Nurse Practitioner Programs in Pennsylvania - 2020 Rankings



What are the 11 Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Pennsylvania (Online & Campus) for 2020?


1) Pennsylvania State University - University Park


Programs Offered: MSN, and Post-Master's Certificate

One of the top NP schools in PA, Pennsylvania State University prepares NPs to effectively work as a member of an interdisciplinary healthcare team. Its nurse practitioner programs combine advanced nursing courses with science, medical and interdisciplinary healthcare education. If you are keen on advancing your nursing career, the college offers an MSN and a post master’s certificate with several concentration options. The coursework is delivered in a hybrid format, allowing you the convenience of taking some courses online, while only visiting the campus for lab sessions.

MSN: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner

By completing the MSN program in a specialization of your choice you will be able to explore lucrative job opportunities in nursing leadership, education, and research. You can complete this MSN program on a full-time or part-time basis. It will take you 2 to 3 years depending on the schedule. If you find a calling in taking care of the elderly, then you can enroll either for the AGCNP or AGPNP track or else opt for the FNP track if nursing care of individuals across all age groups is what interests you. All three tracks start with nine credits of the MSN coursework after which you complete 23-27 credits in the concentration-specific courses, followed by 3 credits in electives and culminating the coursework with a six-credit capstone.

Post-Master's Certificate: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner

If you have earned an MSN degree and aspire to add the APRN credential to your profile or expand your role as an existing APRN, then you can consider completing the post-master’s certificate in any of the three concentrations. Depending on the concentration you chose, you must complete 20 to 23 credits. The coursework also includes clinical experiences in the specific area of your specialization. After completion, you become eligible to take the national certification exam in your chosen field of specialization.

2) University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing – Philadelphia


Programs Offered: MSN, and Post-Master's Certificate

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing’s campus at Philadelphia offers a wide range of NP specialties through its MSN and Post-Master’s Certificate programs. For aspiring nurse practitioners, the college offers an enriching environment with a highly motivated faculty and a student population who are committed to excellence. To add to that, the college actively involves itself in path-breaking research and maintains strong connections with healthcare facilities throughout Philadelphia. This provides students with fruitful learning and umpteen skill enhancement opportunities.

MSN: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health/Gender-Related Nurse Practitioner

One of the top MSN nurse practitioner programs in Pennsylvania, you can choose from the eight specialization options. You can either complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis, depending on your convenience. The full-time takes 2 years, while the part-time spans over three years. Regardless of the track you choose, the curriculum comprises of core, specialization and elective courses. You also require completing a clinical practicum, for which you will be matched with a preceptor and a clinical site that includes some of the eminent health care and research centers in the region.

Post-Master's Certificate: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

If you have already completed either an MSN or DNP and earned your NP credential, and are seeking an APRN certification in another specialty, then this certificate with eight concentration options can be right for you. Available in both full-time and part-time schedules, the coursework builds up on your previous degree and combines didactic courses with well-designed clinical experiences at some of the well-known healthcare centers.

3) University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh


Programs Offered: BSN to DNP (On-Site & Distance Education), MSN to DNP (On-Site & Online), and Post-Master's Certificate

University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing has received acclaim for its nurse practitioner education and ranks among the best in the country according to U.S. News & World Report. If you are looking at advancing your nursing career, then what better than earning the terminal nursing degree of a DNP that prepares you for leadership roles in healthcare. Pitt Nursing offers two pathways to a DNP and also a post-master’s certificate program with several specialization options. The college prepares you for the influential role of an NP by combining a well-thought curriculum and clinical experiences in diverse healthcare settings.

BSN to DNP (On-Site): Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner , Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner , Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner , Neonatal Nurse Practitioner , Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner , and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

One of the top on-campus Pennsylvania NP programs, this track leads to a DNP and requires you to hold an active RN license to be eligible for admission. You can enroll in the program either in the full-time or part-time mode. Depending upon the specialization, you are required to complete credits anywhere between 81 and 96. These credits comprise didactic and clinical courses. Upon completion of the program, you will be eligible to take the certification exam for a nurse practitioner in your chosen area of specialization.

BSN to DNP (Distance Education): Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner

If you are juggling personal and professional responsibilities, then you could consider the online BSN to DNP pathway that allows you to take courses from the comfort of your home. Depending on your interests, you can opt for either the AGPCNP or the FNP concentration and earn the terminal degree of DNP with an APRN credential. While completing your training in gerontology primary care requires 93 credits, the family practitioner track comprises of 95 credits. Being an online program, the college arranges for clinical experiences in a geographical location convenient to you.

MSN to DNP: (On-Site & Online): Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner , Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner , Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner , Neonatal Nurse Practitioner , Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner , and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

This pathway is meant for MSN graduates who aspire to develop leadership skills that prepare them to play impactful roles in direct patient care. You can choose any of the six concentrations and complete the program either in the on-campus or hybrid format. On a full-time basis, you will complete the program in two years. The number of credits you are required to earn is around 38, the exact number depending on the track you enroll. Upon completion, you become eligible to apply for national-level certification exams in your chosen concentration.

Post-Master's Certificate: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Gerontology for Nurse Practitioners

This program is meant for those who have completed either an MSN or a DNP with or without a nurse practitioner credential. By completing this certificate you can expand your role as a nurse leader and gain specialized expertise and national certification in your chosen area. The coursework can be completed either in a hybrid or on-campus format. Clinical placements that form an integral part of your training are arranged by the college for on-campus students, however, if you have opted for the hybrid format, you are required to arrange for clinical sites and preceptors on your own in consultation with the college.

4) Drexel University – Philadelphia


Programs Offered: MSN, and Post-Master's Certificate

If you are looking out for online nurse practitioner programs in Pennsylvania with wide range of concentration options, then Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions’ MSN and post-master certificate programs can help you graduate with expert knowledge and skills in your specific area of interest as both these programs offer several specialization tracks. Drexel designs its NP curriculum in tune with the changing trends in healthcare. With a century-long history, the college of nursing has greatly contributed to the transformation and improvement of community healthcare.

MSN: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner , Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner , Family Nurse Practitioner (Individual Across the Lifespan) , Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner , Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner , Pediatric Primary/Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Dual Program , Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner , and Women's Health/Gender-Related Nurse Practitioner

Well, with eight concentration options, you can easily find the one that matches your career goals and interests. Primarily offered as an online program, you do require visiting the campus for intensives. you must hold a current RN license and must be a BSN graduate to be eligible for this three-year program. Depending on the track you enroll, the total number of credits required to graduate will be anywhere close to 57. The coursework comprises core courses, support courses, and concentration-specific courses.

Post-Master's Certificate: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner , Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner , Family Nurse Practitioner (Individual Across the Lifespan) , Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner , Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner , Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner , and Women's Health/Gender-Related Nurse Practitioner

The program is offered in a hybrid format and depending on the specialization you choose, it requires completing credits ranging from 30 to 39. The training takes over two years to complete and comprises of theoretical and clinical courses. To be eligible, you must have completed your MSN from an accredited school. Post enrollment, most students complete the certificate coursework in about two years.

5) Messiah College-Mechanicsburg


Programs Offered: Post-BSN to DNP-FNP

Are you looking at entering any of the best nurse practitioner programs in Pennsylvania to advance your nursing career? If so, you might want to know about Messiah College that is ranked highly by the U.S. News. Being a Christian college, nurse practitioner students imbibe faith-based values by taking courses in ethical decision-making and spirituality. To aspirings NPs, the college offers an FNP program as a post- BSN to DNP pathway in an online format to suit the needs of busy working students. Moreover, to create a close bond with faculty and peers, the online classes offer ample interactive sessions through forums and online learning tools.

Post-BSN to DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

To become a nurse practitioner in Pennsylvania, you can either enter this program post a BSN or after you complete an MSN. If you enter as an MSN graduate, you will be able to transfer graduate credits towards the DNP coursework. If you enter post a BSN, you must complete 86 credits to earn a DNP degree with an FNP credential. The coursework prepares you for leadership roles to promote holistic nursing care. The 86 credit curriculum takes three to complete on a full-time basis. If you prefer a comfortable pace, you can either enroll for the four-year plan or take the part-time option that allows you to stretch it for up to six years. Depending on your convenience, you can complete courses either in the six, eight, twelve or sixteen-week sessions. The curriculum also includes 1,215 clinical hours, out of which 840 hours comprise clinical practice related to FNP and the remaining 375 hours are to be completed in the DNP project. Although the entire coursework is offered online, you are required to visit the campus twice, each visit lasting for three days during the summer sessions.

6) Villanova University - Villanova


Programs Offered: MSN, and Post-Master's Certificate

Villanova University’s NP education has not only contributed towards the health promotion of Pennsylvania but also towards a larger global population and therefore its recognition as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education for innovative and well-rounded programs hardly comes as a surprise. The MSN and post-masters’ certificate programs that prepare you for the nurse practitioner credential are rooted in Augustinian values of care, compassion, and service to humanity and aim at enhanced problem-solving and decision-making skills.

MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

If you are keen on becoming a nurse practitioner in PA, then you can consider this MSN program that comes with specialization options to treat the elderly, individuals and families across the lifespan or infants and children. Depending on your interest, you can choose from any of the three concentrations. While the number of credits vary between 39 and 55, depending on the track, the coursework you take for all three comprise core, support, and clinical courses, with the core and support courses being common for all three tracks. The program can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis, with the prior taking two years and the latter, up to five years.

Post-Master's Certificate: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

The certificate course can be pursued by students who have already obtained a master's degree in nursing. Just like in the MSN, you choose a concentration and acquire specialized training through theoretical concepts and clinical practice in varied healthcare settings. Upon completion, you become eligible to take the national level certification examination in the area of your specialization.

7) Thomas Jefferson University – Philadelphia


Programs Offered: MSN, Post-BSN to DNP, and Post-Master's Certificate

Thomas Jefferson University offers a variety of nurse practitioner programs in PA with the main goal of excellence in clinical training. With a 95% pass rate on the certification exams, nurse practitioner students at the college graduate with expert skills and knowledge that help them gain an edge over their counterparts, little wonder that 98% of them are placed soon after graduation. The college offers three pathways to aspiring APRNs, an MSN, BSN to DNP and a post-master’s certificate program.

MSN: Adult-Gerontology - Acute Care Nurse Practitioner , Adult-Gerontology - Primary Care Nurse Practitioner , Family-Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner , Neonatal Nurse Practitioner , Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner , and Women's Health - Gender-Related Nurse Practitioner

With a wide range of specializations, you choose to specialize in the track that matches your interest. While on a full-time basis, most students complete this MSN program in 15 months, however, part-timers can complete it at a comfortable pace, stretching it up to five years. The curriculum comprises 18 credits in core courses that are common for all concentrations along with another 18 credits in specialty-specific courses. All the courses can be completed either online or in the traditional format, depending on your preference. Although only some tracks require at least one year of relevant work experience, even for the other tracks where this is not a requirement for admission, any past experience in your chosen specialty will add weightage to your application.

Post-BSN to DNP: Adult-Gerontology - Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology - Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health Gender-Related Nurse Practitioner

If you are a working RN and are keen on taking the next step in your career, then by enrolling for the BSN to DNP program you will not only be able to acquire the highest nursing degree of DNP but will also earn the MSN and APRN credential in a concentration your choice. With the college offering a specialization in almost every area of nursing, depending on your interests, you can choose to complete the program either in gerontology, family health, neonatal nursing, pediatrics or women’s health. Regardless, of the track you first complete the MSN portion, take the APRN certification exam and continue with the doctoral coursework, taking anywhere from four to six years to complete the entire program.

Post-Master's Certificate: Adult Gerontology-Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology-Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family-Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Women's Health-Gender Related Nurse Practitioner

By completing this post-master’s certificate in any of the specialties, you gain specialized skills and earn the status of an APRN. Even if you already hold the APRN certification, you can expand your expertise by completing a certificate in another specialization. The 18 credit-coursework is offered in both, online as well as on-campus formats. The coursework comprises of nine credits in advanced pharmacotherapeutics, pathophysiology and comprehensive assessment for clinical decision making. The remaining nine credits comprise specialty-specific clinical courses.

8) Duquesne University - Pittsburgh


Programs Offered: MSN, and Post-Master's Certificate

Duquesne University prepares nurse leaders for the future by offering in-depth training through excellent theoretical and practical courses. Among the well-known nurse practitioner schools in Pennsylvania, it offers an MSN and a post-master’s certificate program that strengthens your nursing career with advanced professional knowledge. The college boasts of an impressive first-time pass rate in the certification exams over the last three years. These results indicate the commitment of its faculty towards the academic success of NP students. Both programs are offered in the online format along with the benefit of completing clinical experience sessions in your geographic location. The campus visits are limited and required only to complete your lab training. This allows working nurses to conveniently pursue their education without keeping their jobs on hold.

MSN: Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The MSN program is offered with three concentration options and starts three times a year. Depending on the track you choose, you require completing about 42 credits and around 750 clinical hours. A total of 12 courses cover both core and specialty subjects. If you have completed master’s level credits in nursing with a minimum grade “B”, you can transfer up to nine credits and complete your specialization track with lesser credits. The college offers a unique opportunity to add one more concentration to your NP track in either forensic nursing, nursing education or transcultural nursing. By completing an additional nine credits in any one of the three concentrations, you can greatly expand your role as a nurse practitioner.

Post-Master's Certificate: Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner

The post-master’s certificate program is available with the FNP specialization. If you have completed your MSN and aspire to specialize in family health, then you can consider enrolling for this program. To earn your certificate, you must complete 33 credits, 700 hours of clinical practicum and 50 hours of lab training. Upon completion of this program, you will be eligible to take the FNP certification exam and thereafter explore employment opportunities in various kinds of settings, including community health, nursing homes, hospitals, ambulatory care settings, and emergency care centers.

9) Temple University – Philadelphia


Programs Offered: Post-BSN to DNP

Temple University prepares nurse practitioners to transform and improve healthcare at the community and population level. The nursing school’s commitment towards community healthcare is apparent from the schools’ active engagement towards serving the underserved populations of the region. Not only that, NP students learn the latest healthcare trends under the mentorship of a faculty that plays prominent roles in national and global professional organizations.

Post-BSN to DNP: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care (AGPC) Nurse Practitioner, & Family Individual Across the Lifespan (FIAL) Nurse Practitioner

Available in two different specializations, this doctoral degree program can be completed on either a full-time or part-time basis. The coursework is delivered primarily online with limited campus visits to accommodate the busy schedules of working nurses. Regardless of the track you choose, the curriculum consists of around 68 credit hours and at least 1000 clinical hours under the guidance of a preceptor. The program stands out for including a six-credit teaching course that prepares you for teaching at the college level, in case you seek to enter the field of education, post completion of the DNP.

10) Robert Morris University - Moon Township


Programs Offered: BSN to DNP, and Post-Master's Certificate

If you are looking at Pennsylvania NP schools that offer a close-knit environment of a small-sized school and at the same time the resources of an established educational institution, then Robert Morris University can just be the right choice. With a BSN to DNP and post-master’s certificate program that comes along with NP specialty coursework, you can achieve specialized knowledge in an area of your interest. You will master skills through a combination of didactic and clinical training under the expert mentorship of the college’s dedicated faculty.

BSN to DNP: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The doctoral program can be completed within 3.5 years to 4 years and comprises a total of 80 to 86 credits, depending upon your chosen specialization. PMHNP is available both on-campus and online, whereas FNP and AGNP are available only on campus. Regardless of the specialization, the curriculum trains you as a clinical leader by including courses in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, health policy, and healthcare informatics. The coursework ends with a DNP project. The program also includes international clinical experiences that greatly add to the learning experience and prepare you to excel in a global healthcare environment.

Post-Master's Certificate: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The certificate with a specialization in mental health is open to MSN graduates and is available in both online and on-campus formats. The number of credit requirements for the course is 31 and it can be completed in a total of five semesters. By completing the program you will learn to diagnose and manage the mental health conditions of patients from all age groups. Once completed, you become eligible to sit for ANCC national level certification examination.

11) Desales University - Center Valley


Programs Offered: MSN, and Post-Master's Certificate

If you are browsing through nurse practitioner programs in Pennsylvania, Desales University offers an MSN and a post-master’s certificate program, both with three concentration options. Rooted in Christian values of care and compassion, NP graduates demonstrate the professional and ethical behavior required to excel as a nurse leader. Offered in the on-campus, hybrid or online format, both the programs are centered on evidence-based nursing practice.

MSN: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family/Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner, and ]Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

This MSN program trains you with specialized skills either in the care of acute elderly patients, individuals and families across the life span or psychiatric mental health of all age groups. To be eligible, you must have a BSN with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, hold an active RN license and must have completed one year of nursing practice. Regardless of the track you enter, you must complete anywhere close to 50 credits, 674 hours in a clinical practicum and 75 hours of lab simulation at the college’s state-of-art simulation lab. This program can be completed in two years if you enroll as a full-time student. Part-time candidates, on the other hand, will take three years to complete their studies.

Post-Master's Certificate: Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The post-master’s certificate program can be individualized, based on your previous nursing education and experience, if any. Once enrolled, depending on the specialty track you have chosen, you will complete credits, ranging from 23 to 41. Additionally, you must also complete a minimum of 500 clinical hours in a healthcare setting. Upon completion of the program, you will be eligible to take the certification exam in your chosen area of specialization.

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