As an LPN, you work hard to provide basic care to patients. You’re an integral part of the healthcare environment, and while this job is as rewarding as it is important, you may be thinking about where you go from here. That’s where LPN to RN programs in Arkansas come in.
If you’re considering becoming a registered nurse in Arkansas, now is a great time to do it. According to data from the Arkansas Hospital Association Services, there is a severe RN shortage with only 76% of the demand for these professionals being fulfilled.
Of course, you want to do your due diligence before jumping into any degree program. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to decide if an LPN to RN online program in Arkansas is the right choice for you. We’ll give you an overview of the best schools with this program in the state, the courses you may take, and how much tuition may cost. You’ll also get an idea of your earning potential as an RN, and how many jobs are projected to be available in the coming years.
A Look at Top LPN-RN Bridge Programs in Arkansas
After working as an LPN, the last thing you want to do is continue your education at a school that isn’t going to meet your standards or your needs. To help you avoid this problem, we’ve put together a list of the best LPN to RN bridge programs in Arkansas.
South Arkansas College’s LPN to RN Program
The LPN to RN Program at South Arkansas College allows students to earn their Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree (AASN). Students can complete the program in as little as one year so they can sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and receive their RN license as quickly as possible without compromising on the quality of their education. South Arkansas College is a member of the Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium, or ARNEC, a group of four community and technical colleges in rural parts of the state dedicated to offering quality nursing education to local residents.
To help students successfully transition to their new role, the program provides nursing process courses that familiarize them with the day-to-day activities of RNs. Once students have completed their coursework, they participate in a hands-on practicum that puts their new knowledge and skills to the test. South Arkansas College also offers an NCLEX-RN preparation course to help ensure that students are fully prepared to take the state licensing examination. You can see a sample academic map here.
UA Little Rock’s LPN/Paramedic to RN Program
The LPN/Paramedic to RN Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock allows students to earn an associate degree in nursing in one year. LPNs begin by taking a transition to RN class, where they learn what registered nurses do every day and what to expect on the job. Other coursework covers topics in pediatric, mental health, and reproductive nursing. Every class includes lecture, clinical, and lab components conducted in the school’s cutting-edge simulation hospital.
To be admitted to the program, students must meet all the admission requirements, including first gaining general admission into UA Little Rock. When students enroll, they begin taking the prerequisite classes that are required for the RN bridge program, which include mathematics, writing, psychology, and chemistry. Students must earn at least a 2.60 grade point average in these courses and a cumulative 2.0 to be admitted into the nursing program.
University of Arkansas Community College Batesville’s Online LPN-RN
The online LPN-RN program offered by the University of Arkansas Community College Batesville is a 67-credit program that leads to an Associate of Applied Science degree. During the program, you’ll take nursing theory classes that cover the strategies used to deliver patient-centered care. Specific topics may include pharmacology, therapeutic communication, clinical judgment, and patient care across the lifespan.
You’ll also take practicum courses where you’ll demonstrate your clinical judgment skills in real-world settings under supervision. This gives you the opportunity to apply the evidence-based nursing concepts you learned in class to patients across the lifespan. You’ll also be required participate in a preceptorship to ensure you understand what’s expected of you as an RN.
What You’ll Learn in LPN to RN Programs in Arkansas
Through a combination of classes, labs, simulations, and clinicals, LPN to RN programs in Arkansas will give you the tools you need to seamlessly step into an RN role. This coursework will help you master higher-level skills in order to provide evidence-based nursing care and produce the best outcomes.
While in an LPN to RN online program in Arkansas, you’ll learn advanced concepts in clinical reasoning, mobility, anatomy, physiology, and pathology. You’ll also gain an understanding of how economic, social, political, and cultural issues influence patient care and outcomes.
Finally, during your studies, you’ll get insight into what it’s like to take the licensing examination. Many schools offer NCLEX-RN exam review courses so you can familiarize yourself with the test and increase your chances of passing.
Now that you’ve read an overview of online LPN to RN programs you may be curious about what your coursework will actually entail. The following is a look at some of the classes offered in programs across Arkansas.
What to Expect From Different LPN-RN Program Deliveries
Although all LPN to RN programs in Arkansas lead to certification as a registered nurse, there are different paths you can take to get to that point. Below are details about each type of program, so you can choose the one that best meets your needs.
If you want the flexibility of online learning, but also want to be more engaged with a community of your peers, a hybrid program is a great choice. Although you may take classes online, you also visit campus for activities like simulations, labs, and practicums. For example, students may be required to begin simulations virtually and then continue them on campus so they can discuss what they’ve learned.
Do you want to enroll in an LPN to RN program but you think your professional or personal responsibilities will prevent you from following through? No need to worry. By enrolling in an online LPN to RN program in Arkansas, you’ll still receive the quality education you need to become a registered nurse while enjoying the flexibility of online learning. In these programs, you’ll take all your courses online and still have the opportunity to communicate with other students and professors.
Online classes may be synchronous, which will require you to attend class at a set time, or asynchronous, which will allow you to listen to lectures and complete assignments at your own pace. Keep in mind that your clinical experience, however, will still be in person at a healthcare facility.
If you’re the kind of student who learns best in a face-to-face environment, then in-person LPN to RN programs in Arkansas will work best for you. From classes to labs to clinicals, every part of the program is offered on campus, but that’s not to say there won’t be opportunities to take advantage of technology. When you’re not on campus, you’ll be able to take advantage of your school’s online support if you need help. It’s worth keeping in mind that despite the many benefits of face-to-face learning, in-person programs are often the least flexible, and can often cost more than their online counterparts.
Answering Your Questions About LPN-RN Programs in Arkansas
Chances are, you still have some questions about LPN to RN programs in Arkansas. Below you’ll find answers to the most common questions prospective students ask about these degrees.
How long are LPN-RN bridge programs?
You can usually expect to complete your LPN-RN bridge program in one to two years. However, keep in mind that it depends on the school you choose. For example, the LPN/Paramedic to RN program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock takes one year to complete, while the LPN to BSN program at the University of Arkansas Online takes two to three years.
What are the admission requirements for LPN to RN programs in Arkansas?
Although admissions requirements may vary from school to school, all schools offering LPN to RN programs in Arkansas expect applicants to have an active LPN license when they apply. Other admissions requirements may include taking the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) exam, passing prerequisite courses with a certain grade point average, and having satisfactory LPN work experience.
What is the cost for LPN to RN programs?
The cost of tuition for LPN to RN programs in Arkansas depends on several factors, including whether you attend a public or private school, and whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student. For example, South Arkansas College charges $89 per credit for in-state students, and $179 per credit for out-of-state students. On the other hand, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock charges a lump sum per semester, with in-state students paying $4,764.30 and out-of-state students paying $10,889.80 for tuition. The University of Arkansas has a Tuition Estimator feature on their website where you can determine the cost of attending according to the number of credits you’ll be taking, among other factors.
What should I look for in an LPN to RN program in Arkansas?
Before you start looking at schools, make a checklist. Whether you’re concerned about the financial aid you can qualify for, the topics covered in the curriculum, or the delivery method schools use, you should be clear about exactly what you’re looking for. No matter what’s on your list, however, the school should be accredited. Accreditation ensures that you’re receiving the quality education you need to get an RN license.
Salary and Career Outlook for LPNs vs RNs in Arkansas
Nursing is a thriving field that typically guarantees a healthy income. Let’s take a look at how well LPNs and RNs are doing in Arkansas in terms of salary and job opportunities. We’ll also see how Arkansas stacks up against national data, so you can get an idea of how the state compares to the rest of the country.
LPNs in Arkansas earn an annual median income of $45,990, while registered nurses earn $66,530. This is significantly lower than what nurses earn on average throughout the country. On the national level, RNs make $81,220, with a salary range of $61,250 to $129,400. LPNs also make higher salaries at $54,620 on average. The lowest earners make $40,490 and the highest make $72,650.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021
The future looks bright for both LPNs and RNs in Arkansas, as roles are expected to grow in the future. For LPNs, there will be an additional 910 jobs added to the workforce from 2020-2030. This amounts to 7.6% additional jobs. Similarly, there will be 2,350 more positions for RNs in the coming years, a 9.1% increase.
Source: Projections Central