Reviewing LPN to RN Programs Online

Learn more about which educational programs stand out, how much they cost, accreditation, and advancing your career as an LPN.

Online LPN to RN programs are a practical way to take the next step in your nursing career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates job growth for registered nurses will outpace most other professions, and nearly 440,000 new openings are expected to become available between 2016 and 2026. Licensed practical nurses and vocational nurses are in a prime position to take advantage of this growth by completing an LPN to RN bridge program, building on their existing knowledge and skill sets. Keep reading to learn more about LPN to RN degrees, including top online programs, common courses, and salary projections.

Best in Class: Top Online LPN/LVN to RN Programs in 2019

With the number of online LPN/LVN to RN programs continually growing, prospective students may not know where to start when it comes to narrowing their options. Students should look for options that speak to their unique needs and aspirations. Fortunately, EduMed is here to provide information and clarity on what makes for a top program. To help start you on the journey of finding a perfect program, we’ve spotlighted several fully-accredited programs. Learn more about each school below and see which may be the right fit for you. (Read how we chose our schools >>)

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To be considered for our college spotlight list, schools were required to have:

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education
  • Programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • LPN-LVN to RN program(s) offered at least partially online

School Metrics Explained

  • Cost: Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Financial Aid: Percentage of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant or scholarship aid.

About Our Data

EduMed’s college lists use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDs). Most recent data pull: May 2019

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School Name Location School Type Cost Online Programs Financial Aid School Information
Allegany College of Maryland Cumberland, MD Public $$$$ 1 84%

Operating as a public community college in Cumberland, Alleghany College of Maryland serves nearly 4,000 degree-seeking learners through traditional and online means each year. The institution provides an asynchronous LPN to RN degree fully online for those looking to balance the demands of personal, professional, and academic responsibilities. Given their existing educations, students begin the program at the second-year level and complete the program in approximately 18 months.

All theory classes exist on an online learning platform, meaning students never need to visit the Maryland campus. They do, however, need to participate in a clinical component, but this can be done near their place of residence. Upon completing all requirements, graduates can then sit for the NCLEX-RN examination.

If you’re considering this school, it’s important to remember that ACM is not approved to serve students in all states. At this time, learners in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia can enroll.

Alleghany’s LPN to RN program maintains accreditation via the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and approval from the Maryland Board of Nursing and the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing.

Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, KS Public $$$$ 1 39%

Hutchinson Community College in Kansas maintains one campus, two satellite locations, and a thriving online learning community to ensure it meets the needs of many different types of students. The institution’s LPN to RN online bridge program receives approval from the Kansas Board of Nursing and accreditation via the Commission for Education in Nursing.

Prospective degree seekers must possess a diploma from an accredited LPN program, provide official transcripts, hold a PN license, and possess at least 1,000 hours of documented work experience if they graduated more than three years prior.

After beginning their studies at Hutchinson, virtual students cover a broad range of nursing topics. Some of these include leadership and management concepts in nursing, complex care of the family, health maintenance promotion and restoration, and transitioning from student to professional nurse. This program also requires a number of practicum hours to ensure graduates possess the real-world experience needed to thrive as an RN. All told, you can expect to complete 69 credits, although those with approved transcripts receive 12 credits for prior learning.

Clark State Community College Springfield, OH Public $$$$ 1 64%
Lincoln Land Community College Springfield, IL Public $$$$ 1 44%
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston, MS Public $$$$ 1 73%
Sampson Community College Clinton, NC Public $$$$ 1 70%

Inside the Online LPN to RN Bridge

Bridge programs exist to help prepare practical nurses to undertake the advanced education needed to work as a registered nurse. Heading back to school after being in the work force for couple years can feel daunting, but interested students should know that these programs often offer maximum flexibility and short time frames. Many can be completed in fewer than two years, while some accelerated paths allow learners to move from start to finish in less than a year. Upon completing all the degree requirements, graduates can sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and take on new and exciting roles. Keep reading to learn what to expect.

Prerequisites

Prerequisites exist to ensure students already possess the base level of knowledge needed to tackle more advanced courses. Some schools build these into the curriculum while others expect students to possess them upon enrollment. Some examples of prerequisite courses are:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Microbiology 
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Nutrition

Introduction to Nursing

Entry-level nursing courses help LPNs make the shift from working under the direction of RNs to giving direction. These courses help build professionalism, bedside manners, and knowledge of the tasks that they’ll be expected to complete after graduating. Students will take courses such as:

  • Fundamentals of Nursing
  • Introductory Nursing Informatics
  • Professionalism in Healthcare
  • Nursing Across the Lifespan

Professional/Advanced Nursing

During the final two semesters of an LPN to RN program, you can expect to see a shift from introductory to advanced learning. Students cover topics within niche areas, and also learn how to put their skills to work through more hands-on experiences and capstone projects. Advanced topics include:

  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Nursing in the Community
  • Nursing Practicum
  • NCLEX-RN Test Preparation

Clinical Requirements

To round out their time in an LPN to RN program, the majority of students must complete clinical hours. Learners build the hands-on skills necessary for tasks commonly required of registered nurses while still under the supervision of qualified faculty. If already working as an LPN, you may be able to complete clinical requirements at your current place of work. If not, the clinical can serve as a great networking opportunity that could potentially turn into a job offer.

If living far away from the school you attend virtually, you may need to locate a suitable location, while students who live nearby can usually take advantage of an existing list. After finding an approved site, students need to make sure they meet all the requirements. The number of hours varies by state, and the program administrator or the state board of nursing can provide this information.

Who Are These Programs For?

LPN to RN online programs appeal to individuals who have worked as licensed practical nurses for a time before realizing they want to continue moving up the career ladder by progressing their educations. When deciding whether this is the best next step for you, consider your motivations. Do you want to take on more professional responsibilities? Does a higher salary interest you? If you answer yes to both, a bridge program may serve your needs well. Other questions to consider include whether you have the time and money to undertake such a program.

How Long Are Online LPN to RN Programs?

What Does an Online LPN to RN Program Cost?

Does It Prepare You for the NCLEX-RN?

Can I Get into an Online LPN to RN Program?

Are these LPN to RN Programs Accredited?