The health care system in Pennsylvania is currently in need of highly skilled nurses. A nursing degree can provide higher pay scales and can poise you for a successful and rewarding career in the booming healthcare industry. The state has an approximate annual need of 4,800 nurses. Combine this with the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average annual salary for a registered nurse in the state at roughly $71,410, and a career in registered nursing starts to look very enticing.

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Cities in Pennsylvania

Best RN Programs in Pennsylvania

Selecting the best nursing school in Pennsylvania can be difficult. To make the process easier first look for a school that supports students towards licensure and beyond. A great way to measure this is through NCLEX-RN "pass rates." We have ranked the top 20 nursing schools in Pennsylvania by analyzing current and historical NCLEX-RN "pass rates", meaning the percentage of graduates who pass the exam, out of the 77 RN programs in the state. Programs reviewed include schools that offer an Associate in Nursing (ADN/ASN), BSN, or Direct-Entry MSN Degree.

For more information on our top nursing school rankings, see our Methodology Page (


One University Avenue, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

Score: 98.59

The Messiah University Department of Nursing facilitates nursing practice with a Christian whole-person philosophy. Located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, compassion, excellence, critical thinking, and cultural awareness are all facets of the Messiah undergraduate BSN program.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (717) 766-2511

117 Evergreen Drive, Loretto, PA 15940

Score: 98.32

With an outstanding lineup of nursing programs, Saint Francis University is committed to nursing student success. Enrollees of SFU's BSN program are provided with theoretical and practical learning components, and the program also fosters a Judeo-Christian perspective to the critical thinking process to give graduates a diverse outlook. Small class sizes and individualized attention make SFU's nursing department stand out.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (814) 472-3000

3333 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Score: 98.02

Carlow University in Pittsburgh offers multiple BSN degrees that foster lifelong learning to better adapt to the changing world of health care. Small class sizes, life-like simulations, and multidisciplinary practices make a well-rounded, successful nursing professional.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (800) 333-2275

51 W College St, Waynesburg, PA 15370

Score: 97.22

Waynesburg University is nestled in the small town of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, just southwest of Pittsburgh. State-of-the art simulation labs, seasoned faculty, and a comprehensive curriculum are the factors that edge this BSN nursing program to the front of the class.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (800) 225-7393

1 College Ave, Williamsport, PA 17701

Score: 97.07

The Pennsylvania College of Technology (Penn College)’s undergraduate nursing degrees, which include both associate's and bachelor's pathways, are led by MSN and doctorally-prepared RN instructors with a passion for helping their students succeed. With online and traditional pathways, nursing students have the flexibility to choose their preferred learning style through Penn College.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing, BSN
  • Phone: (800) 367-9222

100 College Dr, Allentown, PA 18104

Score: 96.66

Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania is home to a BSN program that offers clinical experiences in a multitude of venues. Degrees earned at CCC have a foundational belief that a liberal arts degree makes for a more comprehensive and curious nursing professional.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (610) 437-4471

504 E Main St, Titusville, PA 16354

Score: 96.59

The University of Pittsburgh - Titusville is home to several RN programs. Not only do they offer a traditional 2-year ADN program, but they also provide an LPN to RN option. Classroom learning, simulations, and learning skills labs give students the knowledge required for success in the field.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to RN
  • Phone: (814) 827-4400

18 N. River Lane, Everett, PA 15537

Score: 96.35

Allegany College of Maryland's Bedford County campus, located in Everett, offers a "ladder-style" nursing program in which ADN students can become certified as CNAs or Geriatric Nursing Assistants after completing the first semester of study. After the first year of study, students can take the exam to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). At the completion of 2 years of study, students will earn an associate's degree in nursing and be eligible for licensure as an RN.

Program Details

  • Programs: Associate in Nursing
  • Phone: (814) 652-9528

850 Greenfield Rd, Lancaster, PA 17601

Score: 96.02

Lancaster's Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences serves students with a unique "2+2" nursing program, which culminates in both an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree in nursing. Enrolled students go through a 2 year ADN program, and then seamlessly move on to the RN to BSN program, without any breaks.

Program Details

  • Programs: ASN+BSN
  • Phone: (800) 622-5443

1601 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Score: 95.90

Drexel University is situated in the robust city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. DU's College of Nursing and Health Professions offers multiple co-operative undergrad nursing programs. with flexible BSN options for both freshman and transfer students.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (215) 895-2000

800 E. Lancaster Ave, Villanova, PA 19085

Score: 95.88

Villanova University’s M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing offers a variety of quality nursing degree options. Curricula for these programs, which includes a traditional 4-year BSN degree, integrate the concern for spiritual health in addition to mind and body health, and emphasize nursing as a healing art as well as an applied science discipline.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (610) 519-4500

25 Heckel Rd, Kennedy Township, PA 15136

Score: 95.49

The Heritage Valley Kennedy (formerly Ohio Valley Hospital) School of Nursing, located on the Heritage Valley Kennedy campus, has been educating registered nurses through its diploma program since 1901. With small class sizes and personalized instruction, students gain the knowledge and skills needed for nursing excellence. The program can be completed in just 20 months of study.

Program Details

  • Programs: Diploma
  • Phone: (412) 777-6161

155 Wilson Avenue, Washington, PA 15301

Score: 95.46

Washington Health System School of Nursing is designed to serve the community of southwestern Pennsylvania. Students are provided the most up-to-date technology and practices in the nursing field, making the transition into a professional life one of ease.

Program Details

  • Programs: Diploma
  • Phone: (724) 225-7000

The Estate, Scranton, PA 18510

Score: 95.19

The University of Scranton Department of Nursing has deep values of Catholic and Jesuit beliefs interwoven into the BSN degree curriculum. Family and patient-centered nursing are emphasized in the program, and diverse clinical experiences and collaborative learning ensure that program grads are well-prepared for practice.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (570) 941-7572

201 Nursing Sciences Building, University Park, PA 16802

Score: 95.14

With multiple undergraduate pathways, Penn State’s College of Nursing prepares students for a myriad of career opportunities in the nursing field. With a broad liberal arts and science foundation, the BSN programs offered prepare students to provide care in a broad array of settings, including rural hospitals, prisons, community health agencies, and more.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (814) 863-0245

418 Curie Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Score: 95.05

Penn Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania boasts state-of-the art technology, simulation centers, and rigorous curricula that allow curiosity to evolve into critical thinking. Graduates of the traditional BSN and accelerated BSN programs are given the skills and confidence necessary to perform as outstanding additions to the healthcare field.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (215) 898-4271

1300 Eagle Rd, St. Davids, PA 19087

Score: 95.00

Located near Philadelphia, Eastern University offers students an outstanding lineup of BSN programs, including a traditional pre-licensure option as well as a 2nd degree pathway. While learning the concepts and practices of the nursing field, graduates will also learn how to incorporate Christian values and ethics into their professional lives.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (610) 341-5800

700 S High St, West Chester, PA 19382

Score: 94.92

West Chester University prepares the next generation of skilled and caring RNs through its BSN degree offerings. Pre-licensure students can choose between the traditional BSN program and the accelerated second-degree BSN program (for those who hold a non-nursing bachelor's degree).

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (610) 436-1000

219 Meadville St, Edinboro, PA 16444

Score: 94.85

Edinboro University offers two pathways to a BSN degree: the traditional 4-year option, and the 3-semester accelerated option (designed for those with a non-nursing bachelor's degree). Both programs feature hands-on learning opportunities, including simulation labs, internships, and a capstone practicum.

Program Details

  • Programs: BSN
  • Phone: (814) 732-2000

5800 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19128

Score: 94.78

Located in Philadelphia, Roxborough Memorial Hospital's School of Nursing has been in operation since 1898. Their hospital-based diploma program can be completed via the 16-month full-time day option, or the 22-month part-time evening/weekend program option.

Program Details

  • Programs: Diploma
  • Phone: (215) 487-4344

ADN Programs in Pennsylvania

A starting point for many in the nursing industry is an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN). At 2 years in length, an ADN is a fairly quick program, making it great for those who have limited time for school. You will typically find ADN programs offered at smaller schools like junior colleges and technical schools, which makes it a widely accessible program no matter where in the state you are located.

Over 25 schools in Pennsylvania offer ADN programs, making it easier than ever to earn your nursing degree.

What to Look For in an ADN Program in Pennsylvania

With an abundance of ADN programs to choose from, it's wise to look for some of the following things when comparing schools:


Accreditation lends credibility and legitimacy to programs. It's good to check that organizations such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and/or the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) fully endorse the program. In addition to this, it's important to be sure the program is approved by the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing.


Your ADN program of choice should prepare you to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which is the test you'll need to pass in order to apply for your nursing license.

Program Outcomes

One of the best ways to ensure that the program you are interested in is a good one is to check out their post-program statistics, paying particular attention to things like:

  • Graduation rate
  • Licensure exam pass rate
  • Graduate satisfaction
  • Employment rate

The Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences in Lancaster is one example of a school in the state that offers an accredited ADN program.

ADN Program Admission Requirements in Pennsylvania

Specific program admission requirements vary; check with any prospective college as to what they require. Here is a sample of common requirements to give you an idea of what to expect:

  • Two years of high school algebra with a grade of C or better
  • Submit TEAS V test results
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0

Tuition and Costs of ADN Programs in Pennsylvania

Breaking down the costs of an ADN program can be confusing. First, you'll need to factor in the cost of your school's tuition. In addition to this, you'll have extra fees that may or may not be rolled into the tuition cost, like textbooks, uniforms, lab fees, and other miscellaneous fees. You'll also need to factor in room and board costs if this applies to you. These costs are typically separate from tuition.

To give you an example of cost, a full-time ADN student at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, PA can expect tuition costs of $2,910 per semester if they are a resident of Berks County, and $4,995 a semester if they are a resident of another Pennsylvania county.

Advantages of ADN Programs

The main advantages of ADN programs are the length of duration and cost. At 2 years, an ADN takes half the time of a traditional bachelor's degree in nursing, making it ideal for those who want to enter the workforce as soon as possible. Because of this shorter length, along with the fact that ADN programs tend to be offered at community colleges, they tend to be much more affordable as well. If time and budget are big considerations, an ADN might be the perfect route to becoming a registered nurse.

LPN to RN Programs in Pennsylvania

There are specialized programs available for current Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who wish to become RNs. These LPN to RN transition programs build upon the knowledge and experience that LPNs already possess, making for an overall shorter pathway to registered nursing.

LPN to ADN/BSN Programs

Depending on the nurse’s goals, they may wish to enter either the more basic LPN to ADN program, or the slightly more advanced LPN to BSN option. LPN to ADN programs usually take just a few semesters to complete, such as the one offered through Harrisburg Area Community College. LPN to BSN programs may be a bit longer in length but result in the coveted bachelor’s degree in nursing. The Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers an LPN to BSN program which emphasizes a smooth transition into registered nursing care.

LPN to RN programs may have the following admissions requirements:

  • Graduate of an approved LPN program
  • Current, active LPN license
  • Completion of any prerequisite courses

BSN Programs in Pennsylvania

A Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) is the classic 4-year route to a nursing degree. Typically found at larger universities, these programs are ideal for those looking for more advanced nursing careers with larger paychecks. Many schools also offer shorter RN to BSN programs for those who already hold a nursing license and want to advance.

Pennsylvania boasts an astonishing 40+ schools that offer a BSN program.

What To Look For in a BSN Program in Pennsylvania

When comparing BSN programs, you'll need to consider the essentials like cost, accreditation, program outcomes, and more. Because there are so many BSN programs scattered throughout the state, the location may also be a factor, as you may want to choose a school that's close to your current location. If you are already a licensed nurse via an ADN or LPN, you'll want to find out if your school of choice offers an RN to BSN program. Finally, if you have a bachelor's degree in another field, you may be eligible to take an accelerated BSN program, so you'll need to find a school that offers this option.

Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, PA, is an excellent example of a school in the state that offers accredited programs for traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, RN to BSN, and LPN to BSN.

BSN Program Length in Pennsylvania

You can expect a traditional BSN to take 4 years to complete. An accelerated BSN can take as little as 16 months to complete in some cases, and RN to BSN programs can take around 2 years from start to finish, depending on the school. It's always advised to check with your prospective school to see how long each of their BSN options will take to complete.

BSN Program Admission Requirements in Pennsylvania

Admission requirements for BSN programs can vary, but here is a sampling of what you can expect:

  • Minimum 1450 combined SAT (or ACT score of 21 or higher)
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Submit official high school and/or university transcripts with GPA

Tuition and Costs of BSN Programs in Pennsylvania

Paying for college can be stressful. Remember that you'll need to budget for tuition fees as well as other miscellaneous fees including books and lab fees. Most schools will give you a general breakdown of additional mandatory fees that aren't covered under tuition.

As an example, the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's BSN program will cost you approximately $53,166 not including additional fees or housing.

Advantages of BSN Programs

Earning your BSN will give you the opportunity to gain more advanced nursing jobs, and greatly increase your salary range. There are excellent nursing programs at world-class universities all throughout the state, making it ideal for someone wanting a traditional college experience. There are also a multitude of ways to earn your BSN, whether it's the classic program, the RN to BSN program, or even an accelerated program.

MSN Programs in Pennsylvania

If you're really looking for an advanced nursing degree, a Master's of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) is the route for you. You'll need an MSN to land nursing jobs such as Clinical Nurse Specialist, Certified Nurse Midwife, and Nurse Practitioner, among other specialties. The pay scale for these types of jobs will also increase exponentially.

Over 25 schools in the state of Pennsylvania offer properly accredited MSN programs.

MSN Program Length in Pennsylvania

You can expect a typical MSN program to last roughly 2-3 years. This can vary as many schools offer flexible programs designed around the schedules of busy working nurses. Online and night courses are often available at many of the universities offering this type of program.

MSN Admission Requirements in Pennsylvania

While requirements vary, you can expect to find one or more of the following for most MSN programs in the state:

  • Minimum 3.0 undergrad GPA
  • Official transcript verifying completion of BSN degree
  • Copies of a current resume and valid RN license
  • Admissions essay

Tuition and Costs of MSN Programs in Pennsylvania

Costs for MSN programs can vary wildly, depending on the type of school you choose and the type of MSN program. Generally speaking, you'll need to pay for tuition costs and various miscellaneous expenses like textbooks and lab fees. The tuition for the MSN program at Chatham University, located in Pittsburgh, PA, will run you an estimated $798 per credit hour.

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Getting a Pennsylvania Nursing License

Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing regulations are clearly laid out and require candidates to provide pertinent information regarding applying by examination or endorsement.

If you are applying by examination you will need to complete the appropriate application and provide this documentation:

  • Registration of NCLEX exam - with eventual successful completion
  • Education verification - sent directly from the school to the state Board
  • Criminal History Records Check

When applying by endorsement you are required to send these documents:

  • Verification of education - official transcripts sent directly to the Board via the school
  • Verification of Licensure
  • Criminal History Records Check

Learn more and PA RN license information at the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Accelerated Nursing Programs in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania state has several options for accelerated BSN/MSN programs, as well as options for bridging your degree. An accelerated program can be expected to run up to 18 months in certain colleges and is offered on a full-time basis. While the direct entry to an MSN program can be taken full-time or part-time, it has to be completed within 5 years. To proceed directly into the programs there are required courses that must be completed prior to the start date, as each program is a bit different so are their prerequisite courses. Fees associated with the programs can vary depending on these courses, and other factors such as required housing.

Continued List of All RN Programs in Pennsylvania

Here is a continued list of all RN Programs a continued list of all RN Programs a continued list of all RN Programs a continued list of all RN Programs a continued list of all RN Programs a continued list of all RN Programs.

Pittsburgh, PA 15282 | Phone: (412) 396-6000
Programs: BSN
Mansfield, PA 16933 | Phone: (570) 662-4000
Programs: BSN
Pittsburgh, PA 15212 | Phone: (412) 237-2525
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Philadelphia, PA 19141 | Phone: (215) 951-1000
Programs: BSN
Bloomsburg, PA 17815 | Phone: (570) 389-4000
Programs: BSN
Cresson, PA 16630 | Phone: (888) 823-2220
Programs: Associate in Nursing, BSN
Blue Bell, PA 19422 | Phone: (215) 641-6300
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Bethlehem, PA 18015 | Phone: (484) 526-3400
Programs: Diploma
Erie, PA 16501 | Phone: (814) 871-7000
Programs: BSN
Center Valley, PA 18034 | Phone: (610) 282-1100 x2838
Programs: BSN
York, PA 17403 | Phone: (717) 815-1243
Programs: BSN
Reading, PA 19607 | Phone: (610) 796-8200
Programs: BSN
Lewistown, PA 17044 | Phone: (717) 242-7930
Programs: Diploma
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010 | Phone: (610) 525-4100
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Bethlehem, PA 18020 | Phone: (610) 861-5300
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Indiana, PA 15705 | Phone: (724) 357-2557
Programs: BSN
Reading, PA 19611 | Phone: (484) 628-0100
Programs: Diploma
Pittsburgh, PA 15261 | Phone: (412) 624-4586
Programs: BSN
Aston, PA 19014 | Phone: (610) 558-5616
Programs: BSN
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701 | Phone: (570) 408-4086
Programs: BSN
Immaculata, PA 19345 | Phone: (610) 647-4400
Programs: BSN
Nanticoke, PA 18634 | Phone: (800) 377-5222
Programs: Associate in Applied Science in Nursing
Philadelphia, PA 19107 | Phone: (215) 503-8890
Programs: BSN
Harrisburg, PA 17110 | Phone: (717) 780-3207
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Pittsburgh, PA 15206 | Phone: (412) 623-2950
Programs: Diploma
New Kensington, PA 15068 | Phone: (724) 337-5090
Programs: Diploma
Philadelphia, PA 19114 | Phone: (215) 637-7700
Programs: BSN
Newtown, PA 18940 | Phone: (215) 968-8000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Butler, PA 16002 | Phone: (724) 287-8711
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Monaca, PA 15061 | Phone: (724) 480-2222
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Johnstown, PA 15905 | Phone: (814) 534-9000
Programs: Diploma
Dallas, PA 18612 | Phone: (570) 674-6400
Programs: BSN
Clarion, PA 16214 | Phone: (814) 393-2000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Lock Haven, PA 17745 | Phone: (570) 484-2011
Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN Advanced Placement ADN
Philadelphia, PA 19122 | Phone: (215) 707-4687
Programs: BSN
Bethlehem, PA 18018 | Phone: (610) 861-1320
Programs: BSN
Pittsburgh, PA 15224 | Phone: (412) 578-5205
Programs: Diploma
Moon Township, PA 15108 | Phone: (800) 762-0097
Programs: BSN
New Castle, PA 16105 | Phone: (724) 658-9001
Programs: Diploma
Philadelphia, PA 19130 | Phone: (215) 751-8000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Scranton, PA 18509 | Phone: (570) 348-6211
Programs: BSN
Chester, PA 19013 | Phone: (610) 499-4212
Programs: BSN
Pittsburgh, PA 15238 | Phone: (412) 784-4980
Programs: Diploma
East Stroudsburg, PA 18301 | Phone: (570) 422-3211
Programs: BSN
Pottsville, PA 17901 | Phone: (570) 621-5035
Programs: Diploma
Gwynedd Valley, PA 19437 | Phone: (800) 342-5462
Programs: BSN
Youngwood, PA 15697 | Phone: (724) 925-4000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Pittsburgh, PA 15219 | Phone: (412) 232-7950
Programs: Diploma
Media, PA 19063 | Phone: (610) 359-5000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Schnecksville, PA 18078 | Phone: (610) 799-2121
Programs: Associate in Nursing
North East, PA 16428 | Phone: (814) 725-6100
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Reading, PA 19603 | Phone: (610) 372-4721
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Bradford, PA 16701 | Phone: (814) 362-7500
Programs: Associate in Nursing, BSN
Pittsburgh, PA 15237 | Phone: (412) 367-9300
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Chambersburg, PA 17201 | Phone: (717) 264-4141
Programs: BSN, LPN to BSN
Lincoln University, PA 19352 | Phone: (484) 365-8000
Programs: BSN
Strafford, PA 19087 | Phone: (610) 902-8100
Programs: BSN

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