The Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs of 2024

Janice Monti, Ph.D.
Updated April 12, 2024
Edited by
Reviewed by
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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?

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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 can 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.

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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The Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs

#1 The Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs of 2024

University of Arkansas

  • Location-markerFayetteville, AR
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,666
  • Out-of-state$24,482
  • Retention Rate87%
  • Acceptance Rate83%
  • Students Enrolled29,068
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment35%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 The Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs of 2024

Excelsior College

  • Location-markerAlbany, NY
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$0
  • Out-of-state$0
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled17,166
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 The Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs of 2024

Southwestern Oklahoma State University

  • Location-markerWeatherford, OK
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,368
  • Out-of-state$13,478
  • Retention Rate65%
  • Acceptance Rate94%
  • Students Enrolled4,648
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment70%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 The Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs of 2024

Pennsylvania College of Technology

  • Location-markerWilliamsport, PA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$15,120
  • Out-of-state$22,680
  • Retention Rate76%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled4,240
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment47%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 The Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs of 2024

Wilson College

  • Location-markerChambersburg, PA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$25,200
  • Out-of-state$25,200
  • Retention Rate65%
  • Acceptance Rate93%
  • Students Enrolled1,405
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment75%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 The Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs of 2024

Missouri Valley College

  • Location-markerMarshall, MO
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$20,500
  • Out-of-state$20,500
  • Retention Rate47%
  • Acceptance Rate66%
  • Students Enrolled1,776
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment17%
  • AccreditationYes

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 ensure the program meets your needs.

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 you have the academic background to succeed in a fast-paced and rigorous program.

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 your career goals and interests.

States are increasingly requiring that nurses attain a BSN. For example, New York requires RNs to have or obtain a BSN degree or higher within 10 years of licensure.

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 clinicals at their workplace, near their homes, or if they must travel to placements at approved sites.


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 your ability to transfer credits.

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.

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.

School Graduation Rate

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

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 must understand the importance of enrolling in an accredited nursing school. All the online LPN-RN programs listed in our rankings have been accredited by 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. Proof of degree from an accredited program is required to obtain RN licensure.

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 than the BSN. However, bachelor’s 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.

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    Admission Requirements

    The most common admission criteria include a high school diploma or GED certificate, 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.

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    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.

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    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 completing your degree.

Online learners may qualify for several types of financial assistance. Begin your search for financial aid by filling out the Free Application for Financial Student Assistance (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for government-funded grants or loans. If you’re currently working, find out if your employer offers tuition reimbursement programs.

You may also apply for school-sponsored or privately funded scholarships and grants, some of which assist 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 can pursue leadership positions, graduate studies, and nursing specialties.

Consider your short- and long-term goals when choosing your educational pathway to become an RN. 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.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing advocates that the BSN degree becomes the minimal education requirement for nursing practice. Hospitals, as the top employers of RNs, 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 $77,170 as of October 2023.

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. According to Payscale, critical care nurses earn an average annual base salary of $67,170 as of October 2023.

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 $75,320, according to Payscale data from March 2024. Geriatric nurses care for older people with conditions that typically affect the aging population (e.g., arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease). They assist patients with daily living challenges to help them maintain their quality of life and independence.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online LPN-to-RN

Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by NurseJournal. Page last reviewed on April 7, 2024.