Introduction to LPN-to-BSN Degrees
As an LPN, you can strengthen your skills and prepare for a wider field of career opportunities by continuing your education and earning a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN). The LPN to BSN program follows the same academic plan and requirements as a traditional BSN program. An LPN to BSN program allows you to receive full credit for the courses taken as part of the LPN program. Many schools require students to have their LPN before being admitted to a program.
In order to enroll in an LPN to BSN program, you must already be certified as an LPN or LVN. Students must have a high school diploma or GED and be currently employed as an LPN. Some programs require an associate’s degree in nursing. Admission requirements can also include a nursing entrance exam, CPR certification or a criminal background check. Programs can be completed in four years. A previous associate’s degree decreases the time needed to complete a BSN program. Most courses are available online, although the clinical component is usually on-site.
LPN to BSN College Programs
LPN to BSN nursing programs are designed to offer fast track completion of a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN) plus registered nurse (RN) training. Below are the top fully accredited online colleges that offer LPN to BSN degrees and other bridge programs. By clicking on links below, you can request information from each school about its tuition, classes, and programs.
Indiana State University – Indiana State University offers undergraduate and graduate courses, degrees, and professional development programs. Programs offered include more than 80 undergraduate majors, 90 graduate programs, and bridge programs like the LPN to BSN. Indiana State University accepts credit from regionally accredited colleges and universities within the United States, and from selected schools located outside the United States.
The College Network – The College Network has partnered with Indiana State University to offer an LPN to BSN undergraduate degree program through a convenient format of independent study and online learning. The College Network works with you to make previously earned credits (and possibly your nursing experience) count toward your new degree.
Frequently Asked Questions About LPN to BSN Programs
What Exactly is an LPN to BSN?
An LPN to BSN is a degree program that helps students progress from being Licensed Practical Nurses to obtaining their Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This additional training can open up new career paths, make it easier to find a job, and lead to a salary increase, as nurses with bachelor’s degrees tend to earn more than those without. A BSN makes it easier for an LPN to become a registered nurse (RN) which is one of the fastest growing careers in the medical field, with job openings all over the country.
How to Get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing
For diploma nurses or nurses who have not yet earned a four year degree, getting a BSN will result in increased expertise, better job opportunities, and the ability to go further in the nursing field. The BSN is the entry level degree for some nursing careers, and is a prerequisite for nurses who wish to earn a master’s degree and become nurse practitioners or advanced practice nurses.
- LPN to BSN: For the licensed practical nurse (LPN) who strives to become a registered nurse (RN) with a bachelor's degree, the LPN to BSN is the degree of choice. An LPN to BSN degree can take less than a year with a full time course schedule. However, depending on the institution and any previous credit, the timeframe is flexible. Generally coursework will involve classes that focus on subjects such as advanced patient care, nursing ethics and standards, medical terminology, mental health nursing, and more. Click here for a comprehensive list of online LPN to BSN degree programs...
- RN to BSN: This is the most common type of degree program offered. For the registered nurse (RN) who has not yet obtained his/her bachelor's degree, the RN to BSN program is an excellent choice for furthering your education. While it is possible to become an RN with only an associate’s degree or even an 18 month diploma program, RNs with bachelor’s degrees will be more desirable to employers, and can demand a higher salary. Even for someone already practicing as an RN, getting a bachelor’s degree in nursing can provide a career boost. Click here for a comprehensive list of online RN to BSN degree programs.
Salary for Nurses with BSNs
Health care is a competitive and growing field. The demand for nurses with advanced degrees is constantly increasing. For a nurse with a BSN, salaries can range from around $63,000 annually, to as much as $105,000. Salaries often vary depending on the specific area of nursing one is working in, as well as years of experience and the health care institution itself. For more information on the specific types of nursing professions and associated salaries, you can read about the average salary with a BSN.
Financial Aid for Students Seeking BSNs
The Free Application for Federal Financial Aid is the first source a student should look to when looking for extra money to help pay for education. By filling out the FAFSA, you apply for several governmental grants and loans at once, and almost all students qualify for at least some aid. There is also a wide variety of college grants and scholarships available for nursing students from private sources. There are a wide variety of scholarships available for minorities who are pursuing nursing degrees including, The Minority Nurse Magazine Scholarship Program, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses Scholarship, The Kaiser Permanente College to Caring Program, and more. Other general scholarships available to interested students include the AAOHN Foundation Academic Scholarship, the SGNA RN General Education Scholarship, the Scholarships of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and more. Click here for more info about LPN to BSN scholarships.
Getting additional education may seem like too much of a burden for someone already working in the medical field, but it is worth reconsidering. Statistically, someone with a bachelor’s degree will earn more money in their lifetime than someone without one, and it will be easier to be promoted into management positions or other higher level jobs if you have a higher degree.
What are LPN to BSN Programs Like?
LPN to BSN programs delve into core nursing skills as well as covering a wide swath of nursing specialties. After completing a BSN, most nurses will be qualified to either practice as an RN or continue their education into a nursing niche such as midwifery or pediatric nursing, both of which require master’s degrees. Some of the courses students take in LPN to BSN programs include:
- Health Assessment: This is a basic nursing skill, but because of the range of illnesses that exist, it takes significant study to be able to understand the symptoms and treatments for even all of the most common ailments. Learning to talk with patients to learn what their symptoms are and make a preliminary diagnosis based on what they say is a crucial ability for any nurse.
- Community Focused Nursing: Community or public nursing is the practice of working with a given community to improve its members’ overall health. This includes providing treatment, but has a large education component as well, since one of the biggest ways to affect the health of a community is to provide educational materials about various health risks and how to confront them.
- Leadership in Nursing Practice: Learning to efficiently manage a team of nurses and assistants so that patients are treated in order and on time is paramount for nurses who want to be promoted to shift supervisor or higher management positions. Leadership also includes suggesting and implementing new strategies for efficiency, and participating in nursing conferences where individuals have the opportunity to state their opinions on the direction the industry should take.
- Nursing Research: Nursing research is the process of gathering data and evidence that is used in the everyday practice of nursing. By doing quantitative and qualitative studies about the effectiveness of various practices, standards of treatment, and business models, nurses can justify treatment plans and nursing interventions, and grow the body of nursing knowledge that has accumulated for hundreds of years.
Specialties Available to Nurses with a BSN
The higher a nurse’s education degree, the easier it will be for him or her to choose a specialty and do the kind of work he or she wants to do. Some of the specialties an LPN might consider pursuing after completion of a bachelor’s degree include:
- Pediatric Nursing
- Geriatric Nursing
- Mental Health Nursing
- Neonatal Nursing
- Obstetric/Gynecologic Nursing
- Public Health Nursing
By pursuing a specialty, nurses can give themselves more choice about the types of patients and demographics they work with, the hours they work, and their general day to day activities.
Why do an LPN to BSN Online?
Since much of the content of an LPN to BSN program is academic, the courses translate well into electronic media, and since you must already be an LPN to enter these programs, you probably won’t want to quit your job to go back to school. Taking online courses while still working is an affordable and manageable way to increase your education without putting the rest of your life on pause.
Some online LPN to BSN programs may incorporate a clinical requirement, which you could potentially fill at your current place of employment. Because these programs are tailored to students who are already working as nurses, any clinical experience required shouldn’t be too difficult to complete. Taking academic courses online while working may put a strain on your time, but your paycheck means you won’t have to take out as many loans to pay for classes, and minimizing your educational debt is always a worthwhile goal to pursue.
Where to Begin
There are so many LPN to BSN programs available, and other customized programs for nurses at various levels to upgrade their education, that it can be difficult to sort out the top-notch from the mediocre. The links above and below this article lead to schools that students have shown the most interest in, that have proven their quality over time. Contact these schools for more information about their LPN to BSN programs, and consult with their financial aid offices, and even students who have already graduated, if possible, to get a feel for which program is right for you. Once you’ve chosen a program, you’ve taken the first step toward furthering your education and boosting your nursing career.
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