The Best Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Programs

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Updated December 14, 2022

Bridge programs are an affordable, convenient way for paramedics to transition to the nursing field. Learn more by exploring our list of the best paramedic-to-RN programs.
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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Credit: serts / E+ / Getty Images

Do you want to use your paramedic training to become a nurse and boost your earning potential? A paramedic-to-RN program lets you earn an associate in nursing degree (ADN) in about 1-2 years, with the fastest programs taking only nine months.

Graduates have the know-how to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) exam or pursue a bachelor of science in nursing degree (BSN).

Online paramedic-to-RN degrees offer a quick path to high-paying nursing careers by offering credit for work experience. Use our guide to learn more about the best online paramedic-to-RN programs, including common admission requirements and jobs you can get after graduation.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best paramedic-to-RN 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 10 Paramedic-to-RN Programs

  • 1. Southwest Baptist University
  • 2. Waukesha County Technical College
  • 3. Arkansas State University-Mountain Home
  • 4. Mineral Area College
  • 5. Dixie State University
  • 6. Bevill State Community College
  • 7. Hagerstown Community College
  • 8. Mitchell Community College
  • 9. NorthWest Arkansas Community College
  • 10. Howard Community College


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

Using Our Rankings: What to Look For in a Paramedic-to-RN Program

Most paramedic-to-RN programs lead to associate degrees in nursing (ADN). Although, not every degree has the same curriculum or learning format, and some take longer than others.

When looking for a college, pay attention to the key markers of a quality program:

1. Admission Requirements

Are you eligible for an online paramedic-to-RN program? You do not know until you review the admission requirements, which detail the work experience, certifications, and educational background needed to become a student.

2. Program Curriculum

The general coursework in an online paramedic-to-RN program covers anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and fundamental nursing concepts. The electives and specialities vary by program — a good reason why prospective students should review a degree's curricula.

3. Clinical Experience

Because paramedics have emergency care training, an online paramedic-to-RN program often requires fewer clinical hours than traditional ADNs. Programs help students find clinical placements, but the hours may require students to complete clinical rotations that interfere with their work lives.

4. Accreditation

You want to attend an accredited paramedic-to-RN program because it increases your hireability as a nurse. Furthermore, only graduates from approved programs can take the NCLEX.

5. Program Length

A program's length determines how long it takes to start your new career — and often what you pay. Completing a paramedic-to-RN online program that takes longer to complete may cost more.

6. School Graduation Rate

Your prospective online paramedic-to-RN program should offer a quality education that prepares you for your career goals. How can you do a quality check? Review the graduation rate to see how many students graduate in a reasonable amount of time.

7. Online Learning Format and Requirements

Paramedic-to-RN online programs feature different learning formats. Students may study in a self-paced format without any live courses, or online learners may get one-on-one interaction through synchronous courses that meet live at specific times.

8. Specializations

RNs can specialize in areas of nursing that include critical care, neonatal, health policy, and trauma. The right online paramedic-to-RN program offers nursing concentrations that appeal to your interests and career goals.

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Why Is Paramedic-to-RN Program Accreditation Important?

Accreditation not only ensures a quality education, but it also verifies a graduate's preparedness for nursing. The accreditation process benefits nursing as a whole and ensures students can sit for the NCLEX-RN exam.

Upholding industry standards through accredited practices can also provide better nursing care outcomes. Learn more information about accreditation.

Nursing programs, such as those included in our ranking, receive accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

  • Accreditation distinguishes a program's academics
  • Students may not be able to transfer unaccredited credits
  • Credentialing and licenses agencies may consider only candidates from accredited programs
  • Employers want graduates from accredited programs

Learn More About the Best Paramedic-to-RN Programs & Schools

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

#1 The Best Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Programs

Southwest Baptist University

  • Bolivar, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

SBU offers a paramedic-to-RN bridge program at its Missouri campuses in Salem and Springfield. Learners take most classes onsite. Degree-seekers complete 37-38 nursing credits and 20 general education credits. SBU courses integrate faith with academics.

Average Tuition
In-state
$23,600
Out-of-state
$23,600
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
71%
Students Enrolled
3,281
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 The Best Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Programs

Waukesha County Technical College

  • Pewaukee, WI
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

WCTC's paramedic-to-nurse bridge program allows practicing paramedics to start their associate degree in the third semester. This hybrid program requires students to enroll full time. 

Students need a "C" or higher in all general education classes. Learners complete 29 credits of nursing courses. The program accepts new students every August.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,095
Out-of-state
$6,143
Retention Rate
72%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
7,467
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 The Best Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Programs

Arkansas State University-Mountain Home

  • Mountain Home, AR
  • 2 years
  • Campus

ASUMH offers a paramedic-to-RN program that combines classroom instruction, online learning, and clinical experiences. Classes meet twice a week. Students take an average of nine clinical hours per week. 

Enrollees need a 2.5 GPA and a "C" or higher in all nursing classes to graduate. ASUMH's 60-credit program requires four semesters to complete.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,352
Out-of-state
$3,972
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,325
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 The Best Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Programs

Mineral Area College

  • Park Hills, MO
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

MAC's paramedic-to-RN bridge program emphasizes care provision and care management. Online enrollees need basic computer and internet skills. MAC's complete associate in nursing program requires 45 major credits and 86 total credits.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,530
Out-of-state
$6,090
Retention Rate
62%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,640
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 The Best Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Programs

Dixie State University

  • Saint George, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Dixie's paramedic-to-RN bridge program requires a transition course and a nursing skills lab. These experiences help paramedics develop basic nursing skills. 

Dixie accepts 32 new students each spring. Graduates can take the NCLEX-RN to become registered nurses and may then enroll in Dixie's online bachelor of science in nursing program.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,680
Out-of-state
$14,976
Retention Rate
57%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
11,193
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
29% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#6 The Best Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Programs

Bevill State Community College

  • Jasper, AL
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Bevill State's paramedic-to-RN bridge program requires 31 credits and takes three semesters to complete. Classes cover topics like  microbiology and healthcare transition. 

Enrollees can schedule classes, labs, and clinical hours on days, evenings, or weekends. Bevill State offers some classes through web-based instruction, intercampus television, and hybrid learning.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,192
Out-of-state
$8,384
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,787
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 The Best Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Programs

Hagerstown Community College

  • Hagerstown, MD
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Hagerstown's paramedic-to-RN bridge program includes 33 credits of lecture, laboratory, and clinical experiences. Classes cover topics like behavioral health nursing and nursing care of women and infants. 

Hagerstown reports that 75% of enrollees complete the program on time and 90% work in nursing practice within six months of graduation.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,835
Out-of-state
$7,665
Retention Rate
59%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,848
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#8 The Best Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Programs

Mitchell Community College

  • Statesville, NC
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Mitchell's paramedic-to-RN bridge program emphasizes the role nurses play on a healthcare team. The program requires four semesters of coursework. Students take microbiology and complex health concepts. Coursework also covers paramedic-to-RN bridge concepts. 

Graduates can move directly into the RN-to-BSN program at one of North Carolina's several participating universities.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,432
Out-of-state
$8,576
Retention Rate
57%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,226
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 The Best Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Programs

NorthWest Arkansas Community College

  • Bentonville, AR
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

NWACC accepts 40 students annually into its paramedic-to-RN bridge program. The program begins in the spring and runs four consecutive semesters. Learners complete 29 paramedic-to-RN credits. 

Classes include nursing care of adults and essentials of paramedic-to-RN. Learners complete classes online. They complete clinicals on nights and weekends.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,240
Out-of-state
$3,600
Retention Rate
59%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
8,383
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 The Best Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Programs

Howard Community College

  • Columbia, MD
  • 2 years
  • Campus

Paramedics licensed in Maryland can take a transition course and then begin the second year of HCC's nursing program. Students participate in simulations and study evidence-based data. Enrollees can participate in Alpha Delta NU, a national honor society. The program requires 61 credits.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,318
Out-of-state
$7,668
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
9,110
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
27% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

How Online Paramedic-to-RN Programs Work

Online paramedic-to-RN programs function virtually except for clinical rotations and labs that require in-person participation. In-person components vary by program.

Self-paced programs may provide the opportunity for students to schedule labs or clinical rotations on the weekends or in the evenings.

In other circumstances, paramedic-to-RN online learners may enroll in hybrid programs with daytime classes that incorporate in-person and virtual coursework. Some students may study entirely asynchronously, meeting weekly deadlines.

Find out more information about the clinical experience as an online nursing student and in person vs. online nursing program differences.

Applying to a Paramedic-to-RN Program

An online paramedic-to-RN program lets working paramedics speed through an ADN by giving them credit for what they already know. Leveraging existing skills and knowledge held by paramedics, bridge courses focus on developing the critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills needed to deliver patient-centered care as an RN.

Prospective students need to be current paramedics and meet other admission requirements, which differ by program.

1. Admission Requirements

Incoming students often need to have at least a high school diploma or GED certificate , and at least one year of paramedic experience to apply to an online paramedic-to-RN program.

Colleges often require official high school or college transcripts. Additionally, applicants often must take pre-admission nursing assessments.

2. Admission Materials

Prospective students may need to take placement tests to measure their reading, writing, and math skills. Online paramedic-to-RN programs may also require at least a C grade for courses in biology and psychology.

Programs also require background checks to clear students for clinical work. Other common application materials include personal essays and letters of recommendation.

3. GPA Requirement

Candidates need at least a 2.0-2.5 GPA to enter online paramedic-to-RN programs. Students with lower GPAs may get provisional admittance.

Paying for Paramedic-to-RN Programs

Various factors contribute to the cost of an online paramedic-to-RN program. It can be difficult or impossible to pay upfront for an online paramedic-to-RN program if you cannot work while in school. Paying out-of-state rates, or staying in school longer than normal, can also drive up the cost of tuition.

Colleges offer numerous federal financial aid resources to help you pay for your nursing degree. You can visit your financial aid office and take out loans that come with repayment terms and conditions, or you can apply for grants and scholarships that need not be repaid. Many need-based and merit-based scholarships directly award nursing students.

What Can You Do After a Paramedic-to-RN Program?

Rewarding nursing careers await graduates of online paramedic-to-RN programs. The lessons prepare students to sit for the NCLEX exam and become a registered nurse. Becoming an RN requires passing the NCLEX-RN exam and qualifying for a state license.

Graduates of online paramedic-to-RN degrees can continue their education with a BSN degree. Earning an ADN gives graduates the clinical and theoretical nursing foundation to earn a four-year BSN degree.

Most RNs work in hospitals. RNs also work in ambulatory healthcare services, nursing facilities, government agencies, and educational services.


Frequently Asked Questions About Paramedic-to-RN Programs


Can paramedics become nurses?

Yes. Online paramedic-to-RN programs give paramedics the nursing training to become an RN. Paramedics have emergency care experience, which allows them to get advanced placement in an ADN program.

Courses such as anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and NCLEX preparation focus on training paramedics to become nurses.

What can an RN do that a paramedic cannot?

Paramedics and nurses have daily responsibilities that overlap, but there are differences in their scope of practice and training. Paramedics transport patients in need of critical care and follow medical protocols. According to protocol, paramedics can also insert IVs, give IV medications, and provide other life-saving interventions.

Unlike RNs, a paramedic can intubate a patient in an emergency. RNs have a generalist training and can specialize in areas of nursing such as critical care units or intensive care.

How long does it take to go from paramedic to RN?

The average paramedic-to-RN program takes 1-2 years. However, some of the fastest programs take only nine months. Taking the NCLEX exam requires additional time. Many graduates take the NCLEX about 45 days after graduation.

Are registered nurses in high demand?

The BLS projects that occupations for RNs to increase at a rate of 6% from 2021-2031, on track with other jobs. That said, employers should add about 203,200 RN positions during the decade.


Page Last Reviewed: November 15, 2022

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


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