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Best Online LPN to RN Bridge Programs in Alabama for 2024

Licensed practical nurses can advance their nursing career by completing an LPN to RN online Alabama mobility program. Learn more about how these programs work and what to expect once enrolled.

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If you’re a licensed practical nurse (LPN), you already know your pivotal role in the delivery of healthcare services to patients. But you may wish for greater autonomy in your work, enhanced skills to provide a higher level of care, and more room for professional growth. One of the quickest ways to achieve these goals is to become a registered nurse (RN).

Another benefit of becoming an RN is fact that you can make a lot more money. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, LPNs in Alabama average $45,260 per year, while RNs average $66,910.

Let’s look at how these on-campus and online LPN to RN mobility programs work in Alabama. We’ll discuss what to expect from the curriculum, the admissions process, and the best way to find the program that’s right for you.

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Top LPN-RN Online Programs in Alabama

Most LPN to RN programs in Alabama will be traditional, meaning in-person learning on a college campus. However, online options exist, most providing hybrid learning environments for students looking for more convenient learning options while in school. Below are two programs with various levels of online learning components.

Coastal Alabama Community College’s Nursing Mobility Program

The Nursing Mobility program from Coastal Alabama Community College is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). It’s unique in that it’s designed for paramedics and LPNs who want to earn an associate degree in nursing to become an RN. It’s also a traditional program, meaning you’ll mostly attend in-person classes and clinicals.

However, part of the mobility curriculum requires students to complete a humanities and fine arts elective course during their final semester. Depending on which class a student chooses as this elective, this course can be completed 100% online.

You’ll typically earn your degree in three semesters after taking 32 total credits. To make learning as convenient as possible, there are five campuses offering this program throughout the state of Alabama, with locations in Bay Minette, Thomasville, Monroeville, Fairhope, and Brewton.

Herzing University’s LPN to RN-ASN Bridge Program

Herzing University’s LPN to RN Bridge program is accredited by the ACEN and available at the Birmingham campus. Most students can complete the 72 credit hours and earn their associate degree in nursing in just 16 months. This is made possible by the fact that Herzing University allows students to transfer up to 54 credits towards their nursing degree.

While most of the nursing-related coursework must be completed on campus or in person, all general education course requirements (a minimum of 21 credits) are available online. Upon completion of this bridge program, Herzing University has special degree pathways that let graduates seamlessly transition into a program offering a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing.

Part of this Alabama LPN to RN bridge program application process requires applicants to take the TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) and achieve a composite score of at least 58. This requirement can be waived if you’ve taken at least 18 or more transferring college credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above.

Learning Outcomes in an Alabama LPN to RN Bridge Program

LPN to RN coursework can be categorized into four groups:

  1. General education classes, which commonly include electives and general subject matter that provide students will a balanced education.
  2. Prerequisites, which students must complete before applying to the LPN to RN nursing program. Each school has different prerequisites, but they often include courses like human anatomy and physiology,
  3. English composition, introduction to psychology, college algebra, and chemistry.
    Core nursing classes, which can include more advanced science subjects like microbiology.
  4. Practicums or clinicals, where students can apply their medical skills and knowledge in real-world settings.


One thing to note about prerequisites is that schools will differ in how they require students to complete them. For instance, at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, traditional associate degree nursing students will take prerequisites after enrolling in the nursing program but before starting the higher-level nursing classes. But elsewhere, many LPN to RN online students in Alabama must finish taking prerequisites before even starting the nursing program.

Ready to gain insights into some of the most common courses you’ll find in LPN to RN bridge programs? Keep reading.

Common Courses

General Microbiology

Students start learning the history of the scientific study of microorganisms, then quickly shift into the concepts and theories underlying the current understanding of how microorganisms multiply, are classified, and relate to infectious diseases. Principles of microbial genetics and infection control are also examined.

Advanced Nursing Theories

Students will learn about applying medical and nursing principles to improving not just patient outcomes, but also the overall health of families and communities. Topics covered include medical emergency care, care management, physical and emotional well-being, and human growth and development.

Healthcare Concepts for Nursing Transition Students

This class is designed for registered nursing students who have experience and/or training as medical professionals. This course will review evidence-based reasoning principles that apply to a range of patients in a multitude of clinical settings.

Nursing Concepts

Often offered in two parts in different semesters, this course will cover evidence-based theories and skills for safe and efficient delivery of care. Students will learn foundational concepts to improve their clinical decision-making. Topics covered include infection control, reproduction, cellular regulation, emotional disorders, and human sensory perception.

Advance Evidence-Based Clinical Reasoning

Students will engage in both classroom and practicum learning experiences where they can demonstrate their clinical skills in controlled settings under the supervision of a preceptor. In addition to clinical skills, students will also show their proficiency in healthcare professionalism, ethics, and administrative tasks.

LPN-RN Program Delivery Options in Alabama

Nursing is an inherently hands-on profession. This means any online LPN to RN program in Alabama will include at least some face-to-face learning elements. Yet many of the general education and prerequisite courses are often offered online. Let’s take a look at the different types of course delivery pathways and how they work for nursing.

Hybrid

Many online LPN to RN program in Alabama will be hybrid programs. This is a program that includes both online and in-person learning elements. At some schools, like Herzing University, the general education classes will be completed online, while the nursing courses are taught on campus. And no matter the school, the curriculum will include clinical or practicum experiential learning elements, which by their very nature cannot be completed online.

Online

If an LPN to RN Alabama nursing program is accredited and/or approved by the Alabama Board of Nursing, it cannot be completed 100% online. So if you come across an LPN to RN program that claims to be fully online, it’s probably referring to the fact that the classroom course requirements can be completed online, while the clinicals will need to be completed in person.

In-Person

The majority of Alabama LPN to RN programs will be in-person offerings, with all courses completed through in-person learning methods. Students will complete their didactic learning requirements by attending classes and/or labs on campus and their experiential learning requirements at approved healthcare facilities.

Nevertheless, with the dramatic rise in online course offerings, many schools with in-person LPN to RN programs will allow students to complete one or more required general education courses online. An example of a school that does this is Wallace Community College.

FAQs for LPN-RN Bridge Programs in Alabama

Before investing your hard-earned money and valuable time in an Alabama LPN to RN mobility program, you’ll want answers to a few questions. Below are some of the more common questions prospective LPN to RN students should consider. Some of these questions might require you to contact the program you’re interested in.

How long are LPN-RN bridge programs?

It depends on how the LPN-RN curriculum is set up, as well as your prior educational background. The more college courses you’ve completed before applying (especially classes that meet the general education and prerequisite requirements), the less time it’ll take to earn your associate in nursing degree. Having said that, sample program lengths include four semesters at Wallace Community College, three semesters at Central Alabama Community College, and five semesters at Bevill State Community College.

What are the admission requirements for LPN to RN programs in Alabama?

Each school has a unique admissions process, but for the most part, you should expect to complete two stages in the admissions process. The first stage requires you to apply to the school itself. Once you’ve started your classes, you’ll apply to the LPN to RN mobility program, which is the second stage. To apply to an online LPN to RN program in Alabama, you will usually need to provide the following:

  • An LPN license in good standing
  • Official transcripts of all any college courses already completed
  • A nursing school application
  • A minimum GPA for the courses taken so far at the school or any another school
  • Completion of prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA (often a “C” or higher)
  • Completion of the Essential Functions form

Some LPN to RN online Alabama nursing programs, such as Drake State Community & Technical College, will also require you to take the ACT.

What is the cost for LPN to RN programs?

The precise cost depends on several variables, although the single most important factor will be your residency status; in-state students can expect to pay the lower, in-state tuition.

Most of the LPN to RN online nursing programs in Alabama will be offered by public schools. In-state students can expect to pay about $164 to $166 per credit hour, and non-resident students will need to pay a higher rate that’ll be closer to $300 per credit hour.

In addition to the tuition, there will be other costs and fees. To give you a general idea of the total LPN to RN total program cost, in-state graduates from Chattahoochee Valley Community College can expect to pay about $8,638; out-of-state graduates will spend around $12,721.

What should I look for in an LPN to RN program in Alabama?

What you look for in a program will depend on your personal preferences, such as your budget, how much time you have to complete the program, learning preferences, and location. However, there are a few program characteristics you should confirm before applying to any Alabama LPN to RN online or on-campus program.

First, you want the program to be accredited, preferably by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), or the NLN Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA). Second, you want to confirm that the program you’re interested in has been approved by the Alabama Board of Nursing. Third, you should look for LPN to RN bridge programs with NCLEX-RN passage rates that are at least on par with the state average for first-time test takers.

LPN vs RN in Alabama: A Look at Expected Earnings and Outlook

RNs can expect to make significantly more money than LPNs in most medical settings. Part of this dramatic increase in pay is due to the rather bright employment outlook enjoyed by RNs. Let’s look at these occupational factors offered by the BLS that further reinforce the benefits of completing a traditional or online LPN to RN program in Alabama.

Earnings

In almost all healthcare settings, RNs will earn more money than LPNs. As you’ll see in this chart, Alabama LPNs earn a median annual salary of $40,120, while RNs have a median annual salary that’s much higher at $60,510. Alabama RNs do make a bit less than RNs in many other states, although the cost of living in Alabama is on average significantly lower than the rest of the country.

RNs working in larger cities will make more than their rural or smaller city counterparts. For example, the median annual salary of an RN in Montgomery is $60,740, while an RN in Decatur earns a median annual salary of $48,590.

LPN Annual Median Wage RN Median Annual WageEarnings Increase
Alabama$40,120$60,51051%
Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL$36,980$59,82062%
Auburn-Opelika, AL$37,670$59,66058%
Birmingham-Hoover, AL$46,690$61,65032%
Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL$46,420$60,32030%
Decatur, AL$38,850$48,59025%
Dothan, AL$36,760$57,88057%
Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL$36,890$57,62056%
Gadsden, AL$42,880$57,08033%
Huntsville, AL$40,100$59,66049%
Mobile, AL$39,130$59,64052%
Montgomery, AL$44,530$60,74036%
Tuscaloosa, AL$45,520$61,30035%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021

Job Market

Like the rest of the country, the demand for registered nurses in Alabama is strong. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that from 2020 to 2030, there will be an 8.1% growth in the number of RNs in the state. Even though this amounts to a 10-year increase of a little more than 4,000 RNs, many current RNs will be retiring or otherwise leaving the profession. As a result, estimates project almost 3,200 openings for RNs each year.

New Jobs
(2020-2030)
Job Growth Rate
(2020-2030)
Average Annual Openings
(2020-2030)
LPNs in Alabama1,1509.5%1,070
RNs in Alabama4,1708.1%3,180

Source: Projections Central