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How to Get Your Nursing License in Pennsylvania

Feb 11, 2022 · 5 minutes to read

A nurse visits senior woman with surgical mask

Registered nurses are in demand, with solid career prospects for years to come. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the need for nurses will grow by 9% between 2020 and 2030. Pennsylvania currently has one of the best employment rates for registered nurses across the country.

Before you can work as a nurse in the Keystone State, you’ll need to get a nursing license. This involves completing a nursing program, passing an exam and background checks, and periodically renewing your license once it is granted. You may also consider different types of nursing liability insurance in PA to protect yourself and your business.

What can a nurse do in Pennsylvania?

Becoming a registered nurse (RN) in Pennsylvania can help you further your career in the healthcare field. Licensed RNs are able to perform medical tasks that Home Health Aides and Home Carers cannot, such as:

  • Make health assessments
  • Provide non-medical diagnoses and treat patients according to them
  • Teach and advise patients about their health
  • Carry out medical routines prescribed by certain licensed healthcare professionals (including doctors, dentists, and certified registered nurse practitioners)

Becoming a nurse in Pennsylvania

There are two ways to become a licensed RN in Pennsylvania: by exam or by endorsement. You will need to meet certain requirements to receive your license through either pathway.

Nurse License by Exam

To get a nursing license by exam in Pennsylvania, you must first complete an approved nursing program. For RNs, this includes associate degree, Bachelor’s degree, and diploma nursing programs. You will also need to complete a 3-hour course on child abuse recognition and reporting.

After completing your course, you must pass either the National Council of State Boards – Registered Nursing Exam (NCLEX-RN) or the State Board Test Pool Exam (SBTPE).

You can apply for a nursing license once you’ve completed your nursing program and passed an approved exam. The application requires you to submit a state criminal history record check (CHRC) from your state of residence. If you are living, working, or training in Pennsylvania this will be generated automatically and billed to you when you apply.

You will also need to submit an FBI background check or CHRCs from every state where you lived, worked, or trained in the past 10 years.

Where can I find an approved nursing program?

There are many Board-certified nursing programs throughout Pennsylvania. You will find many options in large cities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton. If you live in a more rural area, you may need to travel to a neighboring town or county to complete your training.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has more information on nursing programs in the state. They can help you find an approved program in your area.

Nurse License by Endorsement

If you already have an active RN license from another state or country, you may be eligible to get your nurse license by endorsement in Pennsylvania. This applies if you completed an approved nursing program elsewhere in the United States or Canada, or another program that is found to be equivalent to Pennsylvania’s standards at the time you graduated and received your license.

You may need to pass the NCLEX-RN if you did not take it or an equivalent exam when you first obtained your license.

Renewing your nursing license

RNs must renew their Pennsylvania nursing license every two years. You must complete 30 hours of approved continuing education and retake the child abuse recognition and reporting training each time you renew your license.

Protecting yourself on the job

Becoming a licensed registered nurse takes a lot of hard work. You’ll no doubt want to protect your career after investing so much time and effort into starting it. Nurse insurance in Pennsylvania is one way to do this.

As a nurse, you will potentially face many risks that are unique to your line of work. Providing patients with personalized diagnoses and working with them one-on-one (sometimes in their own homes) can create opportunities for things to go wrong. You might consider several types of nursing liability insurance in PA to protect your bank accounts and professional reputation from liability claims and lawsuits.

Some of the insurance coverage you may consider as a nurse includes:

  • General Liability – This insurance helps protect you against third-party claims of bodily injury or property damage. These claims can be made by your patients and other members of the public, such as visitors to a patient’s home or delivery people.
  • Professional Liability – This insurance helps protect you against claims of negligence, misrepresentation or mistake, including document or paperwork errors. These policies are sometimes referred to as malpractice insurance for nurses in PA.
  • Cyber Liability – This insurance protects you against malicious software attacks, data breaches, viruses, and phishing. You may seek this coverage if you are storing sensitive patient information on a computer, another internet-connected device, or in the cloud.

BizInsure makes it simple and quick for you to find nurse insurance in Pennsylvania to fit your needs. You can find, compare, and buy policies online in 10 minutes—perfect for busy nurses!

*This information is a general guide only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Always check with your local licensing board when getting or renewing your nursing license to ensure you are meeting their current licensing requirements.
As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this web page is general only and should not be relied upon as advice.

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