You want to be a nurse in Pennsylvania. Each US state has its own requirements for obtaining a RN license that are regulated by the state’s Board of Nursing. States set their own requirements and they all differ. Always check directly with the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing for updates and changes. As of publication, though, here are the RN License Requirements for Pennsylvania.
Go to Nursing School
In order to obtain an RN license in Pennsylvania you must first graduate from nursing school. Not all nursing programs are approved by a state’s board of nursing. Make sure you do your research before starting any program, associates or bachelors. You can find updated and approved nursing programs for Pennsylvania on their website, check there before starting your program. You would not want to enroll in a program only to realize later that it was not an approved program and delay your plans to be an RN. Once you have officially graduated you can then apply to get your RN license.
Fill out an application
Might seem like an obvious step but it is necessary to apply directly to the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing for your RN license. You must fill out an application either online or send it in by mail. It will verify your identity, any criminal history as well as education. This will verify that you have graduated from nursing school and are planning to take the NCLEX.
Pass the NCLEX
Besides graduating from nursing school the other important challenge to getting an RN license in Pennsylvania is passing the NCLEX. The NCLEX is a standardized exam that is a requirement for all nurses to practice in the US. You register for the NCLEX when you have graduated from nursing school. You cannot take it before you have graduated. Studying for and passing the NCLEX are important and stressful steps for obtaining your RN. Take the time that you need to study properly and do not try to cram it all in and over stress yourself. Fortunately you can take the NCLEX several times if you cannot pass it the first time.
Continuing Education Requirement
Many states have a few different steps to their RN license process that do not apply to other states.. In Pennsylvania it is now required that you must take a child abuse continuing ed course equivalent to three hours in order to obtain your initial RN license. Check with state’s website for what counts as approved continuing ed providers. After you receive your RN license you must renew it every 2 years and complete 30 hours of continuing education.
Once all the above steps are completed and verified you will receive your RN license for Pennsylvania and legally practice as a nurse. Unfortunately Pennsylvania is not a part of the compact state nursing license agreement which allows you to practice in multiple states with one license. If you move out of Pennsylvania or get an out of state job you will need to check with that state’s board of nursing and apply for an RN license in that state.