Online NP Programs in Pennsylvania

Search For Schools

*sponsored

At every level, nurses are hardworking and compassionate individuals. Those nurses who have worked in the trenches as nursing students and RNs may desire to expand their practice and their autonomy to become nurse practitioners, but in order to do so they must further their education. It can be understandably difficult for nurses to quit work in order to go back to school, which is why the flexibility of an online education can be so helpful in these situations.

Thankfully, nurses who want to earn their NP licensure in Pennsylvania have a number of options, including fully online programs that can generally be completed on nights and weekends, or according to a nurse’s own schedule. For those who prefer some face time, hybrid programs are also available.

Keep reading to find out what steps are required to become an NP in Pennsylvania, where online NP programs are offered in Pennsylvania, and how they stack up to one another.

How to Become an NP in Pennsylvania

Nurse practitioners are a diverse group of a people and therefore they come to the career from different directions and take different paths. However, since nursing is a highly regulated profession, there are certain steps that each new nurse practitioner must take in order to become certified to practice in the state of Pennsylvania.

The necessary education and experience required from high school graduation through to nurse practitioner certification can take between 6 and 10 years, depending on the nurse and the choices he or she makes.

  • 1
    STEP 1: Earn an Undergraduate Degree (duration 2 – 4 years)

    It is not possible to become a nurse practitioner in Pennsylvania without first earning an undergraduate degree, although not all nurses take this as their first step. While there is no requirement that nurse practitioners have a specific undergraduate major, many will choose to major in nursing or a related field such as biology.

    Those students who are unable to complete an undergraduate degree immediately can choose to earn an Associate’s Degree before gaining experience as a nurse and ultimately completing an RN to MSN bridge program.

    Students should ensure that the program they choose is approved by the state of Pennsylvania, as the degrees from those programs are the only ones accepted by the state Board of Nursing for RN licensure. A full list of approved programs is available from the Pennsylvania Department of State.

  • 2
    STEP 2: Apply for RN Licensure (duration: less than 1 year)

    Graduates of an approved nursing program are eligible to apply for the RN license from the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing. Prior to applying, prospective nurses should plan to take the NCELX-RN exam as well as submit their fingerprints for background check purposes. After completing these steps and the RN license application, nurses will receive their license and can begin to work in Pennsylvania.

  • 3
    STEP 3: Earn a Graduate Degree (duration 2 – 4 years)

    When nurses with existing RN credentials decide they want to further their career and autonomy by becoming nurse practitioners, pursuing a graduate degree is the next step they must take. Nurses with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN, approximately 2 years) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP, approximately 2 years for master’s degree holders, 4 years for bachelor’s degree holders) are all eligible for licensing as a nurse practitioner in Pennsylvania.

  • 4
    STEP 4: Obtain Specialty Certification Credential (duration: less than 1 year)

    In order to become licensed as an NP, nurses must complete their certification in their chosen specialty, such as Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, Women’s Health, or Psychiatric Mental Health. These credentials can be earned through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) by completing an exam and submitting school transcripts. Certification must be maintained through continuing education credits throughout the nurse’s career.

  • 5
    STEP 5: Apply for Prescriptive Authority

    In Pennsylvania, nurse practitioners can apply for prescriptive authority. The application process is separate from the initial NP licensure and requires that nurses have a collaborative agreement with a physician as well as verification that the nurse has completed Advanced Pharmacology.

Admissions Requirements for Pennsylvania Online NP Programs

  • Online nurse practitioner programs for the most part have the same admissions requirements as their offline counterparts. Applicants must have an active RN license in good standing. Most programs also require that applicants have a Bachelor of Science degree, but there are bridge programs available for RNs who have not yet earned their BSN.

  • Applications are available online and may include personal statements, professional recommendations, official undergraduate transcripts, and an application fee.

  • The majority of Pennsylvania’s online nurse practitioner programs do not require any standardized testing for admission, but a few do require that applicants take the GRE and submit their scores as part of the application process.

  • Despite the increased flexibility offered by many online NP programs, they still tend to start in parallel with campus activities during the fall semester. For those programs with a standard application deadline, interested applications should be sure to have their completed applications submitted by the spring, though the exact date will vary depending on the school.

Pennsylvania Online Program Accreditation

For an institution of higher learning, accreditation is essential because it demonstrates that the school and its programs have been evaluated by professionals for their curriculum, faculty and efficacy. Online nurse practitioner programs in Pennsylvania should be accredited by either the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) in order for nurses to be eligible for their specialty credentialing. There is no specific requirement that NP programs be accredited for Pennsylvania state licensure.

Influential Pennsylvania NP Professors Who Teach Online

Drexel-Katherine-Anselmi
Katherine Anselmi
PhD, JD, FNP-BC, WHNP-BC Drexel University Philadelphia , PA

Dr. Katherine Anselmi is a highly accomplished nurse in addition to being an attorney admitted to the Bar in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Dr. Anselmi is the Associate Clinical Professor of Nursing, Assistant Dean of Accreditation / Regulatory Affairs & Online Innovation at the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions, where she has earned numerous accolades, including publication in The Med/Surg Journal, The Nurse Practitioner Journal, Nurse Educator, Advance Online Editions for Nurses, Holistic Nursing Practice and the Journal of Nursing Law.

Clarion-Deborah-Kelly
Deborah Kelly
PhD , MSN Clarion University of Pennsylvania Clarion , PA

Dr. Deborah Kelly is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the Clarion University School of Nursing in Clarion, PA. Dr. Kelly’s personal research interest include end of life care and workforce development. In 2009, Dr. Kelly was the recipient of the Recipient of the Pennsylvania Hospice Network, Nancy Bohnet Award for Excellence.

Drexel-Susan-Burke
Susan M. Burke
PhD, RN, CPNP-PC Drexel University Philadelphia , PA

Dr. Susan Burke is an Associate Clinical Professor and track coordinator of the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program at the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions. As a pediatric nurse specialist, Dr. Burke has particular research interest in families with children with special health care needs (CSHCN) as well as internationally adopted children.

Online Nurse Practitioner Schools Based in PA

  • Thomas Jefferson UniversityCampus Location: Philadelphia , PA

    Thomas Jefferson University has its campus in Philadelphia but offers online programs for nursing students, including both MSN Nurse Practitioner and post-graduate certificate programs in the Women's Health, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care specialities, among others. The program has been accredited by the CCNE and offers flexible learning options for its graduate students, allowing for both online and online/in-person hybrid options.

    Meet The Professors

    Jennifer
    Jennifer L. Bellot

    Dr. Jennifer Bellot, PhD, RN, MHSA is the Director, Doctor of Nursing Practice Program and Associate Professor, Graduate Programs at the Thomas Jefferson University School of Nursing. Dr. Bellot has a professional research interest in public health, social justice, health policy, nursing workforce, and nursing history. She was the recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar Award and has given many presentations on public health as well as nursing.

    Sharon
    Sharon R. Rainer

    Dr. Sharon Rainer, PhD, APRN, FNP-C, ANP- C, CEN is an Assistant Professor in addition to be the Coordinator of the Family-Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner Program at Thomas Jefferson University. She earned the New Jersey Academy of Nurse Practitioner State Nurse Practitioner Award in 2008 and is certified as both a Family and Adult Nurse Practitioner.

  • Duquesne UniversityCampus Location: Philadelphia , PA

    Based in Pittsburgh, Duquesne University offers both an MSN and postgraduate certificate program in the Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty. Applicants to this program should be advised that the program is not 100% online and requires up to 3 campus visits per year. The mandatory visits include:

    • Orientation
    • Physical Assessment and Differential Diagnosis
    • Foundations of Family and Individual Care I

    Apart from these visits, courses and mentorship are offered online.

    Meet The Professors

    Mary
    Mary Ellen Glasgow

    Mary Ellen Smith Glasgow, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, ANEF, FAAN, is Dean and Professor, Duquesne University School of Nursing in Pittsburgh, PA. She has developed many innovative, technology-focused nursing and health professions programs. In 2010, she was honored with the Villanova University College of Nursing Alumni Medallion for Distinguished Contribution to Nursing Education and in 2013, she was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award from Gwynedd-Mercy University Dr. Glasgow was selected as a 2009 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow. She has over 70 publications, 135 national and international presentations, and recently co-authored two books, Role Development for Doctoral Advanced Nursing Practice (2011), the recipient of the 2011 AJN Book of the Year Award, and Legal Issues Confronting Today's Nursing Faculty: A Case Study Approach (2012), the recipient of the 2012 AJN Book of the Year Award. Dr. Glasgow was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and as a Fellow of the NLN Academy of Nursing Education.

    Catherine
    Catherine Johnson

    Dr. Catherine Johnson, PhD, FNP, PNP is the Chair and Advanced Practice Programs Assistant Professor at the Duquesne University School of Nursing. As part of her nursing scholarship Dr. Johnson has published numerous articles in well regarded publications, including The American Journal for Nurse Practitioners. She also maintains her clinical practice.

Campus Visitation Requirements for Online Programs in Pennsylvania

Because programs can differ from year to year, there is unfortunately not a uniform reporting process for how many campus visits are required for online NP programs in Pennsylvania. As such, the following table may not be able to give specific numbers as to what is required. Instead, the word "Limited" is used where there is no readily available concrete data, but rather the suggestion that some limited amount of campus visitation may be required. If you are unable to visit campus during the course of your studies, due to military commitments or another reason, be sure to check with the program before applying in order to determine your options.

Complete List Of Online NP Programs In Pennsylvania

School Name Program Name Degree Offered
Select All
DNP
MSN
Post-Graduate Certificate
Type
Select All
AG-ACNP
AG-PCNP
FNP
NNP
PMHNP
PNP-AC
PNP-AC/PC
PNP-PC
WHNP
Accreditor Campus Visits Required (Yearly) Requires RN? Requires BSN? Requires MSN?
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh , PA
DNP: Pediatric Primary Care DNP PNP-PC CCNE limited yes yes no
Wilkes University
Wilkes-Barre , PA
Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner MSN AG-PCNP CCNE limited yes no no
Wilkes University
Wilkes-Barre , PA
Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Post-Graduate Certificate Post-Graduate Certificate AG-PCNP CCNE limited yes no yes
Wilkes University
Wilkes-Barre , PA
DNP: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Concentration DNP AG-PCNP CCNE limited yes no no
Wilkes University
Wilkes-Barre , PA
Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner MSN PMHNP CCNE limited yes no no
Wilkes University
Wilkes-Barre , PA
Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Post-Graduate Certificate Post-Graduate Certificate PMHNP CCNE limited yes no yes
Wilkes University
Wilkes-Barre , PA
DNP: Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Concentration DNP PMHNP CCNE limited yes no no
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
Post-Master Certificate Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner Post-Graduate Certificate FNP CCNE limited yes no yes
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
MSN Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Concentration MSN PMHNP CCNE 4 yes yes no
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
Certificate in Psychiatric Mental Health NP Post-Graduate Certificate PMHNP CCNE limited yes no yes
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
MSN: Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Concentration MSN PNP-AC CCNE 4 yes yes no
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate Post-Graduate Certificate PNP-AC CCNE limited yes no yes
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
MSN: Nurse Practitioner - Pediatric Primary Care/Pediatric Acute Care Dual Program MSN PNP-AC/PC CCNE 4 yes yes no
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
Certificate in Pediatric Primary Care and Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Post-Graduate Certificate PNP-AC/PC CCNE limited yes no yes
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
MSN: Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Concentration MSN PNP-PC CCNE 4 yes yes no
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
Certificate in Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Post-Graduate Certificate PNP-PC CCNE limited yes no yes
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
MSN Women's Health/Gender Related Nurse Practitioner MSN WHNP CCNE 4 yes yes no
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
Women's Health/Gender Related Post-master's Certificate Post-Graduate Certificate WHNP CCNE 4 yes yes yes
Duquesne University
Philadelphia , PA
MSN Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner MSN FNP CCNE 3 yes yes no
Duquesne University
Philadelphia , PA
Post-MSN Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner Post-Graduate Certificate FNP CCNE 3 yes no yes
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia , PA
Adult Gerontology: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner MSN AG-ACNP CCNE 0 yes no no
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia , PA
Adult Gerontology: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate Post-Graduate Certificate AG-ACNP CCNE 0 yes no yes
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia , PA
Adult Gerontology: Primary Care Nurse Practitioner MSN AG-PCNP CCNE 0 yes no no
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia , PA
Adult Gerontology: Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate Post-Graduate Certificate AG-PCNP CCNE 0 yes no yes
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia , PA
Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner MSN FNP CCNE 0 yes no no
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia , PA
Community Systems Administration - Family-Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner MSN FNP CCNE 0 yes no no
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia , PA
Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner Post-Graduate Certificate FNP CCNE 0 yes no yes
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia , PA
Community Systems Administration - Family-Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner Post-Graduate Certificate FNP CCNE 0 yes no yes
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia , PA
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner MSN NNP CCNE 0 yes no no
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia , PA
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Certificate Post-Graduate Certificate NNP CCNE 0 yes no yes
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia , PA
Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner MSN PNP-PC CCNE 0 yes no no
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia , PA
Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate Post-Graduate Certificate PNP-PC CCNE 0 yes no yes
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia , PA
Women's Health - Gender Related Nurse Practitioner MSN WHNP CCNE 0 yes no no
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia , PA
Women's Health - Gender Related Nurse Practitioner Post-Graduate Certificate WHNP CCNE 0 yes no yes
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh , PA
DNP: Adult Gerontology Acute Care DNP AG-ACNP CCNE limited yes yes no
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh , PA
DNP: Adult Gerontology Primary Care DNP AG-PCNP CCNE limited yes yes no
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh , PA
DNP: Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) DNP FNP CCNE limited yes yes no
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh , PA
DNP: Neonatal Nurse Practitioner DNP NNP CCNE limited yes yes no
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh , PA
DNP: Psychiatric Mental Health DNP PMHNP CCNE limited yes yes no
Clarion University of Pennsylvania
Clarion , PA
M.S.N. Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner MSN FNP ACEN limited yes yes no
Clarion University of Pennsylvania
Clarion , PA
Post-Master's Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate Post-Graduate Certificate FNP ACEN limited yes no yes
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
MSN Adult-Geronology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Concentration MSN AG-ACNP CCNE 4 yes yes no
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
Adult-Geronology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate Post-Graduate Certificate AG-ACNP CCNE limited yes no yes
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
MSN Adult-Geronology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Concentration MSN AG-PCNP CCNE 3 yes yes no
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
Adult-Geronology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate Post-Graduate Certificate AG-PCNP CCNE limited yes no yes
Drexel University
Philadelphia , PA
MSN Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration MSN FNP CCNE 4 yes yes no

Preceptorships & Licensure

While classroom education is certainly an essential part of the nurse practitioner education, in order to complete an accredited NP program and earn a license, students must complete a preceptorship. This process involves working closely with a supervising nurse practitioner and learning hands on clinical skills. While some online programs may assist in finding a suitable preceptor, the resources available to students can vary. Prospective nurse practitioners should expect to do their own due diligence in finding a willing preceptor to complete their education.

After graduating from an NP program and completing a national certification exam in his or her chosen specialty, nurses are eligible to apply for nurse practitioner certification in Pennsylvania. Nurse practitioners in PA do not have quite as much autonomy as they do in some other U.S. states. They must, for instance, have a collaborative agreement with a physician in order to practice. However, NPs in Pennsylvania are allowed to prescribe medication (with prescriptive authority as mentioned above) as well as sign handicap placards, and prescribe physical therapy.

Online NP Programs for PA Nurses

Simmons College

Online RN to MSN - FNP

Online Bachelor's to MSN - FNP

Online BSN to MSN - FNP

Maryville University

Online MSN - FNP

Online MSN - PNP-PC

Online MSN - AC-AGNP

Online MSN - PC-AGNP

Online BSN to DNP - FNP