The University of Pittsburgh at Titusville's (UPT) associate degree nursing program has maintained its rank among the top colleges and universities in Pennsylvania on the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) State Board Exams for 2008-2009 (the most recent data available).

Of all the associate degree programs in Western Pennsylvania, UPT's nursing program had the highest first-time pass rate percentage at 93.33 percent, according to UPT. The first-time pass rate percentage of associate degree nursing programs across the state averaged at 86.99 percent, while the percentage across the nation averaged at 88.21 percent.

The NCLEX-RN is a standardized test, which all graduates of nursing programs must pass in order to practice as a registered nurse. The public and nursing community often interpret NCLEX-RN results as an indicator of a nursing program's quality.

As in recent years, health-related studies, including nursing, PTA and pre-pharmacy and pre-med rank the highest with the students attending UPT. It is anticipated that 20 nursing students will be awarded their associate of science in nursing during the commencement ceremony this spring.

One hundred percent of last year's graduates were employed by area hospitals and agencies within the first few months following graduation.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall job opportunities for registered nurses are projected to be excellent.

Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will be driven by technological advances in patient care, which permits a greater number of health problems to be treated, and by an increasing emphasis on preventive care.

The UPT nursing program is designed to be completed over five terms within two years on a full-time basis, with graduates earning an associate of science in nursing upon graduation.

Applications are currently being accepted for the fall 2010 term. For more information on the nursing program, or any of UPT's health-related programs, including physical therapist assistant, pre-med, pre-dentistry or pre-pharmacy, call: (888)-878-0462.