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LPN to BSN Programs

Licensed practical nurses (LPN) know how fulfilling their jobs can be on a personal level, but when it comes to overall career potential, this nursing career may be somewhat limited. For those who want their nursing careers to pay off in salary and career advancements, enrolling in an LPN to BSN bridge program to become a registered nurse (RN) might be a good next step.

BSN Salaries: LPN to BSN Programs Pay Off

Being an LPN has its advantages. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that LPNs should experience one of the highest rates of job growth in the country. LPNs provide doctors and patients with critical support while enjoying a lot of schedule flexibility. Additionally, these nurses benefit from the ability to find work pretty much anywhere in the country.

Unfortunately, advancement opportunities have historically gone to those who hold Registered Nurse (RN) titles, leaving most LPNs in the dust. While individuals may be able to earn a position as an RN with only an associate's degree in nursing (ADN), pursuing a bachelor's of science in nursing (BSN) can offer a broader education, and potentially make the climb up the career ladder a bit easier than it might be for those who hold ADN degrees. Some additional benefits of becoming a BSN:

  • BSN Salary. According to the BLS, RNs earned a median annual salary of $63,750 in 2009, a significant improvement over the LPN earnings of $39,820.
  • Career Advancement. RNs are candidates for administrative and management positions while LPNs typically aren't. RNs who earn their master's of science in nursing (MSN) may even be able to advance to nurse practitioner, enjoying additional salary potential and professional benefits.
  • Demand. While LPNs and RNs are both careers that the BLS shows have had positive job growth, the BLS reports that RNs have a slight advantage -- 22 percent growth over 20 percent in the decade preceding 2018.

Becoming a BSN: What's Required?

To become a BSN (and in turn, qualified to be an RN,) individuals need to enroll in an accredited BSN program. Chances are that LPNs have already dedicated at least a year of their lives to nursing school, and might be hesitant to invest more time, energy and money into their education. However, LPN to BSN bridge programs offer a number of advantages over traditional BSN programs:

  • Time. While a BSN student new to the field must typically study for four years to earn a BSN, LPN to BSN programs factor in previous coursework. According to the BLS, these programs typically save about one and a half years of study.
  • Money. Because LPN to BSN programs mean spending less time in school than the average BSN student, LPNs will pay less overall in tuition and course fees.
  • Flexibility. Schools offering LPN to BSN programs know their students are often working professionals. As a result, flexible scheduling and night or weekend courses are often offered to make attending classes easy. Some schools even offer 100 percent online LPN to BSN degrees.

What to Expect from an LPN to BSN Transition Program

When it comes to finding the right LPN to BSN program, there's no replacement for good research. Browse schools online and visit local campuses. Once a list of dream schools is gathered, LPNs should ensure they met all the admissions criteria. Some programs require applicants to take the ACT or SAT, while others require the National Nursing League's Pre-Admission Exam.

Also make sure your prior LPN coursework meets standard prerequisites. Classes typically required of LPN applicants include:

  • Psychology
  • Anatomy, Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Life Chemistry

While LPN to BSN programs vary from one nursing school to the next, most require a combination of basic general education courses, nursing courses and labs, and electives focusing on a specialty of the student's choosing.

Life after Earning your BSN

If your goal is to become an RN, know that all states require licensure in addition to a degree. Because licensure requirements vary from one state to the next, it's best to contact your area's board of nursing for specifics. In general, however, states require RN applicants to pass a criminal background check and a national licensing exam such as the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN.

If you hope to become a nurse practitioner, consider enrolling in a BSN to MSN program.

Schools offering LPN to BSN Programs
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