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The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs

Janice Monti, Ph.D.
Updated November 30, 2023
Reviewed by
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Are you an LPN ready to move up in your career? Explore our rankings of the best online LPN-to-BSN programs to find the best fit for your professional goals.
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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Young African-American nurse working in a clinic. Image Credit: Pixel-Shot / African / ShutterstockCredit: Pixel-Shot / African / Shutterstock

If you are a licensed practical nurse who wants to advance in your nursing career, earning a licensed practical nursing to bachelor of science in nursing (LPN-to-BSN) online might be a good option.

These flexible online bachelor programs award credit for your previous training. BSN graduates qualify for the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN), leading to greater employment opportunities.

While an associate degree in nursing also prepares you to take the NCLEX-RN exam, top-rated online LPN-to-BSN programs train you for positions in high-paying specialties and supervisory roles.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best LPN-to-BSN programs, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: Academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

At a Glance: The Top Online LPN-to-BSN Programs

  1. University of Arkansas
  2. Excelsior College
  3. Kent State University at Kent
  4. Northern Michigan University
  5. Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health
  1. Southwestern Oklahoma State University
  2. Cedar Crest College
  3. Midland University
  4. Kettering College
  5. St. John’s College-Department of Nursing

Learn More About the Best LPN-to-BSN Programs & Schools

See our methodology to learn more about how we create our rankings.
#1 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs

University of Arkansas

  • Location-markerFayetteville, AR
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,568
  • Out-of-state$24,056
  • Retention Rate85%
  • Acceptance Rate78%
  • Students Enrolled27,562
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment97%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs

Excelsior College

  • Location-markerAlbany, NY
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$0
  • Out-of-state$0
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled21,974
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs

Kent State University at Kent

  • Location-markerKent, OH
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,810
  • Out-of-state$19,686
  • Retention Rate82%
  • Acceptance Rate84%
  • Students Enrolled26,822
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment59%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs

Northern Michigan University

  • Location-markerMarquette, MI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$11,882
  • Out-of-state$17,504
  • Retention Rate76%
  • Acceptance Rate67%
  • Students Enrolled7,368
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment73%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs

Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health

  • Location-markerOmaha, NE
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$15,089
  • Out-of-state$15,089
  • Retention Rate78%
  • Acceptance Rate92%
  • Students Enrolled1,212
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment78%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs

Southwestern Oklahoma State University

  • Location-markerWeatherford, OK
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,368
  • Out-of-state$13,478
  • Retention Rate74%
  • Acceptance Rate93%
  • Students Enrolled4,898
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment85%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs

Cedar Crest College

  • Location-markerAllentown, PA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$40,967
  • Out-of-state$40,967
  • Retention Rate80%
  • Acceptance Rate52%
  • Students Enrolled1,433
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment57%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs

Midland University

  • Location-markerFremont, NE
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$34,778
  • Out-of-state$34,778
  • Retention Rate68%
  • Acceptance Rate51%
  • Students Enrolled1,765
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment44%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs

Kettering College

  • Location-markerKettering, OH
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$13,824
  • Out-of-state$13,824
  • Retention Rate68%
  • Acceptance Rate21%
  • Students Enrolled763
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment96%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs

St. John's College-Department of Nursing

  • Location-markerSpringfield, IL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$23,850
  • Out-of-state$23,850
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled118
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment3%
  • AccreditationYes

Popular Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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Using Our Rankings: What to Look For in an LPN-to-BSN Program

Before choosing an online LPN-to-BSN, pay attention to important program features such as program length, clinical requirements, and accreditation. The key metrics described below, which form the basis for our rankings, can help you find the program that works best for you.

Admission Requirements

Schools establish admission criteria to help them select candidates with the background to complete the program successfully. Before you apply to an online LPN-to-BSN, make sure you meet the admission requirements.

Program Curriculum

Before enrolling in an online LPN-to-BSN program, determine how many credits you can transfer from your previous nursing training and how many general education requirements you must fulfill. Does the program offer concentrations in nursing specializations that interest you?

Clinical Experience

The number of required clinical hours depends on the school and each state nursing board. Find out if your intended online LPN-to-BSN program helps you find clinical placements close to home. If not, will your schedule allow you to travel to placement sites?


Accredited online LPN-to-BSN programs have met national professional and academic standards. Attending a nonaccredited program hinders your opportunities for employment, certification, and graduate studies.

You can check the accreditation status of your intended program in databases maintained by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Program Length

Earning an LPN-to-BSN online often takes two to three years of full-time study to complete, depending on the program and number of credits you transfer from your LPN program.

School Graduation Rate

The school graduation rate shows you what percentage of students graduate in the expected time frame. A high graduation rate gives you a good indicator of the program’s quality and commitment to student success. Additionally, a school’s NCLEX pass rate can help indicate how well a program prepares graduates for success.

Online Learning Format and Requirements

Not all BSNs use the same distance learning platforms. Choose a program that fits your learning style and personal needs.

Programs that offer asynchronous courses allow you to complete classes at your own pace. Programs that rely on a synchronous schedule or that combine online and hybrid formats require fixed login times and/or in-person attendance.


A BSN can prepare you for specialized nursing roles in fields such as pediatrics, emergency care, and oncology, to name just a few. An RN specialization leads to greater job and salary prospects. When comparing schools, find out if they offer specialties in areas that interest you.

Why Is LPN-to-BSN Program Accreditation Important?

All online LPN-to-BSN programs selected for these rankings are accredited by either the CCNE or the ACEN. A program’s accreditation status determines financial aid and licensure eligibility, graduate school options, and future employment opportunities:

  • Federal government financial aid may be awarded only to students who attend accredited schools and programs.
  • Credits you earn at nonaccredited schools may not transfer to accredited programs.
  • The NCLEX-RN exam and advanced practice certification exams require applicants to hold degrees from accredited nursing schools.
  • State nursing boards grant RN licenses only to graduates of accredited programs.
  • Employers and graduate nursing programs may not consider candidates with degrees from nonaccredited schools.
  • Graduating from an accredited program makes you more competitive in the job market, signaling to employers that you have received a quality education.

How Online LPN-to-BSN Programs Work

Both traditional and online bachelor’s degrees in nursing require approximately 120 credits and take around four years to complete. BSN curriculum components include general education requirements, nursing coursework, and clinical experiences.

Depending on the number of credits awarded for previous LPN training, you should be able to complete an online LPN-to-BSN degree in less than four years.

Distance learners should expect to fulfill clinical hours in-person across a variety of practice settings. While some online programs help you find placements close to home or offer virtual clinical experiences, you should be prepared to travel to sites approved by your program.

Some programs may require you to complete more than the state-mandated number of clinical hours.

Applying to an LPN-to-BSN Program

Admission criteria vary by school. Applicants often need a high school diploma or GED certificate, a minimum GPA, and specific prerequisites. All online LPN-to-BSN programs require a valid LPN license and work experience.

Some schools may ask you to take the National League for Nursing Acceleration Challenge Exam to demonstrate the extent of your nursing knowledge.

Admission Requirements

  • High school diploma or GED certificate
  • Valid LPN license and one year of work experience
  • Official transcripts
  • Prerequisites in natural science
  • Online application and payment of submission of application fees
  • Basic life support (BLS) certification

Admission Materials

  • Letters of recommendation
  • Essay or personal statement
  • Criminal background check and fingerprinting
  • Physical exam and drug screening
  • Immunization verification

GPA Requirement

  • 2.5-3.0 minimum GPA

Paying for LPN-to-BSN Programs

Earning an LPN-to-BSN online takes less time and costs less than a traditional BSN. As you compare programs, keep in mind that your ability to pay for your degree depends on several factors: program length, number of transfer credits awarded, and whether you qualify for less expensive in-state tuition versus out-of-state rates.

The workload and pace of learning some online programs require may not permit you to work while enrolled.

Prospective nursing students are often unaware of financial aid opportunities available to them. You should always begin your search for financial aid by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for government-funded grants or loans.

Many schools and private organizations offer need-based or merit-based scholarships. Nursing students who agree to work in high-need areas when they graduate may qualify for federal and state government sponsored student loan forgiveness programs.

What Can You Do After an LPN-to-BSN?

RNs with a BSN degree find careers in generalist patient care and in several high-demand specialties, including public health, geriatrics, and neonatology.

Hospitals and physicians’ offices rank among the major employers, but RNs can also find work in long-term care and rehabilitation facilities, outpatient clinics, and home healthcare.

Employers have a strong preference for BSN degree-holders, especially in supervisory and administrative roles. Graduate programs that prepare you for advanced practice registered nursing certification require a BSN for admission.

Registered Nurse

RN generalists provide patient care by performing assessments and diagnostic tests, administering treatments and medications, and providing support to patients and their families. RNs find employment in every type of healthcare setting, from hospitals to home care.

Median Salary: $77,600
Job Outlook (2021-2031): +6%

Public Health Nurse

A public health nurse promotes and protects the health and safety of targeted communities. They reduce health risks and prevent disease through education, advocacy, and the direct delivery of care. These nurses often find employment in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, community clinics, and school systems.

Average Salary: $64,910 (Oct. 2022)

Neonatal Nurse

Neonatal nurses specialize in the care of infants up to the age of two. They provide care to newborns and treat premature infants facing specific challenges or chronic conditions.

Average Salary: $71,390 (Oct. 2022)

Frequently Asked Questions About LPN-to-BSN Programs

Can you become a registered nurse online?

A growing number of schools offer online BSN and LPN-to-BSN programs. Depending on the program, students can complete most coursework through distance learning platforms but often must fulfill clinical requirements in person.

What can an RN do that an LPN cannot?

RNs have a more expanded scope of practice than LPNs. They administer medications and treatments, perform diagnostic tests, start IV drips and blood transfusions, and help patients to manage their conditions. RNs also supervise LPNs, CNAs, and home health aides.

How long does it take to go from LPN to BSN?

LPN-to-BSN online programs take 2-3 years to finish, depending on specific program and clinical requirements, the number of transfer credits accepted, and whether you attend full- or part-time.

Are registered nurses in high demand?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the addition of over 203,000 RN positions each year between 2021 and 2031. Expected nurse turnover and retirements, the growing healthcare needs of the aging population, and the expansion of insurance access since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 have all contributed to the demand for RNs.

Related LPN-to-BSN Resources

Page last reviewed on November 14, 2022. Note: The ranking list and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by our Rankings Team.