The Best Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Programs of 2022

March 3, 2022 , Modified on May 5, 2022 · 4 Min Read

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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The Best Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Programs of 2022
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Want to increase your salary and advance your healthcare career? Paramedic-to-RN bridge programs let paramedics achieve a higher earning potential in 1-2 years. EMTs and paramedics make a median annual salary of $36,650, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Registered nurses (RNs) make a median annual salary of $75,330.

Nursing also offers job growth not available to paramedics. RNs can gain more responsibilities — and boost their earnings — with more education, experience, and credentials. The top 10% of RNs earn $116,230, as the BLS reports.

Learn more about applying and paying for the best paramedic-to-RN bridge programs.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best paramedic-to-registered nurse 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.

Keep reading to learn more, or go straight to our list of the best paramedic-to-RN bridge programs.

The Top Paramedic-to-Registered Nurse Bridge Programs and Schools

What Can You Do as a Registered Nurse?

Each state regulates what RNs can do. RNs typically assess patients and carry out treatment plans ordered by physicians, nurse practitioners, and specialists. Most RNs work in state, local, and private hospitals. Out of 3.1 million RNs in the U.S., approximately 61% work in hospitals, according to the BLS. Other RNs work in ambulatory healthcare services, nursing and residential care facilities, government agencies, and education services.

Becoming a licensed RN opens the doors to other higher-paying healthcare roles that require more education and credentials. An RN can further their education to become a nurse practitioner (NP) and gain more responsibilities in specialty areas of nursing, such as gerontology, oncology, pediatrics, and psychiatry. As an NP, nurses can diagnose and treat patients. In some states, NPs can also prescribe medication, including controlled substances.

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What To Look For in an Paramedic-to-Registered Nurse Bridge Program

Not every paramedic-to-nurse bridge program has the same outcomes, timeline, and course offerings. Before you search for potential colleges, you need to know how to identify a quality program. The college you attend and education you earn could determine your career prospects and salary potential.

Do you qualify for a paramedic-to-RN bridge program? The admissions requirements explain what you need in terms of prior education, work experience, certification, or prerequisites. Paramedic-to-RN bridge program coursework varies by school. Prospective students can survey a program's curriculum offerings to see if the subjects covered serve their interests and career choice. Programs with more electives and specialty courses can help you become a more well-rounded student and RN. Schools assist students in finding local placements when paramedic-to-RN bridge programs require clinical experience. Students spend a set number of clinical hours on rotation, which provides the opportunity to gain hands-on experience caring for patients and forming relationships with potential employers. School accreditation means an accrediting body has reviewed aspects of the educational process. Accredited colleges often list the accrediting agency on their website. Accrediting agencies also offer directories to verify an institution's accreditation status. Read more about accreditation. Program length varies, which may also affect tuition costs. Attending college longer could mean a higher total cost. If you have concerns about how a program can prepare you to become an RN, check the NCLEX pass rate. Schools and programs with high pass rates have academically prepared and supported students to take and pass the NCLEX exam. College offers no guarantees that students will graduate. Schools with low graduation rates may mean that students did not receive academic support, guidance, or the academic stimulation to succeed. Remote learning comes in many forms. Self-paced courses serve busy students, since they meet weekly or biweekly deadlines and do not require live classes. Hybrid and synchronous programs offer one-on-one interaction and group work in person and through live courses.

Applying to a Paramedic-to-Registered Nurse Bridge Program

Paramedics can advance in their careers through paramedic-to-RN programs that offer a quick path to earning an associate or a bachelor's degree. The first step in that journey involves submitting an application.

Community colleges and vocational schools offer paramedic-to-RN bridge programs that admit students once a year or at multiple times throughout the year. Each college and program sets different admission requirements, but this list offers the general criteria candidates need.

Admission Materials

Paramedic-to-RN programs require applicants to have valid credentials and to have graduated from paramedic programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or the Emergency Medical Services Board. Candidates may also need state certification as a paramedic and current National Board of Registry certification.

GPA Requirement

Schools require applicants to submit transcripts that show at least a 2.0-2.6 GPA. The exact GPA requirements vary by program.

Other Requirements

Many schools also ask candidates to have at least two years of work experience and volunteer hours. Paramedic-to-RN programs may also require students to pass an academic skills exam.

Why Is Paramedic-to-Registered Nurse Bridge Program Accreditation Important?

  • Accreditation offers quality assurance.
  • State licensing agencies may require that RNs graduate from accredited schools.
  • The curriculum at accredited schools meets national nursing standards.
  • Graduates of unaccredited schools may have difficulty applying for the NCLEX.
  • Employers prefer to hire RNs from accredited paramedic-to-RN bridge programs.
  • Unaccredited programs may not be eligible for federal financial aid.
  • Credits from unaccredited programs may not transfer.
  • Graduate schools want candidates from accredited colleges and programs.

Paying for Paramedic-to-Registered Nurse Bridge Programs

Several factors can drive up the cost of college and make it impossible for some students to pay tuition upfront. Consider how the price of college changes depending on the length of the program and available financial aid. College also becomes more expensive for students who must pay out-of-state rates and for those who aren't able to work while in school.

When students can't pay their college expenses out of pocket, they turn to financial aid opportunities. The financial aid office at your college offers more information about applying for loans, grants, and scholarships. Students can accept federal, state, and private loans that require repayment. Degree-seekers need not repay grants and scholarships.

Frequently Asked Questions About Paramedic-to-Registered Nurse Bridge Programs

Can you go from EMT to RN?

Yes. With additional training and an associate degree in nursing or a diploma, EMTs can become RNs. The quickest programs offer pathways to becoming an RN in one year. Much like colleges that offer paramedic-to-RN bridge programs, schools also feature EMT-to-RN bridge degrees.

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

It takes 1-2 years to complete a paramedic-to-RN program. The quickest programs can be completed in nine months. On average, paramedics earn an associate degree in two years and a bachelor's in nursing degree in four years.

How do I switch from paramedic to RN?

After graduating from a paramedic-to-RN program, future nurses can take the NCLEX-RN exam. Passing the NCLEX allows candidates to apply for a state license. Many colleges offer job leads, and clinical experiences can develop into future employment as an RN.

Can an RN be a paramedic?

Yes. However, RNs need to complete the paramedic program. They may only need to complete a portion of a paramedic program, depending on a nurse's experience and credentials. States may require a nurse to have experience working in emergency care and credentials as a certified emergency nurse.

Related Registered Nurse Resources

ANA is part of the ANA Enterprise, which combines ANA, the American Nurses Foundation, and the American Nurses Credentialing Center. ANA advocates for nurses and provides information, networking, and professional education. Membership is only open to RNs, but non-RNs can become subscribers and access information. The NBNA has over 200,000 members and works to eliminate health disparities, support the careers and work of Black nurses, and encourage more Black people to enter the nursing field. Its member offerings include networking, professional education, and a conference. Membership is open to all credentialed nurses, retired nurses, and students. The AACN is the institutional membership organization for nursing colleges that offer bachelor's or higher nursing degrees. Comprising more than 800 member organizations, the AACN develops and maintains educational standards, accredits programs, conducts research on nursing education, and fosters networking. Only organizations can join. Once an organization joins, all of its nursing faculty and administration are members. AWHONN has approximately 24,000 member nurses who provide care for women and newborn children. The association offers professional education, advocates for women's and children's health, conducts research, and establishes guidelines and best practices. Membership is open to nurses and others with an interest in women's and neonatal health. ASRN aims to "encourage the personal and professional development of nurses, on local, national, and international levels, and foster communication and education." ASRN provides networking, advocacy, professional development, and a recognition program. Full membership is open to RNs working in the U.S. or Canada. There are alternate categories for RNs working in other countries, retirees, students, and organizations.

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