Fast Track Nursing Programs: What You Need to Know

LPN to RN programs allow you earn an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in nursing as quickly as possible, while working in the field and contributing to a refinement of your experience. Before you apply to an LPN to RN fast track program, make sure you understand the following:

Do I qualify for enrollment?

In order to qualify for an LPN to RN program, you must first go through an LPN (licensed practical nurse) program. For you to become an LPN, you need education from an accredited course, which takes about a year. You also need to your LPN license, which you can obtain through taking a national test, along with meeting your state’s specific LPN standards. Some LPN to RN bridge programs also require you to have experience in the field, working as an LPN, so it is important to check these standards before you apply to a program.

What is a bridge program?

A bridge program is an accelerated-degree option for LPNs, RNs, or holders of undergraduate degrees, who want to advance their careers. These programs are specifically designed to help students acquire further qualifications in a short time. The curriculum consists of traditional courses as well as hands-on training through practicums or internships.

When researching your options, consider the following questions when determining what program is right for you:

  • Is the program accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or both?
  • Does the program prepare graduates for licensure examinations and transition into practice?
  • Does the program match your career goals and suit your lifestyle by offering flexible scheduling and online options?

The following online program fulfills these criteria and can be excellent options for LPNs. Click on the program name to request more info.

School Description

Achieve Test Prep - "Career opportunities for RN’s and RN-BSN’s are brighter than ever. The nursing industry is expecting employment growth through 2020. Average salaries for RNs and RN-BSNs are $62,000-$90,000 respectively. Achieve Test Prep can help you advance your nursing career with its unique ASN/ADN/BSN bridge programs. Ask about our Military Discounts!

"Achieve offers a fast-track program that combines the effectiveness of real classroom learning with the speed of credit-by- examination. You can take classes online or on-campus, either way you’ll get access to the same great instructors! There are financial aid opportunities, in addition to free books, allowing you to save both time and money." Available programs include:

Purdue University - "Purdue Global’s nursing classes are regularly evaluated to stay current with new technology, treatments, and research. We know that keeping your skills up to date is one of the most effective ways to stay at the forefront of the industry. We also understand that nursing degrees can lead to a variety of career paths, including patient care, administration, and teaching."

South University - "If you’re looking to advance your nursing career, the Nursing RN to BSN degree completion program at South University is designed help you earn your degree in an efficient manner. Our course schedule provides you the opportunity to combine campus and online classes or take online classes only, allowing you to pursue your degree on your time, without having to put your career on hold."

Grand Canyon University - "The College of Nursing and Health Care Professions at Grand Canyon University is dedicated to helping future healthcare professionals grow into socially responsible leaders in the field. In our college, you can study curriculum that focuses on best practices, and quality, ethical, and compassionate healthcare."

ECPI University - "ECPI University Online has designed a program to provide working nurses the opportunity to develop the critical knowledge, skills, and perspective required to assume greater levels of responsibility in the field of nursing. Faculty and staff at ECPI University’s School of Health Science, Medical Careers Institute (MCI), recognize that a student’s time, energy, and career are of utmost importance."

Sacred Heart University - "In the growing field of nursing, a BSN is now the standard for most, if not all entry-level positions. In this undergraduate program, students gain the BSN they need to become an RN and can transfer up to 90 credits towards their degree. Develop the heart of a healer with Sacred Heart’s RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing."

Colorado Technical University - "Take advantage of our online and mobile-friendly nursing degree programs as you prepare for the next challenge in your career. CTU offers RN-BSN and MSN programs which are built on prior foundational nursing knowledge and provide you with the necessary tools to deliver evidence-based care and drive change at the bedside and beyond."

Nova Southeastern University - "Nova Southeastern University has multiple pathways that lead to a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. Our programs feature online and traditional classes, in several locations, and are catered to the working nurse. The simulation labs create a risk-free, exact model of the clinical experience, and the small class sizes ensures that the experienced faculty focus on you, the student."

Click here to see a list of more nursing degrees.

What benefits does the program offer?

Taking this route for becoming an RN, LPN to RN fast track programs help you save time because you won’t have to re-take classes covering topics you’ve already learned as part of your LPN convention. This not only means that you’ll spend money on your education, but it also means you’ll become an RN sooner, making you eligible for high pay rates and better benefits sooner.

If you aren’t currently a nurse at all, there are benefits to becoming an LPN first and then joining an LPN to RN program. It takes a very short amount of time to become an LPN, so you can start your nursing career quickly and then become an RN at your own pace. In addition, some employers will pay for you to go back to school to get an advanced degree, and because of the national nursing shortage, there are many financial aid and scholarship programs for nurses who want to go back to school.

Is the program a good fit?

If an LPN to RN program is right for you, there are a number of choices available for nurses, both online and off. Make sure you ask questions, finding out if the program offers student services, financial aid, and alumni networking. If the program you’re consider has campus classes, visit the location to get a feel for the atmosphere. This is also important if you go to school online; take a virtual tour of the program, participating in an online lecture if possible. Talk to professors and current students if you can to learn as much as you can about the programs you’re considering. Researching school rankings is also a smart decision when evaluating a program.

What happens after I graduate?

After you graduate from an LPN to RN fast track program, you need to to take the national licensing examination before you can begin working as an RN. After passing the exam, you must also submit your degree information and other documents to your state’s nursing board to confirm that you’ve met clinical hour and licensing requirements. This process moves at a fairly quick pace and ensures that all the standards are met before jumping into the workforce.

LPN to RN fast track programs aren’t for everyone. As an LPN you probably already work at a hospital or other health care facility, and for some, it can be a challenge to go to school while also working. If you’re up to the task though, there are often scholarships and grants available to students actively working as nurses while pursuing a more advanced degree. Keep in mind that in order to become an RN, you’ll need to pass a licensing exam, so you may also want to consider a full RN program to get a refresher course in basic nursing skills. It all depends on how recent it has been since achieving your LPN and if you think you’re well enough versed in the material that you will be able to tackle the course load.


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