Becoming a Registered Nurse in Pennsylvania

Nursing is an excellent career choice for those who desire to help others live long, healthy lives. Nurses play a fundamental role in the healthcare industry; they work both independently and with physicians to make sure that patients receive the best possible treatment. Nurses work in a variety of contexts, including hospitals, long-term care institutions, schools, and community clinics, to provide care to patients. Nursing jobs frequently pay well and have a lot of duties. What’s more, it is possible to qualify as a nurse in Pennsylvania without having to go to medical school.

A bachelor’s degree in nursing and state licensure are normally required for registered nurses (RNs). With an associate degree and a license, licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) can practice. A graduate degree is required for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), such as nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists, to get a license and practice.

Nursing is a rapidly growing career in Pennsylvania; thus, students interested in the subject may consider getting their degree in the state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job possibilities for nurses in Pennsylvania are expected to grow by 13% between 2016 and 2026, resulting in around 19,000 additional positions. The BLS predicts a 9.2 percent growth in LPN and LVN employment in the state during the same time period.

Nurses in Pennsylvania can expect a bright future

According to government data, nurses in Pennsylvania have a bright future. Nurse practitioners in Pennsylvania are expected to rise by more than 30% over the next decade, much above the 5.5 percent growth projected for all occupations in the state, according to the BLS. Nurses are employed and paid in Pennsylvania and across the United States.

Nurses are constantly faced with new challenges and must be ready for anything on the job. One way to prepare yourself is by getting insurance for nurses in Pennsylvania so you can take care of yourself and your patients in case of an emergency. Find out more here.

Registering as an RL in Pennsylvania

  1. Register for a PALS account and submit an application for Licensure by Endorsement.
  2. Pay the applicable fees
  3. Run a background check

For each state where you have lived, worked, or completed professional training/studies in the last ten (10) years, provide a current Criminal History Records Check (CHRC) from the state police or other state agency. The report(s) must be dated within 90 days of the submission of the application.

If you live, work, or are doing training/studies in Pennsylvania, your CHRC request will be sent to the Pennsylvania State Police automatically when you submit your application.

Visiting from another state – In place of getting separate state background checks, you may supply BOTH a state CHRC from the state in which you now reside, AND your FBI Identity History Summary Check if you have lived, worked, or completed training/studies outside of Pennsylvania for the last ten (10) years. If you live, work, or are undergoing training/studies in California, Arizona, or Ohio, the Board is not an acceptable receiver of CHRCs, and your CHRC will not be granted to you for upload to the Board due to state restrictions. You will need to get an Identity History Summary Check from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (You don’t have to go through the state-based background check. It’s just necessary to complete the FBI one).

  1. Licensure verification from each state and jurisdiction where you have a license or permission to practice.

If the state is a Nursys participant, you must complete the Nursys verification procedure, pay the charge, and name Pennsylvania as the verification’s recipient.

If your state does not participate in Nursys, you will need to contact their state board for more information. You’ll need to email them the Verification of Licensure form, which they’ll fill out and send to the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing on your behalf.

You will be eligible for a temporary license provided you can show documentation of at least one active license. To acquire a permanent license, you must complete the following stages before the temporary license expires.

  1. Education verification – the nursing school where you earned your initial RN license must provide an authentic transcript to the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing on your behalf.

If you did not get your RN education in English, you must pass a Board-approved English Language Proficiency Examination.

You must present a Foreign Credentials Evaluation if you received your education outside of the United States. This is a Board-approved Foreign Credentials Evaluator’s assessment of RN education to see if the education received outside of the United States or Canada is equal to the RN education needed in this Commonwealth at the time the program was finished.

  1. Requirement for ongoing education in the area of child abuse (if applicable).

As a requirement of the license, you must complete 3 hours of Department of Human Services (DHS)-approved child abuse detection and reporting training.

The approved provider will electronically submit your name, date of attendance, and other information to the Bureau when you have finished the required course.

  1. If you replied “yes” to any of the legal background questions, provide documentation (if applicable).
  2. If you graduated from a nursing program that was not conducted in English, show proof of English competence (if applicable).

License Renewal

Every two years, you must renew your license and complete 30 mandatory contact hours.

You must complete 2 hours of authorized training on the topic of recognizing and reporting child abuse from an approved provider.

Nurse Salaries in Pennsylvania

Nurses in Pennsylvania receive earnings that are generally in line with the national median for the profession. In fact, registered nurses in Pennsylvania make roughly the same amount per year as nurses in the rest of the country. Nursing pay, on the other hand, differs by area. Nurses in East Stroudsburg, for example, make around $1,330 more on average than nurses in the rest of the state. Nurses in the Chambersburg-Waynesboro metro region make much more money.


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