LPN Bridge Programs

Everything You Need to Know About LPN Bridge Programs

Everything You Need to Know About LPN Bridge Programs

For many, becoming a licensed practical nurse, or LPN, is the first step along the way toward becoming a registered nurse, or RN. While some professionals are happy to remain LPNs throughout their careers, others eventually decide to go back to school to earn more advanced positions. Unlike with many careers, there is more than one educational pathway to take when progressing from LPN to more advanced positions. All of them involve going back to school, but you don't necessarily have to complete a four-year degree. LPN bridge programs, which bridge the knowledge gap between working as an LPN and working in more advanced nursing positions, make it easier to get where you are going.

LPN to RN Bridge Programs

Many people start out as LPNs simply to get their foot in the door. They ultimately want to be RNs, but full-time jobs and other responsibilities prevent them from focusing on a four-year degree program right away. If you became an LPN to start earning a paycheck but would like to become an RN, an LPN to RN bridge program may be the answer.

To become an RN, you must earn either an associate degree in nursing, or ADN or a bachelor of science in nursing, or BSN. It normally takes about two years to complete an ADN and four years to complete a BSN. A bridge program takes into account your existing education and work experience, however, allowing you to progress more quickly. With such programs, it may be possible to earn your degree--and your RN license--a lot sooner. Bridge programs are usually designed with working professionals in mind, so you can maintain your job while you're at it.

LPN to ADN Bridge Programs

If you aren't planning to move into more advanced positions as an RN, the fastest and best option is probably to complete an LPN to ADN bridge program. It normally takes about two years to earn an ADN. Depending on your education and work experience, however, an LPN to ADN bridge program may get you there in as little as one year. You also avoid covering the same topics that you did in the past, so this option is more efficient.

LPN to BSN Bridge Programs

As eager as you may be to become an RN, it's important to keep the future in mind. If there's any chance that you will want to move into an advanced position or specialization later in your career, you should strongly consider completing an LPN to BSN bridge program. With a bachelor of science in nursing, you will have the option of later working toward your master's degree, which will allow you to move into management positions and more specialized roles.

LPN to MSN Bridge Programs

What if you already know that you'd like to become a nurse practitioner or would otherwise like to assume a more advanced role in the field of nursing? Could you just jump directly from being an LPN to earning your master of science in nursing, or MSN?

Unfortunately, LPN to MSN bridge programs do not exist. The main reason is because most MSN programs only accept applicants who already possess BSNs. However, you can use bridge programs to arrive at your goal more quickly. First, complete an LPN to BSN bridge program to earn your bachelor degree in less than four years. While completing the program, you may inquire about the fastest way to get on track to earn your MSN. Some schools may work with you to help you get there faster. If not, it usually takes about two years to complete an MSN. Online programs make it easy to hold down a job while working toward such a degree.

Which Path is Right for You?

Nursing is an incredibly rewarding profession. Since you can't predict the future, you may be unsure about which pathway to take in your education. Bridge programs can save you time and money, but it helps to have a plan in mind early on. If you are already an LPN, think about your long-term goals. Chances are that you can save time and money by completing a bridge program that takes your educational and work experience into account.