woman in scrubs sitting at a classroom desk

How an LPN Can Become an RN

Interested in how an LPN can become an RN? Many licensed practical nurses (LPNs), or alternatively referred to as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), desire to advance their career. The next natural step is by furthering their education to become a registered nurse (RN). 

While LPNs and RNs may seem similar, there are major differences between the two roles. Education, overall job responsibilities, and salary are the biggest distinctions. 

LPNs duties include providing basic patient care, assisting RNs and healthcare practitioners. RNs supervise LPNs. They have a direct role in providing higher levels of patient care with more complex duties and responsibilities. RNs are more involved in treating patients, administering medications, coordinating care, and working with doctors. 

Why LPNs Choose to Become RNs

LPNs often make the leap to become an RN for many reasons. The benefits of transitioning from LPN to RN are evident by the list below.

  • More choices and job opportunities in a variety of settings
  • Greater pay and higher earning potential
  • Autonomy and authority to take action and make clinical decisions regarding hands on patient care
  • Ability to expand clinical skills and scope of practice
  • Advance into leadership and management positions
  • Gain a step further to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing Degree
  • Long-term job security

Nowadays, there are plenty of options to become an RN through traditional in-person classes, online learning, and hybrid programs. Certain core nursing courses and onsite clinicals are usually required in person for practical experience. 

Having existing education, training, and experience of being an LPN provides sufficient advantage throughout the process to an RN.

How an LPN Can Become an RN: LPN to RN Bridge Programs

To go from an LPN to RN, there are different paths available through LPN to RN programs, often called bridge programs. It’s important to not only choose a program designed for LPNs to transition to RNs, but also a program that is accredited. 

LPN to RN program accreditation is important because it ensures your program meets the standard for education and training. Make sure your program is accredited by either the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

These programs prepare LPNs to become RNs by going into greater detail regarding nursing theory, building upon skills, and taking on more clinical responsibility with increased critical thinking and decision making. 

Since LPN to RN bridge programs “bridge the gap” to specifically go from one career level to the next, programs are often accelerated and sometimes even allow for students to test out of classes given proper scores and experience. This is because LPNs already have prior education and experience in nursing.

You must first meet the LPN to RN program requirements to enroll, which might be unique to each program, but usually consist of these basic prerequisites: 

  • High school diploma or GED with a minimum GPA accepted
  • An LPN license in good standing and with necessary clinical experience hours
  • Working experience as an LPN
  • BLS/CPR certification
  • Completed general education courses and necessary nursing courses
  • Passing score for entrance exams

Once enrolled in an LPN to RN bridge program, you’ll complete and graduate the program in preparation to apply and take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). You’ll then need a passing score to earn your RN licensure!

It’s important to know that each state may have specific requirements based on the state’s Board of Nursing to become licensed in that state, therefore do your research beforehand.

Types of LPN to RN Programs

There are two main types of LPN to RN programs, which are LPN to ADN (Associate’s Degree in Nursing) and LPN to BSN (Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing Degree). Both educational paths make nurses eligible to reach an RN licensure. 


An LPN to ADN program is for those who choose to pursue an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. An associate’s level program is often the faster and cheaper route, taking one to two years for a completion of 60-72 credit hours.

LPN to ADN programs are usually offered at vocational schools, community colleges, and online. RNs with an ADN are then prepared to move into entry-level RN positions.


An LPN to BSN program is a step above an ADN, receiving a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing Degree. Often more expensive due to more credits taken and rigorous study, an LPN to BSN takes two to four years to complete 120 credit hours.

LPN to BSN programs are mainly available at 4 year colleges and universities. RNs with a BSN tend to have greater career choices due to a longer in-depth course of study.

Generally, both an LPN to ADN and an LPN to BSN will require 200 to 500 practical clinical hours that are completed through hospitals, clinics, or other approved facilities and sites. 

Is an LPN to RN Transition Right for You?

Think about your long-term career goals and the time and ability you have to invest in furthering your education. There are many LPNs who are happy and content with their career choice, while other LPNs are eager to use their role as a stepping stone to become an RN. 

The nurseIO app allows both LPNs and RNs along with other healthcare professionals to discover and accept per diem shifts at local facilities! Choose the right career path by determining what’s important for you!

Share this post: