LPN to RN 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.
While LPN diploma programs typically take about one year to complete, LPN to BSN programs will require three to four years of intense study in order to graduate. LPN to RN programs are available at both the associate and bachelor degree levels.
Overview of the LPN to RN / BSN
LPN to RN, or LPN to BSN bachelor degree programs (also known as “bridge” programs) enable a current Licensed Practical Nurse (or Licensed Vocational Nurse in Texas) to apply directly to bachelor level programs without the need to have first completed an associate’s degree in nursing (ASN or ADN). Sometimes these programs are offered at community colleges, and other times they are offered via test preparation courses.
Why Get Your RN License?
While most associate degree in nursing programs emphasize the technical aspects of the nursing profession and teach basic nursing care, the emphasis of bachelor degree programs is on nursing theory and advance nursing care. It is expected that graduates of bachelor-level programs will transition from direct nursing care into supervisory and management roles.
LPN to BSN or Bachelor-level programs also provide the educational foundation for those students who wish to pursue master’s study in nursing or related field. Unlike 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 working nurses who attend on a part-time basis.
Licensing and Advanced Education for RNs
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).
Admission Requirements for Most LPN to RN Programs
Applicants to LPN to RN bachelor programs must possess a current and unrestricted LPN license. 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 have completed certain science coursework as part of the diploma program. Such coursework to include human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, chemistry, clinical pharmacology, and ethics in nursing. Most BSN schools also require scores from such standardized tests as the ACT or SAT.
Typical Coursework for RN or BSN Programs
BSN programs provide in-depth instruction with regard to patient assessment and treatment planning. Students will also learn management theory and practice, as many graduates go on to assume supervisory and leadership positions. 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
Information on Clinicals
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 the NLNAC as the official accreditation body for nursing education within the United States. The NLNAC accredits programs at the diploma, associate, bachelor, master’s and doctorate levels. Graduating from an accredited program will ensure that your degree is accepted by your State Board of Nursing which will issue your RN license. Contact your state board to obtain a listing of approved programs. Contact information for states boards of nursing may be found on the Web site of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN.org).
Career Options & Outlook for Registered Nurses
The future is bright indeed for nursing graduates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the anticipated growth of the nursing profession is 19 percent through the year 2022. This represents a much faster rate of growth than is the case with most other occupations. During the period through 2018, it is expected that there will be a need for nearly 600,000 additional nurses making nursing the most in demand career in the country today!
Graduates of LPN to RN programs are eligible for a wide variety of positions in different specialty areas such as pediatric nursing, adult nursing, gerontology (elder care) oncology (cancer-care), or obstetrics. Typical employers include:
- Medical and surgical hospitals
- Private doctor offices
- Nursing facilities
- Home health agencies
- Elementary and high schools
- Corporate health offices
As per the BLS, the current median annual salary ranges for registered nurses is $65,470. The middle 50 percent earned in the rage of $50,000 and 75,000, estimated. The lowest 10 percent earned $3,410 or less while the highest 10 percent earned greater than $92,240. Important to note is that the highest salaries are typically earned by those with a master’s degree.
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
LPN to RN Programs – Selected Reviews
Kaylim Career Institute:
Kaylim Career Institute is located in Atlanta, Georgia and offers LPN to RN nursing programs. The programs provide nursing students with tutoring and test preparation to get ready to take the NCLEX-RN exam. The exam provides nurses with RN certification. Students may earn college credit for specific courses, which can be transferred to a college or university if needed. The Kaylim Career Institute is one way that LPNs with plenty of previous education and work experience can successfully become a registered nurse.
Dabney S. Lancaster Community College:
Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, DSLCC, is a State of Virginia community college located in Clifton Forge, Virginia. The college offers a LPN to RN bridge program that allows qualified students to accelerate their education to attain the RN status sooner than other students. The bridge program lets these students begin their RN program at the second level. To qualify for the bridge program LPNs must show proof of current LPN licensure, current CPR certification, and must complete the prerequisite courses either through credits or by exam. The program can be completed in two semesters along with an introductory summer transition course.
Northern Michigan University:
NMU is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The university offers a BSN degree with a fast track for students with an LPN license. The LPN to BSN program allows students to be granted up to 12 advanced placement credits towards the regular 129 necessary for a degree. The program prepares students for a nursing career. Upon graduation, the student will be prepared to take the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain RN certification. Those LPN applicants who have not practiced as an LPN in more than 5 years must take challenge exams for advance placement credit. Students meet with the department to set up an educational track that provides the best path for them. The program allows those with experience the ability to fast-track the program.
Charter Oak State College:
Located in New Britain, Connecticut, Charter Oak State College offers the LPN to RN bridge course. The plan requires LPNs the ability to take special courses to reduce the time it takes to complete the regular coursework. Students must be enrolled in an associate degree nursing program in Connecticut, must be recommended for the program, and must complete the other requirements of the first year of the program. The LPN to RN bridge program allows students with nursing experience the ability to reduce the length of time necessary to get their RN status by getting credits for work experience.
Holy Name Medical Center:
Holy Name Medical Center School of Nursing in Teaneck, New Jersey, offers an accredited LPN to RN articulation program. The program is for licensed practical nurses who want to receive credit for their work experience when seeking to become an RN. Applicants are required to complete the LPN-STEP test and must meet eligibility requirements of the school. LPNs will take a transition semester. The program is offered on limited availability.