PRN Nursing Jobs in Pennsylvania: Ultimate Guide [2024]

Pennsylvania offers a wealth of opportunities for nursing professionals at all levels of licensure. Discover what working in The Keystone State is like for nurses and nursing assistants.

Are you a nursing professional working in Pennsylvania? This guide will provide an overview of what the Keystone State offers nursing professionals, including average salaries, PRN nursing jobs, cheapest cities, best nursing schools, and more.

Table of Contents

RN, LPN, and CNA salary information throughout this guide comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and living wage information is from the MIT Living Wage Calculator (most recent data as of December 2023).

Nursing Professional Mean Annual Wage Mean Hourly Wage
Registered Nurse (RN) $80,630 $38.76
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) $54,520 $26.21
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) $36,400 $17.50

How Much Do Nurses in Pennsylvania Make?

In Pennsylvania’s nursing field, annual income largely depends on where you work and your professional qualifications. With their bustling healthcare scenes, cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh make for great opportunities. Certified nursing assistants (CNAs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and registered nurses (RNs) can all find high-paying nursing jobs in Pennsylvania’s urban centers in line with the demands of their roles.

The scenario changes as you move to smaller towns or rural areas in Pennsylvania. Places like Bethlehem, York, and Wellsboro offer a different pace and atmosphere, typically with lower nursing salaries than their urban counterparts. However, these areas have unique allure, often attracting nurses seeking a more community-centric work environment and a quieter lifestyle.

Overall, nursing wages vary intriguingly across different cities. In Bloomsburg, the compensation is competitive, reflecting its active healthcare environment. Dallastown and Oxford, on the other hand, offer balanced wages that align with their respective living costs. Moving to Kane and Newville, nurses find wages that harmonize with the towns’ modest cost-of-living expenses. State College, with its vibrant college scene, and Stevens, with its quiet charm, provide attractive wages for nurses. Uniontown and Warren offer compensation that matches their community-centric healthcare settings. Lastly, Weatherly and Wilkes-Barre balance their nursing salaries with the local lifestyle and healthcare demands, ensuring professionally and financially satisfying experiences for nurses.

Many nurses need to augment their income to adapt to this economic diversity. One way nurses can earn more money is by picking up per diem shifts with Nursa, which connects nurses with flexible, high-paying per diem jobs across the state. Utilizing Nursa can be an effective way for nurses to enhance their income while enjoying the flexibility to explore various healthcare settings, making for a rewarding and financially stable nursing career in Pennsylvania.

Which Are the Highest-Paying Cities in Pennsylvania?

The following table shows average mean wages for nurses and nursing assistants throughout Pennsylvania. Metropolitan areas are in order, starting with the highest-paying locations for registered nurses and including average wages for practical nurses and nursing assistants.

Metropolitan Area Mean RN Annual Wage Mean LPN Annual Wage Mean CNA Annual Wage
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA $104,860 $63,050 $44,720
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD $87,830 $59,320 $37,780
Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA $82,660 $52,760 $38,780
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ $81,410 $55,410 $37,010
Lebanon, PA $80,660 $53,800 $36,140
Reading, PA $80,360 $54,960 $36,140
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA $79,850 $54,150 $36,350
Williamsport, PA $78,560 $50,840 $34,160
Lancaster, PA $77,290 $52,950 $36,060
York-Hanover, PA $76,540 $51,170 $35,590
Pittsburgh, PA $76,230 $53,540 $36,430

The New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA metropolitan area is by far the highest-paying for nursing professionals in the state. However, most of this area is outside Pennsylvania, except for Pike County, which includes the city of Milford.

Some of the Best Hospitals and Medical Centers in PA

Home to numerous top-notch hospitals and other healthcare facilities, Pennsylvania offers nurses a wealth of career opportunities. Nurses can find jobs in a variety of settings and specialties, such as the emergency room (ER), intensive care unit (ICU), and medical-surgical (med/surg) department. Key facilities include the following:

  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center:  UPMC has multiple locations and is a leader in providing a wide range of medical specialties and advanced care. Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, it also stands out for its significant contributions to medical research and education.
  • Penn Medicine: Penn Medicine in Philadelphia is not only renowned for its excellence in cardiology and oncology but also for its groundbreaking research in gene therapy and its role as a trailblazer in the development of innovative medical technologies.
  • Geisinger Health System: A leader in healthcare innovation, Geisinger serves areas like Camp Hill and Danville, focusing on community health and preventive care. It boasts a unique approach to patient care, including using genomic sequencing for personalized medicine.
  • WellSpan Health: Known for its comprehensive care and community focus in regions like York and Gettysburg, WellSpan Health is commendable for its integrated healthcare system that emphasizes mental health and wellness alongside a wide array of medical services.

What Are the Best Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania?

Are you considering becoming a nurse? Pennsylvania offers several nursing schools approved by the state’s Board of Nursing, covering diverse licensure levels. Top schools include the following:

  • University of Pennsylvania: This prestigious Ivy League institution offers comprehensive nursing programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in nursing. Its School of Nursing is renowned for its cutting-edge research and leadership in nursing education, often setting benchmarks for nursing practices globally. The University’s BSN program is particularly notable for integrating liberal arts education with professional nursing training, preparing graduates for various healthcare environments. Penn Nursing also boasts a vast network of alums and connections to top medical facilities, providing students with exceptional clinical experience and professional growth opportunities.
  • Pennsylvania State University: This university offers diverse nursing programs that cater to various career pathways. Known for its strong emphasis on research and evidence-based practice, the university equips students with critical skills needed in modern healthcare settings. Its nursing programs foster clinical expertise, leadership, and a commitment to community health, making its graduates highly sought after in the healthcare sector. Penn State also offers unique opportunities for students to engage in global health initiatives, broadening their understanding of healthcare on an international scale.
  • Drexel University: Known for its innovative nursing programs and a focus on advanced practice nursing. It offers a range of options, including traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, and various MSN specialties, all incorporating Drexel’s cooperative education model. This model blends classroom theory with practical experience, allowing students to gain significant hands-on experience in healthcare settings. Drexel’s nursing programs are also characterized by using the latest technology and simulation tools, preparing graduates for the rapidly evolving healthcare industry. Additionally, the university has strong partnerships with leading hospitals and other healthcare providers, offering students valuable networking and employment opportunities.
  • University of Pittsburgh: The University of Pittsburgh provides comprehensive nursing education through its BSN, MSN, and DNP programs, each designed to cater to the evolving needs of the healthcare industry. Its programs are recognized for their strong clinical focus and for fostering innovation in nursing practice. The university’s nursing school features world-class faculty, many of whom are leaders in nursing research and practice. Pitt Nursing also offers specialized tracks in areas such as nurse anesthesia, psychiatric mental health, and neonatal care, providing students with opportunities to develop expertise in specific fields of interest. The school’s commitment to advancing healthcare through research and its state-of-the-art facilities make it a top choice for aspiring nurses.

You can explore the requirements for nursing license applications through the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. For licensed RNs or LPNs, Nursys offers a reliable national verification platform to look up the status of your Pennsylvania nursing license.

Working in nursing before officially becoming a nurse is a viable path many take. Aspiring nurses and those currently studying often choose roles as nursing assistants. Working as nursing assistants not only grants them essential experience in the field but also serves as a solid income source. For nursing students in Pennsylvania, working as PRN nursing assistants with Nursa can be ideal, allowing them to balance their educational commitments with the opportunity to take on flexible, well-paid shifts.

What Are the Cheapest Cities in Pennsylvania?

Several affordable cities offer a reasonable commute to major cties within the state.

While Pennsylvania’s major cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are known for a higher cost of living, several affordable cities offer a reasonable commute to these urban centers. Cities like Bethlehem, Reading, and Allentown balance affordability and accessibility, making them attractive for those working in or near the major metropolitan areas. Proximity to major cities and the availability of public transportation are vital considerations when choosing where to live in Pennsylvania.

  • Pottsville: Ideal for those seeking affordability, Pottsville is known for its rich coal mining history and small-town charm. Located about 93 miles from Philadelphia, it offers a peaceful lifestyle away from the city bustle.
  • Reading: About 62 miles from Philadelphia, Reading offers a blend of urban and suburban living. It is known for its historic architecture, making it an attractive option for those who enjoy cultural richness.
  • Johnstown: Situated 70 miles from Pittsburgh, Johnstown is known for its rich history and affordable living. It’s ideal for those who appreciate a community-centric lifestyle and historical ambiance.
  • Sharon: Approximately 75 miles from Pittsburgh, Sharon offers a quaint, small-town atmosphere focusing on community and arts, making it an affordable choice with a unique character.
  • McKeesport: Just 12 miles from Pittsburgh, McKeesport provides easy access to city amenities while maintaining an affordable living. It’s perfect for those seeking a suburban lifestyle near an urban center.

Health Insurance in Pennsylvania

Healthcare workers in Pennsylvania, aware of the high costs of medical treatments, understand the importance of health insurance. If you’re employed, you likely have health insurance through your job. Medicaid is an option for those not covered by employer plans; many Pennsylvanians rely on it for healthcare coverage. 

If you don’t have health insurance coverage through a job and are not eligible for Medicaid, visit the Pennsylvania Insurance Department to find the best individual or family insurance that fits your needs.

What Are Fun Things to Do in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is rich in history and culture, with numerous attractions:

  • Independence Hall, Philadelphia: A landmark of American history, Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were adopted. It’s a must-visit for history buffs, offering a deep dive into the nation’s founding moments.
  • Kennywood Park, West Mifflin: This traditional amusement park blends nostalgic charm with modern thrills. Kennywood provides fun for all ages, from classic wooden coasters to innovative steel rides.
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art: Beyond its famous ‘Rocky Steps,’ this museum boasts a vast collection of artworks spanning centuries. Its impressive exhibits and iconic architecture make it a cultural highlight of Philadelphia.
  • Hershey Park: This chocolate-themed amusement park offers a delightful mix of thrilling rides and sweet experiences. Perfect for families, it combines fun and chocolate in a unique way.
  • Gettysburg National Military Park: This historic site immerses visitors in the pivotal battle of the Civil War. Its educational tours and reenactments make it a powerful journey through American history.
  • Ranshaw: You can have a day full of excitement at Knoebels Amusement Resort or enjoy the natural beauty of Weiser State Forest with its outdoor activities. 
  • The Troy Fair: This attraction offers a mix of fun rides and agricultural exhibits.
Image of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were adopted in Independence Hall.

How to Find Per Diem Nursing Jobs near You

Throughout Pennsylvania’s varying seasons, nurses and nursing assistants tirelessly work to ensure the health and well-being of the state’s residents and visitors, reflecting the nursing profession’s esteemed reputation. These healthcare professionals often seek opportunities that offer both flexibility and competitive pay. 

Nursa provides a solution by connecting nurses and nursing assistants in Pennsylvania with per diem work opportunities. This digital platform allows healthcare facilities to list available shifts, enabling nurses to find high-paying jobs that suit their schedules and preferences. In other words, per diem roles offer the sought-after flexibility and attractive hourly rates. By downloading Nursa, nurses working in Pennsylvania can tailor their job schedules and locations to their personal needs and preferences.


PRN shift on your schedule in Pennsylvania


Nursa isn't just about finding a job; it's about crafting your ideal work schedule by selecting shifts. Once you create a Nursa profile, you will experience the convenience of scheduling shifts in real-time.

Licensed Practical Nurse LPN - Skilled Nursing $40.2 per hour
June 15, 2024
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03:00 - 11:00
Platinum Ridge CTR for Rehab & Healing
Licensed Practical Nurse LPN - Skilled Nursing $40.2 per hour
June 16, 2024
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03:00 - 11:00
Platinum Ridge CTR for Rehab & Healing
Licensed Practical Nurse LPN - Skilled Nursing $39.24 per hour
June 15, 2024
Est. Total
View Shift
19:00 - 03:00
Platinum Ridge CTR for Rehab & Healing

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