Licensed practical nurses, often known as LPNs, perform many important, patient-focused tasks in medical settings. However, their opportunities for advancement can be limited. The great news is that those who want to move forward with their education and earn a BSN may be ahead of the game: They have already completed some nursing education and they have valuable hands-on experience, which means they aren’t starting on the bachelor’s degree from scratch. An LPN to BSN “bridge” program allows students to pursue their education while continuing to work, especially if they opt to pursue a bridge program online. Let’s take a closer look at online LPN to BSN programs, including top schools, tuition, and the NCLEX.
Best in Class: Top LPN to BSN Programs Online in ‘20
If you’re interested in enrolling in an online LPN to BSN program, you’ve got a lot of schools to choose from – and sometimes, too many choices can be a burden. To help make the decision easier for prospective students, we’ve created a list of some of the best LPN to BSN online programs available today. We consider these to be the best for working LPNs because of their affordability, flexibility and the quality education students receive. These programs are tailor-made for practical nurses who have professional and family obligations to handle but still want to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. A few of the best programs are worthy of special attention. Let’s take a look at the best for 2020.
How Online LPN to BSN Programs Work
Online LPN programs work by allowing practical nurses to leverage their existing training and experience. This allows them to obtain a bachelor’s degree and become registered nurses more quickly than a student without a nursing background. But since many LPNs will want to continue working while in school or have family obligations to honor (or both!), online programs offer the flexibility busy students demand. Even if some hands-on work is required, the bulk of the courses can be completed online. Many schools go a step further and design their curriculums so that they can be completed at either a full-time or part-time pace. Here’s a look at a full program, from prerequisites to graduation.
How Long Are LPN to BSN Online Programs?
How long a program lasts depends on two major factors: the type of program a student chooses – whether full-time or part-time – and the number of credits a student has when they come into the program.
In most full-time LPN to BSN programs, students should expect to take about 18 months to earn their bachelor’s degree, assuming they have already completed all of their general education and prerequisite courses. However, this time frame will lengthen to two or more years if the student is only taking courses part-time.
In some instances, students may be able to earn their BSN in less than a year, depending on which semester they begin, if they pass the programs nursing entrance exams (allowing them to skip over certain nursing courses) and have previously completed the prerequisite and general education courses.
How Much Do These Programs Cost?
There is no general rule when it comes to calculating how much it will cost to complete an LPN to BSN program. Each school has its own tuition policy concerning tuition and fees for online nursing students. Some schools will charge them a special online rate, while others may charge them a rate based on their state of residency, such as a lower in-state rate or a higher out-of-state rate. Some schools might also offer financial aid that is more robust than what students will find elsewhere, which can change the bottom line quite a bit. Therefore, students interested in a particular school’s program should be extra careful when calculating cost of attendance and never assume a certain tuition rate applies to them, and should never discount the opportunities for financial aid. The best bet is always to speak to a financial aid advisor before enrollment.
Does the LPN to BSN Online Bridge Prepare You for the NCLEX-RN?
The vast majority of LPN nursing students enrolled in a BSN program will want to become registered nurses. Any quality LPN to BSN online bridge program will fully prepare its graduates to take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam, which is a requirement to earn the right to work as a Registered Nurse.
However, this may not be important for those who want a BSN, but don’t wish to become registered nurses. Regardless of the future career path, it’s important that these students still look for an LPN to BSN program that will provide adequate training and instruction to pass the NCLEX-RN. That’s because preparing students for this very important exam is a mark of a high-quality program, and any job that requires a BSN will probably expect the BSN holder to have received a level of instruction that is adequate enough to pass the NCLEX-RN.
What Are the LPN to BSN Admission Requirements?
The precise admissions requirements will vary based on the specific LPN to BSN program. But for most prospective nursing students, they should expect to comply with the following admission requirements:
- Completion of an admission application.
- Up-to-date resume or curriculum vitae.
- Copy of the applicant’s LPN or LVN license.
- Graduation from an accredited or approved practical nursing program.
- A short list of professional references.
- Completion of certain nursing-based prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA.
- Pass one or more school specific nursing entrance exams, such as the National League for Nursing (NLN) Acceleration Challenge Examinations.
- A minimum amount of practical nursing experience.
Are Online LPN to BSN Programs Accredited?
Accreditation refers to the independent review of a school’s curriculum to determine if it meets the standards of a solid, high-quality education. In other words, it confirms a degree is more than a piece of paper. It helps ensure a graduate’s hard work doesn’t go to waste.
When it comes to accreditation, there are two primary types. There’s regional, which refers to accreditation of the school itself. Then there’s programmatic, which deals with the accreditation of a specific program. When it comes to LPN to BSN bridge programs, there are two accrediting bodies, either of which will ensure graduates are prepared to pass the NCLEX-RN and practice as registered nurses after graduation. The first is the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or CCNE. The second is the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, or ACEN.
To become a licensed registered nurse, applicants must graduate from a nursing program approved by their state nursing board. In many instances, accreditation will ensure the program meets this requirement. Additionally, accreditation helps students obtain financial aid. Most private scholarships and government-based aid requires attendance at an accredited post-secondary institution.
What Can You Do After an LPN to BSN?
When it comes to earning a BSN, many people might think it means they’re locked into a future career as a registered nurse. While it’s true that many BSN graduates will start their career as a registered nurse, there are a number of different careers available that can be just as challenging and fulfilling. Here are a few of the options: