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Pennsylvania Nursing Programs and Degrees Guide

The following guide contains information about and profiles on the nursing programs offered in Pennsylvania. The state’s colleges and universities feature a diverse menu of undergraduate and graduate nursing programs with concentrations in nurse education, nurse administration, family nurse practice, adult gerontology, and acute care, among many others. In addition to traditional nursing programs, prospective students may be interested in an online bachelor’s or master’s in nursing program.

Schools with Nursing Programs

  • 32 colleges and universities offer an associate’s degree in nursing.
  • 61 colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
  • 42 colleges and universities offer a master’s or advanced degree in nursing.
  • 12 schools in US News Best Nursing Graduate Schools in 2017 for Master’s in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs: Drexel University (#115, MSN; DNP not ranked), Duquesne University (#67, MSN; DNP not ranked), Gwynedd Mercy University (#171, MSN; DNP not ranked), La Salle University (#203, MSN; DNP not ranked), Pennsylvania State University (#20, MSN; DNP not ranked), Robert Morris University (#115, MSN; #93, DNP), Temple University (MSN not ranked; #97, DNP), Thomas Jefferson University (#157, MSN; DNP not ranked), University of Pennsylvania (#3, MSN; DNP not ranked), University of Pittsburgh (#8, MSN; #7, DNP), University of Scranton (#151, MSN; DNP not ranked), Villanova University (#59, MSN; #47, DNP).

Institutional Facts for Schools with Nursing Programs

  • Highest graduation rate*: The University of Pennsylvania 95%.1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: Lincoln University 37%.1
  • Highest net price*: Drexel University $40,615.1
  • Lowest net price*: Westmoreland County Community College $2,907.1
  • Annual undergrad tuition range for schools in Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s in nursing program: $12,453 – $37,244.2

Following you will find more in-depth information about nursing degrees offered in Pennsylvania.

Schools in Pennsylvania with Nursing Degrees

Associate’s in Nursing Programs

Harcum College
Harcum College’s Associate of Science in Nursing degree program is designed to prepare graduates to take the NCLEX-RN exam and become competent professional registered nurses. The admissions process is competitive and is based on such factors as completion of prerequisite courses, an acceptable score on the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS), and appropriate background and medical clearances. Once accepted to the program, the degree requires 66 credits to complete. Fundamental courses include Pathophysiology & Pharmacology in Nursing, Nursing Care of the Adult, and Holistic Nursing Practice Across the Lifespan. The AS in Nursing at Harcum College is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Pennsylvania College of Technology
The Pennsylvania College of Technology (PCT) offers an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing program that provides two tracks of study, a practical nursing emphasis that qualifies graduates to take the NCLEX-PN and become practical nurses and a registered nursing emphasis that qualifies graduates to take the NCLEX-RN and become registered nurses. The nursing faculty at PCT are master’s- and doctorally-prepared nurse educators with deep expertise in clinical practice. PCT also offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) which can be completed on two tracks: a traditional four-year program for those who are new to nursing and a “two plus two” program for those who have already earned an associate’s degree in nursing. The “two plus two” BSN completion program for currently working registered nurses can be completed online.

Bachelor’s in Nursing Programs

West Chester University
Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at West Chester University have the necessary qualifications to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Eighty percent of graduates of the BSN program pass the NCLEX-RN on the first attempt. Students take general college requirements and basic nursing courses in the freshmen and sophomore years of the four-year program before predominately focusing on nursing courses in the junior and senior years. Courses include labs and clinical practicums to allow for hands-on experience in a supervised setting, such as nursing homes, schools, and hospitals.

Temple University
Nursing majors at Temple University must complete 122 credits, generally over a four-year period, to earn the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). General college coursework is typically completed in the first two years with the final two years predominately concentrated on the nursing curriculum. Courses focus on genetics and genomics, community home, primary and secondary care of the family, and perspectives on health. Academically eligible nursing majors may apply for the Nurse Scholars Program, which allows graduates to earn both a BSN and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in an adult nurse practitioner or a family nurse practitioner concentration. Current registered nurses, who already hold an associate’s degree in nursing, may want to opt for the nursing department’s RN to BSN program.

Master’s in Nursing Programs

Penn State University
Graduate students pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) at Penn State University choose from one of five concentrations: family nurse practitioner, adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and nurse administrator. Graduates of the nurse practitioner tract are generally eligible to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners exams. Students may fulfill degree requirements on a full-time or a part-time basis. All graduate students, regardless of the track, complete nine core courses and a scholarly paper in addition to concentration-specific coursework.

York College of Pennsylvania
York College of Pennsylvania confers the Master of Science (MS) in Nursing in one of four concentrations: adult gerontology nurse practitioner, certified registered nurse anesthetist, adult gerontology clinical nurse specialist, and nurse educator. The program prepares graduates for advanced nursing positions. The adult gerontology nurse practitioner tract consists of 44 credits and more than 700 hours in clinical practicums. Students can fulfill degree requirements within two or three years on a part-time basis. The nurse anesthetist track requires 94 credits and 2,000 hours of clinical experience with students completing the program on a full-time basis over 32 months. The nurse educator track is part-time with students taking 39 credits and 224 clinical hours over a three-year period.

University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing offers several undergraduate degrees for students who want to pursue a nursing career. Students, who do not hold a bachelor’s degree, can opt for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Nursing majors can minor in one of several areas, including multicultural global healthcare, health communications, health services management, and nutrition. The program also allows undergraduates to pursue dual degrees in economics or engineering. Incoming students, who already have a bachelor’s degree in another specialty, may choose between the BSN Second Degree Program or the BSN to MSN, the latter of which results in both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in nursing. The BSN Second Degree Program features an accelerated format, which allows students to apply for the MSN program following their first clinical experience. Graduates of the BSN will have the necessary qualifications to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), resulting in earning status as a registered nurse. Penn also offers a Direct Entry BSN to MSN program. Students can complete the BSN components, gain licensure, and work part-time as a registered nurse while completing the MSN in one of more than a dozen areas, including family nurse practitioner, pediatric critical care nurse practitioner, and women’s health care nurse practitioner.

NCLEX Pass Rate and Accreditation Information for Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania

The following table allows you to easily compare not-for-profit Pennsylvania nursing schools on a variety of factors. Click on the arrows in the top row to sort the table. In addition to seeking a program that leads to licensure in your desired area of nursing, it’s advisable to consider accreditation as a factor in your decision. If you are considering education beyond the associate’s level, know that a degree from a school that holds accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is a common requirement for admission to master’s degree, ADN/LVN and RN to BSN, and specialized certificate programs. You should also check to ensure that the school you are considering is approved or accepted by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing (http://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/Nursing/Pages/default.aspx).

School ADN or LVN Program BSN Program Graduate Nursing Program ACEN/CCNE Accredited* NCLEX-PN First Time Pass Rate** Number Taking NCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rate*** Number Taking Net Price****
Alvernia University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 93.48% 46 $24,184
Bloomsburg University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 97.14% 70 $16,031
Bucks County Community College (ADN) Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 87.72% 57 $7,646
Bucks County Community College Yes No No ACEN 97.14% 35 N/A N/A $7,646
Butler County Community College Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 88.89% 54 $4,099
California University of Pennsylvania No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A N/A N/A $17,233
Carlow University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 94.44% 36 $18,817
Cedar Crest College No Yes Yes ACEN N/A N/A 95.41% 109 $18,500
Chatham University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A N/A N/A $21,066
Clarion University Yes Yes Yes ACEN N/A N/A 100% 26 $16,530
Community College of Allegheny County Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 90.58% 329 $5,558
Community College of Beaver County (ADN) Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 85.92% 71 $8,111
Community College of Beaver County Yes No No ACEN 100% 7 N/A N/A $8,111
Community College of Philadelphia Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 87.50% 64 $6,442
Delaware County Community College Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 81.88% 160 $6,686
Desales University No Yes Yes ACEN/CCNE N/A N/A 85.71% 56 $28,228
Drexel University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 97.54% 447 $40,615
Duquesne University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 93.90% 246 $27,948
Eastern University No Yes No CCNE N/A N/A 90.63% 32 $24,583
East Stroudsburg University No Yes No ACEN N/A N/A 95% 20 $16,138
Edinboro University No Yes Yes ACEN/CCNE N/A N/A 90.63% 64 $14,089
Gannon University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 91.07% 56 $21,314
Gwynedd-Mercy College (ADN) Yes Yes Yes ACEN N/A N/A 78.77% 146 $24,808
Gwynedd-Mercy College (BSN) Yes Yes Yes ACEN N/A N/A 81.82% 11 $24,808
Harcum College Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 65.96% 47 $18,694
Harrisburg Area Community College (ADN) Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 89.23% 325 $9,750
Harrisburg Area Community College Yes No No ACEN 92.65% 68 N/A N/A $9,750
Holy Family University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 82.44% 131 $15,016
Immaculata University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 74.36% 39 $33,717
Indiana University of Pennsylvania No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 95.87% 121 $16,469
LaRoche College Yes Yes Yes ACEN N/A N/A 92.31% 13 $21,079
LaSalle University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 87.66% 154 $25,890
Lehigh Carbon Community College (ADN) Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 77.14% 70 $5,152
Lehigh Carbon Community College Yes No No ACEN 81.82% 33 N/A N/A $5,152
Lincoln University of Pennsylvania No Yes No CCNE N/A N/A 25% 8 $14,057
Lock Haven University Yes Yes No ACEN N/A N/A 92.31% 52 $14,394
Luzerne County Community College Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 86.11% 106 $6,642
Mansfield University No Yes Yes ACEN N/A N/A 94.12% 34 $16,650
Marywood University No Yes No ACEN/CCNE N/A N/A 75% 12 $24,055
Mercyhurst University (ADN) Yes Yes No ACEN N/A N/A 76.92% 91 $21,577
Mercyhurst University Yes Yes No ACEN 95% 20 N/A N/A $21,577
Millersville University No Yes Yes ACEN N/A N/A N/A N/A $17,950
Messiah College No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 95.74% 47 $26,307
Misericordia University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 95.59% 68 $26,848
Montgomery County Community College Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 78.90% 109 $7,682
Moravian College No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 90% 60 $28,522
Mount Aloysius College Yes Yes No ACEN N/A N/A 86.81% 91 $20,816
Neumann University No Yes Yes ACEN N/A N/A 91.8% 56 $24,769
Northampton Community College (ADN) Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 97.06% 68 $6,414
Northampton Community College Yes No No ACEN 90.38% 52 N/A N/A $6,414
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Yes Yes No ACEN/CCNE N/A N/A 87.03% 293 $27,885
Pennsylvania College of Technology (ADN) Yes Yes No ACEN N/A N/A 89.66% 58 $21,450
Pennsylvania College of Technology (BSN) Yes Yes No ACEN N/A N/A 86.37% 43 $21,450
Pennsylvania State University (ADN) Yes Yes Yes ACEN/CCNE N/A N/A 91.01% 178 $24,992
Pennsylvania State University (BSN) Yes Yes Yes ACEN/CCNE N/A N/A 92.42% 198 $24,992
Pennsylvania State University-Lehigh Valley Yes No No No 87.32% 71 N/A N/A N/A
Reading Area Community College (ADN) Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 93.1% 29 $10,213
Reading Area Community College Yes No No ACEN 100% 13 N/A N/A $10,213
Robert Morris University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 94.32% 88 $24,289
Saint Francis University of Pennsylvania No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 100% 19 $25,291
Slippery Rock University No Yes Yes ACEN N/A N/A N/A N/A $16,021
Temple University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 90% 60 $20,236
Thomas Jefferson University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
University of Pennsylvania No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 91.11% 180 $23,924
University of Pittsburgh No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 88.84% 207 $16,544
University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Yes Yes No ACEN N/A N/A 100% 22 $24,311
University of Pittsburgh at Titusville Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 100% 14 $17,659
University of Scranton No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 94.03% 67 $33,035
Villanova University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 94.3% 149 $31,668
Waynesburg University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 100% 41 $18,401
West Chester University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 89.53% 86 $19,191
Westmoreland County Community College Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 80.34% 117 $2,907
Widener University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 85.82% 134 $27,236
Wilkes University No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 90.41% 73 $23,372
York College of Pennsylvania No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 89.52% 94 $21,770

*The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits ADN/ASN/BSN programs. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits BSN/MSN/DNP programs.4,5
**NCLEX-PN pass rates reported are for first-time undergraduates testing between October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016.6 You can compare these pass rates to the national average through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
***NCLEX-RN pass rates reported are for first-time undergraduates testing between October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016.6 You can compare these pass rates to the national average through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
****The National Center for Education Statistics calculates net price from the total estimated cost of attendance, including includes tuition, books, room and board, and other expenses, for in-state students minus the average financial aid award (such as grants and scholarships).

Reviews of Pennsylvania Nursing Programs

Drexel University
3141 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
http://drexel.edu/

I attended Drexel University from 2007 till 2013. I enjoyed the program there very much. Drexel has two campuses, the medical one being further downtown than the University City location. First-year students live on campus and the student housing dorms are all in University City so the commute to the medical campus was not expected when I was a Freshman. Yes, my core courses were all on the main campus but anything within the medical school is on the other campus. After freshman year, I moved to a more appropriate location for my class schedule. Nobody told me this in advance, that is why I mention it now in this review. Otherwise, Drexel was a great school. It was demanding and really pushed me to be the best I can be. The nursing students really stick together because it is such different academic program then design or engineering (both very popular programs at Drexel). Their whole intern program opens doors to career paths for students and really helps you learn what kind of nurse you want to be. Drexel’s nursing program is a very tough one but well worth the work. My degree from such a well-known institution opens doors for me in my career all the time.” – Student at Drexel University
stars-4

Franklin County Career and Technology Center
2463 Loop Rd
Chambersburg, PA 17202
http://www.franklinctc.com/

The Franklin County Vocational Technical School – Practical Nursing Program was one of the best, yet toughest experiences of my life. It was a very challenging program to complete. However, it did prepare me for my lifelong career as well as to enable me to apply the many experiences that I had while attending nursing school. My instructors were extremely knowledgeable and helpful with whatever situation was at hand. At the time of my graduation, we had been instructed and taught as much information as the registered nursing program. Our school was ranked in the top 10 in the United States. Our program consisted of 3 levels. Level one was all classroom and lab work. Level two was half classroom and half hospital experience and level three was half classroom and half nursing home experience. During level two, we had the chance to rotate throughout the various departments within the hospital, such as the Emergency room, Operating room, Labor & Delivery, etc. Overall, this was a great experience for me.” – Student at Franklin County Vocational Technical School
stars-5

Indiana University of Pennsylvania
1011 South Dr
Indiana, PA 15705
http://www.iup.edu/

I graduated with a BS in Nursing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and it prepared me for a career as a registered nurse. This was a state school, I go a well-rounded education. The first year was the easiest since all my classes were liberal studies. My sophomore year is when my clinical started. The one thing I disliked was I had to drive from Indiana to Pittsburgh twice a week for my clinical. This is costly for a college person with no extra income. Throughout the last six semesters, clinical experiences in patient care are provided in acute and long-term care facilities as well as community settings.” – Student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania
stars-5

West Chester University
700 S High St
West Chester, PA 19382
https://www.wcupa.edu/

The Nursing Department at West Chester University provided the students with a very challenging, but also extremely rewarding program. This program was known to be one of the most difficult majors at the university, with important tests that required extensive studying combined with proper judgment and decision-making abilities, semester-long involvement in writing the intimidating term papers, and of course the clinical rotations. However, nothing stands out more than the clinical experiences you have as a nursing student. The valuable hands-on experience that you get to experience at different sites and specialties (such as pediatrics, maternity/labor & delivery, developmentally disabled schools, geriatrics, etc) was a great way to use the knowledge we worked so hard to learn in lectures, and consequently make a difference to our very first patients.” – Student at West Chester University
stars-4

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. US News & World Report Best Nursing Grad Schools Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/search?program=top-nursing-schools
3. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/?degree=4-year&state=PA&major=nursing&sort=best
4. Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN): http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm
5. American Association of Colleges of Nursing Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE): http://www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation/accredited-programs
6. Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing: http://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/Nursing/Pages/Board-Approved-Nursing-Education-Programs.aspx