LPN to RN training programs may be an attractive opportunity for you if you want to advance in your nursing career. While LPN jobs can be very rewarding, many licensed practical nurses find that they want to apply for advanced positions and enjoy a higher salary by becoming a registered nurse, or RN. LPN to RN training programs are designed to help students excel and advance in their careers, without having to re-take certain types of nursing courses. These courses are sometimes called "bridge" programs, because they allow the student to take a few additional courses on top of the standard LPN program so that they can fulfill RN educational requirements. It's important to understand what the key differences are between an LPN vs. RN as you make key decisions about your career path.

How LPN to RN Programs Work

LPN programs prepare students for an entry-level position in the field. LPN to RN programs are built upon the two-year associate's degree program for a licensed practical nurse. The RN program takes four years to complete and leads to a Bachelors of Science degree. If you are a licensed practical nurse, you can transition to an RN program by completing a two-year Associate Degree Nursing program (ADN) and then take the National Council of Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN), or you can enroll in a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program right away and take the NCLEX-RN exam upon completion of your degree program.

The fastest way to complete the LPN to RN program is by first getting the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). If you meet all of the admission requirements and pass your bridge courses with a grade of "C" or better in this program, you will be able to complete your RN requirements faster than if you started the four-year BSN program at the beginning.

Keep in mind that you can still complete your LPN to RN program if you are already employed. You may need to cut back on your hours so that you can focus on your studies, but you can find several LPN to RN courses online, in a distance learning format, or offered at a satellite campus.

LPN vs. RN

Completing an LPN to RN program can put you in the position to obtain advanced nursing positions and grow in your career. When you are researching medical jobs and nursing careers, you may have wondered what the real difference is between an LPN vs. RN. LPNs are typically responsible for basic administrative tasks and duties that do involve interacting with patients. However, they are not qualified to administer medication, diagnose a problem, or assist a surgeon during a surgery. Instead, LPNs are responsible for duties such as administering first aid in an emergency room, cleaning wounds, giving simple injections, taking care of patient hygiene, giving patients food and water, and for providing emotional support.

Registered nurses are often responsible for documenting medical history and symptoms, administering treatment including medication, providing rehabilitation services, and working directly with the physician. Many are trained in a certain specialty, such as dermatology, orthopedics, gynecology or nephrology. Some RNs are hired to work in a home healthcare facility, while others work at a hospital or in an emergency department at a hospital.

If you do decide to advance in your career and complete a four-year nursing degree training program, you will be able to apply for positions beyond the standard LPN jobs. Advanced training may make you eligible to apply for nursing jobs such as a clinical nurse specialist, certified registered nurse anesthetist, registered nurse (RN) or a certified nurse midwife. For many candidates, LPN careers and LPN jobs are a stepping stone towards becoming a registered nurse or for pursuing an advanced nursing program.