Adults who enter nursing as licensed practical nurses or licensed vocational nurses may decide to return to school to obtain further training or a higher degree. More advanced education usually allows them to earn more money, to work in new areas within nursing and to increase their responsibilities within the nursing profession. Many colleges and universities offer bridge classes for students to obtain an associate degree and to become certified as an registered nurse, or to receive a bachelor's degree in nursing.
Colleges That Offer LPN/LVN to RN Programs
Many community colleges, such as LaGuardia Community College in New York, offer a transition program so that Licensed Practical Nurses, or LPNs, can receive an associate degree and become registered nurses. To enter this program, like most other transition or "bridge" programs, students must have their LPN/LVN license. Clinicals are held after coursework is completed. The program takes approximately 12-18 months to complete, depending on how long the student takes to complete the coursework and whether prerequisite courses must be completed first. Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas, has an LPN to RN bridge program as well. Current LPNs may request advanced placement in the RN program, which shortens the time needed to complete the program -- usually four semesters.
Colleges That Offer RN to BSN Programs
Kennesaw State University in Georgia has a bridge program that allows practicing registered nurses to receive a bachelor of science in nursing, or BSN, diploma. Students must have completed approximately 50 credit hours of classes, mostly in math and science, before admission can be granted into the bridge program -- most nursing candidates will have completed the courses while studying to be an RN. The Kennesaw State bridge program covers three semesters of study. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville also offers an RN to BSN transition program that takes three semesters to complete. The university offers full and part-time programs, online and in-person, giving the student an enormous amount of flexibility.
Online Colleges That Offer LPN/LVN to RN Programs
The University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville has an online program for LPNs who want to become RNs, in addition to their campus bridge program. Students must complete the Kaplan Nurse entrance test prior to entry, and the school advises that LPNs score as high as possible, as space in the program is limited, and spaces are filled by order of score on the entrance test. Some prerequisite courses are required. Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio, offers several options for students who want to become registered nurses. There is an online program for adults who already have a bachelor's degree in another field and a bridge program for LPNs who want to become RNs, as well as an accelerated program for LPNs. There are also certificate programs for nurses who want to enhance their job skills.
Online Colleges That Offer RN to BSN Programs
Utica College in Utica, New York, has a 16-month accelerated nursing program for students who already have a degree in another field. Students will still need to come to Syracuse for clinical rotations, however. Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, also offers an online bachelor's degree in nursing. Courses are constructed in an eight-week format. Liberty also offers an online master's program in nursing. Liberty states that most students will finish their degree program in about two years. Students have the option of completing two on-campus "intensives" during their coursework.
- LaGuardia Community College: LPN to RN Pathway
- Hutchinson Community College: LPN to RN Traditional Bridge
- Kennesaw State University: RN to BSN Advanced Placement Bridge Program
- UACCB: Associate of Applied Science in Registered Nursing
- Columbus State Community College: Nursing at Columbus State
- Utica College: Accelerated Nursing Program
- Liberty University: Bachelor of Science in Nursing for the Registered Nurse
Lori Garrett-Hatfield has a B.J. in Journalism from the University of Missouri. She has a Ph.D. in Adult Education from the University of Georgia. She has been working in the Education field since 1994, and has taught every grade level in the K-12 system, specializing in English education, and English as a Second Language education.