Many healthcare facilities in Pennsylvania need licensed nurse practitioners (NPs). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Pennsylvania is one of the nation's largest employers for nurses. NPs in the Keystone State earn much more than the average registered nurse (RN).
Before finding a position as an NP in Pennsylvania, professionals must complete a graduate program. Throughout this guide, aspiring NPs can learn more about the process of becoming an NP and explore NP specializations. Keep reading for more information on NP programs in Pennsylvania, including career and salary outlook for professionals in Pennsylvania and nearby states.
Online Nurse Practitioner Programs Based in Pennsylvania
Nurse practitioner programs in Pennsylvania vary in terms of length, cost, and requirements. Students can pursue a master of science in nursing (MSN) or doctor of nursing practice (DNP). Some common NP specialties include family, neonatal, adult gerontology, pediatric, and psychiatric. Nurses choose their specialty at the beginning of the program.
A typical MSN program in Pennsylvania takes 3-4 years to complete, while a DNP takes 2-7 years. Prior education influences program length since some DNP programs allow students to enter with only a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Whether learners study full time or part time also influences program length.
Each NP program requires at least 700 clinical hours in the specialty field, with the only exception being current NPs pursuing a DNP.
Many NP programs in PA offer online courses. Each NP program requires at least 700 clinical hours in the specialty field, with the only exception being current NPs pursuing a DNP.
Every NP program in Pennsylvania requires a bachelor's degree (preferably a BSN) and a current RN license. Some programs also require at least two full years of work experience. Applicants submit undergraduate or graduate transcripts, recommendation letters, and a personal essay.
Nurses can pursue several routes to becoming an NP, though RNs should earn an MSN before completing a DNP. Many healthcare facilities prefer to hire NPs with a DNP over those with an MSN. Individuals who follow their MSN with a DNP can increase their chances of finding a great position.
Complete List of Online Nurse Practitioner Programs in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Nurse Practitioner Career Information
At first glance, Pennsylvania's mean salary for NPs doesn't compare to neighboring states. However, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not show how highly populated areas can influence pay. For example, nurses in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington area earn a mean salary of $106,690, well above Pennsylvania's mean salary.
Along with location, specialty and prescribing privilege also influence potential pay. In Pennsylvania, 94.2% of NPs have prescribing privilege status, something that aspiring NPs should consider. Prospective NPs may also want to find a specialization with high projected growth.
While Pennsylvania's projected job growth of 30.5% over the next decade is lower than the nation's projected growth, Pennsylvania's projected growth still outpaces neighboring states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, and Delaware.
Nurse Practitioner Salary and Projected Job Growth in Pennsylvania and Nearby States
Pennsylvania requires NPs to become certified registered nurse practitioners (CRNPs) to practice. First, applicants must complete an accredited NP program in Pennsylvania or in a state that meets the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing's standards. Second, applicants must earn certification in their specialty from a national certification organization. To apply, aspiring NPs must also hold an unrestricted RN license in Pennsylvania. Those who are not RNs in Pennsylvania must apply for RN licensure first.
Nurses renew their CRNP license every two years. The board notifies nurses of the expiration date in advance. Before renewing the CRNP license, Pennsylvania requires at least 30 hours of continuing education (CE). While renewing, NPs simply answer "yes" when asked if they completed their CE requirements. The state randomly audits NPs to provide CE requirement records, so NPs should keep all CE records for at least five years.
Pennsylvania requires that two of the 30 CE credits be in child abuse recognition and reporting. Nurses who possess prescriptive authority must complete 16 CE credits in pharmacology. General nursing education makes up the remaining credits, preferably within the NP's area of expertise.
Other Requirements for Pennsylvania Nurse Practitioners
Pennsylvania does not require CRNP applicants to declare a specialty. However, nurses must present a specialty certification while applying. The certification provides the board with the NP's specialty. NPs must maintain national certification to stay licensed. These professionals provide proof of certification while renewing their licenses.
Nurse practitioners in Pennsylvania must also maintain RN licensure, though CRNP renewal requirements also meet RN renewal requirements. NPs may complete both renewals at the same time.
Pennsylvania requires that nurses complete 30 required CE credits prior to reapplying for licensure.
Pennsylvania requires that nurses complete 30 required CE credits prior to reapplying for licensure. The 30 credits cannot rollover to the next period, so NPs complete at least 30 credits within every two-year window. Licenses expire in either April or October, depending on when NPs originally earned their license.
The board requires four specific hours of study for NPs who plan on earning prescriptive authority. NPs need two hours in pain management or addiction identification and two hours in prescribing or dispensing opioids. NPs must prove they completed these courses within one year of earning prescriptive authority. Courses taken during an MSN or DNP count toward these required courses.
Information for Out-Of-State Nurse Practitioners
Pennsylvania is not part of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC), though it may join eventually. As a result, out-of-state nurses might need to complete additional courses. For example, Pennsylvania requires that all nurses complete child abuse reporter training. Out-of-state NPs must complete this training before they apply for CRNP licensure.
Out-of-state NPs must also earn RN licensure in Pennsylvania. Prescriptive authority requirements vary by state, though some state requirements may satisfy Pennsylvania's requirements. Out-of-state NPs can learn more about each state's prescriptive authority here.
Resources for Pennsylvania Nurse Practitioners
Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners PCNP is the main organization in Pennsylvania that promotes CRNPs. Members gain access to local leadership opportunities, professional development, and assistance with job searches.
Pennsylvania State Nurses Association PSNA offers networking, mentoring, and leadership opportunities. Members also gain access to a job center and savings for educational events and conferences.
Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing The board is the top resource for nurses who want to learn more about earning and renewing an RN or CRNP license. This site also provides information on CE requirements.
Nurses of Pennsylvania This nonprofit strives to give nurses a louder voice while creating new healthcare policy. The group also organizes petitions and facilitates legislative involvement for nurses.
Pennsylvania Action Coalition Pennsylvania's local chapter for the Action Coalition organizes events for nurses to meet and discuss ways to improve nursing in the state. This resource also provides breaking news for Pennsylvania nurses.