Health Arts: Practical Nursing Emphasis (HN)

(Effective Fall 2017)

This associate degree program is designed to be completed within 5 semesters. Prenursing students complete related AAS course requirements in the first two semesters to be included in the selective admission process for possible acceptance into the program. The curriculum prepares graduates to enter the field of practical nursing or to continue their nursing education at the associate or baccalaureate level. Graduates who successfully complete the program are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) and work under the direction of a licensed registered nurse, licensed physician, or dentist. Practical Nursing education is a process through which the student has the opportunity to acquire knowledge, skills, attitudes, and judgment in order to provide safe nursing care. Classroom instruction and simulation lab experiences in theory and basic nursing skills are provided on campus. Clinical experiences are obtained at area hospitals, nursing homes, and health care agencies. Under the guidance of College faculty, students gain valuable experience in the care of clients of all ages. Those wishing to enter this major in preparation for continuing into the associate's or bachelor's degree major can read more about our LPN to RN Advanced Placement option.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the program find jobs in a variety of health care settings, such as: hospitals, extended care facilities, home health agencies, state and federal health related facilities, private duty nursing and in physician and dentist office private settings. Completion of this major and earning an associate of applied science degree could help graduates advance within an organization, enjoy more job related options or have a competitive advantage for jobs or promotions.

Recommended High School Subjects

Students studying Practical Nursing via the Health Arts curriculum will need to meet Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing (PA SBON) requirements for Practical Nursing programs. These requirements include four units of high school English, three units of Social Studies, two units of Mathematics (one of which is Algebra, and two units of Science with a related lab or the equivalent).

Special Admissions Requirements

Students will have earned a GED credential, or High School Diploma and completed work equal to a standard high school course with a minimum of 16 units, including 4 units of English, 3 units of social studies, 2 units of mathematics (1 of which is algebra) and 2 units of science with a related laboratory or the equivalent. Students who do not meet these requirements can work with a college advisor to prepare for the major. Students must meet technical standards established by the School of Health Sciences and the Nursing Program. One criteria required for selection into the nursing major is the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS exam). Prospective students can register for the TEAS exam by creating an account at and purchasing the TEAS exam through the ATI Testing online store. The TEAS exam is offered at Pennsylvania College of Technology several times each semester. See the ATI Testing online store for other testing dates and locations. Students may take the TEAS exam up to three times, with a minimum of 30 days between attempts, in a one year time period. The TEAS exam score is valid for one year. Applicants with less than 12 college credits will be evaluated for selection into the major based upon the high school selection criteria. Please refer to the special admission information for a complete list of selection admission criteria.

Special Equipment Needs

Operating Systems:
PLATO is a web-based system that is fully certified to work with Windows and MAC Operating Systems. 

The fully supported browsers for PLATO are: Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Safari

Internet Connection Speed: 
A high-speed internet connection is highly recommended in order to avoid problems with course content loading on your computer in a timely manner.

Desktop or Laptop Computer (Windows 7 or higher, MAC OSX 10.4 or higher recommended) 
Internet Connection (cable or DSL heavily recommended)
Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
Headset with Microphone suggested
Additional plug-ins may be required (Information Technology Services - Student Help Desk available for assistance)

Special Equipment Needs
Students accepted into the AAS Practical Nursing major will incur expenses for tools/instruments, lab supplies, uniforms, malpractice insurance, clearances and certifications, etc.  Refer to the estimated expenses and equipment costs list.

Remediation Strategies

All students entering the major without prior college-level English and mathematical classes will be tested for deficiencies, and will be required to remediate the deficiencies prior to acceptance. Any reading deficiency also must be remediated prior to acceptance.

Transfer Procedures

Transfer standards established by the College require a minimum of a “C” in transfer courses. Official transcripts must be sent to the Penn College Admissions office. The College may also request official high school transcripts or an official GED score report. For fall acceptance, transcripts need to be received by June 1st. Students transferring from other Colleges will have their nursing credits evaluated by Penn College nursing officials after acceptance into the major.

Program Goals

A graduate of this major should be able to:
  • Demonstrate behaviors of accountability and professionalism according to legal and ethical standards for a competent LPN.
  • Demonstrate a caring, empathetic approach to safe, therapeutic, and individualized care to clients of diverse ages, religions, and socioeconomic, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds.
  • Collaborate with the RN and other members of the healthcare team to develop, implement, re-inforce and evaluate patient and family teaching across the life span.
  • Collaborate with RNs and other members of the healthcare team to organize and incorporate assessment data to plan, revise, and reinforce patient care, teaching, actions based on established nursing diagnoses, nursing protocols, assessments, and evaluation data.
  • Collect holistic assessment data from multiple sources, communicate data to appropriate health care providers, and evaluate client response to interventions.
  • Effectively communicate with patients, significant support person(s), and members of the interprofessional health care team, incorporating interpersonal and therapeutic communication skills.
  • Use current scientific knowledge, mathematical skills, and technical skills to implement patient care at the direction of RN, physician, or dentist through performance of nursing interventions or directing aspects of care, as appropriate, to unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP).

Performance Standards

All practical nursing students are required to maintain a graduation grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 quality points to remain in the major. Students with less than a 2.0 GPA will be placed on academic probation as stated in the college catalog. In addition, all students must earn a “C” (2.0) or higher in all NUR and BIO courses; if a lower grade is earned in any of these courses, the course must be repeated.

The grading system for health sciences is applied to all nursing courses in the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Practical Nursing. There is no rounding of grades.

A = 90-100
B = 80-89.99
C = 75-79.99
F = 74.99 and below


First Semester Credits
FYE101 First Year Experience 1  
MNA Math Elective (MTH124 or Higher) 3  
BIO115 Human Anatomy and Physiology I 4  
ENL111 English Composition I 3  
FIT Fitness and Lifetime Sports Elective 1  
Second Semester Credits
CSC124 Information, Technology, and Society 3  
PSY111 General Psychology 3  
MTR100 Medical Terminology Survey 1  
CMM Communication Elective 3  
BIO125 Human Anatomy and Physiology II 4  
Third Semester Credits
NUR156 Fundamentals of Practical Nursing 7  
NUR158 Adult Health Nursing I 7  
Fourth Semester Credits
NUR168 Adult Health Nursing II 16  
Fifth Semester Credits
NUR177 Maternal/Newborn Nursing 3  
NUR179 Child Health Nursing Concepts 3  
NUR178 Adult Health Nursing III 6  

Notice of Conviction

Child abuse clearance and criminal background checks are required by some agencies involved in clinical practice experiences. Agencies can bar students from their sites if a criminal record exists or a positive drug test is noted. By virtue of contract for Penn College students to be at clinical sites, agencies have the right to ask for random drug testing. Inability to gain clinical or fieldwork or intern education experiences results in inability to meet program objectives and outcomes. For additional clarification, students can speak with their program director. The Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing advises that a drug-related conviction and/or conviction of a felonious act or two misdemeanors might result in denial and/or revocation of a license to practice nursing. In accordance with The professional Nurse Law, Act of 1951, P.L. 317, No. 69, as amended, The Pennsylvania Board of Nursing shall not issue a license to an applicant who has been convicted of a felonious act prohibited by the Act known as "The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act" or convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance in a court of law of the United States or any other state, territory or country unless at least 10 years have elapsed from the date of the conviction.


The AAS Practical Nursing major is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and has full approval by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. For further information, contact ACEN at 3343 Peachtree Rd. NE, Suite 850, Atlanta GA 30326; 404-975-5000.

The AAS practical nursing major was evaluated for re-accreditation by ACEN in September, 2015 and was compliant in all ACEN standards and received continuing accreditation through fall 2023.


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