Helen Fairchild was born in Milton, Pennsylvania and graduated with a degree in nursing from Pennsylvania Hospital. In 1917, when the United States entered World War I, Helen worked with 63 other Pennsylvania nurses to care for wounded soldiers overseas. She is most remembered for the 100 pages of letters she wrote to describe combat nursing during World War I.

Helen’s work and letters can inspire individuals in Pennsylvania to pursue careers in nursing. Nurses in the Keystone State can be found making a positive difference in the lives of others in hospitals, doctors’ offices, schools, outpatient clinics, and patient homes.

Best Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania

NursingDegrees.com used data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System or IPEDS to create two separate rankings of the top nursing schools in Pennsylvania, one for undergraduate students and another for graduate students. For further information about our ranking methodology, visit the bottom of this page.

Prospective nurses in Pennsylvania can use our rankings to learn about the tuition and fees, acceptance rate, and other important factors of each nursing school in the state. With this information, they can make an informed decision. Our rankings for undergraduate and graduate nursing schools in Pennsylvania include:

01
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Undergraduate tuition
$13,590
Undergraduate graduation rate
46%
Undergraduate retention rate
78%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
87%
02
Temple University
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$15,384
Undergraduate graduation rate
71%
Undergraduate retention rate
90%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
91%
03
Cedar Crest College
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$36,225
Undergraduate graduation rate
56%
Undergraduate retention rate
79%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
100%
04
Eastern University
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$30,780
Undergraduate graduation rate
58%
Undergraduate retention rate
78%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
100%
05
York College Pennsylvania
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$16,970
Undergraduate graduation rate
61%
Undergraduate retention rate
78%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
99%
06
Clarion University of Pennsylvania
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$7,238
Undergraduate graduation rate
49%
Undergraduate retention rate
74%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
95%
07
Misericordia University
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$29,150
Undergraduate graduation rate
74%
Undergraduate retention rate
82%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
100%
08
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State...
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$13,868
Undergraduate graduation rate
67%
Undergraduate retention rate
83%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
83%
09
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campu...
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$16,952
Undergraduate graduation rate
86%
Undergraduate retention rate
93%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
65%
10
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State...
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$13,868
Undergraduate graduation rate
63%
Undergraduate retention rate
85%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
79%
01
University of Pennsylvania
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
14
Graduate Tuition
$32,286
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
02
Villanova University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
8
Graduate Tuition
$17,917
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
2
03
University of Scranton
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Graduate Tuition
$11,352
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
04
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Camp...
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
9
Graduate Tuition
$21,748
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
2
05
DeSales University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
8
Graduate Tuition
$19,560
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
06
Duquesne University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
5
Graduate Tuition
$22,212
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
5
07
Gwynedd Mercy University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Graduate Tuition
$11,772
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
08
Messiah College
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$11,250
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
09
Holy Family University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Graduate Tuition
$13,248
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
10
La Salle University
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
7
Graduate Tuition
$23,020
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1

Nursing Accreditation in Pennsylvania

An accredited nursing school in Pennsylvania has undergone an extensive review and evaluation by one or several organizations. Any nursing school in Pennsylvania that is accredited has earned a stamp of approval. By attending an accredited nursing school, prospective nurses can position themselves as more valuable to employers, qualify for financial aid, and transfer credits more easily. The major nursing school accreditation agencies in Pennsylvania include:

  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC)

Pennsylvania Nursing Licensure

In Pennsylvania, students who wish to work as licensed practical nurses or LPNs are required to complete an LPN program and pass the NCLEX-PN exam. Registered nurses or RNs may earn an associate’s degree in nursing or ADN or a bachelor’s of science in nursing or BSN. Following graduation, they must pass the NCLEX-RN exam. RNs who would like to become certified registered nurse practitioners or CRNPs are required to earn a master’s degree in nursing and pass the national NP certification exam.

Additionally, nurses in Pennsylvania must complete certain continuing education requirements. RNs are required to complete 30 hours during biennial renewal periods while LPNs must participate in two hours of child abuse recognition and reporting that is approved by the Department of Human Services. When they are renewing their licenses, LPNs need to complete at least two hours of continuing education. For CRNPs, 16 hours related to pharmacology is required. For up-to-date information on continuing education requirements for Pennsylvania nurses, visit this resource.

Pennsylvania Nursing Organizations

Pennsylvania offers a number of nursing organizations that may benefit nursing students and working nurses. Here’s a brief overview of a few of these organizations:

  • Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA):

    PSNA’s mission is to lead, advocate, and connect with registered nurses across the Commonwealth. This organization provides tools to help Pennsylvania nurses refine and sharpen their knowledge while building and maintaining strong relationships with leaders in the state.

  • Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP):

    PASNAP is a union of dedicated nurses and allied health professionals who promote legislation in Harrisburg and Washington for safe nurse-to-patient-ratios.

  • Nurses of Pennsylvania:

    The goal of Nurses of Pennsylvania is to improve the bedside care Pennsylvania nurses provide.

Hospitals in Pennsylvania

It is important for Pennsylvania nursing students to be aware of the hospitals in the state. Hospitals can be an excellent place for them to gain entry-level nursing experience and start their careers. The three largest hospitals in Pennsylvania include:

  1. Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest (Allentown): Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest is the flagship hospital of the Lehigh Valley Health Network. It offers a variety of services including breast health services, burn care, cancer center, and neonatal intensive care.
  2. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia): Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania was recognized as the top hospital in the region and tenth best hospital in the nation by U.S. News. Its history began over two centuries ago when Pennsylvania Hospital, the first hospital in the nation was founded.
  3. Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia (Philadelphia): Einstein Medical Center is considered the largest academic medical center in the Philadelphia region. It is equipped with an accredited Level I regional Resource Trauma Center and one of the busiest emergency rooms in the area.
Sources & Methodology
  1. American Hospital Directory, Accessed August 2018, https://www.ahd.com/
  2. Helen Fairchild: Reflection in Nursing, Nursing Theory, Accessed August 2018, http://www.nursing-theory.org/famous-nurses/Helen-Fairchild.php
  3. Continuing Education Information, Pennsylvania Department of State, Accessed August 2018, https://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/Nursing/Pages/Continuing-Education.aspx
  4. Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, Accessed August 2018, https://www.psna.org/
  5. Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses & Allied Professionals, Accessed August 2018, http://www.pennanurses.org/
  6. Nurses of Pennsylvania, Accessed August 2018, https://www.nursesofpa.org/
  7. Lehigh Valley Hospital Cedar Crest, Lehigh Valley Hospital Network, Accessed August 2018, https://www.lvhn.org/facilities_directions/hospital_locations/campuses/lehigh_valley_hospital%E2%80%93cedar_crest
  8. Penn Medicine, Accessed August 2018, https://www.pennmedicine.org
  9. Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, Einstein Healthcare Network, Accessed August 2018, https://www.einstein.edu/einstein-medical-center-philadelphia

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