • 34th & Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA - 19104-6303
  • (215) 898-5000
  • Grade: (A) 94.41%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate

University of Pennsylvania is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The 2017 US News & World Report noted that Penn Nursing was second in the nation, with the university as a whole ranking number nine.  Their undergraduate nursing program offers a BSN degree.  They also offer a second degree program, where students can obtain their BSN degree if they already have a bachelor's degree.  They also have a unique option - a dual degree, where the student attends for their BSN degree and Healthcare Management degree simultaneously.  The degree in Healthcare Management is obtained through a partnership with The Wharton School.

#18

Robert Morris University

  • 6001 University Boulevard, Moon Township, PA - 15108-1189
  • (800) 762-0097
  • Grade: (A) 94.36%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to MSN
#19

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

  • Academy Street, Mansfield, PA - 16933
  • (570) 662-4000
  • Grade: (A) 94.26%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
#20

Duquesne University

  • Administration Bldg 600 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA - 15282
  • (412) 396-6000
  • Grade: (A) 94.05%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
#21

Gannon University

  • 109 W Sixth St, Erie, PA - 16541-0001
  • (814) 871-7000
  • Grade: (A) 93.71%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: APRN Certificate, Bachelor, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to MSN

Gannon University is located in Erie, Pennsylvania.  The Villa Maria School of Nursing offers a BSN degree, an RN to MSN degree and a School Nurse Certificate.  The RN to MSN program is suggested to RNs with leadership skills and who have advanced experience as a nurse.

#22

University of Scranton

  • 800 Linden Street, Scranton, PA - 18510-4629
  • (570) 941-7400
  • Grade: (A) 93.56%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: APRN Certificate, Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to MSN

University of Scranton is located in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  BSN students have several options at Scranton University; they offer a traditional BSN degree, an LPN to BSN option, an RN to BSN option, an accelerated BSN (for students with a prior bachelor's degree) and an RN to MSN option.

#23

Wilkes University

  • 84 West South Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA - 18766
  • (570) 408-5000
  • Grade: (A) 93.52%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to MSN
#24

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

  • 219 Meadville Street, Edinboro, PA - 16444-0001
  • (814) 732-2000
  • Grade: (A) 93.41%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, MSN, MSN to DNP
#25

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

  • 1011 South Dr 201 Sutton Hall, Indiana, PA - 15705-1098
  • (724) 357-2100
  • Grade: (A) 92.61%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN

Indiana University of Pennsylvania is located in Indiana, Pennsylvania.  They offer a traditional BSN program.  They also offer an LPN to BSN program.  Per their website, "The track for licensed practical nurses provides an alternative curriculum accounting for prior work completed in a practical nursing program."  This program is an ideal option for LPNs seeking a BSN degree.

#26

Temple University

  • 1801 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA - 19122-6096
  • (215) 204-7000
  • Grade: (A) 92.44%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP

Temple University is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  They currently offer a BSN program with an RN to BSN option.  Freshman students are eligible for entrance into the BSN program if they are highly qualified.  They also have a DNP option.  Their MSN program is not currently taking applications.

#27

York College Pennsylvania

  • 441 Country Club Rd, York, PA - 17403-3651
  • (717) 846-7788
  • Grade: (A) 92.22%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: APRN Certificate, Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate
#28

University of Pittsburgh

  • 4200 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA - 15260
  • (412) 624-4141
  • Grade: (A) 91.61%
  • Programs: Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Nurse Practitioner, CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, BSN to PhD, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate

Best Nursing Schools (ADN) in Pennsylvania

#1

Pennsylvania College of Technology

  • One College Ave, Williamsport, PA - 17701-5799
  • (570) 326-3761
  • Grade: (A) 96.94%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor
#2

PA College of Health Sciences

  • 410 N Lime Street, Lancaster, PA - 17602
  • (717) 544-4912
  • Grade: (A) 96.06%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#3

Montgomery County Community College

  • 340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA - 19422-0796
  • (215) 641-6300
  • Grade: (A) 94.90%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#4

Mount Aloysius College

  • 7373 Admiral Peary Hwy, Cresson, PA - 16630-1999
  • (814) 886-4131
  • Grade: (A) 94.85%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor

Mount Aloysius College has multiple campuses in Pennsylvania.  They offer a variety of nursing programs.  Altoona and Johnstown campuses offer an RN to BSN program.  Altoona campus offers the ADN program and a 2+2 program, meaning that students can attend for both their ADN and BSN simultaneously.  The RN to BSN program can also be completed online.

#5

Community College of Beaver County

  • 1 Campus Drive, Monaca, PA - 15061-2588
  • (724) 480-2222
  • Grade: (A) 94.33%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#6

Community College of Allegheny County

  • 800 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, PA - 15233-1895
  • (412) 323-2323
  • Grade: (A) 94.06%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#7

Northampton Community College

  • 3835 Green Pond Rd, Bethlehem, PA - 18020-7599
  • (610) 861-5300
  • Grade: (A) 94.03%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#8

Community College of Philadelphia

  • 1700 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia, PA - 19130-3991
  • (215) 751-8000
  • Grade: (A) 92.45%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#9

University of Pittsburgh-Titusville

  • 504 East Main Street, Titusville, PA - 16354
  • (888) 878-0462
  • Grade: (A) 92.43%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#10

Butler County Community College

  • 107 College Drive, Butler, PA - 16002
  • (724) 287-8711
  • Grade: (A) 92.28%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Grade
University
Pennsylvania Rank
Degree
96.94 Pennsylvania College of Technology 1 ADN
96.06 PA College of Health Sciences 2 ADN
94.90 Montgomery County Community College 4 ADN
94.85 Mount Aloysius College 5 ADN
94.33 Community College of Beaver County 6 ADN
94.06 Community College of Allegheny County 7 ADN
94.03 Northampton Community College 8 ADN
92.45 Community College of Philadelphia 9 ADN
92.43 University of Pittsburgh-Titusville 10 ADN
92.28 Butler County Community College 11 ADN
90.99 Harrisburg Area Community College-Harrisburg 12 ADN
98.60 Carlow University 2 BSN
97.61 Cedar Crest College 3 BSN
97.48 Messiah University 4 BSN
97.43 Pennsylvania College of Technology 5 BSN
96.99 Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania 6 BSN
96.98 Eastern University 7 BSN
96.47 Waynesburg University 8 BSN
96.37 DeSales University 9 BSN
95.67 PA State University 10 BSN
95.13 Drexel University 11 BSN
95.11 Villanova University 12 BSN
95.10 West Chester University of Pennsylvania 13 BSN
94.88 La Salle University 14 BSN
94.70 Misericordia University 15 BSN
94.54 Alvernia University 16 BSN
94.41 University of Pennsylvania 17 BSN
94.36 Robert Morris University 18 BSN
94.26 Mansfield University of Pennsylvania 19 BSN
94.05 Duquesne University 20 BSN
93.71 Gannon University 21 BSN
93.56 University of Scranton 22 BSN
93.52 Wilkes University 23 BSN
93.41 Edinboro University of Pennsylvania 24 BSN
92.61 Indiana University of Pennsylvania 25 BSN
92.44 Temple University 26 BSN
92.22 York College Pennsylvania 27 BSN
91.61 University of Pittsburgh 28 BSN

Become an Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in Pennsylvania

RNs who wish to become advanced practice registered nurses will want to pursue any number of avenues to earn Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing consists of graduate-level coursework and clinical practice for those nurses who wish to direct patient roles such as a nurse practitioner. You can also pursue indirect patient roles such as teaching or leadership roles, or become involved in policy, state-wide health initiatives or community engagement. There are many clinical and non-clinical avenues that an RN with MSN can pursue.

Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Pennsylvania

Learn how to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and research schools in Pennsylvania offering the following high paying nurse practitioner specialties:

Learn about Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree.

Online NP Programs Liked by Pennsylvania Nurses

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Pennsylvania  RN Licensing Requirements

Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing
PO Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
(717) 783-7142

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $35
License renewal (every two years), RN: $65; LPN: $60

Continuing Education Requirements:
RNs: 30 contact hours every renewal period; LPNs: None

RN Licensure by Exams

After completing an approved nursing program, nursing candidates will submit an application to the board. Temporary practice permits can be issued to graduates who apply within a year after graduation. Nurses working under a temporary permit must be under direct supervision of an experienced registered nurse. In addition to the application, candidates must also provide transcripts, and in some cases, verification of program completion. There is a $35 fee for the materials to be processed and an addition $35 for a temporary permit if the candidate wishes to have one. There is a $200 fee that will be paid to Pearson VUE, the company that runs the NCLEX exam. Results will be sent to the examinees within 2-30 days. There is a 45-day waiting period for candidates who wish to retake the NCLEX. The candidate will then need to reapply and pay additional fees.

RN Licensure by Endorsement

Registered nurses who obtained licensure in one of the other fifty states will need to complete the requirements as stated above in addition to paying a $100 fee.

RN License for Nurses Educated Abroad

Nurses who have been educated in a country outside of the United States and have not taken the NCLEX must apply for CGNFS certification before applying for licensure. Upon receiving certification, candidates may apply to the Pennsylvania Board using the appropriate application online. Nurses must also register to take the NCLEX exam through the Pearson VUE website.

RN Salaries in Pennsylvania

There are many opportunities in hospitals, home health, and non-hospital work environments for registered nurses in Pennsylvania. Positions available to baccalaureate prepared nurses include:

  • Informatics works such as ICUs, maternity wards, cardiac care, and emergency departments
  • Nursing administrators and directors
  • Mental health
  • Nurse researchers

There are approximately 130,000 nurses licensed nurses in the state of Pennsylvania. Despite this, there is a huge shortage expected within the state. Pennsylvania will need an additional 54,000 registered nurses by the year 2020 to meet this great need. Nursing is predicted to be the fastest-growing occupation so now is a better time than ever to become a registered nurse.

Pennsylvania Registered Nursing Salaries

The Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington Metropolitan area has the highest employment rate of registered nurses as well as the highest hourly mean wage and annual median wage.
Source: BLS, Department of Education, State Board of Nursing, Nursing School Websites.

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