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LPN to ASN Programs

LPNs looking to advance in nursing careers should consider pursuing an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree. The ASN is a two-year, entry-level nursing degree that many nurses consider a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree in nursing.

ASN degree programs are designed to accommodate first-time students in nursing programs as well as licensed practical nurses (LPNs) seeking to advance to the associate's degree level.

The LPN to ASN Transition

Moving from LPN to ASN begins with the two-year ASN program that typically combines clinical nursing courses with general education courses.

Admission. It's important to remember that students must meet both the general admission requirements of their educational institution and ASN program requirements. Common ASN program requirements include the following:

  • A high school grade point average of 2.75 (on a scale of 4.0)
  • If transferring, a college grade point average above 2.0 (on a scale of 4.0)
  • A minimum ACT score of 21
  • An SAT combined score of 990

Application Process. While the application process varies from college to college, there are a number of things students can do to prepare for the transition from LPN to ASN:

  • Complete the college application form
  • Complete the application for the ASN program
  • Pay college application fees
  • Gather high school transcripts or GED scores
  • Gather any official college transcripts
  • Take and order reports of the requisite ACT or SAT scores or completion of satisfactory college credits with the required GPA
  • ASN Salary vs. Program Cost

    The cost of going from LPN to ASN varies greatly depending upon the school and ASN program. A recent survey of 6 leading community college ASN programs revealed the following average costs:

    Tuition and Fees: $175.00 per credit

    Textbooks and supplies: $2,000 per year

    Uniform: $200 per year

    NCLEX-RN Test Registration: $200

    Nursing Pin (graduation): $40

    Yet, considering the potential leap in annual income after becoming an RN (see below), this investment is worthwhile. Other benefits of the LPN to ASN transition include:

    • Earning credentials in medical specialties such as gerontology, pediatrics, or ambulatory care
    • The ability to enroll in an RN-to-BSN program to earn a bachelor's degree
    • Being able to work in diverse acute, community, and long term care settings

    If ASNs move to the BSN level, they also have the opportunity to enroll in an accelerated BSN-to-MSN program and earn a master's degree in nursing.

    ASN Salary and Career Outlook

    Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) statistics indicate that nursing is one of the fastest growing career fields in the country. According to the BLS, nursing should see 22 percent employment growth between 2008 and 2018 and should remain one of the largest career sectors in the U.S.

    Today, registered nurses make up the largest portion of health care workers, finding employment in hospitals, home health, clinics, doctors' offices, nursing homes, and more.

    In 2009, registered nurses earned a median annual salary of $63,750. The top 10 percent of registered nurses earned over $93,000 in 2009. According to the BLS, these industries were some of the top paying for nurses in 2009:

    • Physician offices: $67,290
    • Home health care services: $63,300
    • Nursing care facilities: $59,320

    Finally, ASNs can sit for the NCLEX-RN examination, the prerequisite for RN licensure. ASN registered nurses typically have greater work responsibilities and more independence on the job. In the end, the LPN and ASN transition is an exciting, yet demanding process, but one that can allow today's career advancers to participate as a member of a health care and nursing team that provides effective care to those in need.

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