Online LPN-to-RN programs help licensed practical nurses (LPNs) gain the skills and credentials they need to become registered nurses (RNs). Newly-minted RNs can take on more responsibility and pursue higher salaries than their LPN counterparts. RNs can also work with patients of all ages. While some choose to work with the general population, others decide to focus their training and experience on a particular demographic or nursing subfield.
Prospective students exploring potential LPN-to-RN online programs should only consider schools that maintain proper accreditation. Skipping this step can lead to trouble transferring credits, receiving licensure or certification, and being hired for new RN positions. View our ranking methodology and check out the best online LPN-to-RN programs for 2020.
Career Outlook for Registered Nurses
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Registered nurses enjoy the freedom — and responsibility — to work in myriad healthcare settings, including hospitals, governmental agencies, clinics, prisons, and long-term care facilities. They can work with individuals at every life stage, but may focus on a particular demographic or care area.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that RNs earned a median annual wage of $73,300 in 2018, compared to $47,480 for licensed practical nurses during the same time frame. Job openings for RNs are projected to grow by 12% between 2018 and 2028, much faster than the national average for all occupations combined.
Earners in the top 10% of RNs commanded salaries in excess of $111,220 during 2018. Individuals looking to make the most of their qualifications in terms of compensation typically earn the highest average wages working for local, state, or federal governments.
Read about our ranking methodology here.
Top LPN-to-RN Online Programs
Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs 2020
The Indiana State University online LPN-to-RN program allows licensed practical nurses to advance their education with a bachelor of science in nursing degree and gain licensure as a registered nurse. The accredited program prepares graduates to take the national licensing exam and meet the requirements of Indiana and other state nursing boards. Equivalency exams allow students to earn credit for knowledge gained while working as LPNs and accelerate their completion of the degree, graduating in as few as three years.
Students complete all courses online and coordinate with local healthcare facilities to complete required clinical education. Though ISU’s program lacks on-campus requirements, students must complete prerequisite courses in psychology, microbiology, English, and communication before enrolling in nursing classes. The 39 credits in nursing include leadership, community health nursing, and a licensure preparation course. A BSN degree not only qualifies students to work as registered nurses, but also continue their education at the graduate level.
Allegany College of Maryland
Allegany College of Maryland designed its LPN-to-RN online bridge program for licensed practical or vocational nurses looking to take the next step in their careers. The school offers credit for nurses’ on-the-job training, allowing them to enter the program in the second year. The year-round program leads to an associate degree in nursing in just 18 months, with no on-campus requirements.
Applicants must have two years of full-time nursing experience and complete prerequisite courses in general education and anatomy and physiology before enrollment. Most classes use an asynchronous format with students responsible for completing assignments and clinical rotations by the stated due date. Students may work with healthcare agencies in their community to complete clinical requirements. Courses include caring for different populations, pharmacology, and transitioning from an LPN-to-RN role.