Pennsylvania is home to some of the country’s best nursing schools as well as the best hospitals. It’s a great place to begin your nursing journey, and nurses who move to the state will find their skills are welcomed and rewarded. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about applying for your very first license as a registered nurse, as well as renewing your license and applying for your license by endorsement.
In this article, we will cover:
- How to get your nursing license by exam
- How to get your nursing license by endorsement
- How to renew your Pennsylvania nursing license
- Licensing fees
- Continuing education requirements
- How to contact the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing
Expert advice from nurses like you
How to get your license by endorsement
Registered nurses who are already licensed in other states are eligible for licensure by endorsement in Pennsylvania if they’ve graduated from an approved professional nursing education program in the U.S. or Canada and passed the NCLEX-RN or equivalent. The process takes approximately four weeks and the application fee is $120.
- The state of Pennsylvania requires all health-related licensees to complete 3 hours of DHS-approved training in child abuse recognition and reporting requirements. Register for this course using the same information that you will provide on your application for licensure. The course provider will submit confirmation of completion of the course to the Board.
- Create an account and submit your application and fee online at www.pals.pa.gov.
- If you are a resident of Pennsylvania, a Criminal History Records Check will automatically be submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police upon submission of your application for a nursing license. If you live or have lived out of state, submit a recent Criminal History Records Check from the state police or whatever state agency manages criminal record information for each state in which you’ve lived, worked, or studied over the past ten years.
- Request an official transcript from the RN educational program that qualified you for your original RN license be sent directly to the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing.
- A Verification of Licensure from each state where you hold a registered nursing license must be sent to the Board indicating that you are in good standing.
How to renew your Pennsylvania nursing license
Step 1: Submit renewal application
Pennsylvania’s registered nursing licenses need to be renewed biennially. Though notices are sent out prior to the expiration date, failure to receive the notice does not serve as an excuse for failure to renew. Applications can be submitted online at www.pals.pa.gov/#/page/login. Registered nurses who are approaching their license expiration are encouraged to leave themselves plenty of time to complete a Board-approved Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting course as it may take time for the provider to send the data to the State Board of Nursing.
Step 2: Fulfill continuing competency requirements
Pennsylvania requires all registered nurses to complete 30 hours of Board-approved Continuing Education in order to renew their licenses. Incredible Health offers Pennsylvania-licensed nurses free continuing education units and instant certificates to help you complete your requirements. Though you do not need to submit your certificates at the time of your renewal, you are required to keep all documentation for five years in case you are randomly selected for an audit.
Step 3: Submit your renewal application
Applications should be submitted online at www.pals.pa.gov/#/page/login along with the required fee. Renewal licenses are generally issued within 3 calendar days.
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.
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:
Earn your CEUs free
Our easy online CE courses are ANCC-accredited and 100% free for nurses.
How to contact the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing
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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