Top Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania

Rank School Name Score Tuition Student/Teacher ratio Program count Graduation Rate
1 Ohio Valley Hospital School of Nursing 94.25 $$$$$ 10:1 4 100%
2 Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing 93.75 $$$$$ 10:1 4 80%
3 University of Pittsburgh Medical Center – Shadyside School of Nursing 93.25 $$$$$ 10:1 4 86%
4 Lehigh Carbon Community College 93.00 $$$$$ 17:1 4 18%
5 Mercy Hospital School of Nursing 93.00 $$$$$ 11:1 4 100%
6 Luzerne County Community College 92.75 $$$$$ 17:1 1 19%
7 Butler County Community College 92.50 $$$$$ 18:1 4 20%
8 Community College of Beaver County 92.50 $$$$$ 17:1 4 21%
9 Aria Health School of Nursing 92.25 $$$$$ 11:1 4 100%
10 Bucks County Community College 91.50 $$$$$ 15:1 4 12%
11 Northampton County Area Community College 91.00 $$$$$ 20:1 4 19%
12 University of Pittsburgh – Titusville 90.75 $$$$$ 10:1 4 11%
13 Westmoreland County Community College 90.25 $$$$$ 18:1 4 13%
14 Community College of Allegheny County 89.75 $$$$$ 19:1 1 11%
15 Delaware County Community College 89.50 $$$$$ 19:1 1 16%
16 Harrisburg Area Community College – Harrisburg 89.00 $$$$$ 15:1 4 10%
17 Harcum College 89.00 $$$$$ 15:1 4 18%
18 Community College of Philadelphia 88.75 $$$$$ 16:1 4 10%
19 Montgomery County Community College 88.50 $$$$$ 20:1 4 16%
20 Reading Area Community College 88.25 $$$$$ 17:1 4 10%
21 St Margaret School of Nursing 88.00 $$$$$ 11:1 4 N/A
22 Sharon Regional Health System School of Nursing 88.00 $$$$$ 5:1 4 N/A
Rank School Name Score Tuition Student/Teacher ratio Program count Graduation Rate
1 University of Pennsylvania 84.25 $$$$$ 6:1 2 96%
2 University of Pittsburgh 83.25 $$$$$ 14:1 4 82%
3 Villanova University 81.25 $$$$$ 12:1 3 89%
4 University of Scranton 80.50 $$$$$ 11:1 11 80%
5 Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus 80.00 $$$$$ 17:1 7 86%
6 Temple University 79.50 $$$$$ 14:1 14 69%
7 Drexel University 79.50 $$$$$ 10:1 1 67%
8 Cedar Crest College 79.25 $$$$$ 10:1 14 69%
9 Misericordia University 79.00 $$$$$ 13:1 14 71%
10 Duquesne University 79.00 $$$$$ 13:1 7 78%
11 Carlow University 78.75 $$$$$ 11:1 11 60%
12 Gannon University 78.00 $$$$$ 13:1 9 66%
13 Messiah College 77.25 $$$$$ 13:1 22 80%
14 La Salle University 77.00 $$$$$ 12:1 4 66%
15 Pennsylvania State University- Behrend 76.25 $$$$$ 15:1 22 69%
16 DeSales University 76.00 $$$$$ 14:1 6 71%
17 West Chester University of Pennsylvania 75.75 $$$$$ 18:1 31 67%
18 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus 75.75 $$$$$ 12:1 11 25%
19 Marywood University 75.75 $$$$$ 11:1 31 69%
20 Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania 75.50 $$$$$ 21:1 18 65%
21 Pennsylvania State University – Mont Alto 75.25 $$$$$ 11:1 31 52%
22 Pennsylvania State University – Shenango 75.00 $$$$$ 11:1 22 32%
23 Waynesburg University 73.50 $$$$$ 13:1 22 59%
24 Holy Family University 73.50 $$$$$ 13:1 14 56%
25 Eastern University 73.50 $$$$$ 11:1 31 61%
26 Chatham University 73.00 $$$$$ 9:1 22 56%
27 Immaculata University 72.75 $$$$$ 9:1 31 61%
28 Saint Francis University 71.75 $$$$$ 14:1 31 72%
29 Pennsylvania State University – New Kensington 71.25 $$$$$ 13:1 31 48%
30 York College Pennsylvania 71.00 $$$$$ 16:1 18 61%
31 Saint Vincent College 70.75 $$$$$ 12:1 52 74%
32 Widener University-Main Campus 70.75 $$$$$ 12:1 10 53%
33 La Roche College 70.50 $$$$$ 12:1 18 43%
34 Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus 70.25 $$$$$ 19:1 22 53%
35 Pennsylvania State University – Hazleton 70.25 $$$$$ 14:1 31 54%
36 Pennsylvania State University – Altoona 69.75 $$$$$ 17:1 31 65%
37 Wilson College 69.75 $$$$$ 9:1 31 41%
38 Pennsylvania State University – Harrisburg 69.50 $$$$$ 14:1 52 67%
39 Millersville University of Pennsylvania 69.25 $$$$$ 21:1 31 64%
40 Robert Morris University 69.25 $$$$$ 15:1 22 62%
41 Alvernia University 69.00 $$$$$ 12:1 31 53%
42 Mansfield University of Pennsylvania 68.75 $$$$$ 18:1 31 53%
43 Pennsylvania State University – Schuylkill 68.75 $$$$$ 14:1 22 43%
44 Clarion University of Pennsylvania 68.75 $$$$$ 19:1 18 50%
45 Philadelphia University 68.50 $$$$$ 13:1 31 66%
46 Mount Aloysius College 68.25 $$$$$ 12:1 31 44%
47 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania 67.00 $$$$$ 22:1 52 67%
48 Neumann University 66.75 $$$$$ 14:1 31 55%
49 University of Pittsburgh – Bradford 66.50 $$$$$ 18:1 31 52%
50 Mercyhurst University 66.25 $$$$$ 13:1 52 68%

Begin Exploring Pennsylvania Nursing Schools

There are several board-approved nursing programs in Pennsylvania. These programs offer rigorous training via a range of degree options for aspiring nurses looking to enter the field as an entry-level RN as well as for those looking to further your education and move in to more advanced, leadership roles. Use the search tool below to explore viable options for nursing schools in Pennsylvania and get a side-by-side comparison of your top selections.

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Earning an RN License in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing is tasked with regulating nursing education and the licensure process for all nurses within the state. The Board is also responsible for fielding complaints and renewing nursing licenses. Recent nursing school graduates looking for employment in Pennsylvania can find details on how to obtain a state license below.

Requirements

  • Successfully complete a state-approved nursing education program
  • Submit a Nursing Education Verification Form, which needs to be sent from the nursing program
  • Request official transcripts be sent directly to the Board of Nursing
  • Complete a criminal background check, including dates and personal explanations of any criminal activity (if applicable)
  • Submit an application for licensure to the Board of Nursing and pay all nonrefundable fees
  • All applicants, examination and endorsement, are required to complete a 3-hour DHS-approved training on how to properly identify and report child abuse. Once this course has been completed, the approved provider will notify the Board electronically. This can take up to seven business days, and a license will not be issued until verification is received.
  • Apply to take the NCLEX exam through Pearson VUE and submit a $200 fee
  • Once an ATT, or Authorization to Test, has been received from Pearson VUE, schedule a date to take the examination
  • If holding a license in another state, jurisdiction or country, the applicant will need to complete an endorsement application. Graduates of non-English programs are required to take and pass a Board-approved exam to prove English proficiency.

Pennsylvania Renewal Information

Pennsylvania nurses in good standing must renew their licenses biennially. During the interim years, nurses are required to complete 30 hours of continuing education credits in areas relevant to patient care, professional nursing or a specialty area. The Board may provide special approval for courses that do not fit within general requirements for CE if consent is requested. When submitting a renewal application, registered nurses must include a $65 processing fee.

Becoming an Advanced Practice Nurse in Pennsylvania

Advanced practice nurses have invested time and money to further their educations so they can work in a specialty area. To become an advanced practice nurse in Pennsylvania, individuals must:

  • Hold a current RN license to practice in the state of Pennsylvania
  • Have completed an approved program for the nursing specialty. For example, Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners (CRNPs) are required to complete an accredited nurse practitioner education program
  • Applicants who received their education and degree from an out-of-state nursing school must send official transcripts from the school’s registrar directly to the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. Official transcripts must indicate the type of degree or certificate earned, as well as the month, date, and year the program was successfully completed.
  • Hold national certification in the specialty

More detailed information about advanced practice nursing, including step-by-step instructions, forms, and details regarding license renewals can be found at the PA State Board of Nursing.

A Look at Pennsylvania’s Nursing Numbers

Pennsylvania ranks in the top 10 states for highest concentration of nurses per capita, with the annual mean wage sitting close to the national average. However, depending on whether or not a nurse works in a rural or urban area, their salary could be much higher or lower than the state’s average. Take a look at the numbers below for an idea of what RNs in Pennsylvania earn and how employment looks for the upcoming decade.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Pennsylvania

Area Hourly Median Wage Annual Median Wage
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington PA-NJ-DE-MD $35.65 $74,140
Philadelphia PA Metropolitan Division $35.59 $74,030
York-Hanover $32.64 $67,880
Lebanon $31.94 $66,440
Williamsport $31.66 $65,850
Lancaster $31.38 $65,270
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton PA-NJ $31.09 $64,670
Northeastern Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area $30.95 $64,380
East Central Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area $30.75 $63,960
Harrisburg-Carlisle $30.57 $63,590

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Pennsylvania vs. National Numbers

Salary
  • Pennsylvania
  • National
  • Annual Salary (25th percentile)
  • Annual Salary (median)
  • Annual Salary (75th percentile)

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Employment
Total Employment (2014)
2022 occupational outlook
Avg. annual openings (2012 – 2022)

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central

Resources & Associations for Pennsylvania Nurses

National Nurses United: Pennsylvania Chapter

Founded in 2009, this union and professional association of registered nurses promotes effective bargaining representation and expands the voice of direct care RNs in public policy.

Pennsylvania Association of Practical Nursing Administrators

This professional organization for nursing administrators in Pennsylvania promotes collaboration among practical nursing administrators, educators and organizations concerned with the delivery of health care.

Pennsylvania Association of School Nurses and Practitioners

PASNP is a professional organization of school nurses in Pennsylvania, which aims to provide continuing education, improve political awareness, and promote school nursing.

Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners

The Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners is a state-level organization that promotes the interests and careers of certified registered nurse practitioners. It has 18 regional offices across the commonwealth.

Pennsylvania State Nurses Association

The PSNA is a professional organization in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that advocates for nurses on the state level, backs nursing and health care legislative reform, and provides networking and continuing education opportunities for nurses in the state.

Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing

The Board’s mission is to protect the health and safety of Pennsylvania residents by regulating the practice and licensure/certification process of registered nurses, practical nurses, certified registered nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, dietician-nutritionists, and graduate nurses. Current and aspiring nurses can find information on licenses and certifications and other important notices and updates relevant to the field.