Description of Online LPN to RN Degree Programs
Today there are many distance-learning options for LPN to RN degree programs. These are bridge programs for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) to receive a Registered Nurse (RN) degree. Since LPN education takes less time and money than RN education, it’s common for people to get that degree first. Unfortunately though, it has limited job and career advancement opportunities. This is why online LPN to RN degree programs are an ideal solution. They make it possible for you to continue your LPN career while obtaining a RN degree.
The bridge program covers the gap between the educational requirements of LPNs and RNs. It also provides you with an understanding of nursing theory, nursing science, patient care methods, nursing pharmacology and professional nursing practice. You’ll be required to complete general education courses in communication, sociology, history and mathematics to qualify for a RN degree. There are a few options you can obtain an RN through, including:
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN): This is the most common initial nursing education for all registered nurses. It’s a 2-3 year program that provides entry-level education requirements to practice as a RN. As a graduate of an ADN program you would be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and receive a RN license after passing the exam. Usually an online LPN to RN program can take as little as 18 months to complete. It’s a good option for those who don’t have a ton of time to spend on a more advanced education.
Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing (BSN Degree): BSN degrees are 4-year programs that provide the basic level of education to practice as an RN. This is a more advanced degree than an ADN and can offer better benefits. Usually graduates of BSN programs have better career opportunities than graduates of ADN programs. They also have the ability to achieve specialty certification and have the educational foundation for future nursing graduate studies or healthcare administration. Courses are offered through the BSN that aren’t available through an ADN program. Leadership and management, community health nursing, risk reduction, and disease management are a few examples of courses offered.
Online programs are unique. They offer you the ability to get a higher degree while still maintaining a full-time work schedule. The top five reasons to choose an online LPN to RN program include:
- Gain a degree through a prestigious accredited university
- No classroom attendance required
- Flexibility in part-time or full-time enrollment, tests, and classroom activities
- Find lower costs for the same education that is offered at traditional universities
- Learn at your place, at your own pace
Career Advancements through Online LPN to RN Programs
There are many benefits to your nursing career if you choose to participate in an LPN to RN degree program. First of all, after becoming an RN you will be able to take on more responsibility, receive a higher pay, and find jobs in a wider range of medical facilities. RNs are more involved in treating patients than LPNs. RNs also have some leeway to specialize in certain types of treatment and work at specialty facilities. Currently RNs are the most employed nurses across the nation. Through this program you can explore many options of employment since you will be high in demand.
Additionally, becoming a RN will provide you with a large pay increase from your current LPN salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for RNs in May 2008 was $62,450, about 30% higher than that of LPNs, which was only $39,030. The number of available jobs for RNs is also supposed to increase by 22% by 2018. This means the likelihood is high that there will be jobs available when you graduate from your LPN to RN nursing program. For more information about the financial benefits of becoming an RN, you can check out The Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational employment and wages page for RNs as well as the Health Resources and Services Administration page that offers governmental information on nurse training and careers.
What are Program Admission Requirements for LPN to RN Degrees?
For program admission you first must be a previously certified LPN or LVN (licensed vocational nurse) to get into a LPN to RN bridge program. You should also have experience as a LPN or be currently employed in a LPN position. A high school diploma or GED is also a requirement. Nursing school entrance exams, CPR certification, and criminal backgrounds checks are often common requirements for admission. The following are examples of entrance nursing exams for LPN to RN programs:
In addition to the above requirements many schools encourage you to have a GPA of 2.5 or higher in previous programs of study. They also often require letters of recommendation from previous employees and professors, a complete resume or curriculum vitae, and a personal essay that addresses the reasons why you want to obtain an RN degree. There may be additional admission requirements than this depending on the online program you choose.
What are Accredited LPN to RN Degree Programs?
In the United States different schools are accredited based on the quality of education an institution offers. It’s important for you to select an online LPN to RN program that has been accredited. In order for colleges and universities to become accredited they must be evaluated on their governance and administration, financial stability, admissions and student services, institutional resources, student learning, institutional effectiveness, and relationships with internal and external constituencies. Accrediting agencies follow guidelines that are set by the U.S. federal government.
The reason you must attend an accredited online program is because there are many hoaxes out there, or organizations that just want your money. If you go to an accredited school you’re guaranteed a quality education and you’ll get your money’s worth. Additionally, for you to qualify for financial aid on a federal level, the institution you’re accepted to must be accredited by an accrediting agency that is recognized by the federal government. Accreditation ensures that the level of education you receive meets certain criteria and standards. You’ll also be able to transfer to another school only if your previous classroom credits have the level of quality that accreditation assures. Also, as a graduate of an accredited nursing school you have the opportunity to attend other schools offering advanced studies, including MSN and Doctorate programs. Prospective employers will also look for accreditation, especially in a serious field such as nursing. Without attending an accredited school you could risk your future employment.
To assure that programs are accredited you can search for them on the U.S. Department of Education website, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CHEA is a private, nonprofit national organization that coordinates accreditation activity in the United States. They serve as the primary national voice for voluntary accreditation and quality assurance to the U.S. Congress and U.S. Department of Education.