Pennsylvania RN to BSN Programs
Many RNs wonder why they would want to pursue a BSN degree. After all, you don’t need a BSN to become a RN, you simply need to complete the NCLEX to earn you certification for the career path. A BSN also doesn’t automatically qualify you to work as a RN, you still need to earn your certification. In all honesty, the main reason to earn a BSN is to command a higher wage, have better chances at promotion within the field and position yourself to continue your education to earn a higher degree later in your career if you so desire. There isn’t much more to it than that. Some RNs are perfectly happy with an associate’s degree as their highest level of education, but in the end, the extra time spent in school goes a long way to ensuring that a RN will earn the most money possible and have a more rewarding career throughout their life. Employers also like to see RNs with a BSN and will prefer to hire them over nursing that hold lower level degree, meaning that a BSN will allow you to pick where you want to work more often than not.
Pennsylvania saw over 1,000 medical school students graduate in 2011. That number includes students graduating from all medical disciplines, so an undisclosed portion of those are entering the field as registered nurses. With almost 131,000 RNs working in the state, the competition for employment is a bit higher than other states. That doesn’t mean you will struggle to find work, but you should consider a BSN as a way to ensure you have more opportunities to work where you want and spend less time looking for an employer.
Income and Employment
Expect to earn $65,000 a year on average as a RN. To ensure that you fall on that average, or even surpass it, education and experience will be key. Finding an entry level position, especially if you are already working as an RN will give you an edge when it comes time to moving into a new position and should ensure that you command more income. In addition, earning a BSN will almost always lead to a higher starting salary and more promotions over the course of your career.
Depending on where you live, you may want to relocate to cities that are in need of nurses. Johnstown, Pittsburgh and Erie have the highest percentage of RNs relative to the population of each of the cities. On the other end of the spectrum, Reading, Lancaster and York have the lowest percentage. Philadelphia, Lancaster and Allentown offer the highest median salaries, but take that information with a grain of salt. You may find a higher income in a town that is in need of your skills upon graduation.
Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Reading Hospital and Medical Center in Reading, Wellspan Health in York, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Philadelphia and Reading Hospital medical Laboratory in Elverson rank among the top 20 employers across all industries in the state and should be heavily considered when sending out your resume. You should also spend some time researching what types of tuition assistance each offers as employers will often offer financial assistance to their employees that are continuing their education.
Paying for College
While individual colleges will offer a wide range of scholarships, grants and loans to their students, there are two particular resources you can tap to find additional ways to cover the financial investment a BSN offers. The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association will offer tools and resources that will help you earn your degree and make the most of your career. Explore the options and join the organization if you are qualified already to see what type of additional assistance you can find through their association.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration is also a great resource for nursing students at any point in their education. They have a vested interest in ensuring that our growing and aging population has the medical professionals available as they are needed. With the constant growth in the field, HRSA does everything it can to offer loan repayment plans and scholarships to students that are looking to move into this exciting field. Look at their options and see what you qualify for, the site is simple to understand and will be a invaluable source of information as you start your education.
As a resident of the state, you know that UPenn is a well-respected educational institute. With a dedication to changing the world through the science of nursing, you will be part of a new generation of nurses that learns on cutting edge technology and enters the field ready to make a difference. You will be trained to exercise good judgment in clinical decisions and patients and family interactions as well as focus on turning curiosity into academic inquiry. You will learn to have a strong voice in leadership and policy arenas as well as a soft voice at the bedside. Through your education you will engage in practice, research and health that will affect the world as you decide. With a state-of-the-art simulation lab using mannequins that respond as patients would, you will have access to one of the first PACE practices operated and owned by a School of Nursing.
With a focus on allowing you to transition from an associate’s to a BSN, you will find that Penn State School of Nursing will offer the full educational experience that you should expect. With a focus on improving the health of all people in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the nation and the world through development of quality nurse leaders at all levels of the practice, you will be able to put the education you earn from this prestigious school to use wherever you want. Accreditations are also earned from the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing, The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.