5 Best Pennsylvania RN to MSN Programs

Pennsylvania is one of the more rural states in the country with just as much farm land as it has cities but this does not mean the demand for fully qualified nurses is any less than one of the more densely populated states. In fact the state itself has one of the lowest nurse to patient ratios throughout the country and so is constantly in need of those wishing to pursue this career track. This is not a career path to be taken lightly and it takes a special kind of person to take up the challenge. It’s not a glamorous job nor is it particularly well paid although wages for nurses are rising steadily. The years of study and training which lead to it are designed so that only those who are right for the job will succeed.

If you are serious about starting a career in nursing and want to pursue a master’s degree then you will want to do plenty of research into the various different options available. There are many different schools, colleges and universities which offer the masters degree but how can you be sure which one is right for you?

Here are 5 of the best Masters in Nursing degree programs offered throughout the state of Pennsylvania.

1. Penn State College Of Nursing

The College of Nursing at Pennsylvania State University is responsible for more students embarking on the nursing journey than any other place of education throughout the state. Over 2500 students each year walk through the doors at any of the 13 campuses to start on the long road of study and then walk out years later ready to find employment in whatever branch of nursing they choose. The college is also one of only a few which has achieved excellence in the field of geriatric nursing symbolized by the John. A. Hartford Center. Between the years of 2008 and 2011 the college boasted of a 100% pass rate for all nurse practitioner programs and results have continued to be successful since then. Students need not be limited by the cost of their education either as the college will allow full or partial funding to many of its students depending on personal circumstances.

• Campus: University Park, Milton, Abington, Altoona, Erie, Harrisburg, Fayette, Mont Alto, New Kensington, Schuylkill, Shenango, Worthington Scranton.
• Type: Public
• Accreditation: ACEN, CCNE
• Tuition: Fees available upon request
• Financial Aid: Available
• Scholarships: Yes
• Time Commitment: Around 650 clinical hours and 45 credit hours
• Online Availability: No
• Requirements: Baccalaureate, License to practice in Pennsylvania
• Programs: ADN, B.S, M.S.N, P.H.D, D.N.P
• School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

2. Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions Division of Graduate Nursing

Located in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, the Drexel University College of Nursing has been a foundation for nursing education since 1890 offering advanced qualifications in several different tracks such as Acute Care, Psychiatric Mental Health, Family, Pediatrics and much more. There is also a dual track option available for a Masters Degree in both Pediatric Primary Care and Pediatric Acute Care They place a lot of emphasis on technology with all students required to have a laptop computer and be presented with an iPad upon admission, many of the courses can actually be completed online for those who struggle with travel to and from the campus. The department is accredited with the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

• Campus: Philadelphia
• Type: Public
• Accreditation: CCNE
• Tuition: Fees available on request
• Financial Aid: Available as long as you take more than one course per semester.
• Scholarships: Yes
• Time Commitment: 800 clinical hours and 57 credit hours, program must be completed within 7 years.
• Online Availability: Yes
• Requirements: Baccalaureate Nursing Major with NLN accreditation
• Programs: M.S.N, N.A, N.P
• School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

3. Carlow University School of Nursing

Carlow University strives to provide a quality education to students from all backgrounds and abilities, from those just starting out on their career path to graduates who are looking to study for a Masters or Doctoral level qualification, so that they may then go on to become quality employees in the field of health care and make a positive contribution to the lives of those that they care for, whether that be patients in health care settings or students in a class room. They have several core work values that they ingrain in all of their students relating to justice, humanity and more. The Masters programs offer a path to generalized or specialized nursing practices and it is down to student preference as to which track is followed. As well as providing the opportunity to take on an advanced nursing practice role, the MSN also offers a great foundation for progression on to a doctoral degree or other forms of life time learning.

• Campus: Greensburg, Cranberry and Oakland
• Type: Public
• Accreditation: CCNE
• Tuition: $900 per credit
• Financial Aid: Yes
• Scholarships: Yes
• Time Commitments: 50 credit hours and 600 clinical hours
• Online Availability: Yes
• Requirements: B.S.N and a current nursing license
• Programs: M.S.N, M.S.N-M.B.A, D.N.P
• School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

4. Venango College, Clarion University

The Masters of Nursing Degree program at Clarion University is conducted on a mainly online basis. Of course, work placements or internships are needed to make up the required amount of credits for the degree qualification but all of the classroom based learning is sent via email, this means that the material is available to students at any time throughout the day or night allowing them to fit their studies around their daily life. The pass rates for this course have been consistently very high, as much as 100% a lot of the time which proves that choosing to take the program online as opposed to campus-based learning does not make it any harder to complete. In fact the Masters Degree at Clarion has been ranked as one of the top online education programs in the U.S by the U.S News & World Reports for two consecutive years.

• Campus: N/A
• Type: Public
• Accreditation: ACEN
• Tuition: Competitive Rates in line with Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
• Financial Aid: Available
• Scholarships: Yes
• Time Commitment: Course material is available 24 hours a day
• Online Availability: The majority of this course is completed online
• Requirements: Current Nursing License for the State of Pennsylvania
• Programs: A.S.N, B.S.N, M.S.N, D.N.P
• School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

5. Duquesne University School of Nursing

Located in Pittsburgh, the Duquesne University School of Nursing continues the trend of online-based learning by offering several graduate Masters Degree tracks for online learning only. Some of these may require a short spell on the campus to learn in a classroom but the majority of the theory and course work can be completed at home and fitted around your daily life. Obviously, practical experience will be required to accumulate enough credits to achieve the degree qualification and so an internship or work placement will also be needed. Duquesne University strives to offer flexible learning so courses may be completed on a full or part time basis; again this is down to personal preference as to how quickly you choose to complete it.

• Campus: Pittsburgh
• Type: Public
• Accreditation: PSBN, CCNE
• Tuition: 30% discount available to professional nurses
• Financial Aid: Yes Nurse Faculty Loan program available
• Scholarships: yes
• Time Commitment: Must be completed within 5 years
• Online Availability: no
• Requirements: Baccalaureate Degree and a Current Nursing Licence
• Programs: M.S.N, P.H.D, D.N.P
• School Site: Tuition and Financial Aid

So there you have it, 5 of the best MSN courses offered throughout the state of Pennsylvania. If you do enough research you are sure to find the course which is most suitable for your needs. It is possible to look out of state at other universities but each state has different rules and guidelines for practicing nurses and so it is important to be aware of this. With so many options for quality education in Pennsylvania though there should be no real need to travel far.