LPN to RN Programs Overview

LPN-to-RN programs provide licensed practical nurses (LPNs) with the opportunity to gain additional nursing education and become registered nurses (RNs). Learn about program levels, common courses, career data, and opportunities for advancing your education.

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Essential Information

LPN-to-RN programs are aimed to provide LPNs the opportunity to become RNs. LPNs earning an associate's degree will advance their nursing skills and gain more clinical experience. Those in an LPN-to-RN bachelor's program learn more advanced patient assessment skills and prepare to take on greater leadership. Graduates with either degree will be eligible to take the national licensing exam to become an RN. Once they are licensed, baccalaureates will also be qualified to apply to graduate school to earn a master's nursing degree.

Associate's Degree in Nursing

LPN-to-RN associate's degree programs are intended for licensed practical nurses seeking to earn a degree and develop more comprehensive training. These programs can be completed in 1-2 years and can prepare students for work in a variety of settings, including hospitals and physicians' offices. These programs can be found in a variety of institutions, from vocational schools to 4-year universities.

LPN-to-RN associate's degree programs require applicants to have current licensure as LPNs. In order to achieve LPN licensure, applicants must have completed an LPN training program and passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Some programs also require students to have completed biology and English coursework before admittance.

Courses in an LPN-to-RN associate's degree program provide students with a foundation in the sciences, as well as basic nursing skills. Topics may include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Children's health nursing and family nursing
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Pharmacology
  • Professional ethics

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

LPN-to-RN baccalaureate programs, sometimes called 'bridge' programs, often result in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. BSN programs typically focus on helping students transition into professional nursing careers as well as continue their scholastic pursuits, such as entering graduate degree programs in a healthcare field. An LPN to BSN program may count prior professional nursing experience as academic credit, meaning that LPNs may start their education in the junior year. These 2-year programs are accelerated in comparison to traditional 4-year BSN degree offerings.

Applicants to LPN-to-RN bachelor's degree programs must hold current licensure as LPNs, which includes passing the NCLEX-PN. Similar to LPN-to-RN associate's degree programs, bachelor's degree programs require applicants to possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. LPN-to-RN tracks that result in a BSN degree may also require specific undergraduate nursing course prerequisites, which vary by program.

LPN-to-RN bachelor's degree courses provide comprehensive training in the assessment of patient needs. Aspiring RNs can learn leadership and education skills, in addition to studying a broader base of specific health issues nurses may face in the field. Common course topics include the following:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Microbiology for nurses
  • Health assessment
  • Patient psychology
  • Pediatric nursing
  • Nursing management and leadership

Popular Career Options

By completing an LPN-to-RN bachelor's degree program, graduates can be prepared to work as registered nurses in a variety of settings. Some of the most common locations for registered nurses to work include areas such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Physicians' offices
  • Nursing homes
  • Home healthcare settings
  • Teaching hospitals

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for registered nurses was expected to grow by 16% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). An additional 439,300 new jobs for registered nurses were anticipated to open during the decade, making nursing among the most in-demand fields in the country. As of 2015, the median annual salary for RNs was $67,490. Inner cities and rural areas were expected to have the greatest need for RNs.

Continuing Education Information

Students who graduate from LPN-to-RN degree programs can take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Continuing education is required in order to maintain licensure. Additionally, nurses can go on to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing degree to further advance in their careers or gain specialization in a variety of areas.

LPN-to-RN programs come in both associate's degree and bachelor's degree formats, offering students the skills needed to enhance their education and become registered nurses. These programs allow for career advancement, certification, and further education at the graduate level.

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