Best LPN to RN Programs 2021

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Registered nurses (RNs) administer care to patients and collaborate with physicians. RNs work in clinical settings and act as the first point of contact for patients. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for RNs to grow 7% from 2019-2029, a rate faster than the average for all occupations.

According to the BLS, RNs earn a median salary of $73,300 per year. However, earning potential varies based on factors such as geographic location. Nurses in California, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia earn the highest salaries, according to the BLS data. RNs can also increase their salary potential by earning a master’s degree, which can qualify holders for nurse practitioner roles.

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Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) can become RNs by completing an LPN-to-RN program. These specialized programs allow LPNs to continue working while in school, and students can apply new knowledge and skills to their current position. Typical admission requirements include an LPN license and employment in a healthcare setting.

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Top 10 Online LPN to RN Programs


  • What is the difference between a LPN and an RN?

    LPNs and RNs maintain different job responsibilities. LPNs perform basic tasks, such as keeping records and ensuring patient comfort. RNs typically operate advanced medical equipment and administer medication.

  • How many years is an RN degree?

    Most associate-level LPN-to-RN programs take 18 months to complete. Programs that confer a bachelor’s degree typically require an additional 1-2 semesters.

  • Do RNs get paid more than LPNs?

    According to the BLS, RNs earn a median annual salary $25,820 higher than the median annual salary of LPNs. This increased earning potential can make pursuing an LPN-to-RN degree a sound financial investment.

  • What type of education do you need to be an RN?

    RNs need an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. LPN-to-RN programs may confer a bachelor’s or an associate degree. Bachelor’s degree-holders in the field often benefit from higher earning potential than RNs with an associate degree.

Best LPN-to-RN Programs 2021

  1. Fairmont State University

    Fairmont, WV



    The online, 3-semester LPN-ASN program at Fairmont State University is for licensed LPNs who have completed certain prerequisite courses to receive expedited training to earn their Associate of Science in Nursing degree and prepare for the NCLEX-RN. Though courses are delivered online twice a week through synchronous (real-time) delivery, students must attend clinical experiences on campus 2 times a month. For admission, interested students must submit standard FSU admissions materials - high school transcripts showing GPAs of at least 2.0, ACT or SAT scores and immunization records - as well as minimum required Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) scores, proof of unencumbered LPN licenses and any prior college transcripts showing minimum GPAs of 2.0.

  2. College of Central Florida

    Ocala, FL



    At the College of Central Florida, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) may earn their associate degree through an LPN to ADN Bridge program. This 3-semester, 1-year program is a hybrid program that features courses delivered in person and online along with on-campus lab work and clinical experience. It is a limited-access program for students who have taken the PERT, ACT, SAT or TEAS test; are current LPNs in good standing; have completed or are currently enrolled in prerequisite courses; are admitted to the college, which has an open admissions policy; hold GPAs of at least 2.0 and 2.5 for nursing courses; and possess American Heart Association Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers certification. Students may be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN and become qualified to take CCF's RN to BSN program, which is delivered primarily online with some on-campus practical experience for certain courses.

  3. Oklahoma Panhandle State University

    Goodwell, OK



    The hybrid, 71-credit-hour Associate of Applied Science in Nursing program at Oklahoma Panhandle State University combines some online and face-to-face courses with in-laboratory instruction and hands-on, clinical experiences in the community. The program provides not only the associate degree but also to prepare students for the NCLEX exam to become registered nurses. Students who currently hold LPN or paramedic licenses may earn advanced standing upon demonstrating successful completion of prerequisite courses and passing exams in those subjects, which would qualify them for exemption of certain courses. Graduates may go on to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at OPSU. To be admitted to the program, interested students should submit transcripts showing prior GPAs of at least 2.5 on college work and HESI A2 scores demonstrating successful completion of prerequisites.

  4. University of Alaska Anchorage

    Anchorage, AK



    At University of Alaska Anchorage, licensed practical nurses can complete a direct articulation program to complete their Associate of Applied Sciences in Nursing degree and receive training to take the NCLEX exam to become registered nurses. To enter the program, prospective students must show completion of prerequisite courses in algebra, biology and chemistry. Once admitted, students complete 70 credit hours in nursing preparation, delivered through online or video-based classes. Students may also opt to complete the 120-credit, online RN-to-BSN program, which includes upper-level nursing coursework and a capstone course. To apply, prospective LPNs submit high school or college transcripts showing grades of C or higher in prerequisites, GPAs of 2.0 or higher and LPN licenses (RN licenses for BSN candidates).

  5. University of Cincinnati-Blue Ash College

    Blue Ash, OH



    The LPN-to-RN nursing program at University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College is a hybrid program that combines online and face-to-face instruction. It's intended to help currently practicing licensed practical nurses gain the necessary training to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN), pending completion of pre-nursing prerequisite courses in anatomy and physiology, English, pharmacology and math/statistics. These prerequisites must be completed successfully in order to be considered for admission. Additional admissions materials include a current, unrestricted LPN license; transcripts showing a GPA of 2.8 or better in all UC Blue Ash courses; a reflective essay; and passing an admissions test.

  6. Palm Beach State College

    Lake Worth, FL



    The online Nursing Transition program at Palm Beach State College is a 72-credit, 2- to 3-year bridge program designed to acknowledge the professional experiences of licensed practical nurses and paramedics, help them complete their Associate of Science degrees and prepare them to complete the National Council Licensing Exam (NCLEX) and become registered nurses. Students must maintain grades of C or higher in all courses in order to earn their degrees. Prerequisites may be taught in person, mostly in the daytime, but once those have been completed, all nursing theory courses are available online. Nursing clinicals take place in person. Admission is granted 3 times per year, and it is dependent on the following submission requirements with the application and fee: cumulative GPA of at least 2.5, grades of C or higher in all prerequisite courses and successful completion of the HESI A2 exam with a score of 80 or more.

  7. Olympic College

    Bremerton, WA



    Olympic College's online Transition to Associate in Technical Arts in nursing is a 2-year, 90-credit program that prepares licensed practical nurses to take the NCLEX exam to become licensed registered nurses. Olympic College offers admission to interested students who submit applications, transcripts and proof of completion of a set of prerequisites. Acceptance is then based on a factoring system that accounts for grades earned in those prerequisite courses, scores on the Accuplacer Reading Comprehension Placement Test and other factors such as number of times applied or overall cumulative GPA.

What Are the Goals of a Nursing Degree?

Prospective students select a nursing program based on their prior healthcare experience and career goals. Associate-level LPN-to-RN programs emphasize topics such as nutrition, mental health, and pediatric nursing. Bachelor’s programs typically feature coursework in leadership and community-focused nursing.

Some nursing programs allow students to customize their educational experience by selecting a specialization. Learners complete a specialization by taking upper-division electives in a nursing subfield. Common specializations for bachelor’s-level nursing students prepare individuals to become cardiac nurses, ER nurses, and geriatric nurses.

Why Get a Nursing Degree?

Common benefits of completing an LPN-to-RN program include increased career prospects and earning potential. Nursing students may also experience personal benefits, such as improved confidence. The list below describes typical reasons for pursuing an RN degree.

Earn More
RNs earn a higher median salary than LPNs. This increased earning potential can lead to a more stable financial future, allowing graduates to eliminate debt and save for retirement.
Build Skills
Students earning an RN degree gain in-demand skills they can apply to work in the field. These skills often make RNs more competitive for positions.
Explore Different Career Paths
LPN-to-RN programs often feature specialization options that prepare learners for certain careers. Students work with academic and career advisors to select a specialization.
Graduate Quickly
Because of their prior education and experience, LPNs can graduate sooner than first-time college students. LPNs can quickly advance their career by earning an RN degree.
Become a Leader
Many supervisory positions require an RN license and a bachelor’s degree. These nursing professionals oversee other RNs and LPNs, and they help colleagues hone their skills and improve patient outcomes.

What Are the Requirements for a Nursing Degree?

Applicants to LPN-to-RN nursing programs typically need proof of employment, professional experience, an LPN license, and one or more recommendation letters. Schools may require applicants to have completed undergraduate prerequisites, such as general education classes. Admitted students may need to take placement tests before beginning coursework.

Graduation requirements vary by school. However, most programs prepare learners to take the NCLEX-RN exam. All states require candidates for nursing licensure to pass the exam. Students must also complete supervised clinical experiences. Supervisors provide feedback and deliver reports on each student’s work.

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Professional Organizations for Nursing Students

Professional organizations provide resources and services for nursing students and professionals. Many of these organizations offer job boards, mentorship programs, and continuing education courses. Additional benefits may include virtual and in-person networking events, which can lead to career opportunities. Professional organizations often provide discounted membership rates for students.

  • American Nurses Association Founded in 1911, ANA supports registered nurses through webinars and a career center. The association also runs a year-long mentorship program, which accepts applications each summer. ANA maintains an online community for nursing degree-seekers, allowing learners to network with peers nationwide.

  • National Student Nurses' Association NSNA provides resources for nursing students preparing to obtain initial RN licensure, along with those enrolled in bachelor's degree-completion programs. Members receive liability insurance, access to a health insurance marketplace, and NCLEX-RN preparation materials. Additional benefits include a digital portfolio and discounts on surgical scrubs.

  • Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses AWHONN represents thousands of nurses specializing in OB/GYN and neonatal health. The organization provides scholarship opportunities, discounts on auto and liability insurance, and professional development courses. Members can post their resume and explore job opportunities through the organization's private career center.

Scholarships for Nursing Students

Although students in LPN-to-RN programs often work full time while earning their nursing degree, learners may need financial assistance to avoid debt. Fortunately, many companies and organizations offer scholarships for degree-seekers training to become RNs. The following awards accept applications from nursing students.

A Nurse I Am Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Workwear manufacturer Cherokee Uniforms delivers this scholarship to five nursing students each year. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited nursing program and may be studying full time or part time. Students must apply by April 15, and Cherokee Uniforms announces scholarship recipients on May 15.
Amount: $2,500

AISES A.T. Anderson Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award from the American Indian Science and Engineering Society supports undergraduate and graduate students preparing for a career in a STEM field, such as nursing. Applicants must hold membership with a federally recognized Native American tribe and need a minimum 3.0 GPA. Learners should apply by May 31.
Amount: $1,000

Barbara Rhomberg Nursing Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Full-time students pursuing a bachelor’s-level RN degree can apply for this award from B4 Brands. Applicants must demonstrate at least a three-year gap between their high school and college education. Candidates apply in April, and B4 Brands announces scholarship recipients on May 1. The award goes directly toward the recipient’s fall tuition.
Amount: $1,000

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