If you are a registered nurse (or are thinking of becoming one) read on to find the information you need, from licensing info, continuing education requirements, job & salary outlook, top hospitals, and nursing associations. Let us help you find your dream job!
In this article, we will cover:
- Licensing information
- Steps for renewing a Pennsylvania nursing license
- Continuing education requirements
- Job & salary outlook for nurses in Pennsylvania
- Top hospitals in Pennsylvania
- Nursing organizations & associations in Pennsylvania
- Basic steps for licensing and certification
- Contact information
Below are the fees for becoming a nurse in Pennsylvania whether you are a first-time nurse or are moving to Pennsylvania from another state. For more information visit the Pennsylvania licensing page.
Licensing fees by examination (first-time nurses):
- NCLEX exam fee: $200
- Application fee: $95
Licensing fees by endorsement (already have RN licensure):
- Application fees: $120 (RN/LPN); $100 (APRN)
License renewal fees:
- Application fees: $122 (RN); $76 (LPN); $81 (APRN, $41 Rx authority)
Additionally, Pennsylvania has passed legislation that will make it part of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) once implementation is announced. Being a nursing compact state allows nurses to hold multi-state licenses.
*Fees are subject to change.
**Most states require a background check, but prices are not always listed.
Steps for renewing a Pennsylvania nursing license
- Verify the status of your license
Visit the Verification page to confirm your license.
- Complete your Pennsylvania nursing continuing education requirements before your license expires
You can complete your nursing CEUs online, on your schedule, and 100% free with Incredible Health.
- Go to the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing to enter your renewal application
Visit the Renewal Information page for specific requirements. When Pennslyvania becomes a compact state, you will not need to apply for licensure in Pennsylvania unless you are declaring Pennslyvania as your Primary State of Residency.
Continuing education requirements
RN: 30 contact hours every 2 years, including 2 hours of approved child abuse recognition and reporting training
LPN: 3 hours of approved training in child abuse recognition and reporting requirements
APRN: 30 contact hours every 2 years
- 16 must be in advanced pharmacology
- 2 hours approved child abuse recognition and reporting training
- 2 hours in pain management, identification of addiction, or the practices of prescribing or dispensing opioids
Incredible Health offers ANCC-accredited continuing education courses for nurses in all 50 states, 100% free and online. The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing accepts courses that are ANCC accredited. Please visit the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing for each profession for specific information: Nursing CE page for RNs; Nursing CE page for LPNs; Nursing CE page for APRNs.
Earn your CEUs free
Our easy online CE courses are ANCC-accredited and 100% free for nurses.
Job and salary outlook for nurses in Pennsylvania
Due to the shortage of nurses, these healthcare professionals are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates the profession will grow by about 9% between 2020-2030. The annual mean wage is $74,170.
We can also help you check out salary estimates to help determine if Pennsylvania is the right state for you.
[ MORE: Average nurse salary in Pennsylvania ]
Top hospitals in Pennsylvania
If you’re not already picking up the phone to call movers, maybe this list of the best hospitals in Pennsylvania will sway you in the right direction. Here are the top hospitals according to U.S. News and World Report:
- Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian – Philadelphia, PA: This hospital is a member of the Magnet Recognition Program® and is ranked No. 13 on the Best Hospitals Honor Roll. It is nationally ranked in 12 adult specialties and rated high performing in 2 adult specialties and 16 procedures and conditions. Some of these specialties include:
- Ear, Nose & Throat (#6 in the nation)
- Pulmonology & Lung Surgery (#8 in the nation)
- Cancer (#10 in the nation)
- Diabetes & Endocrinology (#15 in the nation)
- Cardiology & Heart Surgery (#18 in the nation)
- Learn more
- UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside – Pittsburgh, PA: This hospital is a member of the Magnet Recognition Program® and is nationally ranked in 10 adult specialties and rated high performing in 2 adult specialties and 14 procedures and conditions. Some specialties include:
- Gastroenterology & GI Surgery (#17 in the nation)
- Cancer (#18 in the nation)
- Geriatrics (#19 in the nation)
- Learn more
- Jefferson Health-Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals – Philadelphia, PA: This hospital is a member of the Magnet Recognition Program® and is nationally ranked in 6 adult specialties and rated high performing in 3 adult specialties and 14 procedures and conditions. Some specialties include:
- Ophthalmology (#2 in the nation)
- Orthopedics (#10 in the nation)
- Gastroenterology & GI Surgery (#26 in the nation)
- Cancer (#32 in the nation)
- Learn more
*Magnet status – Awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and is considered the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care. Hospitals must meet certain criteria and apply to be designated.
Nursing organizations and associations in Pennsylvania
Once you become a registered nurse (or even if you’re in the process), joining a nursing organization or association will give you access to networking, job opportunities, and a wealth of information shared between fellow nurses. Here are a few of the organizations and associations for nurses in Pennsylvania:
Pennsylvania State Nurses Association – The mission of this association is “Leading, advocating, educating, and connecting with registered nurses across the Commonwealth.“
Pennsylvania Association of School Nurses and Practitioners – “Through the core values of ethics, excellence, diversity and inclusion, innovation, child well-being, integrity, leadership and scholarship, PASNAP is a leader in advocacy for school health, ensuring that students are healthy, safe and ready to learn.”
Southeastern Pennsylvania Area Black Nurses Association, Inc. – One of the objectives of this association is to “Promote cohesiveness, solidarity and a sense of cultural pride among African American nurses of varied age groups and educational levels within the area.”
Check out the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.
Basic steps for licensing and certification
Step 1: Education
Attend an accredited nursing school to earn either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). An ADN will take between 18 and 24 months to complete, while you can expect to spend roughly four years to earn a BSN. If you already have an ADN, there is an ADN to BSN bridge program that allows you to earn a BSN in 12-18 months. There is also an RN to BSN bridge which takes three semesters of nursing courses to be completed in one year. These programs will save you time and money. The more education you have, the better your chances of landing your dream job.
Step 2: Licensing
When you are six weeks away from graduation, you can apply to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. There are 75 to 265 questions on the NCLEX-RN with a five-hour time limit for completion. If you do not pass the NCLEX-RN on your first attempt, you must wait 45 days before you can try again.
The NCLEX includes questions on the following topics to test nursing candidates’ knowledge:
1. Safe and effective care environment
2. Health promotion and maintenance
3. Psychosocial integrity
4. Physiological integrity
Step 3: Experience
This step in the process is to gain hands-on experience. This will provide you with invaluable opportunities to work with patients making you attractive to future employers.
Step 4: Certification
The final step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. Requirements for earning a certification vary so it is important to check with the governing body for information. Incredible Health offers free courses in order to obtain or renew certification requirements. Create a free account to access professional development mandates and get instant certificates.
Expert advice from nurses like you
Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing
Phone: (717) 783-7142 or (833) 367-2762
Fax: (717) 783-0822
Email: [email protected]
State Board of Nursing
PO Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649
One Penn Center
2601 N. 3rd Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
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