The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs of 2023

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Updated March 22, 2023

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 / Shutterstock Credit: 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

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?


Accreditation

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.


Specializations

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.

Featured Online Nursing Programs

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

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.

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 of 2023

University of Arkansas

  • Fayetteville, AR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Established in 1871, the University of Arkansas now enrolls over 30,000 learners in over 240 academic programs. The fully online LPN-to-BSN program, designed for working nurses, does not require any on-campus visits. Students may choose either fall or spring start dates. 

The 120-credit curriculum offers courses in a six- or eight-week study plan, with practicums delivered over 16-week sessions, and during 10-week sessions in the summer. Online learners complete most of their clinical hours at approved sites in their communities.

  • Program: LPN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $302 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Completion of a practical nursing program, valid LPN license; minimum 2.0 GPA; at least 2,000 professional hours as a licensed LPN in the last 12-24 months
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 83.1% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $59,308 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$7,568
Out-of-state
$24,056
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
27,562
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs of 2023

Excelsior College

  • Albany, NY
  • 4 years
  • Online

A pioneer in online learning, Excelsior University offers over 35 academic programs, including a dual degree pathway for LPNs to earn their associate and bachelor's degrees. 

The associate in applied nursing portion emphasizes nursing theory and RN-level competencies, including online laboratories and two clinical placements in acute care settings. The upper division bachelor's-level courses focus on population health, the role of RNs in healthcare delivery, and individual and collaborative practice experiences.

  • Program: LPN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Albany, New York
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $550 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Completion of a practical nursing program; valid LPN license; 200 hours of work experience; TEAS exam
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 74.2% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $74,747 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
21,974
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#3 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs of 2023

Kent State University at Kent

  • Kent, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Kent State University has been designated a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League of Nursing. The school's unique LPN & allied health-to-BSN degree is one of the few programs that meets the needs of working LPNs and other allied healthcare professionals, offering greater flexibility than a traditional BSN degree. 

The 120-credit curriculum comprises prerequisite and foundational nursing courses and BSN nursing sequence courses. Students may take courses at Kent State regional campus and online.

  • Program: LPN & allied health-to-BSN
  • Campus: Kent, Ohio
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $400 per credit for Ohio residents; $410 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Completion of a practical nursing program; valid LPN license; minimum 2.75 GPA
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 39 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 79.79% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $57,073 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$10,810
Out-of-state
$19,686
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
26,822
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs of 2023

Northern Michigan University

  • Marquette, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Ranked as one of the most affordable schools in the state, Northern Michigan University administers over 170 programs on campus and online. The LPN-to-BSN option for nurses with an LPN follows the same plan of study as the traditional BSN track, but grants up to 12 advanced placement credits toward the 120 credits required for the BSN degree. 

Online learners receive personalized attention from an academic advisor who assists them with planning and clinical placements.

  • Program: LPN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Marquette, Michigan
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $367 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Completion of a practical nursing program; valid LPN license; minimum 2.75 GPA
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 30 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $56,776 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$11,882
Out-of-state
$17,504
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
67%
Students Enrolled
7,368
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
73% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs of 2023

Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health

  • Omaha, NE
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A small, private institution founded in 1891, NMC currently serves a student body of just over 1,000 in programs that focus solely on nursing and healthcare. The 127-credit LPN-to-BSN program delivers courses in a hybrid format, requiring students to take classes online and on campus a few days a week. Online learners may fulfill their clinical requirements at locations accessible to them. The LPN-to-BSN program also offers students the option to pursue a Spanish for Healthcare Professionals minor.

  • Program: Accelerated LPN-to-BSN program
  • Campus: Omaha, Nebraska
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $308 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Completion of a practical nursing program; valid LPN license; minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 48 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 95.27% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $60,196 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$15,089
Out-of-state
$15,089
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
92%
Students Enrolled
1,212
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
78% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs of 2023

Southwestern Oklahoma State University

  • Weatherford, OK
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

SWOSU, part of the Regional University System of Oklahoma, boasts affordable tuition and ample financial aid opportunities. The university offers over 100 fields of study, from wildlife ecology to nursing, at its Weatherford and Sayre campuses and online. 

The BSN completion program, designed for working LPNs, is offered entirely online except for the clinical component. Students complete seven eight-week sessions, earning six credits for each session. Online learners can fulfill their clinical placements within 100 miles of their place of residence. 

  • Program: LPN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Weatherford, Oklahoma
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $226 for Oklahoma residents; $463 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Completion of a practical nursing program; valid LPN license; minimum 2.25 GPA; NACE exam
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 82.61% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $62,479 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$6,368
Out-of-state
$13,478
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
93%
Students Enrolled
4,898
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
85% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#7 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs of 2023

Cedar Crest College

  • Allentown, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Founded in 1867 as a women's college, Cedar Crest College is now a co-educational institution of over 1,300 students. The BSN program offers both full- and part-time options to accommodate the needs of working licensed practical nurses. 

Distance learners work with a dedicated nursing coach throughout their plan of study to provide academic support and help with clinical placements. LPNs must complete general education requirements, including global studies and ethics courses, nursing prerequisites, and the upper division nursing sequence in the BSN major. 

  • Program: LPN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $1,057 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Completion of a practical nursing program; valid LPN license; minimum 2.75 GPA, TEAS exam
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Depends on transfer credits
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 93.8% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $64,406 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$40,967
Out-of-state
$40,967
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
52%
Students Enrolled
1,433
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#8 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs of 2023

Midland University

  • Fremont, NE
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Midland University, a private Lutheran-affiliated school founded in 1883, administers programs in over 30 academic fields, including several professional studies degrees. The six-semester LPN-to-BSN transition degree allows LPNs to transfer previous credits to meet prerequisites before completing the rest of their coursework in the traditional BSN curriculum. 

Students may begin their clinical experiences as soon as their sophomore year at multiple sites in Fremont and Omaha hospitals and healthcare agencies.

  • Program: LPN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Fremont, Nebraska
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $18,750 per semester
  • Admission Requirements: Completion of a practical nursing program; valid LPN license; minimum 2.75 GPA; one year of experience in an acute care settings
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 88.24% first-time pass rate 
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $60,771 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$34,778
Out-of-state
$34,778
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
1,765
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#9 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs of 2023

Kettering College

  • Kettering, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Operating under a charter of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Kettering College focuses entirely on healthcare education. The college offers certificate programs, associate of science and bachelor's degrees, a master's in physician assistant studies, and an occupational therapy doctorate. 

The 125-credit LPN-to-BSN degree features a full-time track that takes three years to finish or a part-time option designed for working nurses that can be completed within five years.The affiliated Kettering Health network offers a variety of clinical placement opportunities.

  • Program: LPN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Kettering, Ohio
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $9,795 per semester
  • Admission Requirements: Completion of a practical nursing program; valid LPN license; minimum 2.8 GPA
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 74.16% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $57,955 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$13,824
Out-of-state
$13,824
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
21%
Students Enrolled
763
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 The Best Online LPN-to-BSN Programs of 2023

St. John's College-Department of Nursing

  • Springfield, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Saint John's College, founded by the Hospital Sisters of Saint Francis in 1886, runs the oldest Catholic hospital-based nursing program in the United States. The department of nursing offers master's and upper division bachelor's nursing degrees. 

The LPN-to-BSN program admits students two times a year. Designed for working nurses with active LPN licenses, the program offers full- and part-time tracks. LPNs accepted into the program receive 10 credit hours toward the BSN curriculum.

  • Program: LPN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Springfield, Illinois
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $471 per credit 
  • Admission Requirements: Completion of a practical nursing program; valid LPN license; TEAS exam
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Depends on transfer credits
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 88% first-time pass rate 
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $54,996 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$23,850
Out-of-state
$23,850
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
118
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
3% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

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.

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