Introduction to LPN to RN Bridge Programs

There are many reasons why a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) will want to consider entering LPN to RN Programs to advance their career and become a RN. The pay can be quite a bit more substantial. There is often much more responsibility as an RN. Career options for RNs are plentiful. An increased personal satisfaction with furthering your education may be a driving force. For the LPN looking to advance to a higher degree, below is an explanation of the different education options, current job outlook of RNs, employment options of RNs and a pay comparison between LPNs and RNs.

Guide to LPN to BSN Bridge Programs

How Do I Earn an LPN to RN Degree

An LPN typically obtains a one year certification. After completing the education and clinical requirements to receive the certification, the LPN candidate must take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing, or NCLEX-PN. Once the NCLEX-PN has been passed, the LPN candidate officially becomes an LPN and holds a license to practice nursing. Similarly, an RN looking to obtain their Associates Degree of Nursing (ADN) must complete certain education and clinical requirements. Once these requirements are obtained, they graduate with their ADN and are eligible for the NCLEX-RN. Licensure is obtained once this examination is passed.

There are many programs across the U.S. that allows an LPN to obtain their ADN degree, subsequently receiving an RN license. These programs are competitive; often an LPN will be competing for space in the program with other LPNs, college students that have skipped the process of becoming an LPN and are seeking to become an RN, and students from other medical disciplines that are also seeking to become an RN. LPNs must apply for RN school just like all other students.

Where are LPN to RN Programs Offered

ADN programs are offered all over the U.S. in community colleges and universities. The amount of credits necessary for graduation depends on the school’s requirements, but the typical program is between 60 and 72 credits. The ADN program is designed to prepare its students to pass the NCLEX-RN examination and obtain an entry-level job as an RN. A typical ADN program is about half as long as a BSN program and can be as much as half the price. Both ADN and BSN degree holders are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN examination, but the BSN education prepares the nurse for management, leadership, research and public health positions.

Entering an ADN program as an LPN may allow the student to skip out of certain nursing classes, due to prior education and clinical experience. The LPN often may not be required to take Fundamentals of Nursing or Med/Surg 1. Some ADN programs, depending on the curriculum, may allow the LPN to graduate quicker than other students.

Best Ranked RN Programs

One of the best measures of a nursing program’s ability to prepare its students to become a registered nurse is to look at an institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN pass rates. We went directly to all 50 state boards of nursing to find, report and rank the best ADN degree programs. 

Difference Between LPN and LVN ADN Programs

LVN stands for “licensed vocational nurse”, whereas LPN stands for “licensed practical nurse. An LPN and an LVN is the same thing; the acronyms may be different but they both refer to a nurse who has passed the NCLEX-PN examination and are practicing with a one year certification. The job title is interchangeable and is dependent on which state the nurse resides.

LVNs are employed in California and Texas, whereas LPNs are employed in all other states in the US. As stated previously, the job is the same, the education is the same, and the final examination, the NCLEX-PN is the same. The term “licensed vocational nurse” had different origins in both states. In Texas, the term may have originated in the 1950s with the Vocational Nurse Act. In California, legislators termed these nurses as “vocational”, due to “…performing the technical skills that one acquires ‘by means of a course in an accredited school of vocational nursing.’”

As there is no difference between the practice of an LPN and an LVN, there is no difference between an LVN to ADN program and an LPN to ADN program. Although the title of the program may differ, the same education is provided – to prepare the student for the NCLEX-RN.