Individuals in western Pennsylvania who want to become nurses or who wish to advance their existing careers have several educational options. A number of the state's public and private community colleges and universities feature associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral nursing programs. Students are expected to complete didactic coursework, clinical experiences and internships. The programs may feature specialization areas, and some are offered online. Upper-level programs could require extensive research or a dissertation.
California University of Pennsylvania
California-based California University of Pennsylvania offers an R.N. to B.S.N. degree program, as well as an M.S.N. degree program through the Department of Nursing. The R.N. to B.S.N. program is administered online or in a traditional classroom setting. The master's program in nursing administration and leadership is a 20-month program and is offered solely online. The master's degree program includes coursework in nursing research, health policy, nursing organization, and the legal aspects of healthcare. This program does not lead to R.N. Licensure.
Clarion University of Pennsylvania
Located in Clarion, this university's Department of Nursing provides associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree programs in nursing, as well as post-master's certificates. The M.S.N. degree program features online didactic coursework and clinical experiences and specializations for family nurse practitioners and nurse educators. Post-master's certificate programs allow practicing nurses a second certification in either practical nursing or nursing education. The nursing programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and lead to licensure in the field.
Community College of Allegheny County
Pittsburgh's Community College of Allegheny County offers an associate's degree program in nursing and an L.P.N. to R.N. degree program. Upon completion, graduates of both programs are eligible for the R.N. licensure exam. Applicants to the L.P.N. to R.N. degree program must hold a current state of Pennsylvania L.P.N. license. The curriculum includes courses in physiology, microbiology, nursing concepts, and drug therapy, as well as clinical experiences.
The School of Nursing at Duquesne University, located in Pittsburgh, administers B.S.N., M.S.N., Ph.D., and D.N.P. programs. The second degree B.S.N. program allows individuals with a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing to earn a B.S.N. in one year of full-time study. The M.S.N. program has concentrations in family practice, forensic nursing, and nursing education. The Ph.D. and D.N.P. programs are offered online; however, Ph.D. students are required to be on-campus for one week each spring. Within the nursing school, students have access to 36 full-time faculty members and two nursing centers, including the Center for Nursing Research and the Nurse-Managed Wellness Center. Graduates of these programs will be qualified for certification or licensure examinations.
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
Located in Edinboro, this university's Nursing Department has various B.S.N. and M.S.N. programs. The B.S.N. for foreign-educated nurses degree program allows students who hold a B.S.N. from a foreign university (and who passed the R.N. licensure exam) to earn an American university B.S.N. in three semesters. Students can also complete a 15-month B.S.N. program, which is designed for individuals who hold a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing. Graduates of the B.S.N. program are eligible to sit for the R.N. licensure exam. An R.N. to B.S.N. program is also available. At the graduate level, students can find programs for family nurse practitioners and nurse educators.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Main Campus
Indiana University of Pennsylvania has B.S.N., M.S.N., and Ph.D. programs within the Nursing and Allied Health Professions Department. Students interested in a bachelor's degree can complete a nursing or L.P.N. to B.S.N. track. Graduates will be prepared for licensure exams. Within the program, students complete a liberal arts education, as well as nursing practice courses and clinical experiences. At the graduate level, students can complete a regular M.S.N. or an M.S.N. with an administrative or education track, along with a Ph.D. in Nursing. The doctoral program includes core courses in statistical methods and qualitative research, as well as a dissertation.
Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus
Pennsylvania State University's flagship campus in University Park offers A.S.N., B.S.N. and R.N. to B.S.N. programs, in addition to M.S.N. and Ph.D. programs. Offered through the School of Nursing, the B.S.N. program curriculum includes online courses, along with resident nursing instruction. The master's degree program has two emphases and six options, including clinical nurse specialist and nurse administrator. Graduates of these programs will be prepared for licensure and certification exams. Students may also earn a Ph.D. degree or enroll in the dual-degree Ph.D. program in nursing and bioethics.
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Based in Slippery Rock, this university offers two nursing programs that are completely online. The R.N. to B.S.N. program requires students to complete a liberal arts core education, as well as nursing major courses. Students must already hold R.N. licensure. Students applying to the school nursing certificate program must have a B.S.N. in conjunction with a current Pennsylvania R.N. license. Coursework examines school nursing, nursing practice in schools, nursing issues, and developmental disabilities.
University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus
The University of Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh, had the seventh best graduate-level nursing program in 2013, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. The School of Nursing offers programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. Additionally, the school has multiple post-baccalaureate and postgraduate certificate programs. Students in the R.N. to B.S.N. degree program are eligible for early admission into the M.S.N. degree program. Master's degree program specializations offered online and on-site include clinical nurse leadership, nursing administration, and nursing information. Students in the D.N.P. and Ph.D. programs can choose from a number of tracks and focus areas.
Westmoreland County Community College
Located in Youngwood, the community college offers an associate's degree program in nursing, a practical nursing certificate program, and a nurse aide certificate program. L.P.N. certificate program graduates may be eligible for advanced placement into the second year of the associate's degree program. The associate's degree program includes coursework in basic care, acute care, and microbiology, as well as a practical experience. Graduates of all degree and certificate programs are eligible to sit for national certification exams.
To work as a nurse in Pennsylvania, individuals must be licensed. Licensure typically requires the completion of an approved nursing program. Degree programs can lead to licensure as a registered nurse (R.N.), as well as other kinds of nursing licensure, such as nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist. After the completion of a program, prospective nurses must pass a licensure or certification exam.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Nursing Degree Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|California University of Pennsylvania||Four-year, public; small suburb|| R.N. to B.S.N.,
| $9,936 (in-state);
|Clarion University of Pennsylvania||Four-year, public; remote town|| A.S.N.,
| $10,190 (in-state);
|Community College of Allegheny County||Two-year, public; large city|| A.S.N.,
L.P.N. to R.N.
| $3,999 (in-district);
|Duquesne University||Four-year, private not-for-profit; large city|| B.S.N.,
Ph.D. in Nursing,
|Edinboro University of Pennsylvania||Four-year, public; town fringe|| B.S.N.,
R.N. to B.S.N.,
| $89,536 (in-state);
|Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Main Campus||Four-year, public; distant town|| B.S.N.,
L.P.N. to B.S.N.,
M.S.N. (Administration or Education),
Ph.D. in Nursing,
D.N.P. to Ph.D.
| $9,936 (in-state);
|Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus||Four-year, public; small city|| B.S.N.,
R.N. to B.S.N.,
Ph.D. in Nursing,
Ph.D. in Nursing and Bioethics
| $17,514 (in-state);
|Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania||Four-year, public; distant town||R.N. to B.S.N.|| $9,645 (in-state);
|University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus||Four-year, public; large city|| B.S.N.,
R.N. to B.S.N.,
Ph.D. in Nursing
| $18,192 (in-state);
|Westmoreland County Community College||2-year, public; rural fringe||A.S.N.|| $4,830 (in-district);
Source: *NCES College Navigator.