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Discover Top Fast-Track LPN to BSN Programs Online in 2023

If you’re an LPN looking to quickly take the next step in your nursing career, then an accelerated online BSN program could be for you. This guide will help you learn about different programs and what to expect from them.

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WRITTEN BY: Shannon Lee
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REVIEWED BY: Edumed Editing Staff

Last Updated: 07/14/2023

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Are you a licensed practical nurse dreaming about better hours, more money, and greater opportunities for career advancement? If so, it’s time to consider becoming a registered nurse. In addition to an increase in responsibility, becoming an RN also typically translates to a major bump in pay. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for LPNs is $54,620, whereas RNs enjoy a median salary of $81,220— an almost 50% boost.

Of course this will require you to go back to school to get your degree, so you’re probably wondering how it’s possible to make it all happen. Between balancing career, home life, and other responsibilities, who has time?

Turns out, you do: Many schools offer fast-track LPN to BSN online programs that grant credit for coursework and training you already completed to become an LPN. And if you’re wondering how long a typical LPN to BSN bridge program takes, here’s your incentive: You can earn your degree in as little as nine months, depending on your prior education and training.

Ready to change your life? Read on to learn more about these accelerated programs and what you can expect after you enroll.

School Profiles: Fast-Track Online LPN-BSN Programs

Ready to jump in? Let’s explore fast-track LPN to BSN online programs. The following spotlights offer insights into a few accredited, high quality accelerated learning options. Use the information here to guide your research as you decide which aspects of these programs are most important to you.

The LPN-BSN online program from East Tennessee State University is perfect for students who want the autonomy of online learning, but also appreciate experiences with classmates in real time. Some classes are offered synchronously through Zoom — meaning you’ll log on at the same time as your peers and participate together in an online classroom. Other online coursework is completed asynchronously and at your convenience. As for in-person clinicals, these are held during the weekends or evenings at locations throughout the state of Tennessee.

The curriculum takes most full-time students four semesters to complete. However, prospective students need to keep in mind that this doesn’t include the core university requirements. How long it takes to complete these general education credits and prerequisites depends on your prior learning experiences, although students can expect to receive 23 articulation credits based on their prior work and education background as an LPN.

The Online LPN to BSN Program Bridge Option from Herzing University consists of 55 nursing-related course credits. However, students must complete 120 credits to graduate. Therefore, the time it takes to complete this program varies based on how many credits a student will receive for their prior college education. The average length of time it takes to complete this program is just 28 months, after which graduates will be fully prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam.

Specific to curriculum, classroom components are delivered online in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. Experiential learning comes from clinicals and three intensives, which may be completed at approved sites. Even though Herzing’s fast-track online LPN to BSN students will rarely be on campus, they will still receive plenty of virtual student support through career coaching, academic advising, library resources, technical support, and tutoring.

Among accredited online LPN to BSN fast-track programs, the one offered through the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center is one of the fastest. Full-time students can graduate in as few as nine months, and part-time students can expect to take 24 months to finish. This program achieves these results with 60 credit hours, 30 of which can be earned from advanced standing exams and 30 that are completed in the program itself.

Most of the curriculum is online and delivered asynchronously. This allows students to attend class from anywhere and at any time. Like our other spotlight LPN to BSN programs, students must also complete their clinical training, which this program offers at various approved locations in Oklahoma. These clinicals consists of approximately 160 hours of experiential learning each semester.

Benefits of Accelerated Online LPN to BSN Programs

If you’re looking into a fast-track LPN to BSN program, you’re probably attracted to the idea of earning your degree as quickly as possible. Yet there are other benefits that add to the allure of these accelerated online programs. Keep reading to discover a few of the most popular aspects of these nursing bridge programs.

Affordability

Spending less time in school not only means graduating sooner, but it also means spending less money on tuition and other learning costs. Even if students pay more each semester or quarter to take a bigger course load, they can drop additional fees and costs by avoiding an extra term or two. And don’t forget that the sooner graduation comes, the sooner an RN can start earning higher pay.

Geographic Independence

One of the key features of fast-track LPN to BSN programs is a mostly (or fully) online curriculum for didactic courses. This means students don’t need to commute to campus or move closer to the school to enroll, which can save time and money — and can be especially helpful to LPNs serving remote areas of a state. As for the clinicals, most fast-track online LPN to BSN programs will allow students to complete them at an approved location close to where they work or live. The University of Arkansas, for example, offers a bridge program where students complete clinicals in their geographic area.

Learning Flexibility

Online learning offers flexibility that provides at least two benefits. First, it makes it easier to learn at a comfortable pace. Some might choose to go accelerated, but for those who want a lighter course load, online learning makes that easier to do as well. Second, remote education makes it possible to attend class at any time and from anywhere. The asynchronous class structure at the University of Oklahoma is an example of the kind of flexible learning environment you can find in these fast-track LPN to BSN programs.

Minimal Time Conflicts

Because of the greater flexibility that comes with online education, you’ll reduce the chance that your learning will interfere with other obligations — like family or professional requirements. When a person can take classes at any time during the day and from any location with an internet connection, it’s a lot easier to take care of family and continue working while in school, even with a full course load.

Fast Track Access to New Opportunities

The sooner graduation comes, the sooner a student can start working as an RN. Almost every hospital and medical system is looking for more RNs, and the nursing shortage crisis is an ongoing healthcare concern throughout the nation. Therefore, earning your degree can provide you with the benefit of a larger number of potential job opportunities. This is especially helpful for those who want to work for a particular employer, in a particular specialty, or in a specific geographic location.

Traits of a Successful Accelerated LPN-BSN Student

If you’ve completed the schooling needed to become an LPN, you’ve already had a taste of what it takes to earn an online BSN degree. However, if you’ve never enrolled in an online program before, you might be surprised by some of the subtle nuances inherent to succeeding in this format.

To make the most of your online LPN to BSN fast-track program, it helps to adopt the following habits and traits.

Adaptability

Online accelerated programs still require students to complete experiential learning requirements such as clinicals or practicums. Because these are completed at real-world healthcare facilities, there’s always a chance that unexpected scheduling changes could happen. Additionally, because much of the curriculum is delivered online, if the program has a technical issue, there could be changes to course requirements and/or learning formats.

Effective Time Management Skills

Thanks to distance learning, students can go to school while also taking care of family and continuing their current job as an LPN. This increases the need for good time management and organizational skills to balance these competing commitments all at once. Keep in mind: Time management skills can be learned. So if you’re considering a return to school, spend time researching effective tips designed specifically for online students.

High Motivation and Discipline

Online learning allows a person to set their own schedule. This is a double-edged sword in that it makes it possible to complete other non-academic commitments, but it also makes it harder to keep up with schoolwork. Then add the rigors of an accelerated program, and it’s possible to become hopelessly behind on studies in a short amount of time. It’s important to stay disciplined and on-schedule with course requirements. Luckily for you, this is also a learnable skill — and Arizona State University has ideas about how to build self-discipline.

Solid Academic Foundation

LPN to BSN students in a fast-track program will be expected to have a solid foundation in certain science, math, and healthcare concepts. The accelerated program builds on this prior learning and reduces the time necessary to graduate. Therefore, you’ll find yourself relying on your LPN experience combined with lessons learned throughout your education.

Strong Support System

Completing any accelerated program while also taking care of family and work obligations isn’t easy. There will be times during a fast-track online LPN to BSN program when students may feel overwhelmed, confused, or like giving up. This is why it helps to have a good support system of friends, family members, co-workers, and classmates to provide encouragement and motivation. Interested in researching how to build your own rock-solid support system? Walden University has ideas.

Tech-Savviness

A defining characteristic of an online program is that it’s offered through the internet. This requires students to have computers to complete their online coursework. Problems with malfunctioning or incompatible technology are common (and they often seem to happen during non-business hours, when IT help is not available). Therefore, it helps to have at least a basic level of tech skills to troubleshoot online classroom issues when IT support isn’t on duty.

What to Expect From Fast-Track LPN to BSN Programs

Now that you know what it takes to succeed, as well as what benefits you gain from enrolling in an online LPN to BSN accelerated program, it’s time to go over common academic requirements. Every program will be different, but you should still expect to see many of the following academic components once you begin.

Assessments and Exams

In an online LPN to BSN program, students will complete exams, quizzes, and tests — just like their on-campus counterparts. They will take these at home or wherever they normally complete online classwork. They can also expect to take these assessments more frequently, due to the expedited nature of their curriculum. In cases where they must demonstrate hands-on skills, students will need to complete in-person assessments during clinicals and/or from on-campus intensives that occasionally meet throughout the program.

Capstone or Final Project

Some fast-track LPN to BSN online programs will require students to complete a final project or capstone. During this course, students will undertake a project and deliver a presentation that demonstrates not only what they’ve learned, but also their ability to synthesize and integrate their knowledge. The Nursing Capstone at Excelsior University, for example, requires students to weave together core non-nursing topics learned throughout their curriculum with practical nursing applications.

Clinical Rotations

Even when a school says its LPN to BSN accelerated program is 100% online, students will still need to complete hands-on training. Because many students won’t live or work close to campus, the LPN to BSN programs will typically allow them to find a healthcare facility close to where they live or work to observe and practice their clinical skills.

General Education Coursework

Any bachelor’s degree, whether it’s in nursing or another field, will include general education classes. These offer the opportunity for a more well-rounded education — one that will not only help put the nursing education into perspective, but also provide ideas, theories, and experiences students might otherwise never have, but could still enhance their nursing and personal lives.

NCLEX-RN Preparation

The LPN to BSN curriculum will cover topics and skills that students must master to take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam and receive their RN credentials. In addition to being incorporated into the required curriculum, this licensure preparation may also be offered outside the classroom, through optional training or preparation seminars. Even if your curriculum doesn’t offer these kinds of resources, you can easily find NCLEX-RN prep tips from online educators like the University of Maryland.

Nursing Courses

Online nursing curriculum typically consists of two components. First, there’s classroom or didactic learning, which will be fully or mostly completed online. Second, there’s the clinical component, which must be completed in-person at an approved hospital or other medical site. Depending on prior academic coursework, there may be certain nursing-related prerequisites that must also be completed.

Professional Development and Career Services

As easy as it will likely be to have one or more job offers even before graduation, students can still use the services of a career or professional development office at their school. Some of the resources offered include mock interviews, resume reviews, alumni contacts, and professional networking with major nursing employers. Herzing University, for example, offers lifelong career coaching as a key benefit of its fast-track LPN to BSN program.