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The healthcare industry in Pennsylvania is growing, with surging demand for registered nurses (RNs) throughout the state. Pennsylvania’s educational institutions offer several paths towards establishing a career as an RN.

Educational pathways
A traditional four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree is offered at many of the state’s premier colleges and universities, including University of Pennsylvania and York College of Pennsylvania. Students seeking a shorter-term path to a nursing career may choose an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) program; these are offered at community colleges across the state. Hospitals also offer an RN diploma program, which provides students greater exposure to clinical practice and experience in a healthcare environment. This integrated program can be taken as a two- or three-year curriculum and is currently offered by almost 20 institutions across the state, including West Penn Hospital School of Nursing and UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing. Upon completion of any RN prelicensure program, candidates must successfully pass the NCLEX-RN, a national examination required to practice in Pennsylvania.

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Employment and salary
The clinical experience garnered during these programs is immediately put to use at one of Pennsylvania’s premier healthcare providers. Employers such as Pennsylvania Hospital, Bryn Mawr Hospital, and Temple University Hospital require RNs to administer direct care and to prescribe treatment. As well-qualified and highly-valued healthcare professionals, RNs earn very competitive salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses report an average annual income of $53,310, well above the state’s median household income.

To begin your career as a registered nurse in Pennsylvania, consult our list below of the best prelicensure programs in the state.

Featured Schools

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Allentown / Bethlehem area

St. Luke's School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 92.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Cedar Crest College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 91.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
DeSales University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Northampton Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Moravian College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 89.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Lehigh Carbon Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
St. Luke's School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 92.0% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Cedar Crest College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 91.7% 2008-09 to 2016-17
DeSales University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 90.8% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Northampton Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 89.5% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Moravian College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 89.1% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Lehigh Carbon Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.5% 2008-09 to 2016-17

Erie

Gannon University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 92.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Edinboro University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Mercyhurst University - North East
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 75.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Gannon University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 92.1% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Edinboro University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 88.9% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Mercyhurst University - North East
Associate's Degree in Nursing 75.1% 2008-09 to 2016-17

Harrisburg

Messiah College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Harrisburg Area Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Messiah College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 90.7% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Harrisburg Area Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.6% 2008-09 to 2016-17

Lancaster

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences
Associate's Degree in Nursing 89.5% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Philadelphia metro area

Drexel University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Aria Health School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 92.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
University of Pennsylvania
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 91.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Roxborough Memorial Hospital School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 91.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Temple University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Neumann University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Villanova University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Jefferson College of Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 89.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Eastern University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 89.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
West Chester University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Montgomery County Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Gwynedd Mercy University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 85.2% NCLEX pass rate (2015-16 through 2016-17)
Holy Family University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 85.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Delaware County Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Widener University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 83.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Bucks County Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Community College of Philadelphia
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
La Salle University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 79.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Harcum College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 69.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Immaculata University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 68.4% NCLEX pass rate (2011-12 through 2016-17)
Lincoln University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 50.0% NCLEX pass rate (2014-15 through 2016-17)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Drexel University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 96.9% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Aria Health School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 92.9% 2008-09 to 2016-17
University of Pennsylvania
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 91.6% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Roxborough Memorial Hospital School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 91.0% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Temple University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 90.6% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Neumann University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 90.5% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Villanova University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 90.1% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Jefferson College of Nursing
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 89.6% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Eastern University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 89.5% 2008-09 to 2016-17
West Chester University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 88.6% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Montgomery County Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.0% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Gwynedd Mercy University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 85.2% 2015-16 to 2016-17
Holy Family University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 85.2% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Delaware County Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 84.0% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Widener University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 83.2% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Bucks County Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 83.0% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Community College of Philadelphia
Associate's Degree in Nursing 81.4% 2008-09 to 2016-17
La Salle University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 79.8% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Harcum College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 69.2% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Immaculata University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 68.4% 2011-12 to 2016-17
Lincoln University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 50.0% 2014-15 to 2016-17

Pittsburgh

Washington Health System School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 91.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
University of Pittsburgh
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 89.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Butler County Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
St. Margaret School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 87.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Duquesne University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 87.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Mercy Hospital School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 86.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Ohio Valley Hospital School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 86.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Carlow University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 86.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Community College of Beaver County
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Robert Morris University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 86.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
West Penn Hospital School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 85.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Citizens School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 85.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 85.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Westmoreland County Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Community College of Allegheny County
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
La Roche College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 73.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Pittsburgh Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 48.9% NCLEX pass rate (2013-14 through 2016-17)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Washington Health System School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 91.7% 2008-09 to 2016-17
University of Pittsburgh
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 89.4% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Butler County Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 89.3% 2008-09 to 2016-17
St. Margaret School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 87.9% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Duquesne University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 87.6% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Mercy Hospital School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 86.6% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Ohio Valley Hospital School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 86.6% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Carlow University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 86.5% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Community College of Beaver County
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.3% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Robert Morris University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 86.1% 2008-09 to 2016-17
West Penn Hospital School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 85.9% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Citizens School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 85.6% 2008-09 to 2016-17
UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 85.4% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Westmoreland County Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 84.6% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Community College of Allegheny County
Associate's Degree in Nursing 83.4% 2008-09 to 2016-17
La Roche College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 73.8% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Pittsburgh Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 48.9% 2013-14 to 2016-17

Reading

Reading Area Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences
  • Diploma in Nursing: 87.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Alvernia University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 84.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Reading Area Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.0% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences
Diploma in Nursing 87.7% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Alvernia University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 84.2% 2008-09 to 2016-17

Scranton / Wilkes-Barre area

University of Scranton
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 92.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Misericordia University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 89.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Luzerne County Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Marywood University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 84.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Wilkes University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 82.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
University of Scranton
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 92.7% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Misericordia University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 89.5% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Luzerne County Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.3% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Marywood University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 84.1% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Wilkes University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 82.5% 2008-09 to 2016-17

York

York College of Pennsylvania
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 87.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
York College of Pennsylvania
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 87.5% 2008-09 to 2016-17

Other Pennsylvania cities

Waynesburg University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 98.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Geisinger Lewistown Hospital School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 97.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Bloomsburg University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Saint Francis University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 94.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Pennsylvania State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 93.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Jameson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 91.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Sharon Regional Medical Center School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 90.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Conemaugh School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 90.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Joseph F. McCloskey School of Nursing
  • Diploma in Nursing: 90.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Pennsylvania College of Technology
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 86.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Mansfield University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 89.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Mount Aloysius College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Allegany College of Maryland
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
University of Pittsburgh at Titusville
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Lock Haven University
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Clarion University
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 82.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
East Stroudsburg University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 82.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008-09 through 2016-17)
Wilson College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Waynesburg University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 98.9% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Geisinger Lewistown Hospital School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 97.2% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Bloomsburg University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 96.5% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Saint Francis University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 96.2% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 94.0% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Pennsylvania State University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 93.7% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Jameson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 91.9% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Sharon Regional Medical Center School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 90.9% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Conemaugh School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 90.6% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Joseph F. McCloskey School of Nursing
Diploma in Nursing 90.4% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.1% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 86.3% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Mansfield University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 89.3% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Mount Aloysius College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.7% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Allegany College of Maryland
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.7% 2008-09 to 2016-17
University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.3% 2008-09 to 2016-17
University of Pittsburgh at Titusville
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.0% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Lock Haven University
Associate's Degree in Nursing 85.4% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Clarion University
Associate's Degree in Nursing 82.0% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
East Stroudsburg University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 82.0% 2008-09 to 2016-17
Wilson College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing