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LPN To BSN Programs

For those who want to make a career out of helping others, becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) can open doors to many employment opportunities in health care. LPNs who choose to earn the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree through LPN to BSN programs might be given more responsibility in their profession, as well as the opportunity to enjoy better options for employment, promotions and higher pay.

Employment for licensed practical nurses looks promising in coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 22 percent growth in practical nursing jobs from 2010 to 2020, due to an aging population and the increasing popularity of outpatient care centers (bls.gov/ooh, 2012). The median annual wage for LPNs nationally was $42,040 in 2011, or $20.21 per hour (bls.gov/oes, 2012).

Those who choose to earn their bachelor's degree might even enjoy higher pay. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that higher education attainment is linked to higher pay and lower unemployment rates (bls.gov/emp, 2013).

About the LPN to BSN program

Though earning LPN certification can teach students the skills and knowledge necessary to provide patient care, those who earn the bachelor's degree in nursing can go in-depth with the subjects that matter most to those in the nursing profession. LPN to BSN programs are taught in both brick-and-mortar institutions as well as through online schools. Students who enroll in the LPN to BSN program take a variety of courses that include both general education requirements and nursing courses, such as psychology, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, microbiology, pharmacology, health assessments, gerontology, pediatric care, mental health, leadership and more (nmu.edu, 2012). 

While earning the typical bachelor's degree can take four to five years, students in LPN to BSN programs can sometimes enroll in fast-track full-time study to finish the degree in as little as nine months (nursing.ouhsc.edu). Some schools might offer LPNs credit for work already completed in pursuing their LPN certification (nmu.edu, 2012). Part-time programs are also available and might take longer to complete, but can be a popular option for those who want to continue working full-time while pursuing their degree.

Admission requirements

Those who apply for LPN to BSN programs must meet certain eligibility requirements. Though these can vary from one school to another, basic expectations include transcripts that indicate a minimum GPA, completion of basic science courses (often completed during the pursuit of the LPN), pre-entry testing and a valid license to practice nursing (tnstate.edu, 2012; nmu.edu, 2012).

Some programs might have other requirements, such as criminal background checks or consistent grades throughout the course of study. Since each program varies in admission requirements, speaking to an admissions counselor before application is recommended.

Career opportunities for LPN bachelor's degree holders

Though earning the LPN might foster employment opportunities in health care, some employers prefer to hire those who hold a degree from an accredited institution. In addition to offering a possible edge at hiring time, LPN to BSN program completion could also make nurses eligible for higher pay, promotions and positions that might not have been possible without the bachelor's degree.

Graduates of LPN to BSN programs might find work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, outpatient care centers, nursing homes, health departments, schools, civil services and several different industries. In 2010, 29 percent of licensed practical nurses worked in nursing care facilities, 15 percent in general medical and surgical hospitals, and 12 percent in offices of physicians. Three-quarters of LPNs worked full-time in 2010 (bls.gov/ooh, 2012).

Specializations

Those who pursue the LPN to BSN program can take their education further with certifications. These certifications can provide students with in-depth knowledge in a particular subject or skill. Certain certifications can also make an applicant more attractive at hiring time. For instance, a nurse who is certified in IV therapy might be seen favorably when applying for a position with a chemotherapy clinic.

Certifications are available through nursing organizations, employers, hospitals, community colleges and more. Certification in long-term care, pharmacology, and IV therapy are just a few examples of the many options available to nurses who complete certifications to enhance their knowledge and career options (napnes.org).

A final word on the LPN to BSN program

Licensed practical nurses who choose to earn their bachelor's degree in nursing might enjoy a wider range of employment options and could even see a boost in pay. Required courses can often be taken in less time than necessary to complete a traditional bachelor's degree, and depending upon the program, full-time students might be able to earn the BSN in less than one year. For nurses who want to take the next step in their education and earn a career boost, LPN to BSN programs can be a good move toward making that happen.

Sources

"Certifications," National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service, Inc., 2009
"Degree Admission Requirements," Tennessee State University Division of Nursing, 2012
"Education Pays…," Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013
"Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses," Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012
"Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-2013 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics
"LPN to BSN Program (Nursing Major)," Northern Michigan University, 2012
"Undergraduate: LPN to BSN," The University of Oklahoma College of Nursing, 2011

Schools offering LPN Programs

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Gwynedd Mercy College , Gwynedd Valley
  • Ranked among the Best Regional Universities in the North in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 39th among the Best Colleges for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A Catholic University with a strong foundation in the liberal arts, founded in 1948.
  • Offers over 40 undergraduate programs including medical biology, nursing, history, and more.
  • Its student to faculty ratio is  14:1, and 65.5% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Provides online degree programs at its satellite campuses.
     
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  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Potential students may preview a free, one-week mini course to get an accurate impression of the student experience.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
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  • Ranked among the 2015 Best Regional Colleges in the South by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Designated a 2014-2015 College of Distinction.
  • Average class size of 15, with a 12:1 student/faculty ratio.
  • Accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
  • Originally founded in 1859, with the main campus in Danville, VA.
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University of Phoenix , Online (campus option available)
  • Phoenix Career Services™ help students find careers that match their interests & map out a personalized career plan.
  • Mentorships & networking opportunities available through Alumni Association of 800,000+ graduates.
  • Flexible start date and class schedules.
  • 100+ locations and online options.
  • Offers special military rates and special advisors who have a military background.
  • Students can earn credits for applicable military training and education.
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  • Part of the Lincoln Group of Schools.
  • Lincoln Group of Schools made over $12 million available through scholarships to qualified students in 2014.
  • Designated a Military Friendly School for the 6th year in a row by Victory Media.
  • First campus was opened in 1946, now with 22 campuses across the United States.
  • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), Accrediting Commission of Career Schools (ACCSC), and Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
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