LPN to RN: Climb the Nursing Career Ladder

LPN to RN programs

LPN to RN programs allow qualified Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) to earn their associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in nursing and become registered nurses (RNs). LPN bridge programs typically recognize the academic and clinical experience of LPNS by offering advanced placement credit opportunities for students. With the option to be completed either in a traditional classroom environment or online, LPN bridge programs train students as generalists and prepare them to provide indirect and direct nursing care as a registered nurse. If you are interested in making the transition from an LPN to RN career, start exploring LPN to RN programs today.

Prerequisites & Curricula for LPN to RN Bridge Programs

In order to qualify for entrance to most LPN to RN bridge programs, students must be practicing LPNs who have completed a practical nursing program and hold a current practical nurse license. Other admissions requirements for bridge programs may include a minimum high school cumulative GPA and minimum SAT/ACT scores. Students are often required to complete the same prerequisite courses as those entering traditional associate’s degree programs in nursing, such as:

  • Microbiology
  • Anatomy & physiology
  • Intro to chemistry
  • Nutrition
  • Math for healthcare providers
  • English composition
  • Intro to psychology

LPN bridge programs that culminate in an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) take from one to two years to complete, while bridge programs that culminate in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) typically take around three to four years to complete. The coursework at LPN to RN schools builds upon basic nursing skills and concepts that students learn as LPNs. Bridge programs generally discuss topics such as:

  • Nursing transition
  • Nursing assessment
  • Mental health nursing
  • Family health nursing
  • Pharmacology
  • Trends in nursing,
  • Adult health in nursing
  • Nursing theory

In addition to classroom courses, many programs will have a practical component so that students can gain clinical experience. For online program, all theory coursework is completed online, but the clinical experience must be fulfilled at a ground location. In order to become a registered nurse, all graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN exam. National licensure is required for RNs in all 50 states.

Why Pursue LPN to RN Programs?

For people who seek a quick path to a healthcare career, becoming an LPN is a logical choice. LPNs provide basic nursing care, working under the general direction of RNs and doctors. They work in a variety of settings, including nursing homes, hospitals, and private homes. Due to retiring licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that LPN positions are expected to grow at a faster than average rate of 22% through 2020.

However, despite the fact that opportunities for LPNs will be favorable in the coming years, many LPNs decide to further their education and become RNs, because they seek added responsibility and want to advance their careers. Although the duties of the LPN and RN may overlap to some degree in that they are both responsible for caring for patients and monitoring and recording their health, RNs usually have more medical responsibilities.

In some states and facilities LPNs are not allowed to give medication, start intravenous (IV) drips, perform new patient intakes and discharges or provide certain forms of care unless directly supervised by an RN. Furthermore, RNs also earn a higher salary than LPNs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage of LPNs was $41,540 in 2012, while RNs earned $65,470.

Generally speaking, hospitals prefer hiring RNs with bachelor’s degrees first, followed by RNs with associate’s degrees. The employment of RNs is expected to grow 26% from 2010 to 2020, faster than average for all occupations. This growth can be attributed to technological advancements and the aging baby boomer generation, as well as an increased focus on preventive care for all ages.

Graduates of LPN bridge programs may qualify for entry-level positions as staff nurses in hospitals, extended care facilities, and other healthcare settings. As hospital stays increasingly become shorter, employment at outpatient care facilities and through home healthcare agencies should expand in the coming years. A bachelor’s degree in nursing can also serve as a foundation for graduate study in the field. Start your LPN to RN journey now to take your career as a nurse to the next level.