Best Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania

The 10 Best Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is home to some of the best nursing schools in the United States. Schools like the University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University, Pittsburgh University, etc. offer nursing programs that compete on the international stage.

Therefore, attending one of the top nursing schools in Pennsylvania doesn’t just prepare you for a rewarding career in the state. It also prepares you to work anywhere in the nation or the world at large.  

Do you want to know why Pennsylvania (PA) is a viable state to begin your nursing career? Do you want to know the best nursing schools and how you can become a registered nurse in the state of Pennsylvania?

If your answer is yes, believe me, you’re on the right page. Because in this article, we’ll discuss all that and more. In fact, by the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll feel great as you must have learned enough to get started with your nursing dream.

You might be asking, “Why should I study nursing in Pennsylvania?” Let’s find out. 

Why Should I Study Nursing in Pennsylvania?

According to Wikipedia, Pennsylvania is the fifth most populous state in the United States, with over 13 million residents.

This population requires a huge percentage of nurses and other healthcare workers in the state. But is that the case? The answer is no.

According to recent reports by Becker’s Hospital Review, Pennsylvania will have about a 30% shortage in registered nurses by 2030. This is a result of the baby boomer generation nearing retirement age, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a couple of other factors.

What does that mean? There is currently a high demand for registered nurses in the keystone state. So, there’s no better time to become a registered nurse in the state than now.

But how do you make that possible? Let’s find out.  

Best Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania

How Do I Become a Registered Nurse in Pennsylvania?

To become a registered nurse in Pennsylvania, you have to graduate with either a BSN or an ADN degree, take the NCLEX licensure examination, and fulfill other state licensure requirements.

With over 100 nursing schools in PA, graduating with a degree from one of the best nursing schools in the state gives you a good advantage over others.

These schools prepare you to be academically, emotionally, and clinically sound to handle nursing responsibilities. That’s not all. They also have systems in place to prepare you for the nation’s most valuable licensure examination – the NCLEX.

What are these schools we are talking about? Read on to find out.

Find out about the 10 Common Prerequisites for Nursing School You Should Know.

The 10 Best Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania

1. University of Pennsylvania

LocationPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Tuition$56,212 for undergraduate programs
NCLEX Pass Rate94.6%
AccreditationCCNE, COA, ACME
ProgramsBSN, MSN, DNP, PhD

The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) currently ranks as the best nursing school in the world. This is because it has transformed nursing practices and policies with its world-class research and education.

Being a private research university, Upenn ensures its students are well ahead of every trend and practice in the nursing profession.

Coupled with the traditional nursing programs it offers, UPenn Nursing partners with the UPenn Wharton business school to offer a dual degree program. This program teaches you the management aspect of the nursing profession and how to position yourself as an expert in it.

UPenn Nursing is simply exceptional. Every system has been put in place to take you from just a passionate novice to an expert or leader in the nursing profession.

Click here to visit the school website.

2. Villanova University

LocationVillanova, Pennsylvania
NCLEX Pass Rate94%
ProgramsBSN, MSN, DNP, PhD

Pennsylvania, and rightly so. The school prides itself on the quality of its nursing programs, from baccalaureate to doctorate level.

The college has held a 5-time consecutive center of excellence in nursing education award from the National League for Nursing (NLN).

With its excellent academic system, world-class research centers, and supportive alumni network, Villanova’s Fitzpatrick ensures its students receive the best nursing education.

Villanova has an acceptance rate of 31% and a successful undergraduate placement rate of 98.8%, which proves the quality of graduates it sends into the job market.

Click here to visit the school website.

3. University of Pittsburgh

LocationPittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Tuition$17,502 per year (resident) and $32,562 per year (out-of-state)
NCLEX Pass Rate96.53%
AccreditationCCNE, ACME
ProgramsBSN, Accelerated BSN, RN-to-BSN, RN-to-MSN, RN-to-DNP, MSN, DNP, PhD, Dual DNP/PhD

The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing trains nurses with one goal in mind – to produce nurses who are guided by research, intellect, and passion to deliver quality healthcare.

These students go through the most rigorous academic programs and clinical practices to acquire the right education and experience needed in the healthcare sector.

PittNursing has its MSN program ranked as the best in the nation and its BSN program as the 7th best.

With an acceptance rate of 64%, PittNursing is fairly easy to get into.

Click here to visit the school website.

4. Duquesne University

LocationPittsburgh, Pennsylvania
NCLEX Pass Rate90.97%
AccreditationCCNE, COA, ANCC
ProgramsBSN, Accelerated BSN, BME/BSN, MSN, DNP, PhD, DNP-to-PhD, Post-Master’s Certificates

The Duquesne University School of Nursing has consistently been ranked among the best nursing schools in Pennsylvania and the nation at large.

Whether you’re a high school graduate who’s looking to start a career in nursing or a registered nurse seeking to advance your career in nursing, the school has a program to match your needs.

The level of personalized learning you’ll experience at Duquesne can only be compared to the best in the world. You’ll have access to your professors and instructors any time you need professional guidance.

At Duquesne, you’ll undergo a 21-week clinical immersion program, which gives you the opportunity to work under a professional registered nurse in one of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centers. With this program, you have the right clinical skills to go into the field of nursing practice.

Click here to visit the school website.

5. Drexel University

LocationPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Tuition$18,865 per term
NCLEX Pass Rate96%
AccreditationCCNE, COA
ProgramsBSN, Accelerated BSN, Rn-to-BSN, MSN, RN-to-MSN, Accelerated RN-to-BSN-MSN, DNP, PhD, Post-Master’s Certificates

Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) offers several nursing programs to its students. Its undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate programs have consistently ranked among the best in Pennsylvania.

The undergraduate programs integrate quality cooperative education to help you gain practical experience as a student. You’ll get either three, or 6 months of full healthcare employment during the 5-year BSN track, or one, or 6 months of full employment during the 4-year program.

Whether as an undergraduate or graduate student, you will get the opportunity to work with world-class researchers to build knowledge in the healthcare sector.

Every aspect of Drexel University’s CNHP is designed to give you the best education and clinical experience.

Click here to visit the school website.

6. Thomas Jefferson University

LocationPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Tuition$43,100 for the traditional BSN
NCLEX Pass Rate89%
AccreditationCCNE, COA
ProgramsBSN, MSN, DNP, PhD

Thomas Jefferson University prides itself on being one of the most technologically advanced universities in the nation. It was recently recognized as an Apple Distinguished school because of its implementation of Apple technology.

Its online graduate nursing programs were ranked as the best in the nation. The Thomas Jefferson College of Nursing aims to be a leader in academic technology.

The nursing programs at Thomas Jefferson are ranked No. 196 among the 2,576 nursing colleges in the United States. This makes it one of the best nursing schools in Pennsylvania.

Thomas Jefferson University has an acceptance rate of 70%.

Click here to visit the school website.

7. University of Scranton

LocationScranton, Pennsylvania
NCLEX Pass Rate93%
AccreditationCCNE, COA
ProgramsBSN, MSN, DNP

The University of Scranton School of Nursing adopts the Catholic and Jesuit tradition to prepare its students for a community service-based nursing career. The students are not just trained to be great nurses; they are also trained to desire to make an impact in their community.

The school will train you to be an expert in nursing education and clinical research. With an acceptance rate of 80%, you have a good chance of getting admission to this top private Jesuit university.

Click here to visit the school website.

8. Pennsylvania State University

LocationState College, Pennsylvania
NCLEX Pass Rate86.76%
ProgramsBSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN, DNP

Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) is a public research university with some of the best nursing programs in the state.

With a population of over 2200 undergraduate and graduate students on its 13 campuses, Penn State is one of the largest producers of pre-licensure students in Pennsylvania.

Penn State has research centers with experienced researchers who are willing to give students the guidance they need to become good clinical researchers.

With an acceptance rate of 56%, Penn State is fairly easy to get into.

Click here to visit the school website.

9. Widener University

LocationChester, Pennsylvania
NCLEX Pass Rate90%
ProgramsBSN, MSN, DNP, PhD, RN-to-BSN-MSN

Widener University offers some of the best nursing programs in the state of Pennsylvania. The private school is one of the six schools the National League of Nursing recognizes as centers of excellence in advancing the science of nursing education.

With its state-of-the-art facilities, you’ll get the opportunity to learn in an environment that prepares you for real-world situations. The simulation labs afford the students the opportunities to learn clinical skills, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes without putting anyone in harm’s way.

Furthermore, due to the school’s partnership with City Team Ministries, the students have the opportunity to gain real-life experience in a community nursing clinic in Chester.  

Click here to visit the school website.

10. Gwynedd Mercy University

LocationGwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania
Tuition$37,384 per year
NCLEX Pass Rate87.46%
ProgramsBSN, MSN, DNP

Gwynedd Mercy University is a private Roman Catholic university in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania. The Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions at Gwynedd Mercy University is among the schools with the best nursing programs in the state of Pennsylvania.

It has been a leader and innovator in nursing for the past 60 years, making it one of the highest contributors to quality healthcare in the state.

With its simulation laboratories, students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience without being scared of making mistakes.

The school has an acceptance rate of 88%, which makes it one of the easiest schools to get into in Pennsylvania.

Click here to visit the school website.  

What is the Cost of Studying Nursing in Pennsylvania?

The cost of nursing school in Pennsylvania ranges from $3,000 to $60,000. It depends majorly on the program you’re going for, its duration, and the nature of the school.

Public nursing schools are more affordable than their private counterparts.

Which Schools Offer Online Nursing Programs in Pennsylvania?

Here are the top 15 nursing schools in Pennsylvania that offer online programs:

  1. University of Pennsylvania
  2. DeSales University
  3. Carlow University
  4. Drexel University
  5. Duquesne University
  6. Pennsylvania State University
  7. Villanova University
  8. University of Pittsburgh
  9. Widener University
  10. Gwynedd University
  11. Thomas Jefferson University
  12. Saint Francis University
  13. Robert Morris University
  14. Messiah University
  15. Immaculata University

Wrapping it Up on the Best Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania

Being home to the best nursing school in the world and one of the highest nursing paying states, Pennsylvania is a dream state for most prospective nurses.

I’m sure this article has shown you why Pennsylvania is one of the best places to study nursing in the United States. You also must have learned about the best nursing schools and how you can become a registered nurse in the state.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania

How Much Do Registered Nurses Earn in Pennsylvania?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of registered nurses in Pennsylvania is $76,000.

What is the Best Nursing School in Pennsylvania?

The University of Pennsylvania is the best nursing school in Pennsylvania. In fact, it is ranked the best nursing school in the world.

What is the Cheapest Nursing School in Pennsylvania?

Bloomsburg University, with annual tuition of $9,326 for its BSN program, is the cheapest nursing school in Pennsylvania.

What Does it Take to Get a Nursing License in Pennsylvania?

To get a nursing license in Pennsylvania, you need to write and pass the NCLEX licensing examination and fulfill the state’s licensing requirements.

How Long Does it Take to Become an RN in Pennsylvania?

It takes about two years to become a registered nurse in Pennsylvania. This can be achieved with the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or the Accelerated BSN program.

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