Pennsylvania needs more registered nurses. According to the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, hospitals have a 27 percent vacancy rate for registered nurses who provide direct patient care. The same survey said one of the reasons for this shortage is not enough RN nursing program graduates. That’s great news if you’re a practical nurse who’s been thinking about making the jump to RN. Not only will it allow you to take on more responsibilities, you’ll have the opportunity for much higher pay and more job options.
One of the best ways to make the move is through an LPN to BSN bridge program in Pennsylvania, which prepares you for RN licensure and lets you earn your bachelor’s degree at the same time. These programs recognize your prior nursing education and training, saving you time and money compared to traditional degree paths.
Ready to learn more about what a Pennsylvania LPN to BSN program can do for your nursing career? Use this guide to find top-rated programs, get answers to common questions, and see exactly how much more you could make as a registered nurse with a BSN.
Best LPN to BSN Programs in Pennsylvania for 2023
As a prospective LPN to BSN nursing student in Pennsylvania, you have plenty of programs to choose from. To help you select the right program, the best programs in Pennsylvania for 2023 are listed below. They go above and beyond in terms of curriculum quality, learning flexibility, affordability, and student support. They also give you an idea of what to look for during your LPN to BSN program search.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
With an NCLEX-RN passage rate of over 90%, it’s no wonder the nursing program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania is popular and produces highly qualified nurses. Besides making sure its graduates are well-prepared for careers as RNs, this nursing program also stands out because of its flexible learning options. IU’sNursing/Licensed Practical Nurse, BS allows students to save time and money by skipping several introductory nursing courses and a clinical course. Students enjoy access to academic advisors who help with class selection and tutoring. The clinical experiences are varied in that they begin at medical facilities near campus. As upperclassmen, nursing students have access to clinical locations in other parts of Pennsylvania, so they can diversify their training and learn different perspectives and approaches to nursing care.
The LPN to BSN program from Wilson College is accredited by CNEA, and most classes are offered remotely. The last three semesters of the program, however, consist of more in-person learning in the form of clinicals. These can be completed both on campus and at nearby hospitals that have made special arrangements with Wilson College. Clinicals are completed in a cohort fashion, and any clinical courses with classroom components usually deliver those classroom components online. Applicants must complete online applications and provide the necessary transcripts from a high school or GED program and their LPN program. They also need proof of a valid LPN license and TEAS test results. Test results must be less than four years old, and scores of 65 or higher are recommended.
Marywood University’s LPN to BSN Degree program is accredited by CCNE and is mostly an on-campus program. One of the benefits of completing this program on campus is access to state-of-the-art nursing education facilities, including simulation laboratories, computer labs, and a student lounge. Even though 120 credits are needed to earn this Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, about 80 are related to nursing or nursing prerequisites. BSN students who are already LPNs can get credit for six courses by taking the necessary challenge exams and testing out of these BSN course requirements. LPN applicants need a GPA at their current/prior college of at least 3.0 in addition to the usual application requirements like filling out an application and paying the application fee.
FAQs About LPN to BSN Programs in Pennsylvania
What will I learn in an LPN to BSN program in Pennsylvania?
By completing an LPN to BSN program in Pennsylvania, you’ll build on the basic nursing and healthcare skills you already have. As an LPN, you check blood pressure and other basic vitals and document the data. As an RN, you’ll complete those tasks and learn how this information relates to your patient’s overall medical needs.
You’ll also take classes on nursing topics that help you learn to handle greater responsibility concerning patient care and increased leadership within your department or workplace. For instance, Wilson College’s BSN curriculum includes classes like Nursing Leadership, Healthcare Informatics, and Childbearing/Child Rearing Families. You’ll also learn how to complete more involved medical tests or assist doctors in these tests and deliver healthcare advice during the discharge process.
How long does it take to complete an LPN to BSN program in Pennsylvania?
Most LPN to BSN programs require about 120 credits to graduate, which the typical full-time student completes in four years. However, LPN to BSN students can skip several pre-requisite and introductory nursing courses thanks to their prior LPN training. The number of courses and how they can skip them varies, though. For example, Waynesburg University students can earn credit by examination for seven courses. Depending on whether you have additional college transfer credits and how you choose to load up on classes each semester, this could shave a year off the time it normally takes to graduate.
How much do LPN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania cost?
The cost of Pennsylvania LPN to BSN programs is an important factor in deciding which school to attend. To give you an idea of how much your LPN to BSN bridge degree could cost, the tuition rates of three LPN to BSN programs are listed below. Keep in mind that financial aid awards, additional fees, and other costs have a major impact on how much your education costs.
Total Credits: 102
Total Credits: 120
What are the admission requirements for LPN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania?
Every Pennsylvania school and LPN to BSN program has its own admissions standards and requirements, but there are similarities in what they expect students to provide when applying. Standard application requirements include:
- Official high school and post-secondary transcripts
- Application for admission
- Application fee
- Proof of current LPN license
- Standardized test results. Some schools, like Wilson College, require TEAS test results.
Before beginning clinicals, students also need to pass the necessary criminal background checks, provide proof of health insurance, and submit medical records showing they are current with their vaccinations.
What should I look for in an LPN to BSN program in Pennsylvania?
When choosing among LPN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania, look for one that is approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing and accredited by ACEN, NLN CNEA, or CCNE. Assuming those conditions have been met, also look at other program characteristics like NCLEX-RN passage rates since programs that do a better job training their students usually also have passage rates consistently above the state and national averages. Then, consider the job placement rate for program graduates. Given the strong demand for RNs, this should be fairly high. If it’s unusually low, it could be a potential red flag.
Is financial aid available for my LPN to BSN program in Pennsylvania?
As a nursing student of a traditional or online LPN to BSN Pennsylvania program, you should be eligible for most forms of financial aid, such as student loans, grants, and scholarships. Make sure your program is accredited and approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing, as this accreditation is necessary to receive federal financial aid.
Some of the best types of financial aid include grants and scholarships. Many of these are available specifically to nursing students and are funded by corporations and nonprofit organizations. The Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania are an example. Another great place to look is your school since they’ll often have scholarships only available to its students. Learn more about potential scholarships by checking out this nursing scholarship guide.
Inside Look at Online LPN to BSN Programs in Pennsylvania
Fully accredited and approved online LPN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania are typically offered in blended or hybrid formats. Classroom instruction can usually be completed through distance learning, but part of the curriculum will include in-person clinicals. This practical training typically takes place at hospitals or other healthcare providers located close to the school’s campus. Other in-person curriculum requirements may include labs that students must complete on campus.
Because students also earn bachelor’s degrees, they need to complete some electives and general education classes. This means that even if all nursing courses are offered in person, there’s still a reasonable chance that some of the general education or non-nursing courses are available online. Check out this page on online LPN to BSN programs to find out more about how online learning works in nursing bridge programs.
Common Questions About Online LPN to BSN Programs in Pennsylvania
Are hybrid and online LPN programs more affordable than campus programs in Pennsylvania?
Some schools offer lower tuition rates for online students or courses. Additionally, paying for online LPN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania is sometimes more manageable not because the classes are cheaper but because students can also work while in school. Additionally, if remote courses allow for a faster graduation time, a nursing student can earn a higher income as an RN instead of an LPN sooner. There are also the cost savings that come with not having to live on or near campus and not having to commute every day to on-campus classes.
Can I finish my LPN to BSN program in Pennsylvania faster by taking coursework online?
Online courses sometimes lead to faster graduation programs because it makes it easier to take required courses any time during the year. Online classes for LPN to BSN programs also make it possible to continue working while in school, which allows nurses to both be full-time students and have full-time jobs.
Will earning my LPN to BSN degree online or through a hybrid program impact my ability to get licensed?
RN licensure in Pennsylvania requires you to graduate from a Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing-approved program. If a school has this approval, it can offer hybrid or online nursing courses. Just understand that even if most of the classes in your nursing school are available online, there will be some in-person education requirements, such as labs and clinicals, that you need to meet.
Will employers care if I took some of my LPN to BSN classes online?
As long as you complete your RN training from a program that’s been approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing and accredited by ACEN, CCNE, or NLN CNEA, employers won’t care if your BSN coursework was completed online or on campus. Online learning no longer carries the stigma it used to, and any practical skills you need as an RN will come from in-person clinical and lab courses that can’t be offered online.
How Do I Go from Being an LPN to a BSN Nurse in Pennsylvania?
There are several ways to become an RN in Pennsylvania. Most LPNs will use the initial licensure pathway. This requires them to do the following:
- Complete a nursing program that’s been approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing (PBON).
- Pass the NCLEX-RN.
- Complete three hours of child abuse reporting and recognition continuing education through a PBON-approved class.
- Complete an RN licensure application.
- Pay the licensure fee. For most graduates of LPN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania, this is $95.
- Complete a state or FBI background check.
RNs in Pennsylvania must renew their licenses every two years. Renewal includes paying a $122 fee and completing 30 hours of continuing education, two of which must relate to child abuse recognition and reporting.
LPN to BSN Salary and Employment Trends in Pennsylvania
Shifting careers from an LPN to an RN means having more patient responsibility and learning more complex patient care skills. Fortunately, this added responsibility comes with significantly more pay. The section below looks at much you can expect to earn as an RN in Pennsylvania.
How much more can I make going from an LPN to BSN in Pennsylvania?
The jump in salary for a Pennsylvania RN compared to an LPN is significant. As evidenced by the chart below, RNs can make $10,000 to $30,000 more each year than LPNs. Keep in mind that you may be able to command a higher-than-average salary because you hold a BSN instead of just an associate degree.
|LPN Median Annual Earnings||RN Median Annual |
|Annual % Earnings |
|East Stroudsburg, PA||$46,630||$78,670||69%|
|State College, PA||$47,430||$74,380||57%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021
What’s the job market like for BSN nurses in Pennsylvania vs. LPNs?
Pennsylvania needs nurses. One reason is the increased demand for healthcare services. Another is that many Pennsylvania registered nurses are retiring. One of the biggest reasons, though, is not having enough nursing school faculty to teach nursing students.
Pennsylvania is unique in that unlike some other states, the projected need for LPNs is a bit higher than for RNs. Despite this, graduates from Pennsylvania LPN to BSN programs have healthy job prospects after graduation. The projected growth of Pennsylvania RNs is just below the national average of 9 percent, and that for Pennsylvania LPNs is above the national average of 9.3 percent.
|Job Growth Rate|
|Average Annual Openings|
|LPNs in Pennsylvania||4,330||11.5%||3,440|
|RNs in Pennsylvania||13,100||8.9%||9,280|
Source: Projections Central