Earning a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) opens the door to higher salaries and a wide range of career possibilities. Across the country, there is a demand for skilled registered nurses (RNs) with bachelor's degrees or higher levels of education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 12 percent in the next 10 years, which is much higher than the expected growth for all occupations in the country. Additionally, many hospitals and healthcare employers are changing the minimum education requirements for RN positions from associate's degree to the BSN.

If you are a licensed practical/vocational nurse (LPN/LVN) who is serious about pursuing a career as an RN, specially designed LPN to BSN programs can help you realize those goals.

PLEASE NOTE: All California and Texas programs are titled LVN to BSN programs.

Why Pursue a BSN Degree?

As an LPN or LVN, you may be wondering, why should I get a bachelor's degree in nursing when I can become an RN by completing an associate's degree program that would save me time and money? While you can begin working as an RN with only an associate's degree (ADN), there are a few important reasons to consider earning your bachelor's degree instead:

  • More Job Opportunities: Many of the nation's top hospitals and healthcare facilities have increased the minimum education requirements for career advancement to the BSN degree level, including the nation's Magnet hospitals and the U.S. Veteran's Administration. In many cases, you'll find that in order to advance to a nurse manager, educator, or administrator position, nurses are required to hold a bachelor's degree.
  • Higher Pay: BSN-educated nurses earn higher salaries than nurses with an associate's degree. In addition to being qualified for higher-paying management positions, BSN-educated nurses can expect to earn an average of $14,000 per year more than their ADN-educated counterparts, according to PayScale.
  • Industry Support: Overwhelmingly, professional nursing and healthcare associations are pushing for an increase in BSN-educated nurses. The Institute of Medicine's Committee on the Future of Nursing released a recommendation calling for an increase in BSN-educated nurses, a sentiment shared by the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice and others. This demand for BSN nurses is being driven at least partly by research that shows improved patient outcomes when nursing staff holds a bachelor's degree or higher.

RELATED: RN's Working with LPN's

Choosing an LPN to BSN Program

When researching LPN to BSN program options, there a few key factors to keep in mind, including:

Accreditation

The best way to ensure the quality of an LPN to BSN program is accreditation by a reputable industry group. Third-party accrediting organizations, like the Accreditation Commission for Nursing Education (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), fully vet a nursing program and make sure the school is meeting or exceeding quality standards and delivering valuable education to its students.

Program Cost

Cost for an LPN to BSN program varies from school to school depending on geographic location, school reputation, a student's residency status and whether a program is delivered online or in person. As one example of program costs, the online LPN to BSN program at Indiana State University costs $9,036 per year for Indiana residents in the 2019-2020 school year and $19,960 per year for non-residents. When researching schools make sure to include supplies, lab fees, RN exam fees and the cost of housing and/or commuting in the total cost. Also, make sure to contact a school's office of financial aid for information about cost-saving options including scholarships and grants for which you may be eligible.

Completion Time

Most LPN to BSN programs take around 2 years of full-time study to complete. For programs that are offered on a part-time basis, the amount of time it takes to complete increases to 3 or 4 years. In some cases, particularly self-paced online formats, students may choose an intensive program option that allows them to earn their degree in less than 2 years. Be sure to ask your top school(s) what the options are for completion time.

Online vs. On-Campus Options

A growing number of schools are now offering LPN to BSN programs in an online or combination of online and on-campus "hybrid" format, making it more convenient for working LPNs to complete their coursework around their busy work schedules. In these online or hybrid programs, students complete most or all of their instruction online and then perform their clinical practice hours in a healthcare facility near their homes. If you plan to continue working while you study or if you have family obligations that limit your availability for college classes, an online or hybrid program may be a good fit for you.

LPN to BSN Curriculum & Classes

LPN to BSN "bridge" programs begin with foundational nursing practice courses followed by baccalaureate-level coursework in nursing practice, leadership, and theory. Programs also include clinical practice hours in which student nurses can put their learning into practice. Following are a list of classes typically offered as part of an LPN to BSN program:

  • Human Anatomy & Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Research Skills
  • Comprehensive Health Assessment
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Public Health Nursing
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Fundamentals of Nursing Care for Geriatrics
  • Adult Health Nursing
  • Pediatric / Maternal Nursing

Internships & Clinical Practicum

An important part of the LPN to BSN curriculum is the required clinical practice hours. These hours take the form of hands-on labs (including lab simulations) as well as internships and clinical experiences at local healthcare facilities. Most schools have partnerships with area hospitals and medical centers for students to complete these clinical requirements; occasionally, finding an internship or practicum will be the responsibility of the student. In this case, the school's career center, job boards, or alumni network may be of assistance. Often, students employed as LPN/LVNs are able to complete their clinical experiences in their workplace. For those enrolled in an online LPN to BSN program, clinical practicums can typically be arranged in the student's hometown or local area, pending the school's approval.

The purpose of the clinical portion of the LPN to BSN curriculum is to give students a chance to practice what they've learned in a supervised, hands-on, real-world setting. The exact nature of clinical experiences will vary based on the school, state, and program specifics. Prospective students are advised to inquire with their school of choice regarding clinical practicum requirements.

NCLEX-RN Examination

At the successful completion of the LPN to BSN program, students must take and pass the NCLEX-RN examination in order to become fully licensed as registered nurses (something LVN/LPNs will be familiar with, as they would have taken the NCLEX-PN previously). The NCLEX-RN is a comprehensive, computerized exam consisting of anywhere from 75 to 265 questions covering a variety of nursing topics. Test categories include:

  • Safe and Effective Care Environment
  • Health Promotion and Maintenance
  • Psychosocial Integrity
  • Physiological Integrity

Students must register for and pay the examination fee in advance. On the day of the exam, they will have a maximum of 6 hours to complete the questions (with a few optional break periods). Students receive the results of the exam within 2-6 weeks. In the event that a student fails the NCLEX-RN, they are typically permitted to re-test; the total number of times a student may re-test differs by state, but the exam generally must be passed within 3 years of graduation from a nursing program.

Students are encouraged to check out the first-time NCLEX-RN pass rates of their school's nursing programs; many schools will list these stats on their websites. In addition, many NCLEX-RN practice tests are available to help students study for this important examination.

LPN to BSN Admissions Requirements

Once you have decided to pursue an LPN to BSN program you'll need to make sure you meet the admissions requirements for the school of your choice. Specific requirements vary from school to school, so make sure to check with your top schools well in advance of the application deadline to ensure you have met all requirements. In general, LPN to BSN programs have the following admissions requirements:

  • Valid, unencumbered LPN license
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Transcripts of high school and undergraduate coursework with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5. Some schools require a cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  • Completion of required pre-requisite courses, which vary from school to school
  • Resume showing professional nursing experience of at least one year
  • Submission of required test scores e.g. SAT or ACT
  • Completed application including professional recommendations and personal statement

RELATED: LPN to RN Programs

Online LPN to BSN Programs

As more students try to balance work and life with their academic goals, many nursing schools have increased the number of online program offerings to meet the growing demand. Today, students can find online LPN to BSN programs across the country, many of them with minimal or even no on-campus requirements. Keep in mind that if you choose an online LPN to BSN program that's based in a different state than where you live, you must ensure that you are eligible for the program, as some states have rules regarding program and licensure eligibility. For example, Indiana State University's online LPN/LVN to BSN program website maintains a list of states that are approved for enrollment.

Advantages of an Online LPN to BSN Program

Some LPNs/LVNs are under the assumption that enrolling in a BSN bridge program is just not feasible for them; employment, family commitments, and the busy pace of everyday life may make an LPN to BSN program feel like a pipe dream. Enter the online LPN to BSN bridge program. These programs allow students to take courses online, from the comfort of home or wherever they choose, and usually whenever they wish. This makes fitting coursework in much easier.

In addition to the convenience, online LPN to BSN bridge programs are often less expensive, especially since students don't have to worry about "indirect" costs such as transportation/commuting expenses and parking fees. The University of Arkansas' online LPN to BSN program's tuition runs approximately $298.22 per credit hour (not including fees). Students enrolled in this program are able to arrange clinical hours in their own geographic area.

List of Campus and Online LPN to BSN Programs & LVN to BSN Programs

Select State from the Menu:

Arizona

ProgramWebsite
Chamberlain University - Phoenix
Campus
2149 West Dunlap Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85021
(602) 331-2720

Arkansas

ProgramWebsite
Arkansas State University
Campus
School of Nursing
104 North Caraway Road
Jonesboro, AR 72401
(870) 972-3074
Arkansas Tech University
Campus
Department of Nursing
215 West O Street
Russellville, AR 72801
(844) 804-2628
University of Arkansas
Online
Eleanor Mann School of Nursing
2 East Center Street
Fayetteville, AR 72701
(479) 575-6640
University of Arkansas at Monticello
Campus
School of Nursing
124 University Place
Monticello, AR 71656
(870) 460-1069
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
Campus
Department of Nursing
1200 N. University Drive
Pine Bluff, AR 71601
(870) 575-8000
University of Central Arkansas
Campus
School of Nursing
201 Donaghey Ave.
Conway, AR 72035
(501) 450-3119

California

ProgramWebsite
Azusa Pacific University - Inland Empire
Campus
School of Nursing
375 W. Hospitality Lane
San Bernardino, CA 92408
(626) 815-6000 x5386
Azusa Pacific University - Monrovia
Campus
School of Nursing
606 E. Huntington Dr.
Monrovia, CA 91016
(626) 815-6000 x5386
California State University, East Bay
Campus
25800 Carlos Bee Boulevard
Hayward, CA 94542
(510) 885-3000
California State University, Fullerton
Campus
School of Nursing
800 N. State College Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92831
(657) 278-3336
California State University, San Marcos
Campus
School of Nursing
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd.
San Marcos, CA 92096
(760) 750-7550
California State University, Stanislaus
Campus
School of Nursing
One University Circle
Turlock, CA 95382
(209) 667-3141
Chamberlain University - Sacramento
Campus
10971 Sun Center Drive
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
(916) 330-3410
National University
Campus
College of Professional Studies
11255 N Torrey Pines Rd
San Diego, CA 92037
(800) 628-8648
West Coast University - Los Angeles
Campus
12215 Victory Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA 91606
(818) 299-5500
West Coast University - Ontario
Campus
2855 E. Guasti Rd.
Ontario, CA 91761
(909) 467-6100
West Coast University - Orange County
Campus
1477 S. Manchester Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 782-1700

Colorado

ProgramWebsite
Colorado Mesa University
Campus
Department of Health Sciences
1100 North Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81501
(970) 248-1020

Florida

ProgramWebsite
Chamberlain University - Jacksonville
Campus
5200 Belfort Road
Jacksonville, FL 32256
(904) 251-8100
Chamberlain University - Miramar
Campus
2300 SW 145th Avenue
Miramar, FL 33027
(954) 885-3510
West Coast University - Miami
Campus
9250 NW 36th Street
Doral, FL 33178
(786) 501-7070

Georgia

ProgramWebsite
Chamberlain University - Atlanta
Campus
5775 Peachtree Dunwoody Road NE Suite A-100
Atlanta, GA 30342
(404) 250-8500
Georgia Southern University - Armstrong
Campus
School of Nursing
11935 Abercorn Street
Savannah, GA 31419
(912) 344-2576
Georgia Southern University - Statesboro
Campus
School of Nursing
1332 Southern Drive
Statesboro, GA 30458
(912) 478-4636
Piedmont College - Athens
Campus
School of Nursing
595 Prince Avenue
Athens, GA 30601
(800) 277-7020
Piedmont College - Demorest
Campus
School of Nursing
1021 Central Avenue
Demorest, GA 30535
(800) 277-7020

Hawaii

ProgramWebsite
Hawaii Pacific University
Campus
College of Health and Society
1 Aloha Tower Drive
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 544-0200

Idaho

ProgramWebsite
Lewis-Clark State College
Campus
Nursing and Health Sciences Division
500 8th Avenue
Lewiston, ID 83501
(208) 792-5272

Illinois

ProgramWebsite
Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing & Health Sciences
Campus
3609 N. Marx Drive
Quincy, IL 62305
(217) 228-5520
Bradley University
Campus
1501 W Bradley Ave
Leoria, IL 61625
(309) 676-7611
Chamberlain University - Addison
Campus
1221 North Swift Road
Addison, IL 60101
(630) 953-3660
Chamberlain University - Chicago
Campus
3300 North Campbell Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 961-3000
Chamberlain University - Tinley Park
Campus
18624 West Creek Drive
Tinley Park, IL 60477
(708) 560-2000
Lakeview College of Nursing - Charleston
Campus
580 W. Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 345-1575
Lakeview College of Nursing - Danville
Campus
903 N. Logan Avenue
Danville, IL 61832
(217) 709-0920
Saint Xavier University
Campus
School of Nursing and Health Sciences
3700 W. 103rd Street
Chicago, IL 60655
(844) 468-6798

Indiana

ProgramWebsite
Ball State University
Campus
School of Nursing
2000 W. University Ave.
Muncie, IN 47306
(765) 285-5571
Chamberlain University - Indianapolis
Campus
9100 Keystone Crossing Suite 300
Indianapolis, IN 46240
(317) 816-7335
Indiana State University
Online
200 North Seventh Street
Terre Haute, IN 47809
(800) 468-6478

Iowa

ProgramWebsite
Iowa Wesleyan University
Campus
601 North Main
Mount Pleasant, IA 52641
(319) 385-8021

Kansas

ProgramWebsite
Emporia State University
Campus
Department of Nursing
1 Kellogg Circle
Emporia, KS 66801
(620) 341-1200
Fort Hays Sate University
Campus
Department of Nursing
600 Park Street
Hays, KS 67601
(785) 628-3478
Hesston College
Campus
301 S. Main St.
Hesston, KS 67062
(620) 327-4221
Washburn University
Campus
School of Nursing
1700 SW College Ave.
Topeka, KS 66621
(785) 670-1525
Wichita State University
Campus
School of Nursing
1845 Fairmout Street
Wichitia, KS 67260
(316) 978-5801

Louisiana

ProgramWebsite
Chamberlain University - New Orleans
Campus
400 Labarre Road
Jefferson, LA 70121
(504) 565-7995
Dillard University
Campus
College of Nursing
2601 Gentilly Boulevard
New Orleans, LA 70122
(504) 283-8822
McNeese State University
Campus
College of Nursing and Health Professions
4205 Ryan Street
Lake Charles, LA 70605
(800) 622-3352
Nicholls State University
Campus
College of Nursing
906 East 1st Street
Thibodaux, LA 70301
(877) 642-4655
Northwestern State University
Campus
College of Nursing & School of Allied Health
175 Sam Sibley Dr
Natchitoches, LA 71497
(318) 357-6011
Southeastern Louisiana University
Campus
School of Nursing
500 W University Ave
Hammond, LA 70402
(800) 222-7358
University of Louisiana Monroe
Campus
Kitty DeGree School of Nursing
700 University Avenue
Monroe, LA 71209
(318) 342-1640

Massachusetts

ProgramWebsite
Fitchburg State University
Campus
160 Pearl Street
Fitchburg, MA 01420
(978) 665-3000
Salem State University
Campus
School of Nursing
352 Lafayette Street
Salem, MA 01970
(978) 542-6200
Worcester State University
Campus
Dr. Lillian R. Goodman Nursing Department
486 Chandler Street
Worcester, MA 01602
(508) 929-8000

Michigan

ProgramWebsite
Chamberlain University - Troy
Campus
200 Kirts Blvd., Suite C
Troy, MI 48084
(248) 817-4140
Davenport University
Campus
College of Health Professions
6191 Kraft Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
(800) 686-1600
Madonna University
Campus
36600 Schoolcraft Road
Livonia, MI 48150
(734) 432-5300
Northern Michigan University
Campus
School of Nursing
1401 Presque Isle Ave.
Marquette, MI 49855
(906) 227-1000

Minnesota

ProgramWebsite
Herzing University - Minneapolis
Campus
435 Ford Road
St. Louis Park, MN 55426
(612) 360-2484

Missouri

ProgramWebsite
Chamberlain University - St. Louis
Campus
11830 Westline Industrial Drive, Suite 106
St. Louis, MO 63139
(314) 991-6200
Cox College
Campus
1423 N. Jefferson Avenue
Springfield, MO 65802
(417) 269-3401

Montana

ProgramWebsite
Helena College University of Montana - Donaldson
Campus
1115 N. Roberts Street
Donaldson, MT 59601
(406) 447-6900
Helena College University of Montana - Helena
Campus
2300 Airport Road
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 447-6350
Montana State University
Campus
College of Nursing
900 W Grant Street
Bozeman, MT 59717
(406) 994-3783

Nebraska

ProgramWebsite
Clarkson College
Campus
101 S. 42 Street
Omaha, NE 68131
(402) 552-3100
Midland University
Campus
900 North Clarkson
Fremont, NE 68025
(800) 642-8382
Nebraska Methodist College
Campus
720 N. 87th Street
Omaha, NE 68114
(402) 354-7000
Union College
Campus
Division of Nursing
3800 South 48th Street
Lincoln, NE 68506
(402) 486-2600

Nevada

ProgramWebsite
Chamberlain University - Las Vegas
Campus
9901 Covington Cross Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89144
(702) 786-1660

New Jersey

ProgramWebsite
Chamberlain University - North Brunswick
Campus
630 U.S. Highway 1
North Brunswick, NJ 08902
(732) 875-1300

North Carolina

ProgramWebsite
Chamberlain University - Charlotte
Campus
2015 Ayrsley Town Blvd., Suite 204
Charlotte, NC 28273
(980) 939-6241

Ohio

ProgramWebsite
Chamberlain University - Cleveland
Campus
6700 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44103
(216) 361-6005
Chamberlain University - Columbus
Campus
1350 Alum Creek Drive
Columbus, OH 43209
(614) 252-8890

Texas

ProgramWebsite
Chamberlain University - Houston
Campus
11025 Equity Drive
Houston, TX 77041
(713) 277-9800
Chamberlain University - Irving
Campus
4800 Regent Blvd
Irving, TX 75063
(469) 706-6705
Chamberlain University - Pearland
Campus
12000 Shadow Creek
Pearland, TX 77584
(832) 664-7000
Chamberlain University - San Antonio
Campus
9810 Highway 151
San Antonio, TX 78251
(210) 750-8000
West Coast University - Dallas
Campus
8435 N. Stemmons Freeway
Dallas, TX 75247
(214) 453-4533

West Virginia

ProgramWebsite
Alderson Broaddus University
Campus
School of Nursing
101 College Hill Drive
Philippi , WV 26416
(800) 263-1549

Wisconsin

ProgramWebsite
Herzing University - Brookfield
Campus
15895 W. Bluemound Road
Brookfield, WI 53005
(262) 457-7624
Herzing University - Kenosha
Campus
4006 Washington Rd
Kenosha, WI 53144
(262) 293-5475
Herzing University - Madison
Campus
5218 East Terrace Drive
Madison, WI 53718
(608) 807-1909

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