LPN to RN Programs

Everything you need to know about LPN to RN Programs

lpn to rn programsWhat is an LPN to RN program?

In recent years with an increased demand for more educated and qualified nurses, evolving programs to meet those demands have been created. Once such program is a LPN to RN program available at schools and universities across the country. The LPN to RN programs are specifically designed to assist students who are currently LPN’s that are seeking to further their education and career path to a RN. These programs allow students to use their LPN education and experience as a starting point and offer a more in-depth education and clinical experiences at an accelerated pace in comparison to a traditional RN program. Graduates of these programs are prepared and qualified to take the NCLEX-RN licensing exam. Currently there are two methods the LPN to RN programs take: LPN to ADN or LPN to BSN. The LPN education provides a foundation for the RN nursing theory and advanced curriculum students will encounter in their bridge programs.

Many programs offer an accelerated path for LPN’s to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) upon completing either degree participants can confidently take the NCLEX-RN exam. Once students are licensed as RN their opportunities expand exponentially, they can continue their education to earn a BSN or work as a RN and in health care management positions.

Why become a RN?

The healthcare industry is the fastest growing industry in the country and is expected to continue growing at a rate of 18% until 2022, RN’s are in great demand with an estimated 500,000 positions needing filled within the next five years. (Occupational Outlook Handbook) With a country of aging baby boomers the need for RN’s is increasing amid the shortage of professional and qualified nurses. The shortage of nurses expands to those who hold BSN and MSN degrees, one must earn their RN prior to taking the next step on the educational and career path. LPN’s are also enticed to become RN’s due to the increased income they can earn with as a RN. The median yearly pay for RN’s in 2016 was $65,000. The salary of RN’s range form $40,000 to $100,000 do to factors such as place of employment, education, experience, etc.

Wherever you are on your educational and career path it is a good idea to consider the benefits of furthering your education and hence career by becoming a RN. As a LPN, the next logical step it to become a RN. Many find that some responsibilities they experienced as a LPN are the same or similar to responsibilities they will have as a RN. However, there are some key differences between a LPN and RN in the workforce. The Registered Nurse will have increased skills and knowledge along with increased responsibility and accountability. The legal scope of practice varies by location and state, nurses should be familiar with their states nurse practice act. RN’s are specifically trained to be a higher level of critical thinking, problem solving and are usually in management or supervisory positions. RN’s directly interact with physicians, patients, other nurses, and others in the healthcare system.

As a LPN you want to search for LPN to RN bridge programs as they build on previous knowledge and experience as well as give credit for previous courses. Students can also earn credit for experience they obtained from working as a LPN. Students seeking to work their way up the career ladder will find this as a great way to gain experience as they go. How the credit is awarded for previous education and experience depends greatly on the program and it’s specific requirements. Some LPN to RN bridge programs will simply credit so many hours towards their degree from their LPN education and experience while others will have a “test out” option for certain courses. This method allows students to take tests to receive credit for courses and if they meet criteria then they will be given credit for those courses without having to take them. When you have decided on a school or university to attend be sure to research what the method for getting credit for your LPN experience would be. Some programs will simply transfer credits depending on accreditation of previous institution, if applicable.

How Does a LPN Become a RN?

There are two main routes for a LPN to become a RN; either through a ADN/ASN degree or a BSN program. LPN to RN programs will typically give some credit towards a ADN or ASN degree. This route typically takes 2 to 3 years depending on if you are attending full or part time and how much credit is given for previous experience. Many nursing schools, community colleges, vocational and technical schools offer a bridge program for students to earn their ADN/ASN degree, just be sure to check school accreditation. If you choose to continue your education to earn a BSN your Associate Degree has to come from an accredited nursing program. Upon completion of the ADN/ASN program you will be eligible to take the NCELX-RN licensure exam which is required for a license to work as a Registered Nurse.

For those seeking to become a RN via a BSN degree the educational path is slightly different. This program typically takes 4 years to complete and is offered at conventional campuses along with some online programs. Students taking this path will also gain a basic level of education required to practice as a Registered Nurse as well as courses in management, leadership, liberal arts, nursing science and community health not offered in most ADN programs. Professional Nurses with a BSN are in greater demand and have even more career options and higher income earnings then their counterparts. RN’s with a BSN are also eligible to earn their MSN (Master of Science) or other graduate degrees in nursing.

Admission Requirements

If you are ready to expand your career and income opportunities and become a RN, this is the next step; to prepare admission requirements. While each school and program differ to some degree, here are some general guidelines of what you can expect:

    • High School Diploma/GED
    • Current unrestricted LPN license from accredited program
    • Pre-requisites required by program/school
    • Minimum number of instruction and clinical hours (this is determined by each states Board of Nursing)
    • Passing score on entrance exam

As mentioned earlier, you’ll also need to complete certain prerequisite courses, such as biology and English composition.
In addition to this, most programs will require a physical exam and medical history, background check and up-to-date immunizations.
As you consider which RN degree to earn, consider your overall career goals. If you have dreams to one day work in advanced nursing, for example, a BSN is required for a master’s program.

LPN to RN Education Programs

LPN to RN Entrance Tests

    • Nursing schools want to ensure you’re competent in a variety of subjects before enrolling you in a program. There a few different entrance exams schools use, but two popular ones are:

    • Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS): Evaluates and measures proficiency in math, English, science and reading. You’ll be tested on scientific reasoning, algebraic formulas, grammar and life sciences.
    • National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination: Reading comprehension, general biology, geometry, algebra, earth science, first aid and health are tested in a multiple choice format.

You can find practice tests for each of these online.

The general term “LPN to RN bridge program” is an umbrella term that encompasses the several educational paths students can take to achieve their goals. Each program has similarities and will prepare participants to become confident and competent RN’s.

Regardless which program you choose there will be pre-requisites that you must take prior to applying for a specific nursing program. These courses act as the “bridge” between the LPN and RN and will help transition students to professional nursing and fill the gap between career levels. Some non-nursing courses will be included. Some of the more standard courses include English composition, Anatomy and physiology, Biology, and General chemistry. Be sure to check with your school regarding time limits for prerequisites. In some cases, if you took these courses more than five, seven or 10 years ago, they won’t be considered valid.

Students choosing the BSN route, some schools will allow you to use some of your LPN experience as credit or allow you to “test out” of some courses. In this case, the length of your program is shortened or accelerated since you’ll jump into the BSN track around junior year.
Once you start the nursing curriculum, your courses will vary based on the degree you’re earning. If you’re working toward an ADN, you’ll learn about adult health nursing and transitioning to the role of RN. As a BSN student, your coursework will be more comprehensive including studies in public health, leadership and nurse management. You will also learn about the RN’s role and ethical and legal issues. Students will also be educated in communication and critical thinking.

Here are some of the different courses you may encounter during the LPN to RN bridge program:

  • Transition to Professional Nursing
  • Health Assessment Overview: Physical exams and Health evaluation
  • Pharmacology: Drug interactions, dosages and how drugs react in the body are covered
  • Nursing Research: Problem solving skills and evaluating research are covered
  • Adult Health Nursing: Students learn how to care for patients with a variety of conditions, including respiratory, cardiovascular, substance abuse and cancer
  • Community-based Nursing: Students focus on public health and how they can deliver health care in a diverse population. Disease management and health promotion are discussed
  • Women’s Health Reproductive: pregnancy and newborn care are the focus

Clinical Experience frequently follows classes such as women’s health and adult health so students can apply what they learned in their coursework in a real world setting.

Online LPN to RN Programs

As with many degrees, online programs are becoming very popular. Good news is that more and more are becoming accredited and there are numerous LPN to RN online programs available across the country. These programs are very attractive as they offer schedule flexibility with rigorous coursework. As a LPN an online program allows you to keep working and meet other obligations while continuing your education without having to go to a traditional brick and mortar campus for class. Another aspect of online programs that makes them a more viable option is their affordability, many online programs cost less than traditional on campus nursing programs.

Although you can take many of your classes online, most LPN-to-RN bridge programs operate using a hybrid model. This means you’ll still be required physically attend all clinical experience hours in person at a location approved by the program. This is the most common concern with online programs, how will students get required clinical hours. Many online programs have partnerships with hospitals and clinics that you will obtain clinical hours with. Some programs will even allow you to obtain required clinical hours at the location your work at as a LPN if they have the necessary experiences available. Some programs even require students to find their own clinical sites, if this is the case you will want to scout out locations early and secure school approval.A good suggestion; before you begin your search, find out if your program has a list of approved sites. They could range from hospitals to school systems.

Nursing School Accreditation

Why does my school or nursing program need to be accredited? A few important reasons for accreditation are that this ensures that the program and school meets strict requirements set forth by an accrediting agency. These organizations review a program to determine whether students will receive an effective education. The other important reason is financial aid. If you attend a school that is not accredited, you’re not eligible for federal aid. Accreditation is voluntary and isn’t guaranteed in perpetuity. Schools must reapply at certain intervals of time.

When searching for an LPN-to-RN program, whether online or on-campus, be sure it’s accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and/or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
ACEN accredits nursing certificate, undergraduate, graduate and doctorate programs. CCNE accredits nursing undergraduate, graduate and residency programs.

Accredited LPN to RN Programs:

North Dakota State University

NDSU has a very flexible online LPN to RN program that is primarily online and allows for LPN’s to continue working while furthering their education and preparing for a BSN. The duration of the program is 6 semesters and includes summers with occasional on-campus requirements. The BSN track requires applicants to have a ADN/ASN and a LPN prior to applying.

Most coursework will be online while clinical experiences will be offered in a variety of settings to help students gain real life experience in applying their coursework knowledge to actual care of patients. The nursing program has student to faculty ration of 8:1, and prides itself on the strength of its faculty, who are active members of the nursing profession.

  • Campus: Fargo, North Dakota – Online
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Tuition: $3,822.96 for 12 credits
  • Minimum time commitment: 122 credits
  • Degree requirements: Associate’s degree, or 66 completed college credits, LPN, prerequisite courses, GPA of 3.0 recommended
  • Programs: LPN to Bachelor of Science Nursing Option
  • Request Information Direct: North Dakota State University

The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center College of Nursing

The nursing program for LPN to RN at The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center College of Nursing is one of the most flexible programs available. THE entire program is 60 credit hours where students can earn up to 30 credit hours through standing examination and the last 30 through coursework within the program. The coursework is a hybrid of online classes, Saturday classes and clinical rotations. Students that complete the entire program will graduate with a BSN and qualify to take the NCLEX-RN.

  • Campus: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Online
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: ACEN
  • Tuition: $137.60 per credit hour for Oklahoma residents, $563.40 per credit hour for non residents
  • Minimum time commitment: 60 credit hours
  • Degree requirements: GPA of 2.5 minimum, prerequisite courses, NLN examination, one year employment, valid Oklahoma LPN license
  • Programs: Licensed practical nurse to BSN
  • Request Information Direct: University of Oklahoma

Indiana State University

Indiana State University is a very affordable and flexible option for LPN’s seeking to become an RN with a BSN degree. Participants can either attend full or part time and have coursework completely online with exception to required clinic hours. Graduates will be ready to take the NCLEX exam, which ISU has an exceptional pass rate. Most states recognize and accept the LPN to BSN degree and allow graduates to practice under such premis.

  • Location: Terre Haute, Indiana
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: ACEN
  • Tuition: Varies by program, please inquire
  • Minimum time commitment: Varies, please inquire
  • Degree requirements: LPN/LVN license, IT course, CPR, medical check, liability insurance, transcript
  • Programs: LPN/LVN to BSN
  • Request Information Direct: Indiana State University

Presentation College

If you are looking for an accelerated path to becoming a RN and earning a BSN form an accredited institution then Presentation College is the place for you. In as little as 6 semesters students can graduate and enter the healthcare industry with increase knowledge, experience and income. The coursework is fully online and designed with the working nurse in mind. Clinicals required for graduation are completed at a virtual site offered by the school in Aberdeen (SD), Fargo(SD), or Fairmont (MN).

  • Campus: Aberdeen, South Dakota
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: ACEN and CCNE
  • Tuition: Varies, please inquire
  • Minimum time commitment: 4 to 6 semesters
  • Degree requirements: Valid LPN license
  • Programs: LPN to BSN
  • Request Information Direct: Presentation College

California State University San Marcos

California State University San Marcos is a state college, which means lower tuition than most private colleges and an exceptional education. San Marcos Campus is one of 23 in The California State University system. Only a handful of schools in The California State University system offer outstanding LPN to BSN programs—including CSU Chico, CSU Fullerton, CSU San Bernardino, CSU Stanislaus, and CSU Hayward—but CSU San Marcos consistently prepares students to pass the NCLEX-RN examination at very high rate.

LVN’s can take a Skills Assessment test and be awarded up to 17 nursing credits entering the nursing program, which gives them a head starts and allows them to only have to attend part time during the first year. The traditional program is a 33-month track to earning a BSN and qualifying for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam allowing graduates to become RN’s.

  • Campus: San Marcos, California
  • Type: Public
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.9%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 77-92
  • Admission Requirements: California LVN license, assessment test, prerequisites with 2.75 GPA
  • In-state Tuition: $7,059/year
  • Accreditation: Yes (CCNE)

Worcester State College

Worcester State College has nursing programs that are designed for the working nurse and offers flexible coursework options. From taking classes part-time to being able to earn up to 18 credit hours towards your RN classes if you pass the entrance exam to the BSN program. A great benefit that differentiates Worcester State from other institutions is the ability for nursing students to enter the program as freshmen rather than waiting until they are Juniors following the pre-requisites.

  • Campus: Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Type: Public
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.0%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 120
  • Admission Requirements: LPN license, entrance exams
  • In-state Tuition: $8,857.00
  • Accreditation: Yes (CCNE)

Waynesburg University

Students of the nursing program at Waynesburg University enjoy flexible options to best fit their needs. Students can continue working as a LPN while earning their BSN at one of the best colleges in the nation. It is currently ranked as one of the top ranked private Christian Universities in the country. With a near perfect passing rate for over seven years on the NCLEX is a result of a student to faculty ratio of 13:1.

  • Campus: Waynesburg, Pennsylvania
  • Type: Private
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 99.3%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 124
  • Admission Requirements: LPN license, admission to university, prerequisites with 3.3 GPA
  • In-state Tuition: $20,540/year
  • Accreditation: Yes (CCNE)

Bradley University

With numerous pathways to receive a BSN, LPN’s can get a jump start on their education and career with up to 11 credit hours for the experience they already gained as a LPN. The nursing program at Bradley University is a well rounded with education in general studies of liberal arts with practical theoretical nursing courses.

  • Campus: Peoria, Illinois
  • Type: Private
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.3%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 124
  • Admission Requirements: LPN license
  • Tuition: $31,110/year
  • Accreditation: Yes (ACEN)

Newman University

Participants of the Newman University nursing program benefit from small classes and highly trained educators that are nursing professionals themselves. Local surrounding hospitals offer clinical experience for students. Students can enter the nursing program upon completion of the pre-requisites and the bridge course.

  • Campus: Wichita, Kansas
  • Type: Private
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.7%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 124
  • Admission Requirements: Kansas LPN license, CPR, pre-requisites (57 credit hours)
  • Tuition: $24,920/year
  • Accreditation: Yes (CCNE)

University of Louisiana Monroe

With a long standing history of an accredited Nursing School, ULM prepares nurses to work in a variety of health care environments. The LPN to BSN program is broken into 3 phases, from pre-nursing courses to professional coursework. Students will be offered to attend part or full time.

  • Campus: Monroe, Louisiana
  • Type: Public
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.3%
  • Program Length/Credit Hours: 120
  • Admission Requirements: Louisiana LPN license
  • In-state Tuition: $3,829/semester
  • Accreditation: Yes (CCNE)