Are you an experienced LPN who loves their job but dreams about taking that next step and becoming a registered nurse? Are your concerns about preparing for the NCLEX-RN exam and the demands of an RN job holding you back?
According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, 69.17% of people who sat for the NCLEX during the first quarter of 2023 passed it in one try. As a busy LPN, chances are you want to be among that group, so you don’t have to worry about the time and expense of taking the test multiple times. Luckily, online LPN to RN bridge programs in Missouri can prepare you for this licensing examination, and give you the skills you need to thrive as a registered nurse.
Continue reading to learn about these programs, including the coursework you’ll take, the tuition you’ll pay, and the job market you’ll find after graduation. To help you vet potential schools, we’ve also provided a look at the top LPN-RN bridge programs around the state to give you an idea of what the highest quality colleges have to offer.
A Look at Popular LPN-RN Bridge Programs in Missouri
If you’re looking for an online LPN to RN bridge program at a Missouri school, you want to be confident that you’re getting a top-notch education that will prepare you to achieve your goals. One way to be confident in your program choice is by knowing what popular programs look like — which is what we help you learn in the following program spotlights.
St. Louis College of Health Careers’ LPN to RN Bridge Program
St. Louis College of Health Careers, which is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools and approved by the Missouri State Board of Nursing, has been dedicated to educating healthcare professionals since 1981. From medical assisting to occupational therapy to healthcare administration, the school draws on the expertise of accomplished instructors to provide a realistic picture of, and preparation for, a number of healthcare professions.
The school offers an LPN to RN bridge program that prepares students for the diverse responsibilities of RNs and gives them the clinical decision-making skills needed to perform them. Students take advanced classes in maternal nursing, pharmacology for nurses, microbiology, and nutrition. Students also participate in simulation experiences and clinical practicums at a local healthcare facility throughout the program to give them hands-on training.
North Central Missouri College’s Online PN to ADN
North Central Missouri College offers an online PN to ADN program that emphasizes evidence-based practice, patient-centered care, and colleague collaboration. Students take classes in pharmacology, adult nursing, leadership, and mental health nursing. To facilitate their success, the school, which is accredited by the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation, offers online chats and tutoring so students can get help if and when they need it.
Although all classes are delivered online, students are expected to spend time on campus two to three times each semester. These onsite activities include laboratory experiences and an orientation that takes place before the first semester begins.
Students also receive hands-on training during clinicals at Mosaic Life Care in St. Joseph and the University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia. During this time, students are assigned block rotations that last two to four days per month.
What You’ll Learn in LPN to RN Programs in Missouri
You’ve already built a solid foundation of nursing knowledge and skills. An online LPN to RN bridge program in Missouri simply builds additional layers by providing the clinical competencies you need to become a registered nurse. When you complete this program, you’ll have a greater understanding of how to use pharmacological principles to provide medications to patients, make assessments, and create and implement treatment plans. You’ll also learn about the best practices of delivering care to different patient populations from infants to the elderly, as well as those dealing with specific health issues, such as heart or fertility conditions.
Online LPN to RN programs in Missouri require a combination of nursing and general education classes. As a student, you’ll take courses in a variety of disciplines, from psychology to mathematics to sociology. The curriculum is designed to broaden your perspective and enhance your education. Once you finish your classwork, you’ll receive hands-on training in clinical environments. At this stage of the program, you will work under the supervision of experienced nurses so you can see firsthand what to expect after you’ve earned your RN license.
To find out exactly how the curriculum will prepare you for a registered nursing job, continue reading. We describe some specific courses you may find in online LPN to RN bridge programs in Missouri below.
What to Expect From Different LPN-RN Program Deliveries
It’s important to understand the different types of LPN-RN programs available in Missouri. In particular, you want to pay attention to the modes in which they deliver content, and which will suit you best. This is important because you may find it easy to work in one program delivery environment, but experience challenges in another. Continue reading to find out what each delivery method is all about.
If you don’t mind traveling to campus regularly, but you want the flexibility of online learning, a hybrid program gives the best of both worlds. The amount of time you spend on campus and online depends on the school. For example, some may allow you to take coursework online, but require you to come to campus for labs and simulations. Others may offer some classes online and others exclusively on campus. To guarantee you won’t have scheduling conflicts, review the requirements of the hybrid programs you’re interested in carefully.
LPN to RN bridge programs in Missouri offered online have many advantages. Above all, they offer you the flexibility to juggle your education and other responsibilities. If you have the discipline to study independently, these programs may make it easier to handle everything on your plate. Online classes are delivered either asynchronously, allowing you to take classes at times that are convenient for you, or synchronously, requiring you to attend class according to a set schedule.
Online LPN to RN programs in Missouri are often more affordable than their hybrid and in-person counterparts. In addition to saving money on travel, schools tend to charge online students per credit rather than a more expensive flat per-semester charge.
If you love the experience of working face-to-face with your colleagues in a healthcare team, in-person learning may work best for you. Additionally, if you don’t feel comfortable doing your work alone online, you’ll likely thrive in this type of traditional degree program. While you do have opportunities to communicate with classmates and professors in online programs, you may find that collaboration can be more meaningful in traditional programs. However, traditional programs also have the most rigid course schedule of all the delivery options. If you need flexibility, this may not be the best choice for you.
Answering Your Questions About LPN-RN Programs in Missouri
Your interest in online LPN to RN programs in Missouri has been piqued. But you still have questions. Below you’ll find answers to some frequently asked questions about these programs, so you can make an informed decision.
How long are LPN-RN bridge programs?
Typically, you can expect to receive your degree in one to two years from online LPN to RN bridge programs in Missouri. Obviously, this can vary from one program to the next. For example, while North Central Missouri College’s degree can be finished in just nine months, the bridge programs at Missouri State University-West Plains and Bolivar Technical College take one year.
What are the admission requirements for LPN to RN programs in Missouri?
Admission requirements may include certain grades in prerequisite courses, a specific overall grade point average, and a certain amount of nursing work experience.
Each schools has its own standards, so pay close attention to what the requirements of the schools you’re interested in. One common requirement to look out for is a passing score on certain standardized tests. St. Louis Community College requires that applicants score at least 58.7% on the Test of Essential Academic Skills exam, while SoutheastHEALTH College of Nursing & Health Sciences expects LPNs to earn at least 75% on the Nursing Acceleration Challenge Examination.
No matter which program you choose, know that you will be expected to have a current, unencumbered LPN license to be admitted.
What is the cost for LPN to RN programs?
The cost for LPN to RN bridge programs at online Missouri schools can depend on a variety of factors, including the specific tuition model they use. Schools like Missouri State University-West Plains charge per credit based on whether students are residents of Missouri or another state; in-state students pay $182 per credit while out-of-state students are charged $364 per credit. Other schools charge a flat fee for the semester or year, rather than charging by the credit.
What should I look for in an LPN to RN program in Missouri?
The most important thing you should look for is accreditation. Accreditation means that an LPN to RN bridge program offered online in Missouri has been reviewed for quality and student outcomes. This gives you the peace of mind that the program will be worth your investment. Other factors to consider include the amount of financial aid you may receive, the clinical experiences that are available, class sizes, and the NCLEX exam pass rates.
Salary and Career Outlook for LPNs vs RNs in Missouri
No matter how good the online LPN to RN bridge programs in Missouri are, you still want to make sure that you’ll be able to find a good job when you graduate. Luckily, the data shows not only that will there be jobs available in the coming years, but that they will allow you to make a good living. Review the information below to find out specifics.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that registered nurses in Missouri earn $71,860 per year. While this is significantly less than the average national salary of an RN ($81,220) it is also significantly higher than the average annual salary of Missouri-based LPNS ($49,500).
The salaries of RNs around the country, range from $61,250 to $129,400 annually. The national LPN salary range is $40,490 to $72,650, with an average of $54,620.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021
Data from Projections Central suggest that now is a great time for licensed practical nurses to enroll in online LPN to RN programs in Missouri. That’s because between 2020 and 2030, the number of jobs available for registered nurses is expected to increase. In fact, there will be 6.5% more jobs available, which amounts to 4,800 new positions around the state.
While the LPN profession will experience some growth by 2030, it won’t be as much as RNs will have. During this same time, only 510 jobs will be added to the licensed practical nursing workforce, which is a 3.4% increase.
Source: Projections Central