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Pennsylvania Board of Nursing Requirements

A shortage of nurses is putting a strain on Pennsylvania’s healthcare system. A recent survey found that there is more than a 30% shortage of nurses in the state. As the population continues to age, the shortage of nurses will only increase in the coming years. If you have thought of joining the healthcare industry, now could be a great time to become a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) in the state of Pennsylvania.

Despite the shortage, the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing has criteria that applicants must meet. To become an RN or LPN in the state, you must understand and fulfill the nursing board requirements in Pennsylvania.

For prospective nurses, we have created a guide to explain the nursing board requirements for the state of Pennsylvania.

How to Become a Registered Nurse

To become a registered nurse in Pennsylvania, you must complete pre-licensure nursing education, apply for a license via the National Council of Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), then renew your license with continuing education courses.

Complete Your Pre-Licensure Nursing Education

To become eligible to apply for an RN license in Pennsylvania, you must have a Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN). An ADN takes two years to complete, while a BSN requires four years.

Potential employers may find BSN graduates more attractive prospects due to their in-depth training and education.  Experienced BSN-level nurses may have better job opportunities as supervisors and managers in comparison to ADN prepared nurses.

With either approach, you must ensure you complete your pre-licensure nursing education through programs approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. The board has published a list of approved programs on its official website here.

Apply for State Licensure via Examination

After earning your pre-licensure degree, you can apply for a license to become a registered nurse in Pennsylvania via the NCLEX-RN. This is a nationally-recognized licensing exam for registered nurses. To take the NCLEX-RN, you must register with the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing and Pearson VUE, and complete all the requirements by the state’s nursing board and Pearson VUE, ensuring you provide all the requested documents, background checks, and nursing education credentials.

Obtain Your Credentials After Passing the Licensing Exam

Once you have completed registration, you can take the NCLEX-RN. After you pass the licensing exam, the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing will review all your documents, and once your documents are verified, your RN license will be issued. The state board of nursing typically takes 80 business days upon receiving all required materials to process and issue a license.

How to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse

To become a licensed practical nurse in Pennsylvania, you must obtain a pre-licensure practical nursing degree, and apply for the license via the National Council of Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).

Complete Your Pre-Licensure Nursing Education

If you have a high school diploma, you can complete a practical nursing program to fulfill your pre-licensure education requirements to become a licensed practical nurse in Pennsylvania. A practical nursing certification does not require the same academic requirements as an ADN or a BSN, but the program’s curriculum is essential to become eligible for a state license. You must ensure that you choose a program approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. The board has listed the approved practical nursing programs on its official website here.

Apply for State Licensure via Examination

Once you complete your pre-licensure practical nursing program, you can apply for a license via examination. The NCLEX-PN is a nationally-recognized licensing exam for all licensed practical nurses in the US. To take the exam, you must register with the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing and Pearson VUE. When applying for the license, you must submit all the required documents and paperwork to ensure a smooth process.

Obtain Your Credentials to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse

Once you have completed registration, you can taker the NCLEX-PN. When you pass the NCLEX-PN, the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing will review all your documents and paperwork before issuing your LPN credentials. The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing typically takes 80 business days to process and issue nursing licenses. However, the process can take longer or shorter based on individual circumstances.

Renew Your Credentials as an RN or LPN

Regardless of the discipline you choose, RNs and LPNs throughout the country must renew their licenses every two to three years by completing the state board of nursing required number of continuing education hours.

The nursing board requirements in Pennsylvania for continuing education are 30 contact hours every two years. The continuing education requirements for RNs and LPNs in Pennsylvania are the same. At least 3 hours of the continuing education courses must be on child abuse recognition and reporting for initial license renewal. Thereafter, nurses must have at least two hours of child abuse recognition and reporting continuing education courses. You can find more details about the continuing education requirements defined by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing at www.fastceforless.com/nursing-ce-pennsylvania/.

At Fast CE For Less, we offer online nursing CEUs to registered nurses and licensed practical nurses to help them renew their license. If you are an RN or LPN nearing the time to renew your license, online nursing CEUs like those offered by Fast CE For Less at www.fastceforless.com offer a quick and convenient solution.

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