According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, becoming a registered nurse (RN) is the most common choice for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) who want to advance their careers, work in a greater variety of professional roles, and make more money.
Hence the increasing popularity of LPN to RN programs—sometimes referred to as “bridge” programs. These take about 18 months to 2 years to complete and are offered at junior or community colleges. Because many LPNs are already working, some programs offer evening or weekend schedules and online or hybrid classes.
Admission criteria varies from program to program, but most require at least six months experience as an LPN, current LPN licensure, and recommendation forms. Many also require completion of the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS), which measures basic grammar and math abilities.
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Because you will be earning an associate’s degree, first you need to apply to the college and before being accepted into their RN program, you must pass basic college prerequisites such as English, math, social sciences, or basic life sciences. Once you’re accepted, you will take nursing-related classes such as anatomy and physiology, psychology, and pharmacology. Other classes may teach how to transition into being an RN, or how to take the RN licensing exam.
These prerequisites sometimes can be taken concurrently with your nursing classes, but some institutions require that they be completed beforehand because of the intense clinical schedules of classes such as medicine, surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, and community health. Clinical rotations can sometimes be arranged where you already work, and you may be able to skip some altogether depending upon your work experience.
Upon completing your program, you will be eligible to take the RN licensing exam—the specifics of which can be found at your state board of nursing’s website. General exam information can be found at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.