We've organized a comprehensive list of Pennsylvania nursing schools. Below you'll find information on specific nursing programs such as LPN certificates and ADN, BSN, and MSN degrees. You'll also find a profile of nursing education and careers in each major Pennsylvania city.

Vocational, career, and community colleges offer a fast-track pathway to becoming a nurse. Prospective students can choose to enroll in a certificate program to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or licensed practical nurse (LPN), or an associate’s degree program to become a registered nurse (RN). Unlike lengthier degrees at four-year colleges, these programs can be completed in a relatively brief time period with lower tuition costs.

Four-year colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs that are designed to be completed in four years of fulltime study. After completing a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), nurses interested in senior and/or specialized roles can also pursue a master of science in nursing (MSN). There is a growing employer preference for nurses holding BSN or MSN degrees, since they have greater expertise and higher potential for career advancement.

Aspiring nurses in Pennsylvania may choose one of three different career paths. Each path focuses on a distinct type of healthcare expertise, requires a different length of education, and carries unique licensing requirements. Depending on a prospective nurse’s level of dedication and interest, she can choose to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or registered nurse (RN).

Registered nurses (RNs) constitute the largest group of nursing professionals in Pennsylvania. The most highly qualified RNs in the state hold a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. BSN students typically take one of two tracks. One option is to complete a pre-licensure program that leads to qualification as a registered nurse upon passing the NCLEX-RN exam. The other is a registered-nurse-to-bachelor-of-science-in-nursing (RN-to-BSN) program, where nurses can convert their existing associate’s degree or hospital diploma to a bachelor’s degree.

An associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) is a highly rigorous and demanding nursing qualification program, ensuring that future nurses provide medical care and treatment of the highest quality. This degree is well-recognized in the healthcare industry, and nurses with this qualification are highly sought after by employers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Pennsylvania’s registered nurses, the most common recipients of an ADN, earn an average annual salary of $64,830.

A licensed practical nursing (LPN) certificate can be completed in just 12 to 18 months, preparing students for a challenging but rewarding career with Pennsylvania’s leading hospitals and medical centers. The program is flexible, allowing students to pursue other objectives and activities while enrolled; some institutions even provide a two-year associate’s degree program. Colleges that offer the LPN certificate are spread widely throughout the state of Pennsylvania.

A nursing assistant career can serve as a gateway into Pennsylvania’s nursing industry. As the most junior nursing care provider, nursing assistants work alongside more experienced licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs). They can gain valuable exposure and understanding of the healthcare industry before deciding whether or not to further their career in the nursing profession.

Nursing assistants and the workplace