Top LPN Programs in Pennsylvania

Last Updated/Verified: July 15, 2021

Looking for the shortest path to a nursing career? Becoming an LPN is your best option.

Pennsylvania offers plenty of employment opportunities in the healthcare industry, including those seeking a career in the nursing field. Becoming an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) will allow you to enter the industry without committing to a 4-year program to become a Registered Nurse. Upon graduating from LPN classes, you can find flexible and rewarding work all over the state of Pennsylvania.

Currently, there are approximately 50,000 LPNs in Pennsylvania. However, as the population ages, the need for more LPNs will increase. This is particularly the case in areas that serve a high number of elderly, chronically ill, and disabled residents.

LPN’s in Pennsylvania Quick Facts

  • On average, LPN school takes 12 to 15 months to complete (requiring as few as 1500 hours)
  • LPNs account for 23% of Pennsylvania’s nursing population
  • LPNs in Pennsylvania typically earn between $45,666 and $56,229
  • By 2028, LPN jobs are expected to rise by 11%
  • More than 90% of Pennsylvania’s direct care LPNs are either somewhat or very satisfied with their career choice

In Pennsylvania, the cities of PhiladelphiaAllentownLancasterHarrisburgScranton, and Pittsburgh offer the most prevalent number of potential educational institutions and job opportunities for an LPN.

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Overview of LPN Schools in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania offers LPN programs across dozens of technical centers, private career schools, and community colleges. With approximately 50 schools to choose from, there are several options to meet your unique needs, especially your desired schedule and length of study.

Although there are differences from one school to the next, all schools offer a similar curriculum that includes text-based learning, labs, and clinical studies.

For example, at the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County, the Practical Nursing Program is 52 weeks long. Approximately 50% of the time is spent in the classroom, and 50% is spent in clinical experience.

Some topics and courses offered include:

  • Practical nursing
  • Microbiology
  • Human anatomy
  • General psychology
  • Nursing ethics
  • Patient care
  • Infection control
  • Specialist courses, such as geriatric or neonatal

LPN Accreditation

An LPN program must be accredited either regionally, nationally, or a combination of the two. Two of the most common agencies are the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

In Pennsylvania, you should also seek a program that is approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing.

For example, Bucks County Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. This college is also an approved Institution of Higher Education in Pennsylvania by the Commonwealth Department of Education.

Some schools offer programs approved by the State Approving Agency for students to use veterans’ benefits, such as the United Career Institute. Locations are in Irwin, PA, and Mount Braddock, PA.

LPN Admissions Requirements

Depending on the program of interest, admissions requirements will vary from program to program. It is recommended that you contact the institution you wish to go to for more specific details.

At a minimum, most schools will require the following:

  • High school diploma, GED, or equivalent certificate
  • GPA of 2.5+
  • Proficient score on ATI TEAS exam
  • Pass a background check
  • Pass a drug test
  • Interview with staff

For example, at Penn State Berks, you must:

  • Pass the TEAS exam
  • Fill out a practical nursing application
  • Submit your high school and/or GED transcript
  • Two letters of professional reference
  • Include a 500-750-word essay describing your interest in the program

AT HACC, you must:

  • Have taken the TEAS and scored 60 or higher
  • Have an overall GPA of 2.5
  • Submit a high school transcript complete with your graduation date
  • Pass a background check

LPN Tuition & Costs

Tuition varies widely across schools.

As a student, you will typically be responsible for your tuition, all necessary school supplies, and materials, as well as all cost-of-living expenses. Some programs offer grants and financial aids to qualifying students.

Each school will offer a breakdown of what your expected costs will be. For example, at the Indiana County Technology Center School of Practical Nursing, 2020-2021 is $13,048. Other fees include a pre-entrance test fee of $70, graduation fees of $340, textbook fees of $951, and more. The estimated total for everything is $20,318.

In comparison, at the Crawford County Career Technical Center, tuition and fees for 2021-2022 are $16,535 (in-state tuition), $18,335 (out-of-state tuition), and the program fees are $670. Upon acceptance into the program, you can submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

LPN Licensing Requirements in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, the Practical Nursing Program is the quickest route to become a nurse. You can earn your LPN degree in just one year when taking part in a full-time program. Following graduation, you can immediately apply for nursing licensure.

Checklist to Become a Pennsylvania LPN

  • Earn your LPN degree (take one year of courses and complete hands-on experience)
  • Apply for licensure through the Pennsylvania Department of State (State Board of Nursing)
  • Obtain a CPR card and pass the NCLEX-PN exam 

In Pennsylvania, LPN licenses expire on June 30 of each biennium in the even-numbered years. For renewal, no continued education program is required.

NCLEX-PN Exam

Once you complete 1500 hours (one year of coursework), you must pass the NCLEX-PN exam. The National Council Licensure Examination administers this exam. There are four major categories to cover during your preparation, including safe, effective patient care and medical procedures.

LPN Reciprocity

If you are an LPN entering Pennsylvania from another state, you can become licensed in Pennsylvania through endorsement and pay $100 to the Board.

To do so, you will need to:

  • Show proof of your nursing license from another state (the education you received must be equivalent to the requirements in Pennsylvania)
  • Prove that you haven’t let your out-of-state license lapse for over five years (you must have remained compliant as well)
  • Have passed the NCLEX

Depending on your career, you may also need to complete other requirements. For example, LPNs who do IV therapy must complete a Pennsylvania-approved IV therapy course.

However, if you are licensed from somewhere outside of the United States, you must first complete the Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) evaluation before taking your licensure exam.

LPN Salaries in Pennsylvania

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average salary for LPNs is $48,820 per year. LPNs in Pennsylvania make an average of $52,283 per year as of May 21, 2021. Although this falls below the national average wage index of $54,099+, salaries vary depending on where you are located within the state of Pennsylvania.

The highest paying cities include:

  • Philadelphia – $56,516 per year ($31.48/hour)
  • Lancaster – $56,419 per year ($31.43/hour)
  • Pittsburgh – $55,276 per year ($30.79/hour)
  • Harrisburg – $54,547 per year ($30.39/hour)
  • York – $54,170 per year ($30.18/hour)

Job Outlook for LPNs in Pennsylvania

It is projected that there will be over 17,000 job openings within the next five years based on both replacement and newly created jobs. The outlook for LPNs in Pennsylvania is encouraging. The United States continues to face a nursing shortage based on increased demand. There are also many nurses retiring from the workforce.

Top LPN Schools in Pennsylvania

Indiana County Technology Center – Indiana & Steel Campus

441 Hamill Rd, Indiana, PA 15701
(724) 349-6700

The LPN program is well-respected, focusing on the development of critical skills among students. The center offers a low staff-student ratio, resulting in quality training and intensive hands-on experience. The full-time program takes one year to complete, compared to the part-time program, which will take 16 months. The program comprises 1,550 hours, which are broken down into 700 theory hours and 850 clinical hours.

Community College of Beaver County – Monaca

1 Campus Dr., Monaca, PA 15061
(724) 480-2222

Community College of Beaver County offers the opportunity to complete the Practical Nursing certificate. This will allow you to become an LPN in Pennsylvania. The program continually adapts to changes in the industry, upgrading the curriculum to help students stay on top of the rapidly changing healthcare field. The program takes one year to complete, broken down into three semesters. To graduate, you must complete 50 credits, which combine theory and lab work. Clinical sessions are offered in a range of healthcare settings, including medical centers, nursing homes, home nursing care, private clinics, etc.

United Career Institute – Mount Braddock

1015 Mt Braddock Rd, Mt Braddock, PA 15465
(724) 437-4600

The LPN program at the United Career Institute requires no prerequisite coursework. This can help you save both time and money. This technical career school offers unique opportunities to develop various skills, including those needed for IV therapy, medication administration, wound care, lab testing, and more. This program takes 12 months to complete and combines lab practical, theory classes, and simulation exercises to help students thrive in real-world medical settings.

Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County – Scranton

3201 Rockwell Ave, Scranton, PA 18508
(570) 346-8471

The Practical Nursing Program is extended over 15 months instead of the standard 12, taking place Monday-Friday. This school is known for its impressive placement record, with a high number of students finding jobs following graduation. The center also has a high pass rate for the NCLEX-PN licensure examination, showcasing the quality of training provided. The curriculum includes 1,560 hours, divided into four different levels — each of which spans 13 weeks. Theory and practical components are equal, making up 780 program hours each.

HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College – Harrisburg

1 HACC Dr., Harrisburg, PA 17110
(800) 222-4222

The 4-semester Practical Nursing Certificate program requires the completion of 51 credits across 15 months. Being the first and largest community college in the area, HACC is one of the most popular LPN schools in the state. This program aims to train quality professionals who will make a difference in the healthcare field. Clinical sessions are organized at various places across Lancaster and Harrisburg campuses. To graduate, you must get a minimum of a “C” grade in all of your courses.

Other top schools to consider:

Lehigh Carbon Community College

4525 Education Park Drive Schnecksville, PA. 18078
(610) 799-2121

The Practical Nursing Certificate program maintains full approval with the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. To graduate, you must earn a minimum “C” grade in all of your courses. A total of 53 credits is required, earned across three semesters. Sample courses include anatomy and physiology, modern social problems, and introduction to psychology. Applications are accepted from September to February 1.

Crawford County Career and Technical Center

860 Thurston Rd., Meadville, PA 16335
(814) 724-6024

Crawford’s first practical nursing class graduated in 1969, and since then, a class has graduated every year. This program is 54 weeks, divided into trimesters. The curriculum meets the educational requirements for certification in not just Pennsylvania, but also Ohio, Oklahoma, Florida, and New York. This school is proud to report that 100% of graduates from 2017-2020 have passed their exam on the first try. The placement rate is also 100%.

Pennsylvania College of Technology

1 College Ave, Williamsport, PA 17701
(570) 320-2400 or (800) 367-9222

The coursework for this program includes 900+ hours of hands-on training in classrooms, labs, and clinical experiences. Specialized courses are offered to help you build unique skills. Some of the courses offered include medical terminology survey, adult health nursing, maternal nursing, and child health nursing concepts. Grants and scholarships are available.

Chester County Intermediate Unit

455 Boot Rd., Downingtown, PA 19335
(484) 593-5950

The goal of the practical nursing program at Chester County is to prepare you for the NCLEX-PN exam, followed by a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Full-time tuition depends on whether you are an in- or out-of-state resident. However, financial aid is available to those who qualify, with some students receiving 100% coverage. To graduate, you must complete 1,635 hours of study, as well as clinical experience at various facilities that represent different levels of care.

Franklin County Practical Nursing Program

2463 Loop Rd., Chambersburg, PA 17202
(717) 263-5667

This full-time program focuses on an innovative curriculum. The mission of this school is to prepare you for a fulfilling nursing career. Six levels of courses are offered, building off of one another. Sample courses include family-centered nursing, concept basics to nursing practice, and transition to practical nursing practice. For in-state students, tuition costs $16,350 for a one-year program. Ten financial aid options are available, including loans, grants, and scholarships.

Additional Resources

Need further guidance? Check out the following resources to become an LPN in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Department of State (Board of Nursing) — Located at 1 Penn Center, 2601 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110, the State Board of Nursing will help you determine what the licensing requirements are in the state of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA) — Being over 100 years, the PSNA is the largest professional organization for nurses in the state, advocating for both nurses and their patients. 3605 Vartan Way #204, Harrisburg, PA 17110