The Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs 2021 icon

The Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs 2021

| NurseJournal Staff

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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) — or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), as they're known in some states — work important roles in the healthcare industry. If LPNs want to grow in their careers, one option is to become a registered nurse (RN).

RNs take on more responsibilities and greater independence — and that comes with a higher salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RNs earned a mean annual salary of $77,460. In contrast, LPNs made average earnings of $48,500.

Many colleges and universities run LPN-to-RN programs, which allow students to complete their degree more quickly than a traditional associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).

Nurses can pursue an LPN-to-ADN or LPN-to-BSN to qualify for RN licensure. While BSN programs require additional time, they also equip students with more advanced skills. Many degree-seekers also choose to pursue these LPN-to-RN bridge programs online. Distance learning programs offer students flexibility and independence, which can prove especially useful for students with jobs.

If online LPN-to-RN programs appeal to you, then you can find a list of the best degrees below.

View ranking methodology

Top Online LPN-to-RN Programs of 2021

Rank School Location
1 Indiana State University Terre Haute, IN
2 Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, KS
3 Allegany College of Maryland Cumberland, MD

Featured Online Programs

Applying To an Online LPN-To-RN Program 2021

The specific requirements for online LPN-to-RN programs vary, although most schools follow the same general guidelines.

First, applicants should possess LPN licensure and a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some programs may require a minimum GPA of 2.0-2.5. Many schools also require prospective students to possess some work experience as an LPN; this could range from six months to a few years.

Colleges may require applicants to submit the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) as an entrance exam. This exam evaluates students' knowledge of math, science, English, and reading — all skills that RNs need to succeed. Schools may require other admissions exam scores instead, such as ACT or SAT scores.

Finally, for online LPN-to-RN programs, students need regular access to a reliable internet connection.

Explore the Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs and School Info

Indiana State University true View School Profile $$ Terre Haute, IN 41% 57% 43% Higher Learning Commission

Description:

At ISU, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) prepare for bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degrees and become eligible to take the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Students can complete the online LPN-to-BSN track through full-time or part-time enrollment. On-site clinicals can be done in students' local areas. Out-of-state learners should ensure program availability in their state.

The program comprises 68-72 credits. Applicants must submit transcripts demonstrating college-level coursework in courses such as English composition, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology. Admitted students must take pathophysiology.

Details:

  • Program(s): LPN-to-BSN
  • Campus: Terre Haute, Indiana
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation(s): Higher Learning Commission; Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
    • Tuition: $426 per credit for Indiana residents; $604 for out-of-state students
    • Admission Requirements: Official transcripts; 2.7 GPA; LPN or vocational nurse license; Kaplan admission test
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.8%
Hutchinson Community College true View School Profile Hutchinson, KS

Description:

HutchCC streamlines the path to an associate degree in nursing for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) so they can become registered nurses (RNs). With its online LPN-to-RN bridge program, HutchCC's 69-credit curriculum explores health maintenance, promotion and restoration, care of the family, and leadership and management concepts in nursing. Graduates emerge prepared to take the National Council Licensure Exam for RNs (NCLEX-RN) and earn their RN licenses.

Required prerequisite courses include human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and pathophysiology. Online learners complete some clinical and lab hours on campus, but additional clinical requirements occur in the Hutchinson area or other local facilities.

Details:

  • Program(s): LPN-to-RN Online Bridge - Associate of Applied Science
    • Campus: Hutchinson, Kansas
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation(s): Higher Learning Commission; Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
    • Tuition: $116 per credit for Kansas residents; $147 for out-of-state students
    • Admission Requirements: Academic transcripts; 2.75 GPA; LPN license; cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification; Kaplan admission test
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 18 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 84%
Allegany College of Maryland true View School Profile Cumberland, MD

Description:

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) from Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Texas who wish to become registered nurses (RNs) can apply to ACM's LPN-to-RN online program. The school boasts a 0% increase in tuition for 2021, including for its nursing degrees.

Most distance learning follows an asynchronous format, but students log into 3-4 mandatory synchronous meetings each semester. Topics include history of nursing, mental health conditions, and caring for the elderly. Learners arrange for their clinical experiences through local sites.

The LPN-to-RN program requires the completion of prerequisite coursework in anatomy and physiology, microbiology, English, and psychology. Additional prerequisites include sociology, math, and humanities. A student without college-level coursework must take a placement test.

Details:

  • Program(s): LPN-to-RN Online
    • Campus: Cumberland, Maryland
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation(s): Middle States Commission on Higher Education; Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
    • Tuition: $4,912 per year in-county; $8,452 out-of-county; $10,462 out-of-state
    • Admission Requirements: Official transcripts; 2.5 GPA in prerequisite courses; LPN license
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 18 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89%

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to complete an LPN-to-RN program? Those who go the LPN-to-ADN route should plan for 1-2 years of study. LPN-to-BSN programs usually take 2-4 years. The specific details depend on the university, program structure, and enrollment status.
What is accreditation and why is it important? The accreditation process ensures that students receive a quality education; schools and universities without accreditation may not equip students with the skills they need to succeed at their jobs. State regulatory boards require candidates to possess an accredited degree to apply for nursing licensure, and employers look for job applicants with an accredited degree.
What can an RN do that an LPN cannot? RNs take on more responsibilities in healthcare settings than LPNs. While LPNs can make sure patients feel comfortable, administer medication, measure vital signs, and dress wounds, RNs hold more duties. They can perform physical exams and diagnostic tests, carry out emergency response with basic life support, and administer blood products and chemotherapeutic agents, among other tasks.
Is it easy to go from LPN to RN? Working as an LPN can certainly help nurses with the transition to an RN role. Many of the duties that LPNs perform make up the foundation of an RN's job. That said, like any higher education program, an LPN-to-RN can comprise some challenging components.

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