The path way to become an RN from LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

Licensed practical/vocational nurses often aspire to climb higher on the nursing ladder. An Licensed Practical Nurse who wants to make this change may decide to go back to school for an associate degree (ADN), nursing diploma or bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). Another option is the fast-track LPN to RN program offered by some educational institutions.

Licensed Practical Nurse programs are typically certificate rather than degree programs and last one year to 18 months. An LPN who completes her course work at a community college or university may be able to transfer some of her credits to an associate degree program. Some nursing diploma programs are affiliated with community colleges and universities, and they may also accept LPN courses completed at a community college or university. LPNs who graduate from a technical-vocational school should discuss the possibility of receiving credit with the college of their choice.




Although it will take longer, a BSN program is advantageous for the LPN who wants to become an RN. More professional organizations have come out in support of the BSN as the minimum educational requirement for professional nursing, and many hospitals prefer or require a BSN. Some employers will also offer financial assistance to an LPN who wants to go on for a BSN, but would not offer such assistance for an ADN. BSN programs also offer training that can prepare the new graduate for management, teaching and other roles that might not be available to an ADN or diploma graduate.

A bridge, ladder or fast-track program is an option at some educational institutions. These programs may have prerequisites, but they often offer an experienced Licensed Practical Nurse to capitalize on her previous education and clinical knowledge. Generally, a prospective student must have a current LPN license and pass a background check, as well as admission exams and tests of nursing knowledge. Some associate programs allow the LPN to enter as a second-year student, complete the program and graduate with an ADN. Others offer the option to complete a BSN. Most fast-track programs actually take two or three years.

Each program is different, and state regulations may also differ. The cost of the programs may also vary significantly. It pays to do careful research and pick the program best suited for the individual. Some programs may offer student loans rf tuition assistance, and if the LPN is currently employed, her employer may help defray her educational expenses. Programs that offer a significant percentage of their didactic offerings online may also allow the LPN to continue working at least part-time while completing a fast-track program. After graduation, the Licensed Practical Nurse must take the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed as an RN.



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2016-25450  Exp. 10/17