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, RNs 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.
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Featured Online Programs
Best Online LPN-to-RN Programs
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.
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.
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.