Accelerated Nursing Programs in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has the fifth-highest number of working Registered Nurses in the United States. Nursing is an excellent choice if you live in this state and are interested in furthering your education or entering a new career field. 

There are many higher education programs that you can utilize to become a registered nurse or a nurse practitioner. An accelerated BSN program in Pennsylvania will save you money and time in your quest to become the next superstar healthcare provider in your state. 

You’ll find a fast-paced, fulfilling career all while learning and growing as an educated individual and a global citizen. In the end, you’ll have evolved into a skilled nurse who can serve your communities with pride. 

Who Can Benefit From An Accelerated Nursing Program in Pennsylvania?

Those who want an accelerated nursing degree straight out of high school or without having already obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in another career field will not be eligible. Someone who already has a Bachelor’s Degree can use their existing credits to help their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree faster and for less money. 

Accelerated BSN programs in Pennsylvania combine lectures, labs, simulations, and clinical experience to help prepare candidates for everything their chosen industry might throw at them. Going for a second degree is much faster than simply following a traditional nursing program, and accelerated degree holders can enter the workforce at a quicker rate. 

Employers often view participation in accelerated nursing programs as an indication that a potential employee is driven and determined to succeed. It shows an ability to thrive and learn in a fast-paced environment and shows the scope of their well-rounded education. 

Read on to find some basic information on accelerated BSN programs in the PA region and where to receive quality secondary schooling. 

General Information on Accelerated BSN Programs in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, a Registered Nurse is tasked with maintaining medical records, assessing a patient’s health care issues and needs, caring for disabled, ill, or injured patients, and coming up with nursing care plans they will implement for a diverse population. 

RNs might even be charged with advising patients on health care maintenance, disease prevention and may sometimes assist with insurance information. A good accelerated nursing program will prepare you for all of these responsibilities and more. 


As with any higher education costs, the price of an accelerated BSN program in Pennsylvania will differ significantly based on where one goes to school. Private institutions will almost always be more expensive, and in-state schools will always be cheaper than out-of-state ones. 

The overall price will also depend on the fees students have to pay, what textbooks they need to purchase, and what supplies they might need to provide. Other factors like personal expenses, transportation, and room and board could make the price go up. 

Every student’s financial situation and total costs will vary and fluctuate from just $17,000 to as much as $40,000


Getting admitted into an accelerated nursing program in Pennsylvania will depend on how competitive the school’s program is. As mentioned, a Bachelor’s Degree in any field is needed to apply, and most institutions have certain conditions that must be filled to be eligible for acceptance.

These will differ from school to school, but generally, one would need:

  • A grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Proof of completion of prerequisite courses 
  • Proof of US resident status or citizenship
  • To fill out an application form 

Most of these programs are incredibly competitive. Some will require pre-screening or ask potential candidates to fill out more paperwork to determine whether they would be a good fit for their accelerated BSN program. 

Program Length

This factor will also differ from school to school. Some institutions only offer full-time enrollment, while others provide weekend or night courses for a more flexible student schedule. Overall, the average length of an accelerated nursing program in Pennsylvania is about 14 to 15 months. 

Course Work

Like everything else we’ve covered so far, the specific courses students will experience will differ depending on the institution of choice. The courses might be similar but have different names or cover diverse topics. However, all of them will help prepare students for the critical facets of working as an RN. 

Students will study age-based care to practice pediatric, adult, and geriatric medicine. They will also learn how to lead and develop management skills as a nurse and complete courses that meet the standards laid down by Pennsylvania state healthcare laws and regulations, as well as federal ones. 

Nursing students will learn the ins and outs of diversity training and ethics in the medical field and participate in classes like: 

  • Introduction to Professional Nursing
  • Morality and Contemporary Health Care
  • Fundamentals of Nursing Practice
  • Pharmacology
  • Health Assessment in Nursing
  • Nursing Research
  • Genomics in Nursing
  • Pathophysiology 

Clinical Experience

To complete an accelerated nursing program in Pennsylvania, one would have to undergo clinical training of some kind. Clinical experience gives students a chance to put all their skills to the test and prove that they are capable of being an RN. 

Clinical rounds allow students to work with real patients in an actual medical facility, dealing with real-world medical issues, illnesses, and injuries. Depending on which school and what programs to choose, students may find themselves working alone or as part of a group. 

These clinical rounds will be monitored and supervised by licensed Pennsylvania RNs, doctors, or administrators. 

Financial Aid

How to pay for higher education is always an important question when thinking about participating in an accelerated BSN program in Pennsylvania. Prospective students first need to fill out a FAFSA form, just as they did when they started schooling for their first Bachelor’s Degree.

Certain circumstances like childcare costs can help get an applicant more aid, as well as many other possible factors. The good thing about going into the nursing field is that it’s one of the few industries which might provide eligibility for student loan forgiveness. 

Some institutions allow for work-study programs to continue to work while obtaining an education and allow for flexible scheduling to make this possible. 

Top 10 Accelerated BSN Programs in Pennsylvania

We’ve compiled a list of our top ten accelerated nursing programs in Pennsylvania. Of course, these are not the only options, just the ones we’ve researched and believe to be the best programs in the whole state. 

# 1: Drexel University

For almost 100 years, the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions has been responsible for training some of the country’s best and most compassionate nurses. Today they boast 200 full-time faculty members and train over five thousand students in its various nursing programs. 

Drexel offers two different accelerated BSN programs to choose from. The first is an 11-month option for their Nursing Accelerated Career Entry program. These classes are held on weekdays and sometimes Saturdays. 

The second option is a more flexible blend of on-campus and online training that takes 24 months to complete. With this program, students have more options for scheduling classes held two days a week and every other Saturday or Sunday. 

# 2: DeSales University

Nursing students who train at the DeSales Department of Nursing and Health are known for their consistency and higher levels of performance on their NCLEX-RN when compared to state and national averages. 

The thorough and celebrated training programs offered at DeSales might explain why their students are known to do so well and go onto successful careers in nursing. If students choose DeSales, they will have access to Kaplan test preparation materials that will significantly benefit them in passing their future licensing exams. 

DeSales offers a fifteen-month accelerated BSN program but packs all the traditional lab hours, course work, and clinical rotations as traditional RN programs do. Their flexible program starts every May and offers affordable options for those needing financial assistance in obtaining a second degree.

# 3: Eastern University

Eastern University’s College of Health and Social Science boasts an efficient and successful Nursing Department. Using innovative training techniques, they prepare their future nurses for any situation they might encounter in the field. 

It is a faith-based institution with a focus on Christian values and ethics in medicine. They will benefit from plenty of hands-on learning experiences and gain priceless knowledge for their nursing resource and simulation lab. Here they’ll find the tools needed to develop sharp critical thinking skills and the ability to make quick decisions in a stressful environment. 

EU’s Second Degree Nursing Program is a two-year-long course of full-time study that boasts very small class sizes and paid summer externships. These externships can be very helpful when looking for employment opportunities after graduation. 

# 4: Duquesne University

For over eight years, the Duquesne University School of Nursing has been educating the nation’s most skilled nursing professionals. It was the first institution to offer a BSN degree in Pennsylvania and the first to offer a.two year-long Ph.D. in nursing programs in the United States. 

Duquesne’s team of dedicated mentors, teachers, clinicians, and researchers are driven to provide them with a world-class education in nursing and stand behind the school’s long tradition of crafting capable and confident RNs. 

This program is one of the most flexible accelerated nursing programs in Pennsylvania. Students can choose from a twelve-month Second Degree Pathway or a sixteen-month one. Both courses begin in August. The twelve-month course is more intensive, while the sixteen-month course is a little more relaxed. 

The curriculum is no different for either course, but the 12-month course is compressed into three semesters, whereas the 16-month option has four. 

# 5: Edinboro University

At Edinboro’s College of Science and Health Professions, the Department of Nursing offers many nursing programs, including an accelerated nursing course.

Edinboro’s lovely 585-acre campus near Erie is a beautiful place to get an education, but more importantly, it is one of the most popular second-degree nursing programs in the state. It lasts for three semesters, and the coursework included is known to be both rigorous and intensive. 

Nursing students will find simulation labs, clinical rotation experience, and even summer nurse internships to help prepare them for their future careers as an RN. 

# 6: Holy Family University

Holy Family’s School of Nursing and Allied Health Professionals offers a dynamic, intuitive, faith-based education for future nurses who want to study at a Catholic Liberal arts university. 

Many major hospitals in Philadelphia look to Holy Family graduates specifically to fill their Rn rosters because of the school’s impeccable reputation. 

HFU’s Second Degree BSN Fast Track is an affordable program offered both in the Summer and the Fall. Student’s coursework will center on a curriculum that is relevant to the changing world of healthcare professionals and deals with individual and family assessment skills, management and leadership training, clinical skills, and nursing research skills. 

If a prospective nursing student chooses Holy Family University, they’ll also get all the clinical experience needed from working in healthcare facilities in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

# 7: Pennsylvania State University Altoona

While Pennsylvania State University also offers an accelerated nursing program on their Harrisburg campus, we’ve chosen the Altoona campus for our list of the top 10 accelerated BSN programs in Pennsylvania. 

Penn State’s College of Nursing in Altoona provides a cozy, small college experience without sacrificing the prestige and recognition of a distinguished university. Their student-to-faculty ratio is rather small, which provides an intimate setting for RN training.

Students will find a diverse, inclusive environment in which to study and will leave the program as a professionally and culturally well-prepared RN. This sixteen-month course begins in the Fall and will prepare nursing students for finding successful employment after graduation. 

# 8: Robert Morris University

Robert Morris University is a private doctoral university that provides excellent training at its School of Nursing and Health Sciences. This institution is highly committed to turning out highly skilled and adaptable nurses into the healthcare field. 

Robert Morris’s accomplished and esteemed faculty monitor every step of a student’s progress as they prepare for their career as an RN. They offer a high-tech simulation center and various associations with local health care agencies to provide hands-on clinical experience. 

The university’s second-degree BSN program is a rigorous, 15-month course that offers all the benefits of a traditional BSN program in an accelerated format. At Robert Morris, students can look forward to the highest standards of education in nursing fundamentals and nursing care of the elderly, mothers, newborns, and more. 

# 9: Thomas Jefferson University

For over a century, Thomas Jefferson University’s College of Nursing has done an outstanding job of training healthcare professionals for the modern world, all from a position of tremendous experience and accreditation. 

As one of six colleges on campus that train health science students, the College of Nursing offers students a chance to gain their accelerated nursing degree in the heart of downtown Philadelphia. 

Not only will students enjoy what Pennsylvania’s capital has to offer, but its proximity to urban health care facilities will also serve to give nursing students a realistic, hands-on education in the modern healthcare field. 

Students can choose from two different full-time accredited coursework tracts at TJU, one which is twelve months long and the other which is twenty-four months long. Both tracts combine both classroom learning and clinical experience in their curriculums. 

# 10: University of Pittsburgh

The last program on our top 10 list comes from the School of Nursing at the University of Pittsburgh. For 70 years, this school has trained its students in a nursing practice founded on evidence-based care. 

Nurses who graduate from Pitt are sought after the world over for their skills, compassion, and standards of medical professionalism. It should be no surprise then that students from such top-rated schools as Boston University, NYU, and Carnegie Mellon apply for admission into the school’s  Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN program. 

It is a full-time program that takes three terms to complete. Students can begin in the Fall, Spring, or Summer. Forty-two students are admitted each term and have to have thirty-six prerequisite credits before beginning. 

Be prepared for 960 hours of clinical training in at least six teaching hospitals and fifty health care facilities in and around Pittsburgh. 

Who Should Make the Switch to Nursing?

Becoming a nurse is a challenging process, but nursing students will be rewarded with an especially gratifying career. Nursing can provide people with a lucrative career and lots of opportunities for career advancement, as well as a chance to help others and make a real and positive change in the world. 

Second-degree BSN programs are usually aimed at older, motivated, ambitious students who can handle the pressure and expectations of such a career choice. Nursing students take classes that are highly focused on nursing and will equip students with a myriad of skills for when they venture out into the real world medical field. 

While some programs encourage students not to work, others are more flexible and understand the need for a work school balance in an adult’s life. Most of these fast-paced, rigorous courses are meant to prepare nursing students for the demanding nursing industry and help them achieve their goals as quickly as possible. 

Benefits of Obtaining a Second Degree In Nursing

While the idea of becoming an RN might seem daunting to some, for those that can handle the pressure, a secondary BSN in nursing is an excellent choice. Those enrolled won’t have to waste time and money repeating courses they’ve already finished. Instead, they’ll immediately begin learning their new career from day one. 

Other benefits include: flexible courses, an accelerated degree time frame, accessibility to education and clinical rotations, focus on essential coursework, faculty leadership and dedication, less money spent on tuition, higher levels of marketability, and an almost infinite number of programs to choose from. 

Whatever sort of RN students want to be, getting an accelerated nursing degree can prepare students for their new career much faster than they might have once imagined. 


No matter what sort of career nursing students want to take on, it’s probable that the salary rates play an important role in what career they will choose. Thankfully, RNs in Pennsylvania have the potential to make a lot of money.

A nurse’s salary could range anywhere from $49,930 to $96,690 a year, depending on where the nurse will work, who they will work for, how much experience they have, and what responsibilities they will take on. Many people have switched over to the healthcare industry in the past decade because of these money-making possibilities. 

In all other jobs, the average salary in Pennsylvania is $48,760, which is well below the state average of $98,260 that RNs make. 

Career Opportunities

Aside from the financial benefits nurses could find as an RN, the career options begin to open up when students return for their secondary BSN through an accelerated nursing program in Pennsylvania. 

Furthering an education in the nursing career track will make someone a great candidate for today’s medical employers who want responsible, well-prepared, ambitious candidates for their job postings. Students can find inroads to other medical professions like nursing management, legal counseling, or medical journalism. 

Once a student has completed their chosen BSN program, they will have to apply for their RN license from the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. Then they will have to register and pay for their NCLEX-RN license from the state and schedule their testing dates. 

To be an RN in Pennsylvania, nursing students must pass the NCLEX-RN licensing exam and show proof to find employment. An accelerated BSN program in Pennsylvania will more than prepare students to complete these steps on their way to becoming an RN. 

From there, students can gain professional clinical nursing experience before moving on to any number of advanced nursing roles. Once a nursing student has completed their accelerated BSN program, they can also go on to gain their Masters of Science in Nursing as well. This can earn them even more money and career opportunities. 

In less than two years, a nursing student can become a capable, confident nurse and gain valuable professional skills sought after by employers and patients alike. The science and healthcare knowledge they will gain in their continued education will open more doors to career paths they might never have envisioned before. 

Nurses are more in demand than ever, and job opportunities are almost infinite for candidates who qualify. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses who obtain a BSN have a much better chance at landing their dream jobs than those without one. 

A secondary nursing degree will help nursing students qualify for more advanced field positions and nursing specialties. Clinical research, case management, informatics, and even careers with the US military could be ahead of nursing students once they’ve completed their schooling. 

Job Security

Deciding on the right career path can be challenging and one of the many considerations for continuing with an education to get a good job. In Pennsylvania and around the country, nursing students want to be sure that they’re training for a career field with a promising future. 

When it comes to the healthcare industry, the demand is there and always will be. People will always need healthcare professionals to help them heal and recuperate, no matter what the economy looks like. 

By 2027, registered nurse employment in Pennsylvania is expected to grow by 12.96 percent from 2017 levels. According to these numbers, health care providers in the state can rely on good job security for many years to come. 

Cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia require skilled RNs, especially after the chaos and suffering of the global Covid pandemic. Nursing students can find many jobs in hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, doctor’s offices, and specialists’ offices. 


Nursing can be one of the most flexible career options, depending on where nursing students work after completing their accelerated nursing program. Nursing students can find several different scheduling options for the myriad of medical facilities where they might be hired. 

If a nursing student chooses to work in the outpatient field, their schedule will likely be more regular and rigid, based on hours of operation. Outpatient nurses typically work 4 to 5 days a week for 8 hours per shift. 

Working as a nurse in acute or long-term hospitals, as well as residential facilities, usually work longer hours to reduce the number of caregivers assigned to any given patient. 

If a nurse works at a facility that offers twelve-hour shifts, these are usually offered three days a week followed by four days off for those who need more flexible scheduling. 12 hours shifts can provide a more flexible schedule, but they can also be very draining, and nurses may find it hard to balance their professional and personal life effectively. 

Nurses could find a facility that offers four-hour shift blocks or one that keeps them on call for the entire day, but where they only have to work for a small fraction of time or not at all depending on demand. There are strictly part-time RN positions available to candidates who would be on call to fill in for other nurses as needed. 

Giving Back to the Community

While flexibility, salary, career growth, and job security are all important when choosing a career path, the fulfillment that comes with being a nurse is one of the biggest reasons many nurses get into the field to begin with.

People can always find all sorts of jobs that impact their community and help others, but with nursing, they get to see that impact firsthand and watch in real-time as nurses and their teams heal others and improve their quality of life. 

Nurses are responsible for providing health services and health education for children, adults, and the elderly. They become a pillar of community support and aid, spending their days alleviating pain and suffering in their communities. 

Anyone who feels fulfilled helping others with their physical, mental, and emotional health will find a perfect career in nursing. They can go beyond simply treating symptoms to truly enrich the lives of others and find a true calling for healing in their new career. 

Final Thoughts

The idea of changing careers can be intimidating to many. Some may have already spent years thinking they’ll be working in a certain career track, and for whatever reason, those goals might change for them over time.

Choosing a new career track might not be the easiest decision, but in some cases,two-year-long it can change a person’s life for the better. Someone’s current field might not have the right pay rate, might not be fulfilling anymore, or might lack job security. Maybe they want better career advancement opportunities or a better work environment,

Whatever the case may be, going for a secondary BSN through an accelerated nursing program could be the answer to many problems. While it is a major commitment and a competitive field, nursing students could find success faster than they ever expected if they work hard and dedicate themselves to their schooling. 

For anyone with an existing bachelor’s degree who has been thinking about making a career change, we hope the information provided in this top ten list of accelerated nursing programs in Pennsylvania has been of some help in making the decision.

Given the state of healthcare today and the demand for skilled, qualified nurses, it is currently an excellent opportunity to move into a career in nursing.