LPN to BSN programs are tailored toward working Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who wish to further their education in order to become eligible for nursing positions that offer a greater degree of responsibility, career advancement, along with higher earnings. Most LPN to BSN programs will require three to four years of intense study in order to graduate.
Overview of LPN to BSN Bridge Programs
LPN to BSN bachelor degree programs (also known as “bridge” programs) enable LPNs to apply directly to bachelor level programs without the need to have first completed an associate’s degree in nursing (ASN or ADN). While most associate degree in nursing programs emphasize the technical aspects of nursing practice, the emphasis of bachelor degree programs is on nursing theory and advanced patient care. It is expected that graduates of bachelor-level programs will transition from hands-on care into supervisory and management roles.
In contrast to traditional BSN programs, LPN to BSN programs accept only those students with prior education and experience in nursing or related career for which they may receive transfer credit. This combined with the fact that students in LPN to BSN programs carry a heavier course load per semester than do students enrolled in traditional program, are the two primary reasons that LPN to BSN programs are referred to as accelerated degrees. While it may be possible to complete the program in two years of full-time study, it can take up to three years or more for those working nurses who attend on a part-time basis.
Licensing and Advanced Education
Graduates of LPN-to-BSN programs are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) administered by the National Council for State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN.org).
Applicants to LPN-to-RN bachelor programs must possess a current and unrestricted LPN license. Additional admission requirements include possession of either a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED), graduation from the LPN diploma program with a minimum cumulative GPD of 3.0 or higher, along with letters of reference from instructors or current supervisors. It is also expected that applicants will have completed certain science prerequisite coursework as part of the diploma program. Such coursework includes human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, chemistry, clinical pharmacology, as well as ethics in nursing. Most LPN-to-BSN programs also require scores from such standardized tests as the ACT or SAT.
Bachelor Degree Coursework:
BSN programs provide in-depth instruction with regard to patient assessment and treatment planning. Students will also take classes in nursing management theory and practice. Typical coursework includes:
- Biochemistry and organic chemistry
- Advanced nursing practice and nursing theory
- Health assessment and planning
- Pediatric and adult nursing
- Nursing management theory and practice
- Statistics in health care
The clinical portion of the bachelor’s degree will expose students to advanced nursing practice in diverse healthcare settings such as medical and surgical hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient clinics, surgery centers, nursing facilities and private doctor offices. Students will also learn advanced medical terminology, as well as patient/family education and communication. LPN-to-BSN programs are offered in traditional campus-based settings, as well as through distance learning programs. However, all distance learning programs will require that students participate in hands on clinical training in patient care.
Many graduates of LPN to BSN programs choose to advance their education by pursuing a master’s degree in a specific area of nursing. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs prepare graduates to assume positions as advanced practice nurses (nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse mid-wives, etc.) and assume senior management roles.
Choosing a LPN-to-BSN Program
When researching LPN-BSN programs you want to ensure that they have been accredited by the National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) or Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The U.S. Department of Education has recognized both agencies as official accreditation bodies for nursing education within the United States.
Graduating from an accredited LPN-to-BSN program will ensure that your degree will be recognized by your State Board of Nursing which issues your registered nurse (RN) license. Contact your state board to obtain a listing of approved programs. Contact information for state boards of nursing may be found on the Web site of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN.org).
Employment prospects are very bright for LPN to BSN program graduates. Research has shown that BSN-prepared nurses are highly preferred for entry-level RN positions among employers in all types of healthcare settings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the anticipated growth of the nursing profession is predicted to be 22 percent through the year 2018, representing a much faster rate of growth than for most other occupations. During the ten-year period from 2008 to 2018, it is expected that there will be a need for nearly 590,000 additional nurses. This demand arises from two primary factors: 1) the continuing aging of the population; and 2) the severe doctor shortage in all areas of the country.
Graduates of LPN-to-BSN programs are eligible to assume a diverse range of nursing jobs within various specialties such as pediatric nursing, adult health, gerontology (elder care) oncology (cancer-care), women’s health and emergency care. Common employers include:
- Corporate health offices
- Medical and surgical hospitals
- Private doctor offices
- Nursing facilities
- Home health agencies
- Elementary and high schools
Median salary ranges with top-paying employers: (as per BLS)
- Corporate Health Services $68,160
- Private physician offices: $67,290
- General medical and surgical hospitals: $63,880
- Home health care agencies: $63,300.
- Nursing facilities: $59,320
Keep in mind that these figures represent median earnings with actual income dependent on a number of factors, to include geographic location (urban areas tend to pay more than rural), job title, years of experience, and certifications held.
LPN to BSN Programs – Selected Reviews
Eastern Kentucky University:
Located in Richmond, Kentucky, EKU offers LPN to BSN programs on campus. LPNs seeking to continue their education can apply for the Bachelor of Science Nursing program. LPNs may receive credit for their prior work experience and education. This will reduce the length of time necessary to complete the program. The LPN to BSN program prepares students for high paying nursing careers. Upon completion of the program, students receive a BSN degree and are prepared to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become registered nurses. Students may elect to continue on with their studies if they desire, by entering a MSN program after graduation.
Lakeview College of Nursing:
Located in Danville, Illinois, Lakeview College of Nursing offers high quality nursing programs including an LPN to BSN bridge program. The college provides special tracks for those who are already working in the nursing profession. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) may receive credit for previous education and nursing experience. There are proficiency exams and exemptions that are available to apply your working knowledge to the program to reduce the amount of time it takes to get your degree. Students are evaluated and must take proficiency exams. The LPN to BSN program graduates are prepared for a nursing career and are ready to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed.
University of Pikeville:
The University of Pikeville is located in Pikeville, Kentucky. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs in specialized areas including nursing. The University of Pikeville offers Associate Degrees in Nursing (ADN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) as a bridge completion program. Completion programs allow students with previous education and nursing experience to gain advanced placement towards achieving a degree. The program prepares nurses for important nursing positions and readies them to take the NCLEX-RN exam after graduation. There are various nursing specialty programs available for those in the program.
Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina offers many nursing programs through its School of Health Sciences. The LPN-BSN program is for licensed practical nurses who want to attain a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. Candidates must have a current LPN license in the state of North Carolina. Students will receive credit for previous education and experience to reduce the length of time in the traditional BSN program. WSSU is one of the largest nursing schools in North Carolina.
Located in Jackson, Tennessee, Union University School of Nursing has a LPN –BSN program option for licensed practical nurses who wish to pursue their Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. The program allows the LPN to BSN student to complete their degree in four semesters. The program requires 64 hours of courses towards the BSN degree. Students are given credit for their professional knowledge as well as their clinical nursing experience. Students must apply by March 1 for acceptance the following fall and must meet other Union University admission requirements.