The Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs of 2022

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Updated November 15, 2022

Online LPN-to-RN programs offer an efficient, cost-effective path to an associate or bachelor's degree in nursing and an RN license. Explore our list of top LPN-to-RN online options.
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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Credit: damircudic | E+ | Getty Images

Are you a licensed practical nurse who wants to become a registered nurse? Earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing and an RN license offers a great way to increase your job prospects and earning potential. An online LPN-to-RN degree provides a cost-effective and relatively quick pathway to either an ADN or BSN while preparing you for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

Explore our rankings of the best online LPN-to-RN degrees and learn more about what to expect in a program.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best ADN-to-MSN (RN to NP) bridge 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 3 LPN-to-RN Programs

  • 1. Allegany College of Maryland
  • 2. Hutchinson Community College
  • 3. Indiana State University


Keep reading to learn more about the key factors to consider when choosing a program or go straight to our ranking of the best online LPN-to-RN Programs.

Featured Online Rn to BSN Programs

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

When comparing the best online LPN-to-RN programs, always look at the key indications of academic quality such as accreditation status, NCLEX pass rates, and graduation rates. Pay attention to features like admission criteria, coursework and clinical requirements, program length, and distance learning formats to make sure that the program meets your needs.

1. Admission Requirements

Admission criteria vary but most schools require a high school degree or equivalent, a minimum GPA, and a valid practical nursing license. Admission requirements ensure that you have the necessary academic background to succeed in a fast-paced and rigorous program.

2. Program Curriculum

An LPN-to-ADN and LPN-to-BSN offer similar core courses and preparation for the NCLEX-RN exam. However, a BSN provides more focused training in leadership, public health, and research which may increase job opportunities and serve as a foundation for graduate work. Before choosing a program, consider how well it fits with your career goals and interests.

3. Clinical Experience

Online LPN-to-RN programs may require anywhere from 200-500 clinical hours. You should contact program administrators to find out if they allow distance learners to arrange their own clinicals at their workplace or near their homes or if they must travel to placements at approved sites.

4. Accreditation

Accreditation ensures that the LPN-to-RN program you choose meets current, evidence-based professional standards. Accreditation serves as a major requirement for NCLEX-RN licensure. Your school's accreditation status determines your eligibility for government financial aid and ability to transfer credits.

5. Program Length

The length of an LPN-to-RN program depends on whether you want an ADN or a BSN degree. An LPN-to-ADN may take as little as 12 to 18 months, while an RN-to-BSN requires around two years.

6. School NCLEX Pass Rate

The NCLEX-RN pass rate tells you how well the program prepares students for the licensure exam. Pass rates that match or exceed the national average indicate higher program quality and teaching effectiveness.

7. School Graduation Rate

Graduation rates measure the percentage of students who complete the program within the expected time frame. A higher graduation rate provides a good indicator of a supportive learning environment and a commitment to prepare students for RN practice.

8. Online Learning Format and Requirements

Online programs feature synchronous classes that meet at specific times, asynchronous classes that let you work at your own pace, or hybrid formats that combine remote and in-person learning. Some programs may require a few on-campus visits. Make sure to select a program that fits your schedule and learning style.

Why Is Online LPN-to-RN Program Accreditation Important?

Prospective RNs need to understand the importance of enrolling in an accredited nursing school. All the online LPN-RN programs listed in our rankings have received accreditation by either the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Accreditation by one of these bodies means that the program you choose has undergone regular evaluations to ensure that it meets rigorous academic and professional standards and prepares graduates for licensure and practice.

  • Accreditation ensures that your program’s curriculum offers a quality academic experience that meets national standards.
  • Accredited programs can lead to more career advancement and employment prospects.
  • Some employers prefer or require new nursing hires who have graduated from accredited programs.
  • Federal financial aid programs restrict eligibility to students who attend accredited schools.
  • Graduate nursing programs only admit students who have earned undergraduate degrees from accredited programs.
  • Accredited nursing programs do not accept transfer credits from unaccredited schools.

Learn More About the Best ONline LPN-to-RN Programs & Schools

See our methodology to learn more about how we create our rankings.

#1 The Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs of 2022

Allegany College of Maryland

  • Cumberland, MD
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Allegany College of Maryland offers an online LPN-to-RN program in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Texas. The nursing program incorporates online coursework and clinical hours in the learner's local area. The program awards an associate degree and prepares graduates for the NCLEX-RN exam.

  • Program: LPN to RN Online
  • Campus: Cumberland, Maryland
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $129 per credit in-county; $247 per credit out-of-county; $314 out-of-state
  • Admission Requirements: LPN transcript and license; Minimum 2.0 GPA; Clinical experience reference; Entrance exams
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 18 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $59,253 for associate degree graduates
Average Tuition
In-state
$7,200
Out-of-state
$9,120
Retention Rate
60%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,584
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
45% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 The Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs of 2022

Hutchinson Community College

  • Hutchinson, KS
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Hutchinson Community College offers a bridge program for licensed professional nurses and licensed vocational nurses. The program includes coursework on complex nursing care, nursing leadership, and health promotion. Learners also complete practicum requirements in their local area. The program awards an associate degree and prepares nurses for the NCLEX-RN exam.

  • Program: LPN to RN Online Bridge
  • Campus: Hutchinson, Kansas
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $118 per credit in-state; $149 per credit out-of-state
  • Admission Requirements: LPN/LVN license; Minimum 2.75 GPA in prerequisite courses; Kaplan Nursing Admissions Test scores
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 83%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $47,260 for associate degree graduates
Average Tuition
In-state
$2,730
Out-of-state
$3,660
Retention Rate
58%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
5,315
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 The Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs of 2022

Indiana State University

  • Terre Haute, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Indiana State University offers an online program for currently practicing LPNs who want to earn their BSN degrees. The online bachelor's program meets the requirements for an RN license. Distance learners complete clinical requirements in their community with no on-campus visits. Although the program requires more credits than an ADN program, graduates receive their BSNs.

  • Program: LPN/LVN to BSN
  • Campus: Terre Haute, Indiana
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $337 per credit for Indiana residents; $727 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Completion of an LPN program or an LPN/LVN license; Minimum 2.75 GPA
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $59,807 for bachelor's degree graduates
Average Tuition
In-state
$9,036
Out-of-state
$19,960
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
90%
Students Enrolled
12,144
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

How Online LPN-to-RN Programs Work

Online LPN-to-RN programs offer a flexible, convenient, and, in some cases, less expensive alternative to an in-person degree. Nurses may choose between two pathways to RN licensure: the LPN-to-ADN and the LPN-to-BSN. The ADN degree takes less time and costs less to complete than the BSN. However, bachelor degree holders have more options to advance into leadership roles and pursue specialties. The BSN also provides the required entrance credential for graduate school.

Some online LPN-to-RN programs let you complete all degree requirements remotely while others may require you to attend a few on-campus sessions. Depending on the program, you may be able to arrange your own clinical placements, or you may have to travel to approved sites. Some online programs offer virtual clinical experiences.

Applying to an Online LPN-to-RN Program

The admission requirements for online LPN-to-RN programs depend on whether you are applying for an associate or bachelor’s degree but all programs require an LPN or LVN degree from an accredited nursing program. Other common elements include a minimum GPA, placement exams, completion of specific nursing prerequisites, clinical hours, and an unrestricted and valid practical nursing license.

1. Admission Requirements

The most common admission criteria include a high school diploma or GED, completion of an accredited LPN/LVN nursing program, and an unrestricted and current practical nursing license. Programs typically admit applicants with 6-12 months of work experience. Some schools may require the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) or other entrance exams.

2. Admission Materials

Make sure to submit all required documentation with your completed applications, including official transcripts, a record of prerequisite coursework, and proof of completion of a minimum number of clinical hours as determined by the state nursing board that issued your LPN/LVN license. You may also have to supply proof of LPN licensure and BLS/CPR certification, letters of recommendation, and employer verification letters.

3. GPA Requirement

This requirement varies by program and can range from 2.0 to 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. You may have to demonstrate a GPA of 2.75 or higher in nursing prerequisite courses.

Paying for Online LPN-to-RN Programs

Paying for a nursing degree is one of the biggest challenges to becoming an RN. Several factors affect the cost of an online LPN-to-RN degree, including program length and the number of transfer credits accepted toward completion of your degree. Be sure to consider whether you can work while taking courses and whether you must pay out-of-state tuition rates as a distance learner, which are generally much higher than in-state rates.

The good news is that online learners may qualify for several types of financial assistance. You should begin your search for financial aid by filling out the Free Application for Financial Student Assistance (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for government-funded grants or loans. You may also apply for school-sponsored or privately fundedscholarships and grants, some of which provide assistance for specific populations, such as first-generation students, adult learners, or members of underrepresented cultural or racial groups. Federal and state governments sponsor loan forgiveness or repayment programs for nurses interested in working in high need areas. Find out if your employer offers tuition reimbursement programs.

What Can You Do With an ADN or BSN?

ADN and BSN degrees prepare graduates to perform similar routine clinical tasks such as monitoring patients, administering medication, and updating medical charts. While an ADN is the fastest route to RN licensure and entry-level nursing positions, a BSN offers more opportunities for career advancement. BSN-holders perform a more complex variety of roles. They are more likely to move into leadership positions and pursue graduate studies and nursing specialties.

When choosing your educational pathway to become an RN, consider your short and long-term goals. While you may continue to find employment as an RN with an ADN degree, you may be able to earn more and move ahead in your career with a BSN. TheAmerican Association of Colleges of Nursing advocates for the BSN degree as the minimal education requirement for nursing practice. Hospitals, as the top employer of RNs, and other major healthcare providers increasingly hire only BSN graduates.

Earning a BSN can also broaden your career and salary options by preparing you for graduate training and advanced practice registered nursing roles in specialized patient care and patient population areas.

  • Critical Care Nurse: Critical care nurses work in intensive care units and emergency departments, monitoring critically ill or injured patients and working with physicians and other healthcare professionals. Many critical care nurses pursue critical care registered nurse certification which requires at least five years of RN or APRN experience providing direct care in a critical care setting. According to Payscale, critical care nurses earn an average annual base salary of $75,370 as of August, 2022.
  • Surgical Nurse: These specialized RNs work in hospital surgical units and outpatient clinics or physician offices that offer surgical procedures. They provide patient care before, during, and after surgical and diagnostic procedures, working with surgeons, technicians, and other nurses. Based on October 2022 Payscale data, RNs can expect to make an average base salary of $60,330 a year.
  • Geriatric Nurse: This in-demand RN specialty that focuses on the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of elderly patients offers an annual base salary of $70,630, based on Payscale income reports from October 2022. Geriatric nurses provide treatment for conditions that typically affect the aging population (e.g., arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease) and assist patients with daily living challenges to help them maintain their quality of life and independence.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online LPN-to-RN


Are entrance exams required for admission to LPN-to-RN programs?

Depending on the nursing program, you may have to take an entrance exam for admission. The Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS), the National League for Nursing Pre-Admission (PAX) exam, and the Nursing Entrance Test (NET) are the most commonly used admission assessments for LPNs and RNs.

What is the fastest LPN to RN program?

LPN-to-RN bridge programs leading to an ADN degree can take as little as one year. Earning a BSN may entail 1-2 years depending on the RN-to-BSN program requirements and the number of transfer credits accepted from previous coursework.

Is completing an LPN-to-RN program worth it?

You can expect to earn significantly more as an RN than an LPN. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data issued in September, 2022, RNs make an average annual salary of $77,600, which is almost $30,000 more than an LPN earns. Employers give RNs wider responsibilities, with more autonomy than LPNs. They also can advance into leadership and specialty nursing roles not available to LPNs.

Can you go from LPN-to-RN online?

The popularity of online LPN-to-RN programs continues to grow. If you would like to earn an ADN or BSN degree but are hampered by personal or work obligations, these programs offer convenient and cost-effective options.


Page Last Reviewed: Oct. 24, 2022

Note: The ranking list and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by our Rankings Team.


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