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.
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
To 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.
|96.94||ADN||Pennsylvania College of Technology||1||70||Williamsport||Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|96.06||ADN||PA College of Health Sciences||2||103||Lancaster||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus||See School Details|
|94.90||ADN||Montgomery County Community College||4||157||Blue Bell||Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|94.85||ADN||Mount Aloysius College||5||159||Cresson|
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.
|Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Online||ACEN||See School Details|
|94.33||ADN||Community College of Beaver County||6||179||Monaca||Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|94.06||ADN||Community College of Allegheny County||7||193||Pittsburgh||Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|94.03||ADN||Northampton Community College||8||194||Bethlehem||Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|92.45||ADN||Community College of Philadelphia||9||271||Philadelphia||Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|92.43||ADN||University of Pittsburgh-Titusville||10||272||Titusville||Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|92.28||ADN||Butler County Community College||11||275||Butler||Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|90.99||ADN||Harrisburg Area Community College-Harrisburg||12||323||Harrisburg||Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|89.31||ADN||Harcum College||13||390||Bryn Mawr||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|89.17||ADN||Lock Haven University||14||395||Lock Haven||Public||Campus, Online||ACEN||See School Details|
|88.56||ADN||Clarion University of PA||15||410||Clarion||Public||Campus, Online||ACEN, CCNE||See School Details|
|88.40||ADN||University of Pittsburgh-Bradford||16||419||Bradford|
University of Pittsburgh – Bradford is located in Bradford, Pennsylvania. University of Pittsburgh has received many awards, one of which is one of the “150 Best Value Colleges in the United States” in 2012 by the Princeton Review. They offer both an ADN degree and a BSN degree. Their BSN degree is specifically an RN to BSN program.
|Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|87.85||ADN||Luzerne County Community College||17||442||Nanticoke||Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|87.04||ADN||Bucks County Community College||18||474||Newtown||Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|85.97||ADN||Westmoreland County Community College||19||505||Youngwood||Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|85.80||ADN||Lehigh Carbon Community College||20||510||Schnecksville|
Lehigh Carbon Community College is located in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania. They offer a practical nursing program and an ADN program. Entrance into the ADN program is competitive and is based on a points system; students receive points based on multiple different variables.
|Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|83.23||ADN||Delaware County Community College||21||573||Media||Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|75.90||ADN||La Roche College||23||663||Pittsburgh||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Online||ACEN||See School Details|
|75.49||ADN||Reading Area Community College||24||668||Reading|
Reading Area Community College is located in Reading, Pennsylvania. They offer a practical nursing program and an ADN program. RACC has a transfer center; the transfer center is where students can go if they know they eventually will want to transfer to a 4-year program. The transfer center will evaluate and help plan the courses that should be taken.
|Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|100.00||BSN||Saint Francis University||1||1||Loretto|
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.
|Private Not-For-Profit||Campus||CCNE||See School Details|
|98.60||BSN||Carlow University||2||21||Pittsburgh||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Hybrid, Online||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
|97.61||BSN||Cedar Crest College||3||49||Allentown|
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.
|Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Online||ACME, COA||See School Details|
|97.48||BSN||Messiah University||4||56||Mechanicsburg||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus||CCNE||See School Details|
|97.43||BSN||Pennsylvania College of Technology||5||57||Williamsport||Public||Campus||ACEN||See School Details|
|96.99||BSN||Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania||6||68||Bloomsburg|
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.
|Public||Campus, Hybrid||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
|96.98||BSN||Eastern University||7||69||Saint Davids||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus||CCNE||See School Details|
|96.47||BSN||Waynesburg University||8||87||Waynesburg||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus||CCNE||See School Details|
|96.37||BSN||DeSales University||9||93||Center Valley||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Hybrid, Online||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
|95.67||BSN||PA State University||10||117||University Park||Public||Campus, Hybrid||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
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.
|Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Hybrid, Online||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
|95.11||BSN||Villanova University||12||139||Villanova||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Hybrid, Online||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
|95.10||BSN||West Chester University of Pennsylvania||13||140||West Chester||Public||Campus, Online||CCNE||See School Details|
|94.88||BSN||La Salle University||14||150||Philadelphia||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Hybrid, Online||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
|94.70||BSN||Misericordia University||15||156||Dallas||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Hybrid, Online||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
|94.54||BSN||Alvernia University||16||164||Reading||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Online||CCNE||See School Details|
|94.41||BSN||University of Pennsylvania||17||172||Philadelphia|
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.
|Private Not-For-Profit||Campus||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
|94.36||BSN||Robert Morris University||18||175||Moon Township||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Hybrid, Online||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
|94.26||BSN||Mansfield University of Pennsylvania||19||180||Mansfield||Public||Campus, Online||ACME, COA||See School Details|
|94.05||BSN||Duquesne University||20||189||Pittsburgh||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Online||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
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.
|Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Online||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
|93.56||BSN||University of Scranton||22||212||Scranton|
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.
|Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Hybrid||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
|93.52||BSN||Wilkes University||23||214||Wilkes-Barre||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Hybrid, Online||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
|93.41||BSN||Edinboro University of Pennsylvania||24||218||Edinboro||Public||Campus, Online||CCNE||See School Details|
|92.61||BSN||Indiana University of Pennsylvania||25||246||Indiana|
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.
|Public||Campus||CCNE||See School Details|
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.
|Public||Campus, Hybrid||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
|92.22||BSN||York College Pennsylvania||27||260||York||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus||ACEN, CCNE||See School Details|
|91.61||BSN||University of Pittsburgh||28||281||Pittsburgh||Public||Campus, Online||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
Neumann University is located in Aston, Pennsylvania. They offer a BSN degree. Neumann University is proud to note that their student to faculty ratio is 14:1, allowing professors to give personal attention to their students.
|Private Not-For-Profit||Campus||ACME, COA||See School Details|
|90.06||BSN||Holy Family University||30||326||Philadelphia||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus||CCNE||See School Details|
|88.46||BSN||Moravian College||31||364||Bethlehem||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Hybrid||ACEN, CCNE||See School Details|
|87.57||BSN||East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania||32||395||East Stroudsburg||Public||Campus||ACME, COA||See School Details|
|87.51||BSN||Widener University-Main Campus||33||397||Chester||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus, Hybrid, Online||ACEN, ACME, CCNE, COA||See School Details|
|87.46||BSN||Gwynedd Mercy College||34||400||Gwynedd Valley||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus||See School Details|
|87.06||BSN||Marywood University||35||406||Scranton||Private Not-For-Profit||Campus||CCNE||See School Details|
Become an Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in PennsylvaniaRNs 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 PennsylvaniaLearn how to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and research schools in Pennsylvania offering the following high paying nurse practitioner specialties:
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
- Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
- Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
- Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
- Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Pennsylvania RN Licensing RequirementsPennsylvania 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 ExamsAfter 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 EndorsementRegistered 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 AbroadNurses 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 PennsylvaniaThere 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
Pennsylvania Registered Nursing SalariesThe 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.
|Area name||Employment||Hourly mean wage||Annual median wage|
|Philadelphia, PA Metropolitan Division||43,040||$35.66||$74,030|
|State College, PA||1,090||$28.68||$61,810|
|Far Western Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area||2,980||$27.24||$56,850|
|West Central Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area||2,740||$27.13||$56,300|
|Northeastern Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area||2,640||$30.82||$64,380|
|East Central Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area||5,330||$30.47||$63,960|