One of the fastest ways to start working in the nursing field is to become a licensed practical nurse, or LPN. The education required for licensing as an LPN only takes about a year, but your job options and salary are limited if you remain working at this nursing level. Becoming a registered nurse, or RN, typically takes two to four years, but if you’re already an LPN, you can join an LPN to RN bridge program to save time and money.
LPN to RN bridge programs build upon the skills you already have as a nurse or even a paramedic, which is why they don’t take as long as typical RN programs, which teach students who have no experience with nursing. The exact length of the LPN to RN bridge program depends on the end degree you hope to achieve. As an RN, you can get an associate’s degree, which takes about a year with an LPN to RN bridge program, or you can get a bachelor’s degree, which takes two and a half to three years with an LPN to RN bridge program.
LPN to RN Bridge Programs
In order to apply to an LPN to RN bridge program, you have to show that you have your LPN license, which requires you to graduate from an accredited LPN program. Some programs also require that you have a certain number of months experience in the work force.
LPN to RN bridge programs save you both time and money. Since you already have a base of knowledge, you don’t have to start from the beginning with your education. The best part of saving time is being able to also save money. You’ll pay tuition and other fees every month you’re in school, so by cutting a year or more from you education, you can save a significant amount of money. Since you’re already working as an LPN, you may also qualify for money for your education from your employer. Many hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities pay for their nurses to go back to school.
Don’t forget that an LPN to RN bridge program’s time-saving characteristic will also allow you to get your RN license more quickly. As soon as you’re officially an RN, you’ll start making more money. This is especially important if you continue to work as an LPN while you go to school. Usually, being a part-time student means that it takes a long time to reach your educational goals, so bridge programs put you on the fast track to becoming an RN.
Graduation and Job Prospects
Upon graduation from an LPN to RN bridge program, you’ll have to take the national licensing exam and meet your state’s requirements to begin working as an RN. Most programs fully prepare you to the exam, and some even provide students with additional study help through career services, student groups, alumni associations, and more. Becoming an RN sets you apart from a significant number of LPN’s, which will make it easier to start with a competitive salary and more. Additionally, the bridge program will give you the edge with more experience than a number of college students graduating merely with a bachelor’s degree who are similarly equipped for RN positions.
Don’t forget – if you go through an LPN to RN course, you can then consider taking the next step to get your master’s degree, which allows you to work as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, or nurse midwife. This is an incredibly lucrative route and, in many respects, puts you on the same responsibility level as a doctor. You can even get a doctorate in nursing to work in the most advanced nursing positions – but it all starts with becoming an RN. If you have an LPN, you’ve already opened the door to a wealth of possibilities, so don’t stop your academic path now when it still seems so prosperous!