Advanced-practice nursing is a rewarding option for nurses who wish to expand their practice. Nurses can choose to become nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, or nurse practitioners. They are also in high demand- with a projected job growth of 31% through 2024.

Nurse practitioners are also included in this demand. Combining the nursing process with more specialized practitioner skills such as treating and prescribing, nurse practitioners enjoy a productive and fulfilling career.

In Pennsylvania, nurse practitioners can act as a primary care provider but must establish a collaborative agreement with a physician to diagnose and treat.

Choosing a Nurse Practitioner Program

Taking the step to pursue graduate education in nursing, whether a master’s degree or doctoral degree, is a momentous decision in one’s life. As such, certain factors should be considered when choosing a school:

  • Accreditation- Nurse practitioner education must meet certain standards for safe and independent practice. Students should look for accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission on Education in Nursing (ACEN). Pennsylvania has many accredited programs to choose from- thirty- five across the state!
  • Program Cost-With thirty schools that offer advanced degrees for nurses, tuition can vary widely- from $500 to over $1000 per credit, not including books, additional fees, supplies, and living expenses. Depending on the degree, students must complete at least 40 credits (more credits are required for DNP). Financial aid is offered through most schools; students are encouraged to review the school of interest’s website to determine exact tuition, fees, and available financial aid.
  • Program length- Assuming the nurse already possesses a bachelor's degree, nurse practitioner programs can take three to four years to complete depending on if it's a master's or doctoral program. If students need to obtain their BSN first, the educational path can extend an additional one-to-two years. Many schools offer accelerated BSN programs, however.
  • Internship/Externship Opportunities- While a specific number of supervised clinical areas are required for graduation, many nurse practitioners consider residency programs to further build on their clinical skills.
  • Online/Campus Options- With thirty-five graduate nursing programs, online options are readily available. Pennsylvania has over seventeen programs with distance education possible- which results in flexibility and self-directed learning.

Admission and Certification Requirements

Admission to a graduate nursing program may vary between schools, but students may be required to:

  • Have an RN/ APRN license (for DNP programs)
  • Have a BSN from an accredited university
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher (specific GPAs may vary between institutions)
  • Provide letters of recommendation
  • Submit a resume/ CV
  • Complete a written statement of purpose
  • Interview with faculty
  • Have completed a college-level statistics course
  • GRE may be required

Since schools have variable admission requirements, prospective students are encouraged to thoroughly research schools before applying.

Licensing/ Certification

Graduating from a nurse practitioner program enables NPs to take the certification exam for their specialty focus area. Pennsylvania requires NPs to be certified by a nationally-recognized credentialing agency such as:

  • The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)
  • National Certification Corporation (NCC)
  • American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN)

In addition to certification in a specialty area, licensing requirements include:

  • Current, unrestricted RN license
  • Submission of official transcripts sent from educational institution
  • Verification of completion of an advanced-degree program
  • Completion of application and criminal background check
  • Completion of Board-approved education in pain management and prescribing/dispensing opioids (this requirement may be met within the MSN/DNP program)

Pennsylvania Nurse Practitioner Agencies and Organizations

Schools That Offer Nurse Practitioner Programs in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is a state with rural farmlands as well as thriving metropolitan areas. The abundance of nurse practitioner programs throughout the state ensures registered nurses are provided ample opportunity to advance their degree as well as their practice.

Aston, PA

Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
One Neumann Drive
Aston, PA 01901
(610) 459-0905

Bethlehem, PA

Department of Nursing
1200 Main Street
Bethlehem, PA 18018
(610) 861-1660

Center Valley, PA

Division of Nursing
2755 Station Ave.
Center Valley, PA 18034
(610) 282-1100 x2838

Clarion, PA

909 E Wood St.
Clarion, PA 16214
(800) 672-7171

Edinboro, PA

219 Meadville Street
Edinboro, PA 16444
(814) 732-2000

Erie, PA

MSN Programs
109 University Square
Erie, PA 16541
(814) 871-7000

Mechanicsburg, PA

One College Avenue
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
(717) 766-2511

Millersville, PA

Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
P.O. Box 1002
Millersville, PA 17551
(717) 871-4636

Moon Township, PA

School of Nursing
6001 University Blvd
Moon Township, PA 15108
(800) 762-0097

Philadelphia, PA

Pittsburgh, PA

Scranton, PA

235 Jefferson Ave
Scranton, PA 18510
(570) 941-7673

York, PA

443 Country Club Rd
York, PA 17403
(717) 846-7788

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.