Let’s face it – the majority of us who are Licensed Practical Nurses (or Licensed Vocational Nurses as we’re known in California and Texas) want to become RNs, and it is for that reason that LPN and LVN to RN programs are so popular these days. Designed for the express purpose of helping you pass the NCLEX-RN test and becoming a Registered Nurse, many of these so-called bridge programs are filled to capacity. Coursework focuses on the theories and clinical aspects of RN work, and can be taken through any approved online or on-campus program.
Why Become an RN?
Registered Nurses not only earn a lot more than LVNs, but they also have more employment opportunities and options for career advancement. RNs also enjoy greater flexibility in both their job environment and work schedules than do LVNs. Best of all, for you particularly ambitious types, upward mobility from RN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) positions and ultimately even Masters (MSN) and PhD-equivalent positions is significantly easier.
How Do I Get Into an LVN to RN Program?
In order to be admitted to an LVN to RN bridge program, applicants are required to already be a Licensed Vocational Nurse, to have a high school diploma or GED, and to have recorded a 2.0 GPA or better on all of their post-secondary coursework (for example, any courses taken at LVN programs in Los Angeles would be considered for admission to LVN to RN programs in California). Depending on how long it has been since you completed your LVN coursework, certain programs may also require you to acquire a “recency waiver” (based on work experience) if you haven’t taken certain classes in more than five years.
What to Look For in LVN to RN Programs
Without a doubt, the single most important thing you should consider when selecting an LVN to RN program is its accreditation. The institution offering the program must be accredited by your home state’s nursing regulatory body if you are to be qualified to take the NCLEX-RN exam at the end of your studies. Being accredited by the regulatory board in the state where you intend to work is extremely important, as some states will not accept LVN to RN degrees earned from certain out-of-state schools.
It is also extremely important to find a program that fits your budget and schedule. Remember, because you’re probably already working as an LVN or LPN, you need to think about how you’re going to fit school and its associated expenses into your life without turning it upside down. It is for this very reason that many people choose to take online LVN to RN programs. Distance learning not only resolves the problem of finding time to go to class, but it is also usually a lot more affordable than on-campus alternatives.
One Last World on LVN to RN Bridge Programs
Nursing is an exciting, rewarding career for people who enjoy helping others and working in fast-paced, team-oriented environments and becoming a Registered Nurse allows you to also earn a great salary. By enrolling in an LVN to RN program you can cross the bridge from your current role into one that offers even more opportunity for personal growth and career advancement. Assuming you have previously completed an accredited LVN program, it will usually take you only a year to finish all of your coursework. It just might be the best thing you’ve ever done for your career.