LPN To MSN Bridge Program

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who are willing to continue education and take career advancement prefer Master of Science in Nursing Degree in order to grab the advanced positions and broaden their knowledge in the field of nursing. The job forecast for LPN is fulfilling and promising, by adding one more degree in their resume, the professionals shall get exposed to better opportunities. Practically, there is no direct LPN to MSN bridge program. The LPNs must become Registered Nurses in order to qualify for the MSN program. Some schools allow the students with Bachelor's degree (BSN) to pursue Masters program in nursing. The Bridge program is a versatile path for the LPNs who wish to earn MSN degree through right channel. There are different ways to reach the MSN degree goal. Individuals may take the LPN to RN bridge program, or get into LPN-to-BSN program. Either of the two methods can help one to get into the MSN program. We will learn about the accelerated bridge program below:

LPN-to-RN Bridge Program

It is a two-year course that helps the LPNs to earn an associate's degree in nursing (ADN), an alternative path for qualify for the RN licensure. The students are allowed to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam after completion of this bridge program and become licensed RN.

LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program

This program is looked as the best way to qualify for MSN degree. Most schools prefer students with BSN degree. If you are willing to specialize in the particular field of nursing via MSN, then a bachelor's degree is an additional requirement along with the RN license.

Getting Into MSN Program

After completing any of the two bridge programs, nurses can enroll themselves in the MSN bridge program. The expected duration of the program is 2-3 years, which mainly depends on the coursework offered in the initial program. Prerequisites for the LPN to MSN program includes 2.5 or more GPA or 2.0 GPA on a scale of 4.0 from your previous LPN degree or other nursing-related programs. Many schools prefer students with higher GPA. A letter of recommendation and character references from the higher authorities such as college dean, along with transcripts and diploma is demanded. The MSN bridge program includes an advanced syllabus and outlines the scientific portion of nursing. The specializations offered in the MSN program include Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, MSN in Nursing Entrepreneurship, Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

LPN to MSN Bridge Program Entrance Exams

If you are planning to enter into a graduate level program in nursing, you must be wondering about the entrance test taken the nursing schools on the ground of judging the right candidate for the Master’s program. Every program has its own verification criteria.Usually, there are two exams that might be taken in order to grant admission into the Master's in nursing program- the GRE or MAT.


The Graduate Record Examination is meant for the students preparing for the graduate level course. The GRE exam is comprised of two types, the subjects tests, and the general tests. The general test measures quantitative reasoning skills, verbal skills, and analytical skills.


The Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is a mental ability test that checks the candidate’s analytical skills. The students are supposed to solve the problems available in analog format. The exam covers the academic subjects in detail. MAT exam looks into the student’s academic capability. It checks the candidate’s ability to memorize information.

Along with the entrance examination, it is also important to maintain the required GPA at the undergraduate level and gather some good work experience prior to enrollment. The experience could include some volunteer work, internship or part-time employment. Students with knowledge and experience become the ideal pick for the master's program.

LPN to MSN Bridge Program Coursework

The coursework of the MSN bridge program is designed to deal with the scientific aspects of nursing along with the advanced syllabus. The Specializations are decided at the beginning of the MSN program. Some additional specialties include nursing education, ambulatory care, community health care nursing, nurse midwife and nurse anesthetists. The coursework varies from school to school and an average of 60 credit hours is dedicated in order to earn the degree. Undergraduate BSN courses are completed during the early semester and after that, the students are able to go for the higher level of education in order to accomplish the MSN course. Most schools offer academic counseling facility in order to meet individual needs.

Due to the complexity of the coursework and the workload, experts are appointed to help out students in the bridge program. The students can transfer their existing credits for shortening the amount of coursework. In many bridge programs, RNs are allowed to transfer up to 60 credits, while others can transfer undergraduate BSN credits on the basis of work experience. The students who have completed coursework outside the United States are required to submit their transcripts for evaluation for the particular school. The foreign transcripts are considered on a course-by-course basis with slightly different standards applied to professional work. Pass/fail courses, grades, and credited courses are also considered for evaluation.

Licensing and Accreditation

Nurses must hold a valid RN license for entering into the bridge program that leads to the MSN degree. Some program's mandate the license of the particular state in which the nursing school is located. Some also require RNs to have a year of clinical experience as well.

Online LPN to MSN Bridge Program

Admission Requirements

The mandatory requirements for the online LPN to MSN program include:

  • A state license in nursing
  • ADN from an accredited school of nursing
  • A CGPA of 3.0 or above
  • At Least three letters of recommendation
  • Successful telephonic and in-person interview
  • Submission of Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores


Most of the top nursing schools require LPNs completed prerequisite courses with at least B grade. The prerequisite courses include:

  • Physical Assessment
  • English Composition
  • Physical Assessment
  • Statistics
  • General Psychology

Courses and Curriculum

The main purpose of the LPN to MSN bridge program is to fill the gap between these two courses. The gap between the associate degree and master’s degree is filled with courses that are mandatory for both the programs. Some of the bridge courses include:

  • Physical Assessment
  • Communication
  • Statistics
  • Nursing Theory
  • Community Health
  • Leadership
  • Nursing Research

After the completion of the bridge courses, the students are taken to the MSN-level coursework where students are allowed to take a handful of core subjects. The courses might include:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Epidemiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Biostatistics
  • Health Assessment


Both the traditional and online LPN to MSN courses are accredited by either the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Nursing Schools Offering Online LPN to MSN Program

1. Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Started in 1902, Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences has been offering numerous courses in nursing and preparing students with the knowledge and skills that are in high demand from the employers. The online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program is designed for the nurses who hold associate’s degree or bachelor's degree in nursing. The program gives wings to the nurses to pursue career advancement.

Campus: Online
Type: Private, For-Profit
Accreditation: CCNE
Per Credit Hour: Inquire
GRE Required: No
Programs: RN to MSN, MSN, DNP

2. Chamberlain College of Nursing

Designed for licensed and experienced nurses who are looking to earn MSN degree and expand their professional career. The coursework emphasizes on the class discussions and practical experience. The students can enter into one of the five tracks: Executive, Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner, Informatics or Healthcare Policy. The students of the online MSN program are allowed to sit for national certification in their specific specialty.

Campus: Online
Type: Private, For-Profit
Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Per Credit Hour: Inquire
GRE Required: No
Programs: RN to MSN Online, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner, MSN - Nurse Educator, MSN - Nurse Executive, MSN - FNP, MSN - Nursing Informatics, MSN - Healthcare Policy.

3. Capella University

Established in 1918, Capella University offers the completely online program and the required clinical training. The University currently enrolls 21,000 students in various degree programs.

Campus: Online
Type: Private, For-Profit
Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, CCNE
Per Credit Hour: Inquire
GRE Required: No
Programs: MSN - RN-to-MSN Nursing, General, MSN - RN-to-MSN Nursing Informatics

4. University of Cincinnati

Established in 1819, the University of Cincinnati is a public research institute that offers a wide range of programs. Around 5,000 students graduate from the University every year. The Carnegie Commission evaluate the faculty, research, accreditation, and the advanced curriculum. The University has been categorized at higher level in imparting higher education

Campus: Cincinnati, Online
Type: Non-Profit
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Per Credit Hour: Inquire
GRE/GMAT Required: No
Programs Offered: MSN- Nursing Administration, MSN - Adult-Gero Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, MSN- Nurse-Midwifery

Benefits of Getting MSN

Opens New door for Opportunities

As some of the nursing specializations required master's degree, there are certain prestigious positions in healthcare organizations and hospitals that give preference to students with MSN. If you are willing to get into any managerial role in hospitals, then MSN will be the right option.

Possibility of good Earning

The nurses who want to pursue advanced nursing must need to get MSN first. They get more salary compared to Registered Nurses. According to the Bureau of Labor, the salary of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists is double of the RN's average salary.

Availability of More Options

Even the online MSN degree offers numerous choices for which students can go at their own pace and schedule their learning in flexible timing. The individual can continue their education with distance learning.

Acquire in-depth Knowledge of Nursing

The students are exposed to advanced nursing practices. The MSN programs allow the students to opt any favorable specialty track and get into in-depth nursing studies and become experts in the particular field.

Cons Of Getting MSN

The MSN program path might look simple and least complex but the truth is that there are some major points to consider in your educational pursuit.

Advanced Nursing Degrees are Hard

The master's program is challenging and the curriculum is vast. You are required to give your full attention to the course otherwise you may fail to clear the program. Every subject mentioned in the course is important. So, try not to ignore any of the subjects if you are willing to use the knowledge in the long run.

MSN Program is Expensive

The advanced degree is expensive and requires a greater investment of time and money. The tuition fees are higher comparatively and the majority of the nursing schools demand a hefty amount of fee for the MSN degree.

Time-consuming Course and Clinical hours

Both the traditional and the online MSN route are time taking and lengthy. You need to dedicate specific amount hours every week in order to complete the course in time. You have to feel the pressure of studies in the right way.

The journey to the MSN route may be tiring and requires hard work. So, decide your own pace and think both the sides before you begin your career advancement.

Job Prospects For LPN to MSN Bridge Program Graduates

The job opportunities for advanced nursing practitioners are likely to be excellent. The expected growth of the occupations such as nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and nurse practitioners is likely to grow by 312 percent in between 2014 to 2024. The increase in demand for healthcare services will lead to the growth. A large number of insured patients from healthcare legislation will contribute to the demand. Due to the change in the federal health insurance reform, many individuals will have access to health insurance. Advanced practice registered nurses will provide numerous services like physicians. APRNs will provide extended services in offices of physicians, healthcare organizations, clinics, and other care settings. Here is the occupation-wise projected employment from 2014 to 2024.

Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024
Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners 170,400 223,800
Nurse Anesthetists 38,200 45,600
Nurse Midwives 5,300 6,600
Nurse Practitioners 126,900 171,700

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Other LPN Bridge Programs: