RN to BSN Programs in Pennsylvania: Explore Online & Campus Options

RN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania offer a smart way to develop exceptional nursing skills and advance your career. These programs build on your existing associate RN degree and offer flexible schedules to suit your lifestyle.

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Quinn Dannies

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As an RN, your nursing skills are in high demand. Still, employers are increasingly looking to hire nurses who have earned a BSN. If you’re an RN with an associate degree, you’re already required to take continuing education courses to maintain your license, so why not advance your career in the process? A bachelor’s in nursing can provide you with opportunities for promotion and new job prospects while equipping you with new skills you’ll use to take the best possible care of your patients.

Many RN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania are affordable and designed with working nurses in mind, making Pennsylvania a great place to pursue your BSN degree. Nurses are in high demand in Pennsylvania and command competitive salaries, and the state is home to many excellent nursing education programs with fully online or hybrid learning options. Plus, many Pennsylvania-based RN to BSN programs are approved by nursing boards in other states.

Nursing School Spotlights: Best RN to BSN Programs in Pennsylvania

With so many great options for online RN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania, it can be hard to know where to begin, so you’ll want to start with the basics. If you’re like other RN to BSN students, you want an affordable, high-quality program with plenty of individual support. To make your search easier, we’ve identified some of the top accredited RN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania to help you meet your nursing career goals. We’ve spotlighted three high-quality programs below to help start your school search.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Cedar Crest College strongly focuses on leadership. This program is ideal for students seeking supervisory positions in the nursing field. Cedar Crest also offers a certificate program for aspiring school nurses. This school has specialized in nursing for decades, and its experience in nursing education is evident in its relevant and thorough curriculum.

Cedar Crest College’s RN to BSN program is delivered entirely online in an asynchronous format, which is perfect for working nurses. And because all students in the program are licensed RNs, you can be sure that your peers match your experience level. In addition, the school boasts a 2020-2021 NCLEX pass rate of 92.42% for BSN students, so you can be sure the program will leave you well-prepared for the re-licensing process.

Bloomsburg University’s online RN to BSN program is nationally recognized for its rigor and holistic approach to education. Beyond your required courses, you’ll have options to pursue electives such as medical ethics, conflict management, or management principles. These elective offerings allow you to develop niche skills and tailor your degree toward your interests and goals.

With an NCLEX pass rate of 96.70% in 2022, you can tell that graduates from Bloomsburg are well-prepared for their nursing careers. The RN to BSN courses are available through a 100% online curriculum and taught by faculty with specific expertise in online teaching. This means you’ll have the flexibility of an online program without sacrificing instruction quality.

Waynesburg University’s RN to BSN program is a great option if you want to get your BSN in a hurry. At Waynesburg, working RNs can earn their BSN in as little as 12 months. This fast pace doesn’t mean the school is cutting corners, though. With courses like computer applications in nursing, communication skills, and clinical reasoning, you’ll learn the skills necessary to reap the benefits of your new degree. Even better, many RN to BSN instructors at Waynesburg still practice nursing in some capacity, so they still have their fingers on the pulse of current nursing practices, challenges, and opportunities.

Waynesburg’s RN to BSN program is offered entirely online, but there are opportunities to attend in-person classes if you’d prefer a hybrid or on-campus experience. The school’s impressive NCLEX pass rate from 2019-2020 was 96.44%. Waynesburg University is an efficient, affordable, and quality option for aspiring BSN students looking for online RN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania.

FAQs About Pennsylvania RN to BSN Programs

How will an RN to BSN program in Pennsylvania prepare me for more opportunities?

As a licensed RN, you’ve already developed in-depth nursing knowledge. Going back to school can be daunting, but a BSN promises to be a valuable addition to your hard-earned skills. If nothing else, employers can see the value of a BSN degree and prioritize those who have it for jobs and promotions.

But a BSN can offer you even more than that. RN to BSN programs allow you to pursue your specific interests and grow in new ways that can lead to a more fulfilling career. For example, if you’re interested in culturally competent care, you can specialize in the topic at Pennsylvania College. Or, if integrating technology in healthcare sparks your curiosity, the online RN to BSN program at Millersville University may be right for you. There is so much to explore in the nursing field, and online RN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania offer the chance to pursue your passion.

In Pennsylvania, how long does completing an RN to BSN program take?

The length of your RN to BSN program depends on what works best for you. Some programs, such as the one offered by Waynesburg University, can be completed in as little as 12 months. For full-time students, 18-24 months is a more typical timeline. The Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences RN to BSN program is an excellent example of a typical schedule. You’ll also have the option to work part-time toward your degree. In that case, plan on about three years from your first class until graduation.

In Pennsylvania, how much do RN to BSN programs cost?

The price of online RN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania can vary widely depending on the school and program length. One significant factor when it comes to cost is how many credits you can transfer from your associate degree. Most programs will allow credit transfers, and many offer credits for having an active nursing license. We’ve broken down the costs of three top schools to help you get a feel for the prices of RN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania.

Can I get financial aid to help pay for my RN to BSN program in Pennsylvania?

As long as you attend an accredited RN to BSN program and meet other requirements, you are eligible for federal financial aid and many scholarship opportunities. Even better, Pennsylvania has an extremely high number of state-specific nursing scholarships available. To help finance your program, you can look into opportunities from The Nursing Foundation of Pennsylvania, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and The Nightingale Awards.

But why stop there? Check out our guide to nursing scholarships and learn more about other financing options in our guide to financial aid.

In Pennsylvania, what are the admission requirements for RN to BSN programs?

RN to BSN programs are for practicing nurses or students with associate degrees in nursing who want to continue their education. In either case, most programs require that you have an active nursing license to enroll in the program. All RN to BSN programs will list a minimum GPA for applicants. This minimum can range from 2.0 at schools like Millersville University to 2.5 at Immaculata University. Beyond that, these are some standard application requirements for RN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania:

  • Active, unrestricted nursing license
  • Official transcripts from previous schools
  • A clean background check (before clinical rotations begin)

What should I look for in an RN to BSN degree program in Pennsylvania?

Nursing is a highly regulated profession, so there is an enormous amount of information to help you select a quality program. To start, ensure that your program is approved by the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing. This approval ensures that your program is accredited by the ACEN or CCNE and that you’ll be ready to apply for your nursing license after graduation. Next, you can look up NCLEX-RN exam pass rates for your prospective schools. High pass rates on this exam demonstrate that graduates have the knowledge and skills they need to pursue their licenses.

Ultimately, the highest quality program will be the one that works best for you. Once you’ve factored in the criteria above, think about your schedule, learning style, and goals. Look for programs consistent with those needs, and you’ll be set up for success.

Inside Look at Online RN to BSN Programs in Pennsylvania

Because RN to BSN programs are designed with working nurses in mind, they tend to have flexible options for scheduling and format. Although many programs are fully online, these courses are typically asynchronous but not self-paced. This format allows you to organize your class time around your schedule, but you’ll still be accountable for keeping up with due dates. Other schools, like Waynesburg University, give you the option to attend a mix of online and in-person courses if you prefer.

Unlike many states, the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing does not require programs to participate in in-person clinical rotations. However, many schools, including otherwise fully online ones like Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, include clinicals in their requirements. Depending on the program, in-person learning might be performed on campus or in your local community.

Are you still not sure what to expect from your program? We’ve put together a full guide for Online RN to BSN programs.

What Is the Path to Becoming an RN with a BSN Degree in Pennsylvania?

You likely already have your nursing license if you’ve completed an associate RN degree program. If your current license is from Pennsylvania, you don’t have any hoops to jump through after graduation.

If you are not already a licensed nurse or have a nursing license from another state, you still have some work to do. The biggest hurdle will be passing the NCLEX exam. Your program will have prepared you well for the test, but you will still have to study. Once you’ve aced the exam, you’ll need to submit the following documents to the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing:

  • A complete and accurate application
  • A $120 application fee
  • A certificate of completion for mandatory child abuse recognition and reporting training
  • A recent criminal history check
  • Verification of education
  • A letter of good standing from your previous licensing board (if applicable)

RN to BSN Career Outlook for Pennsylvania

If you’re going to invest time, energy, and money in your education, you want it to pay off. While we can’t put a price on the value of your new skills, we can help you decide if an advanced degree is worth the cost. Below, we’ve broken down the Pennsylvania job market to see how a BSN benefits nurses in the state.

How much more can I make going from an RN to BSN in Pennsylvania?

You know by now that completing an RN to BSN program is an excellent way to advance your career. But will it pay off? We’ve crunched the numbers for you, and the outlook is good. As of September 2022, Pennsylvania nurses with BSN degrees make $88,682 annually. Meanwhile, the average RN in the state earns $63,427 per year. As you can see, BSN nurses are earning well above what the average RN is making.

Additionally, in Pennsylvania, there is minimal variability in average nursing salaries across the state. For example, nurses in Pittsburgh (population 301,286) make about the same as nurses in Bloomsburg (population 13,916). This means you’ll be free to seek out the environment and lifestyle that suits you best without sacrificing your earning potential.

Location 10th Percentile Median 90th Percentile

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021

What is the job outlook for BSN Nurses in Pennsylvania?

Like many parts of the country, Pennsylvania suffers from a nursing shortage. So, your skills are in high demand and are likely to stay that way.

Currently, there are 149,270 RNs practicing in Pennsylvania. The state projects that number to grow by 8.9% over the next 10 years, which shakes out to 160,380 nursing positions in Pennsylvania by 2030. This growth rate exceeds job market growth projections nationwide, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts to be around 6% during the same period.