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Guide to choosing a RN program in Pennsylvania

May 15, 2023 · 4 minutes to read

Pennsylvania nursing students have a variety of options in their goal to becoming a registered nurse (RN). There are 27 associate, 37 baccalaureates, and 18 diploma programs available in the state. Nursing students will be pleased to learn that many of the programs are located in rural areas of the state, making them accessible to those living outside of major cities.

Two nurses working

However, not all programs will satisfy individual requirements equally well, and not all will have spots available. Let’s take a closer look at the options available to aspiring RNs in Pennsylvania and considerations to make when finding a program that fits your needs.

Optional Degrees

Generally, diploma programs are situated in healthcare organizations. Colleges and universities provide associate and bachelor’s programs. All of them are license eligible. A baccalaureate degree, on the other hand, provides additional prospects for growth. Graduates frequently have greater job opportunities just after graduation, especially in tough economic times.

Many students who enroll in nursing programs do not complete their studies. Associate programs in Pennsylvania have a greater attrition rate than diploma or bachelor programs. There are several reasons for why students leave nursing programs, but the bulk of individuals who drop out at the associate and diploma levels are failing to satisfy academic standards. Some academic institutions are better than others at identifying and addressing issues early on.

The Pennsylvania Department of State lists board-approved nursing programs on their website.

Admissions Procedures

Only 56% of qualified professional nursing candidates were admitted to Pennsylvania institutions, according to the 2012 Nursing Education annual report. Many schools were completely full, both at their main campus and at their clinical locations.

On the other hand, a large number of nursing schools in Pennsylvania have seats that are available: 33% at the associate’s level and 36% at the bachelor’s level. Securing a position is partially a question of doing your homework, but it might also include making additional concessions, such as paying extra.

An excess of eligible candidates can be dealt with in several ways by schools. Some community colleges will only accept students who live in that county. A point system is used in some schools. Some businesses keep a waiting list. This can refer to a variety of things. A wait list is sometimes only a list of alternatives.

Try the Johnson & Johnson search tool if you’re having trouble locating a school with no waiting list.

Passing Rates on the NCLEX in Pennsylvania

It is not enough for a student to complete an approved educational program to become a registered nurse. You must also become licensed, which is contingent on passing the NCLEX-RN, a national board test. This is taken after you have passed an approved nursing program.

The Pennsylvania Board has published four years of first-time pass rate statistics. A potential test taker can examine the overall number of students that took the exam, as well as the pass rate.

Monetary Considerations

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses in Pennsylvania earn an average of $74,170 a year. Earnings are governed by a range of criteria, including experience and education. Students will have to strike a balance between their earning potential and the cost of college.

Even when calculated on a per-semester basis, baccalaureate programs are generally more expensive. However, schools frequently have many endowments and private scholarships that may be available to help students fund all or part of their tuition. Need-based programs, such as the Pell Grant, may be available to undergraduate nursing students.

Typically, nursing schools have information sessions. These aid prospective students in improving their competitiveness – as well as figuring out how to pay for their education.

Considerations beyond schooling

Once you have become a registered Pennsylvania nurse, you may look into ways of protecting yourself on the job. Business insurance is one way to do this. While this is an ongoing expense, it’s one where the benefits often greatly outweigh the cost.

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Let's find

The coverage you need for your business

Professional Liability Insurance

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Get a quote

General Liability Insurance

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Get a quote

Business Owner’s Policy (BOP)

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Get a quote

Workers Compensation Insurance

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