The statistics paint a vivid picture: Estimates predict a shortage of 3 million nurses nationwide by 2030, and specific to Ohio, around 3,300 annual RN job openings this decade. While the state is investing more money into nursing programs, there’s a clear lack of qualified RNs to fill needed roles. If you’re a practical nurse who’s been thinking about making the jump to RN, this means now’s a great time to apply to LPN to RN bridge programs.
In these programs, students who are already Licensed Practical Nurses earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and take the NCLEX-RN exam after graduation — often completing the process in less than two years. If you’re interested in this career path, and the increase in responsibilities and salary that comes with being an RN, read on to learn key details about LPN to RN bridge programs in Ohio and start your school search.
The Best LPN to RN Programs in Ohio for 2023
Top LPN to RN bridge programs are accredited, can fit around your nursing shifts, and offer in-state tuition discounts. They also should be approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing. While that sounds like a lot to ask for in one program, we’ve already done the research for you; the following three programs fit the ideal school profile, making them a good place to start your program search.
Ohio University hosts one of the most highly ranked in Ohio, available at their Zanesville, Chillicothe, and Southern campuses. Students will learn from labs and clinical hours in healthcare settings before graduating, meaning they’ll acquire real-world RN skills while also securing the practical knowledge for passing the NCLEX. In fact, the program’s average NCLEX pass rate over the last four years is more than 85%. Overall, Ohio University does an excellent job preparing students to become registered nurses through classes, online support services, and individualized time with professors. As part of a robust educational path, students take courses and do clinical hours in multiple healthcare settings, preparing them for the challenges RNs face in a variety of environments and specialties. The school also offers a job search tool that matches graduates with prospective employers.
Kent State University
Kent State University offers one of the best LPN to RN programs in Ohio at four of their campuses. This transition program is designed for working LPNs or paramedics and can be taken if you have at least four days of availability weekly. The curriculum consists of labs, nursing courses, and clinical hours. Students usually finish in 12-16 months, depending on whether they’ve chosen the traditional or alternative track. Since many students work, some classes in the alternative track are offered in the evenings or on weekends to promote work-school balance. While the program is designed to work around a busy work schedule and life obligations, all courses and clinical hours must be completed in-person.
This Kent State nursing degree program teaches critical thinking, clinical competence, accountability and adaptability, with an emphasis on direct care. To be eligible, applicants should have their high school diploma (or equivalent) and their LPN designation.
Central Ohio Technical College
The LPN to ADN program at Central Ohio Technical College prepares students to become an RN in 18 months. In this program, students take nursing courses, wellness and health classes, and lab simulations. Students complete lab simulations with cutting-edge equipment, like the campus’ high-tech anatomage table, and learn foundational nursing concepts in the first semester. After, students complete clinical hours to get real-world experience. Unlike some other LPN to RN programs in Ohio, COTC gives students more hands-on lab time and the ability to shadow nurses in different healthcare settings before starting their clinicals. Students not only get a robust education, they also are prepared to take their NCLEX-RN test. In fact, NCLEX-RN pass rates have been above the national average since 2016. Because the program is hands-on, all classes are offered in-person, though it’s possible some general education courses might be completed online.
What You’ll Learn in an LPN to RN Bridge Program in Ohio
Most LPN to RN programs in Ohio consist of general education classes, healthcare classes, lab simulations, and clinical hours. Depending on the specific program, you might be able to bypass the general education requirements. However, all students must take a mix of nursing courses and clinical training. Many programs, such as the one at Central Ohio Technical College, also require students to complete on-campus lab simulations. These simulations allow students to practice their nursing skills before completing clinicals at hospitals and healthcare facilities.
Along with more general courses, some programs, such as the one at Ohio University, offer space for electives. If you select a program with electives, you can take courses in specialized fields, such as psychiatric or pediatric nursing. These electives might help you determine where to apply after graduation.
To give you a better idea of what courses you might take, check out the following five programs offered by most, if not all, programs we researched.
Most programs offer a transition class for students in their first semester. In these courses, the professor identifies gaps left from students’ LPN education and builds off their current skills. These courses serve as a good introduction and determine what skills a student still needs to develop.
Wellness and Preventive Care
Nurses don’t only treat sick patients; they also offer preventive care, especially if they work in a primary care setting. In this course, students learn the basics of reducing healthcare risks, preventing disease, and enhancing quality of life.
To become a nurse, students must first have a working knowledge of the human body. Anatomy serves as a basic primer on human health and the different parts and systems within the body.
Advanced Nursing Care
In their final semester, students often take an advanced course which covers the final concepts students need to know as RNs. This course may also include NCLEX-RN test prep or be a place to ask questions that arise during clinical hours.
In this popular elective course, students take a deep dive into how to provide care to adult patients. This course often includes an in-depth section on aging and working in continuing care or assisted living centers.
Inside Look at Online LPN to RN Programs in Ohio
While most LPN to RN programs are offered in person, some have online or hybrid components. With these options, students have more schedule flexibility, as they can take courses from the comfort of their own homes. Online LPN to RN programs in Ohio are ideal for students who want to work while completing their degree or for students who live far away from campus. When programs are fully online, students often complete their clinical hours in-person at a facility near them.
Based on our research, hybrid and online LPN to RN programs in Ohio are quite rare. In fact, we found no fully online programs and only three hybrid programs — only one of which, Kent State, is accredited. While neither Academic Medical Institute nor Knox Technical Center is accredited by ACNE or CCNE, both are approved by the state nursing board.
In hybrid programs, students complete some courses online and others on campus. The Kent State LPN to ADN program offers a hybrid cohort, also called an “alternative” track (compared to the traditional Monday-through-Friday track) that is a mixture of online lectures and in-person learning, with clinical hours completed on Sundays in order to accommodate working professionals. Another option: Academic Medical Institute allows students to take some courses fully online, while others and their clinical hours must be completed in-person. Knox Technical Center scaffolds their hybrid program differently, offering a blended learning program where all classes have both online and in-person components.
Because of the lack of online options, applicants should consider geographical proximity when applying to LPN to RN bridge programs in Ohio.
Frequently Asked Questions About LPN to RN Programs in Ohio
How long does it take to finish an LPN to RN bridge program in Ohio?
Because you’re already a licensed nurse, LPN to RN bridge programs in Ohio are designed to be completed in just one to two years, though this can vary from program to program and if you complete the program on a part-time or full-time basis.
To give you a better idea of how long it might take, here’s the average time it takes to complete four of the most popular programs in the state:
- Kent State University: 12-16 months, once accepted into Technical Study Sequence
- Central Ohio Technical College: 3 semesters
- Ohio University: 3 semesters
- Knox Technical Center: 12 months
What are the admissions requirements for LPN to RN bridge programs in Ohio?
LPNs automatically have the first requirement to get into an LPN to RN program in Ohio: their LPN designation. However, these programs can be competitive, so many universities have other requirements. These can include:
- A high school diploma
- Passing a fit-for-work health exam
- Providing a work history or a list of nursing skills an applicant already has
- An application fee
Some schools have additional requirements for students, such as Kent State, where you’ll provide a supplemental essay. Others have fewer requirements for entry, such as Ohio University, which doesn’t require previous LPN work experience.
How much do LPN to RN bridge programs in Ohio cost?
Getting any higher education degree can be costly, but it doesn’t have to be if you choose a program that offers in-state tuition. To give you a better idea of how much LPN to RN programs in Ohio cost, we researched the cost per semester of three of the most popular programs.
Total Credits: 60 credit hours
Central Ohio Technical College
Total Credits: 65 credit hours
Total Credits: 66.5 credit hours
$621/credit for Ohio residents, $1,130/credit for non-residents
If cost is a top consideration for you, make sure to check out the school’s financial aid page as well and the scholarships offered by state organizations, like the Ohio Nurses Association.
What should I look for in an LPN to RN program in Ohio?
First thing’s first: Any program you apply to should be accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. If a program is not accredited, you will not become a licensed nurse upon graduating. Any program should also be approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing. The board has a list of approved programs that you can reference during your search.
Beyond accreditations, good LPN to RN programs in Ohio will also have high NCLEX-RN pass rates. All students must take this test to become licensed, so you want to ensure your program is setting you up for success on this test.
LPN vs. RN in Ohio: Earnings and Job Demand Comparison
You probably know that becoming an RN can boost your salary and the opportunities available to you. But how much more can you expect to make after you graduate? To give you a better idea, we mapped out the salaries and job openings for RNs and LPNs in Ohio.
How much more can I earn going from an LPN to RN in Ohio?
After completing your LPN to RN bridge program in Ohio, you can expect to take home larger paychecks. In some cities, your pay could increase by over 50%. While the average RN salary in Ohio is slightly below the national salary average of $77,600, some nurses do make above that average, especially in Cleveland.
For a better idea of how much you can expect to make, check out the table below with the average salaries of LPNs and RNs in the 11 biggest metropolitan hubs in Ohio.
|LPN Median Annual Wage||RN Median Annual Wage||Earnings Increase|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021
What’s the job market like for RNs in Ohio vs. LPNs?
The job market for RNs in Ohio is strong. In fact, the growth rate is almost double for RNs when compared to LPN job openings. It’s also 1% higher than the national job growth rate of 6% for RNs. The state also boasts some of the best hospitals in the world, such as the Cleveland Clinic, meaning the opportunities available provide invaluable RN experience.
|Job Growth Rate|
|Average Annual Openings|
|LPNs in Ohio||1,720||4.2%||3,310|
|RNs in Ohio||9,380||7.1%||7,990|
Source: Projections Central