LPN-RN Program Overviews

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) can gain the training necessary to become a registered nurse (RN) by enrolling in an LPN-to-RN bridge or completion program. These associate's programs may be available at vocational schools and community colleges.

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Essential Information

An LPN-to-RN bridge program covers the gap or differences between the educational requirements of LPNs and RNs. Students strengthen their understanding of nursing theory and practice. Upon completion of the associate's program, graduates have the credentials necessary to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for registered nurses (RN).

Completion of a practical nursing program and active licensure as an LPN are enrollment requirements for many LPN-to-RN degree programs. Before admission or beginning coursework, students are often required to submit college transcripts for evaluation of prior course completion related to both nursing and general education courses. Depending on the program, course offerings may be onsite in a face-to-face format or online.

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LPN-to-RN Bridge Programs

Nursing-specific coursework found in an LPN-to-RN degree program builds upon basic knowledge of patient care and nursing practice that was covered in the previously completed practical nursing program. Other course offerings, included as general education requirements for the associate degree, may include course work in communication, psychology, sociology and mathematics or other courses listed as requirements by the specific school or program. Some courses that may receive credit for prior learning or may be required to take as essential course content in the LPN to RN bridge program include:

  • Advanced anatomy and physiology
  • Pharmacology for nurses
  • Nursing skills labs
  • Maternal-child nursing
  • Geriatric nursing
  • Mental health nursing
  • Professional nursing concepts
  • Community-based nursing
  • Chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Pathophysiology

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

While LPNs made a median annual salary of $43,170 in May 2015, RNs made a median annual salary of more than $67,490, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Registered nurses held around 2.7 million positions in hospitals and healthcare facilities around the nation in 2015. The three top-paying states for registered nurses in May 2015 were California, Hawaii and Massachusetts.

Certification and Continuing Education

After degree completion and the national licensing exam, or NCLEX-RN, some states have additional requirements for licensure and eligibility to practice, such as additional educational or continuing education requirements to maintain practice eligibility as an RN. After registration, nurses who are interested in further education can enroll in a certification programs, Bachelor's or Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree programs to become advanced practice nurses. Through these programs, nurses can also specialize in a particular field of nursing practice interest, such as adult care, pediatrics, and numerous others.

LPN-to-RN bridge programs often lead to an associate's degree. Professional LPNs enroll in these nursing programs to satisfy the academic requirements for RN licensure. Program applicants are advised to check schools' admission requirements, as specific coursework often must be completed prior to program enrollment.

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