How to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Pennsylvania

Nurse practitioners in Pennsylvania are known as CRNP, or certified registered nurse practitioners. They provide the same high level of specialized care as NP's in other states, but lack some of the authority their colleagues have. Pennsylvania CRNP's must practice under the guidance of licensed physicians, who advise, establish treatment regimens and prescribe required medications on behalf of CRNPs. Pennsylvania nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have completed postgraduate nursing education and received additional clinical training. Becoming a CRNP is challenging, but the job is in high demand in Pennsylvania. Follow these steps if you want to become a nurse practitioner in Pennsylvania.


  1. Image titled Become a Nurse Practitioner in Pennsylvania Step 1
    Choose your nursing specialty. Aspiring CRNPs must pick an area of specialization. Interest in a specific field of medicine, job security and advancement potential are key considerations for CRNP candidates. CRNPs have a wide range of fields to choose from.
    • Acute: Handle serious illnesses and conditions that require immediate care.
    • Adult: Often administered in a nursing home or other protective-care facility, adult care focuses on treating people who have health or emotional needs that preclude them from being left alone for long periods of time.
    • Emergency: Treat illnesses and injuries that may be life-threatening. Victims of accidents and assaults are typically in need of emergency care.
    • Family practice: This practice provides care for people of all ages.
    • Geriatric: Care of adults generally over 50, many of whom are infirm.
    • Neonatal: Provides care for newborns and infants, specializing on those in critical condition.
    • Occupational: This type of care centers on providing therapy for patients with mental, physical or emotional disabilities. The care helps patients regain the ability to function after enduring a traumatic injury.
    • Oncology: Helps cancer patients during all phases of their treatment.
    • Pediatric: Care specific to children, focusing on all stages of their physical and emotional development.
    • Women's health: Comprehensive care for women.
  2. Image titled Become a Nurse Practitioner in Pennsylvania Step 2
    Complete postgraduate study. Pennsylvania nurse practitioners must get additional clinical training in a specialized field and complete at least 1 year of postgraduate nursing education from an accredited college or university. The intensive postgraduate training prepares nurses to provide comprehensive primary and specialty care. Many CRNPs go on to earn Master of Science in Nursing degrees, which usually takes at least 2 years. The degree broadens employment options beyond nurse practitioner. People with an MSN degree can hold managerial positions in health-care facilities and also can teach nursing.
  3. Image titled Become a Nurse Practitioner in Pennsylvania Step 3
    Earn certification as a nurse practitioner in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing requires all CRNPs to be certified in their specialty. Nurses must take a licensing exam in their specialty offered by the American Nursing Association in order to become credentialed. Nurses who pass the exam earn the special status of CRNP. Candidates seeking certification must:
    • Hold an active license as a Pennsylvania registered nurse.
    • Have completed the required postgraduate studies.
    • Hold national certification in the specialized area of nursing for which they are applying.
  4. Image titled Become a Nurse Practitioner in Pennsylvania Step 4
    Embrace the responsibilities you'll face as a nurse practitioner. In Pennsylvania, nurse practitioners work in various health-care facilities, ranging from private doctor's offices to public-health agencies. CRNPs provide care beyond that of other nurses. Some of these techniques include:
    • Diagnostics: CRNPs confer with a physician and chart of course of action based on the lab tests they have ordered and reviewed.
    • Family planning: Many CRNPs are credentialed in family-practice nursing, which may include experience in neonatal and pediatric care. Pennsylvania nurse practitioners can treat the full range of family health-care issues because of their advanced training.
    • Ordering medication: A physician must approve each prescription ordered by Pennsylvania nurse practitioners.
    • Psychological support: CRNPs have clinical training to meet patients' emotional and psychological needs.
    • Risk-evaluation: Because of their experience and deeper understanding of medical conditions, NPS are able to evaluate health risks and suggest a course of care to mitigate their effects.


  • Consult the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing for complete details on job duties, educational requirements and credentialing of CRNPs.
  • Pennsylvania nurse practitioners take a proactive role in their patients' health care. CRNPs can explain health conditions in detail, and help patients understand treatment options. They also counsel patients on nutrition.

Article Info

Categories: Health Care