Online LPN to RN Bridge Programs

The LPN to RN program is designed for working Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who are willing to pursue further education to become Registered Nurses (RNs). The LPN education and experience is very helpful in the LPN-to-RN Bridge Program. The program offers an in-depth curriculum which is necessary to become RN. After the successful completion of the program, the LPN becomes eligible to sit for the national RN licensing exam, the NCLEX-RN. The LPN to RN program is available in two forms: LPN-to-ADN and LPN-to-BSN. The coursework builds upon the LPN's prior knowledge, considering their education and experience. The RN curriculum offers more theoretical learning as it transitions nurses from the LPN arena. The career options for RNs are enormous. They work in several settings and can earn many specialized certificates as well.

Are you working as a licensed practical nurse and want to pursue your education and advance your career to become an RN? Following this path, you can properly utilize all the educational and clinical tactics that you have learned while working as an LPN. To accomplish this, you can enroll in an LPN to RN bridge program. Some of the roles and responsibilities of these two nursing professions are similar, but at the same time, can be very different in scope. Before getting into this, you should be aware of the various elements necessary to transition from a practical nurse to an RN. We are here to elaborate on the LPN-RN bridge program and brief its significance.

Top Nursing Schools in the U.S. Offering Online LPN to RN Programs

1. Indiana State University

Indiana State University delivers the majority of its LPN/LVN programs online. The college has a learning library named The College Network. The program requires 76 -77 lower level credit hours and 51 upper-level credit hours. The Indiana State University online LPN to RN program is only open for United States residents and the program boasts no wait times.

  • Campus: Terre Haute, Indiana – Online
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission, Indiana State Board of Nursing, and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Degree requirements: LPN/LVN
  • Programs: Nursing (LPN/LVN to BS)

2. Allegany College of Maryland

The Allegany College of Maryland’s online program has an immense range of traditional courses that offer maximum flexibility. The Associate Degree Nursing Program at ACM is approved by the Maryland Board of Nursing, the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing, and has received accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The nursing program at Allegany College of Maryland is also known as a Health Manpower Shortage Program.

Campus: Cumberland, Maryland; Everett and Somerset, Pennsylvania – Online

  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: ACEN
  • Minimum time commitment: 18 months
  • Degree requirements: Entrance exam, LPN/LVN license, English proficiency, Academic transcripts
  • Programs: LPN-RN Online Program

3. Fairmont State University

Fairmont State University in West Virginia offers a 3-semester LPN/LVN-ASN program for LPN/LVNs who have already completed certain prerequisite courses. Courses are delivered online two times a week in real time. In addition to this, students attend clinical labs on campus just twice a month. The Associate Degree Nursing Program at FSU is accredited by the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN).

  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: ACEN
  • Minimum time commitment: 3 semesters
  • Degree requirements: Entrance exam, LPN/LVN license, English proficiency, Academic transcripts, Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher
  • Programs: LPN-RN Online Program

4. College of Central Florida

The College of Central Florida offers a 3-semester, 1-year online-hybrid LPN/LVN to ADN Bridge program. The program features both courses delivered online and in-person along with on-campus labs and clinical experiences. The program has been approved by both the Florida Board of Nursing as well as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Following successful completion of the program, individuals will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination.

  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: ACEN
  • Minimum time commitment: 3 semesters (1 year)
  • Degree requirements: Entrance exam, LPN/LVN license, English proficiency, Academic transcripts, Cumulative GPA of between 2.0 and 2.5 in nursing courses, BLS certification
  • Programs: LPN-RN Online Hybrid Program

5. University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center: Fran & Earl Ziegler College of Nursing offers a 60 credit-hour online hybrid LPN to BSN program which combines online lectures and face-to-face meetings with on-campus labs and clinical experiences. Individuals who hold LPN/LVN licenses can enter into the program with advanced standing after they've completed the appropriate prerequisite courses and have passed the exams in those subjects. The program has been approved by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: ACEN
  • Minimum time commitment: 3 options
    1. Nine-month two semester full time track
    2. Two-year four semester part time track
    3. Three-semester track with full and part time terms
  • Degree requirements: NLN Acceleration Challenge Entrance Exams, proof of at least one year of full-time employment as an LPN, current Oklahoma LPN license, cumulative GPA of 2.5 GPA or higher in the past 60 hours of coursework, completion of 30 credit hours of college courses, including several prerequisites, with a grade of C or higher
  • Programs: LPN-RN Online Hybrid Program

6. Palm Beach State College

Palm Beach State College offers students a 72-credit hour online hybrid program that's designed to help LPNs/LVNs and paramedics transition to the role of a registered nurse. Students who complete the program will receive their Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree and then will be eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam. Courses are taught online and in-person while nursing clinicals also take place in person. Students can be admitted into the program three times a year.

  • Campus: Lake Worth & Belle Glade campuses, and online
  • Type: Public
  • Minimum time commitment: Will be determined by the student's ACE exam results as well as the specific track they choose
  • Accreditation: Florida Board of Nursing and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Degree requirements: Hold an LPN/LVN, have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 or higher in all prerequisite classes, complete the HESI A2 exam with a score of 80 or higher

Programs: LPN-RN Online Hybrid Program

Purpose of LPN to RN Bridge Programs

The LPN to RN bridge program allows practical nurses to become registered nurses by introducing courses that act as a bridge to fill the gap between the LPN and RN profession. The bridge program trains individuals in higher level nursing concepts and enhances their critical thinking skills. Registered nurses work more closely with the interdisciplinary healthcare team to make crucial decisions for patients.

LPN to RN Entrance Exams

Some prominent nursing schools have limited seats for their programs. These schools often have prospective students take entrance exams in order to admit the best candidates. The most common entrance tests conducted by a majority of the nursing schools are:

Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS):

This test is taken to determine the candidate's proficiency in Science, English, and Mathematics, grammar, scientific reasoning, life sciences, and algebraic formulas.

National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination:

The candidates are evaluated through multiple choice format including subjects such as general biology, earth science, algebra, geometry, and health.

LPN to RN Education Options

Most LPN to RN programs require students to have the following:

  • You must have a GED or high school diploma
  • You must be a graduate from an accredited education program and must have an unrestricted and current practical nursing license.
  • Must have completed a minimum number of clinical hours (as determined by the respective nursing board) and instructions.

The most important thing that makes an LPN to RN transition or bridge program a good choice for an aspiring registered nurse is the comprehensive education they will earn. While programs will vary in their curriculum, most of the concepts that individuals encounter with are same, such as:

  • Understanding the basics of various systems of the body (reproductive, nervous, skeletal, muscular, integumentary, endocrine, digestive, lymphatic, urinary, cardiovascular, and respiratory).
  • Knowledge about the defense mechanisms of the body
  • Importance of exercise
  • Knowledge of diversity, evolution, and ecology and their roles in human physiology
  • Advance the practices (evidence-based) related to patient and family-centered care
  • To maintain strong relationship bonds with patients and their families
  • Evaluate that nursing has a crucial role to play in the quality feedback cycle as it is related to care
  • Examine the system, insurance, hospital and policy stakeholders
  • Analyze the workflow of nurses in different medical situations
  • Evaluate top ethical and decision-making models to advance patient care
  • To be a part of a variety of clinical settings with advisers and partners, initially as an observer, and finally with numerous opportunities for autonomy
  • Evaluate and examine various aspects of clinical settings

Availability of LPN to RN Online Programs

Just like other nursing programs, LPN to RN online programs are also available at several community colleges and private nursing schools. The best part of the LPN to RN online program is that it offers schedule flexibility and a great advantage over the traditional program. Working LPNs often opt for the online track as it allows them to continue their studies without taking a break from their current job. As the RN curriculum is based on theory, LPNs often prefer to complete it online by enrolling themselves into an accredited distance-learning program. Online LPN to RN programs may follow a hybrid model, allowing individuals to gain clinical experience in person.

While the school provides the clinical work materials for the LPN to RN online program, students are usually allowed to find their own site for gaining clinical experience. There are some factors to consider while looking for online LPN to RN programs:

  • If your school asks you to find your own clinical site, find a few good options and get approval from the school
  • Check some reliable websites for programs, which range from hospitals to school systems
  • The course materials and quizzes will be displayed online, often with assistance from online videos and simulations
  • Professors are often available via email

The following characteristics of an individual determine whether he/she is fit for the LPN to RN online program:

  • Able to get assignments done according to deadlines and loves to work independently
  • Able to manage study time with work and family
  • Able to establish a study area in the home
  • Able to work without the need for face-to-face interaction

The online LPN to RN program prepares students for the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Timeline for Online LPN to RN Program

A typical LPN to RN program takes 70 credit hours to complete. The duration of the program is 1.5 to 2 years. The length of the program also depends on the educational history of the individual and personal circumstances.

Application Process:

Students are required to search websites and research colleges that offer online LPN to RN programs. They need to verify all aspects of the program to make the best decision. The admissions process varies from school to school but involves some common processes mentioned below:

  • Official transcripts to be submitted to the college
  • Qualify for the entrance test
  • Fulfill prerequisite coursework; 2.5 GPA or higher is preferred
  • Submission of application attached with letters of recommendation, proof of LPN licensure, current CPR card, employer verification letter

First Year:

The first year of the program consists of the foundation classes. The subjects include human anatomy, psychology, chemistry, and microbiology. Students start taking bridge classes that drive into the RN curriculum.

Second Year:

In the second year, students learn specialized topics such as adult health, obstetrics, and pediatrics. Advanced topics such as crisis care and leadership in nursing are covered.

Nursing School Accreditation

It is highly recommended that students pursue an LPN to RN program, whether on-campus or online, through nursing schools accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The accreditation ensures that the school and the program meet the strict criteria for delivering quality education. ACEN accredits certificates in nursing, Bachelor’s, Master's and Doctorate degree programs. CCNE accredits Bachelor’s, Master's, and residency programs. The agencies also offer grants and scholarships to needy students. Schools that are not accredited are not eligible for federal aid. Nursing schools are required to apply for the renewal of the accreditation as it is voluntary and only valid for a set amount of time.

LPN to RN Classes & Courses

Most important thing that makes an LPN to RN transition or bridge program an easier option to become a registered nurse is the valuable experience that empowers and gives speed to their further education. Though programs offered by various schools, colleges or universities may vary depending on some factors. Still, most of the concepts that individuals encounter with are same, such as -

  • Understanding the basics of various systems of the body (reproductive, nervous, skeletal, muscular, integumentary, endocrine, digestive, lymphatic, urinary, cardiovascular, and respiratory).
  • Knowledge about the defense mechanisms of the body
  • To know why exercise is important
  • Evolve the general view of the molecular as well as molecular mechanisms of a cell.
  • Knowledge of diversity, evolution, and ecology and their roles in the human physiology.
  • Knowledge of the patterns of evolutionary change that occurs in alleles.
  • Converse about the diversity of living organisms and the way it is related to evolutionary processes.
  • To completely understand human traits, evaluate natural selection as applied to invertebrates, plants, and vertebrates.
  • Go through the evolution completely comprising mechanisms of extinction, adaptive radiation, speciation, and phylogenetic.
  • Knowledge of the structure, development, physiology, and classification of animals that start with protozoa and terminate with vertebrate mammals.
  • Analyze relationships that organisms hold, specifically microorganisms, with each other and their environment not only on the micro but also on macro levels.
  • Advance the practices (evidence-based) related to person- and family-centered care.
  • To maintain strong relationship bonds with patients and their families.
  • Evaluate that nursing has a crucial role to play in the quality feedback cycle as it is related to care.
  • Examine the system, insurance, hospital and policy stakeholders.
  • Analyze work-flow of nurses in different medical conditions.
  • Evaluate top ethical and decision-making models who can guide the aspirants for patient care of high standards.
  • To be a part of a variety of clinical settings with advisers and partners, initially as an observer, and finally with numerous opportunities for autonomy
  • Evaluate and examine various aspects of clinical settings

Job Outlook for LPN's Going to Become RN's

There is no doubt an increase in the demand for nurses all over the United States of America. As per the statistics, there is an estimated growth of 19% in the job outlook for registered nurses in the country. This rate is faster than many other jobs. As per the data of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2,857,180 employed registered nurses in the U.S. in May 2015. Salaries for RN professionals are also quite alluring. A career in this healthcare profession is considered a beneficial path for those who not only want to serve people in need, but also have a desire for a promising career future.

LPN to RN Salary Comparison

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics' May 2016 report, the annual median wage earned by LPNs landed at $44,090, while the annual median salary earned by registered nurses stood at $68,450. The employment of RNs is reported to grow by 16 percent between 2014 to 2024. Registered nurses with bachelor's degrees will have better job prospects. Employers also prefer nurses with a good amount of clinical work experience.

Here is the salary comparison of LPN and RN:

Name of the StateLPN Annual Mean SalaryRN Annual Mean Salary
Alabama$36,100$56,890
Alaska$54,400$88,510
Arizona$49,970$71,790
Arkansas$36,370$56,870
California$51,870$101,260
Colorado$47,530$69,990
Connecticut$55,630$55,630
Delaware$49,410$71,410
District of Columbia$53,100$79,560
Florida$42,320$63,960
Georgia$38,820$63,190
Hawaii$46,820$90,130
Idaho$39,870$61,280
Illinois$47,190$69,760
Indiana$40,730$58,910
Iowa$39,730$55,040
Kansas$40,040$57,410
Kentucky$39,180$58,770
Louisiana$37,960$62,450
Maine$42,410$64,310
Maryland$51,140$73,200
Massachusetts$54,160$88,650
Michigan$45,530$67,690
Minnesota$42,440$72,310
Mississippi$36,730$56,980
Missouri$38,380$59,150
Montana$39,490$62,650
Nebraska$39,710$58,970
Nevada$52,630$81,460
New Hampshire$47,800$67,190
New Jersey$53,300$79,840
New Mexico$46,760$66,030
New York$46,500$78,950
North Carolina$41,940$60,460
North Dakota$41,250$58,890
Ohio$41,060$62,800
Oklahoma$38,590$59,040
Oregon$49,160$83,800
Pennsylvania$44,570$67,550
Rhode Island$55,230$76,410
South Carolina$39,410$61,110
South Dakota$36,270$55,100
Tennessee$37,270$57,560
Texas$45,130$69,890
Utah$43,110$61,000
Vermont$45,830$65,840
Virginia$41,190$65,340
Washington$49,980$78,130
West Virginia$35,680$58,010
Wisconsin$43,140$66,440
Wyoming$44,080$62,080

What To Expect From LPN to RN Online Program

If you have a busy schedule and don’t have time to attend long classroom lectures, you can opt for an online LPN to RN bridge course. Such programs are quite popular in today’s fast-paced world, and they are becoming more and more common. They are an excellent substitute for traditional methods of gaining education. The online LPN to RN program prepares candidates for the NCLEX-RN test.

Along with the many advantages of online programs, there are some cons which make it unsuitable for some nurses. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of online bridge programs are discussed below:

Pros of Online LPN to RN Programs

  • Students enrolled in an online LPN program enjoy flexibility and convenience
  • It is a good option for those who have a busy schedule and can’t attend traditional classroom-based program
  • Online programs tend to be much cheaper than traditional courses. Attending a regular program requires candidates to purchase uniforms and supplies, drive to campus, etc.
  • Students can usually apply to online courses year-round
  • Unlike conventional on-campus courses, it is entirely up to students how much time they want to devote to their studies in online programs

Cons of Online LPN to RN Programs

  • The major drawback of the online program is that students may miss interacting with other students and faculty
  • Students may have to wait for a response from a professor via email (rather than an instant answer in a classroom environment)
  • While various online programs are available to students, it can sometimes be difficult to find a quality, accredited online program
  • Some online programs do not help students find preceptors for clinical experience. In these instances, students must find a suitable preceptor on their own
  • Students must be self-motivated. Those who procrastinate or have a hard time focusing on their studies in a self-paced environment may struggle to complete an online program