LPN to RN Programs

By EveryNurse Staff on January 10, 2022

LPN to RN Programs

LPN to RN programs are a popular option for licensed practical nurses who want to advance their careers by becoming registered nurses. LPN to RN programs equip students with a comprehensive nursing education along with the necessary clinical knowledge and skills to make the transition to a higher level of nursing practice.

For many, the most appealing aspect of the LPN to RN program is the ability to finish their education in a shorter period of time than students enrolled in a traditional RN program. LPN to RN programs accelerate the amount of time it takes to earn a higher degree by giving students credit for prior LPN education and experience. This format can dramatically lower the time and cost it takes to begin work as a registered nurse while maintaining the rigor of an RN program.

What Are LPN to RN Programs?

LPN to RN programs are classified as “bridge” programs, which specialize in training individuals who already hold an active license as an LPN. As the name suggests, a bridge program bridges the gap between two programs that normally require different amounts of education and training.

LPN to RN Bridge programs cater to students who are already skilled in the basics of nursing by having them take classes that build upon their existing knowledge and background. These programs cut down on the time required to earn an RN degree by giving LPNs the unique opportunity to “test out” of certain prerequisite courses by taking exams that establish competency in specific areas. This approach allows LPNs to complete their degree in a shorter period of time, saving them both time and money.

LPN to RN Program Learning Outcomes

Students who complete an LPN to RN program will be:

  • Prepared to successfully pass the NCLEX-RN exam.
  • Eligible to apply for a license to practice as a Registered Nurse in the state in which they earned their degree.
  • Qualified to provide comprehensive direct nursing care to patients in the role of an entry-level registered nurse. 
  • Equipped with a degree that will allow them to advance their education even further with a graduate degree.

Types of LPN to RN Programs

There are two degree options for LPNs interested in making the transition from practical nursing to registered nursing: the LPN to ADN and the LPN to BSN. Both programs are offered in accelerated formats that are designed to prepare students for increased responsibility in the role of an RN.

LPN to ADN Programs

LPN to ADN programs offer students the opportunity to earn an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) in as little as 15 months of full-time study. This is the fastest option for LPNs who have decided to pursue a career in registered nursing. An Associate’s Degree is less rigorous than a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) and is designed to prepare individuals for entry-level practice.

LPN to BSN Programs

LPN to BSN programs enable practical nurses to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in as little as 24 months. Although this may seem like a long amount of time, it is a fraction of the time it takes to earn a traditional BSN. Program duration depends on the curriculum of the program and whether the program will grant transfer credit for the student’s prior academic coursework.

As the name implies, a BSN is a comprehensive program designed to prepare students for leadership roles in the field of nursing. It is one of the most respected degrees in the nursing profession and can also open doors to many graduate-level degree programs. A bachelor’s degree is more rigorous than an ADN and can help to advance a student’s career through increased earning potential and promotion opportunities.

Online LPN to RN Programs

LPN to RN programs are increasingly adopting blended course formats to appeal to students who would like the flexibility of studying at home or in a hybrid classroom setting. Online LPN to RN programs are particularly attractive for students who are already working in the field of nursing and want to advance their careers without leaving their current job.

Blended learning programs combine virtual and traditional classroom instruction into one course. This type of educational experience combines online instruction, virtual clinical simulations, and face-to-face training to give students a balance of traditional classroom education and the flexibility of independent study.

LPN to RN Programs Accreditation

LPNs looking to earn an RN credential should only consider programs accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The ACEN and CCNE are recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) which sets education standards for all educational institutions in the United States. Accreditation ensures that programs meet national standards and exceed expectations regarding quality, excellence, and innovation.

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Three Things to Know About Going From LPN to RN

As the healthcare industry has evolved so have the demands and expectations of registered nurses. Registered nurses are expected to provide safe, compassionate, competent, and ethical nursing care to patients of all ages with complex needs. To meet these demands, RNs must be highly educated and well prepared to handle a wide variety of situations.

If you are currently employed as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) but want to become a Registered Nurse (RN), there are several important things to know about how your role and responsibilities will change as you transition to a higher level of practice.

1. You Will Have More Responsibility as an RN

As an LPN, you are responsible for providing basic nursing care to patients with less complicated medical needs. As an RN, you are expected to provide comprehensive direct nursing care to patients with complex medical needs. You will carry out more advanced tasks, such as administering medications, performing tests, and giving patients consultative advice on how to manage their health conditions.

2. You Will Be Held to a Higher Standard of Accountability

As an RN, you will be held to a higher standard of accountability than your LPN counterparts. LPNs work under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians, while RNs are able to practice independently, free of direct supervision. As an RN, you will be expected to adhere to the highest standards of care and bear primary responsibility for the quality of nursing care you provide.

3. Your Role Will Be Multifaceted With Many Competencies to Master

As an LPN, your primary role is to provide direct care services to patients. As an RN, your role is more multifaceted. In addition to bedside care, you will provide consultative services to patients and coworkers, act as a patient advocate, supervise other nurses, conduct data analysis, and help patients navigate the healthcare system. These additional competencies will require you to master additional skills and knowledge, making you a more well-rounded professional.

Salary Differences Between LPNs and RNs

As an RN, you can expect to earn a significantly higher salary than your LPN colleagues. The average annual salary for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses in the United States is $80,010 and $50,090 respectively. This gap in pay is consistent across industries and workplace settings, as demonstrated below.

General Medical and Surgical Hospitals$47,310$81,680
Offices of Physicians$45,550$71,660
Home Health Care Services$51,580$75,870
Outpatient Care Centers$56,320$89,300
Nursing Care Facilities $51,200$72,090
* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, May 2020

LPN to RN Programs FAQ

The fastest LPN to RN program is an accelerated LPN to ADN program. LPN to ADN programs can be completed in as little as 15 months depending on how much transfer credit a student receives for prior LPN experience and academic coursework. This is a fraction of the time it takes to earn a traditional ADN degree.

Although many of the patient care duties of an LPN and RN overlap, registered nurses are expected to carry out more advanced tasks and accept significantly more responsibility than LPNs. As a result, LPNs must take a big leap forward in their education and training to prepare themselves for the increased level of competence that is required to transition to RN status.

LPN to RN programs can not be completed 100% online. This is because RN licensure requires several hundred hours of supervised clinical training that can only be completed in person. Students who would like the flexibility of studying at home should look for programs that offer a blended course format or hybrid classroom setting, which offers students a balance of traditional classroom education and online instruction.

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