LVN to RN Programs

LVN to RN programs are accelerated courses of study that permit a working Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) to advance their education so they may apply for registered nurse (RN) careers offering challenge, responsibility, along with attractive salaries. While LVN diploma programs can be completed within one year, it will take from three to four years of intensive study to complete most LVN to RN bridge programs, depending on whether you enroll in an associate or bachelor’s program and whether you attend on a full- or part-time basis.

Associates Degree LVN to RN Programs

Associate degree LVN to RN programs are tailored toward licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) who wish to earn assume registered nurse staff positions that will provide them the opportunity to develop advanced patient care skills. The clinical part of the program will permit students to gain experience in a variety of health care settings, including hospitals, outpatient centers, nursing facilities, and private physician offices. Students will learn common medical terminology, as well as patient/family communication skills. LVN to RN programs may be completed within a traditional classroom environment, via online study, or a combination of both. Important to note is that even online programs will require students to participate in a clinical practicum within a local healthcare facility.

Admission Prerequisites

Most LVN to RN bridge programs are fairly selective with regard to admission requirements. This means that students will need to meet minimum criteria to be considered for entry.  All programs will require that applicants possess a valid and unrestricted LVN license. Other requirements will include a minimum GPA from your LVN diploma program (typically 3.0 or higher) as evidenced by an official transcript, possession of a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED), as well as letters of recommendation from former instructors or supervisors. Many LVN to RN programs require scores form such standardized tests as the ACT or SAT.

LVN to RN Program Curriculum

The curriculum of LVN to RN programs provides students with a strong foundation in the sciences, as well as nursing theory and practice. Typical coursework in associate degree programs include:

  • Microbiology
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Chemistry
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Pediatric and adult health
  • Professional ethics in nursing practice
  • Ethics for nurses (e.g. patient confidentiality)

Examination for Licensing and Continuing Education

Graduates of accredited  LVN to RN programs are eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) administered by the National Council for State Boards of Nursing ( Many registered nurses with an associate’s decide to further their education and purse a bachelor of science in nursing degree (BSN) to be eligible for career advancement  and higher earnings.

LVN to RN Programs: Bachelor Degree

LVN to RN bachelor’s programs (commonly called “bridge” programs) confer a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. The mission of bachelor’s level LVN to RN programs is to prepare students to assume positions in advanced nursing practice, as well as leaderships roles. BSN degree programs also prepare students to apply for master’s level study within nursing or other allied health field.  Because applicants to LVN-RN bachelor programs have prior education and experience within the nursing sector, credit may be waived for certain coursework allowing students to complete the program on an accelerated basis of three to four years depending on whether students attend on a full- or part-time basis.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to LVN to RN Bachelor degree programs must possess a valid and unrestricted LVN license.  Additional entrance requirements are somewhat similar to those of associate degree programs in that applicants need to have either an high school diploma or GED, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher from the LVN diploma program, along with letters of recommendation from instructors in the diploma program or current supervisors. Many BSN programs also require standardized test scores fromthe ACT or SAT and for applicants to have successful passed certain prerequisite science courses.

BSN Program Curriculum:

In contrast to associate degree programs, the course of study within BSN programs will emphasize nursing theory and advanced practice, to include patient assessment and treatment planning. Students will also be exposed to management principles in the anticipation that many graduates will assume positions of leadership. Common areas of study include:

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Biochemistry and organic chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Patient assessment and treatment  planning
  • Pediatric and adult health care
  • Nursing theory and advanced  practice
  • Nursing management and leadership

Choosing an LVN to RN Program

The most important criteria when selecting an LVN to RN program is to ensure that the program is accredited by the National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC).  The NLNAC has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the official accreditation agency for nursing education at the diploma, associate, bachelor, master’s, and doctorate levels. Attending an accredited program will ensure that your degree will be recognized by your State Board of Nursing which issues your registered nurse license. You can contact your state board of nursing for a listing of accredited programs in your area. Contact information may be found on the Web site of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (

Career Options

Graduates of LVN to RN programs at both the associate and bachelor degree levels are eligible to apply for a broad array positions in diverse specialty areas, such as oncology (cancer care), pediatrics, family medicine, reproductive health and obstetrics, and neurology. Popular places of employment include:

  • Medical and surgical hospitals
  • Private and group physician offices
  • Nursing facilities and assisted living centers
  • Home health care agencies
  • Elementary and high schools, as well as colleges
  • Corporate health departments

Career Outlook and Earnings

It has been predicted that through to 2018 there will be a need for approximately 590,000 additional nurses to meet the health care needs of an aging population.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this represents an anticipated rate of growth of growth of the 22 percent, a much faster rate of growth than is the case with most other occupational categories.

The BLS reports that the median annual wages for registered nurses across all specialty area were $62,450. In the same period, the middle 50 percent earned in the range of $51,640to $76,570. The lowest 10 percent of RNs earned $43,410 or less, while the highest 10 percent of Registered Nurses earned in excess of $92,240.

.Median salaries 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

LVN to RN Programs – Selected Reviews

San Joaquin Valley College:

San Joaquin Valley College is an accredited private junior college with nine campuses located in California.  SJVC offers a LVN to RN bridge program for qualified students.  Eligible students must have a current LVN license and current CPR certification as well as a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 on all post-secondary coursework.  The bridge program begins in January, with an application deadline of October.  Students can complete the program in 50 weeks, receiving an associate’s degree in nursing.  The program provides graduates with the preparation required to pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse.


Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences:

Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences offers educational programs for students in the medical field.  The primary focus of FHC is on medical careers to provide students with high quality resources and education in their career of choice. FHC offers LVN students with a bridge program that can be completed more quickly.  The program allows for students with nursing experience and training to apply that knowledge to their educational program.  The nursing program prepares the nursing student for the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse. The campus is located in downtown Orlando, Florida.


Chabot College:

Chabot College is located in Hayward, California.  Chabot College offers many nursing programs including the LVN to RN bridge program.  The program is designed to assist Licensed Vocational Nurses to achieve eligibility to sit for the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX – RN). LVN to RN classes provide students with courses that cover a variety of essential topics that will be on the exam, while also helping nurses by giving them knowledge and skills useful in their profession.  The program combines both classroom and clinical studies.

Mendocino College:

Mendocino has an accredited LVN to RN bridge program that is tailored towards students interested in furthering their nursing careers.  LVN to RN program courses cover issues of role transition, concepts of diagnostics for nurses, patho-physiology, and critical thinking concepts. Graduates will be prepared to take required examinations including the NCLEX-RN exam to attain licensing.  The bridge program offers nurses the ability to receive credit for their previous education and nursing knowledge and experience.  The program is completed on campus, located in Ukiah, California.

Mission College

The LVN to RN program is available at Mission College in Santa Clara, California.  The Registered Nursing LVN to RN program is for licensed vocational nurses to transition to an Associate Degree in Nursing.  The program admits one new class per year.  The role transition class takes place in the summer, with program classes continuing in the fall semester.  The curriculum meets the California Board of Registered Nursing requirements.  The program requires students to complete 72 hours of general education, California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) required training content,  and all the necessary pre-requisite courses before being awarded an Associate degree in Nursing (ADN). You will then be able to prepare to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse.

National University

National University offers the LVN to RN transition program through its campus location in Rancho Bernardo, California.  Licensed Vocational Nurses may complete the “30-Unit Option” that allows them to take the licensure examination after completion.  The program offers a way to effectively reduce the time necessary to complete a preparation program by offering credit for clinical nursing experience.  Students must meet all the requirements for admission and must hold an active license.  Students are accepted and enrolled when spaces become available.

Prospective students are responsible for providing proof of admission requirements and submitting additional required documents related to the application process. When a complete application file is received, the applicant takes entrance assessment exams, writes a personal goal statement and meets with the Registered Nursing Program Director and faculty committee for a personal interview. Final selection is based on points earned in the admission process.  You can access the application and admission packet for the LVN to RN Program online.