Paramedics looking to transition into nursing careers can finish a paramedic-to-nurse bridge program in three semesters or less. The incentives for paramedics to become RNs include increased pay, job stability, and the potential to earn a bachelor’s or graduate degree in nursing. In 2019, paramedics made an annual average salary of $38,830, while RNs earned an average of $77,460, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Flexible online learning allows paramedics to continue working while studying. Programs tend to keep any required on-campus attendance to a minimum, and might offer a variety of course formats. Asynchronous class materials can be accessed 24/7, but synchronous classes require logging in at scheduled times.
Courses include lifespan and human development, pharmacology, professional nursing competencies, and transition to nursing. Distance learners can often complete in-person clinical internships at healthcare facilities in their communities.
Paramedics have often completed much of the education and training included in the paramedic-to-RN curriculum, and some programs offer credit by examination.
Top Online Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Programs
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The Best Online Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Programs
Applying to an Online Paramedic-to-RN Bridge Program
Common admission requirements for paramedic-to-RN bridge programs include a high school diploma or passing the General Educational Development (GED) Test; a paramedic license with 1-2 years of experience; core college coursework in English, the sciences, and mathematics; Test of Essential Academic Skills, Health Education Systems Incorporated Exam, or Kaplan exam scores; and a criminal background check.
Graduates can earn an associate degree in nursing (ADN) and become eligible to take the National Council Licensure Exam as well as apply for their RN licenses. Licensed ADN holders can enter the workforce as entry-level RNs.
An ADN also serves as a stepping stone to a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), master of science in nursing (MSN), or doctor of nursing practice (DNP) — all pathways to advanced-level nursing careers. Bridge programs for RNs can lead to these higher degrees, including RN-to-BSN, RN-to-MSN, and, at some nursing schools, RN-to-DNP.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best nursing specialties for paramedics who want to become an RN?
Emergency nursing is a seamless choice for a paramedic-to-nurse transition. However, paramedics who want a less stressful, slower paced work environment might consider RN specialty areas such as geriatrics, home healthcare, oncology, and pediatrics. These concentrations allow RNs to work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, physicians’ offices, and long-term care facilities.
How long does it take to complete a paramedic-to-RN bridge program?
Program timeframes vary according to a student’s enrollment status, available transfer credits, the program’s instructional delivery format (cohort or self-paced), and required clinical hours. Full-time learners can complete paramedic-to-RN bridge degree programs in three semesters, and accelerated tracks allow an even quicker path to graduation. Paramedics who continue working and study part time can finish in 18-24 months.
Is a paramedic-to-RN bridge program more affordable?
Bridge programs save students money by shortening the timeline to earning a degree, particularly those that offer full-time or accelerated study. Online programs typically impose lower tuition rates that often equal in-state tuition regardless of residency. Distance learners also avoid commuting costs, campus-based fees like parking, and potentially pricier collegetown housing.
What is accreditation and why is it important?
Prospective nursing students should ensure that the programs they apply to hold accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Accreditation signifies that the program undergoes regular review to comply with high academic standards, licensing requirements, and eligibility for government loans and grants.