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What Does an LPN to BSN Career Entail?

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) is an ideal stepping stone whilst in pursuit of a bachelor of science in nursing degree (BSN), which will allow you to work as a registered nurse (RN). If you wish to save time and money on your journey to greater nursing responsibilities and higher pay, consider an LPN/LVN to BSN Bridge Program. These programs allow you to transfer LPN/LVN credits to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program so that you do not have to retake courses and waste no time getting back into the workforce with your nursing BSN. They might also take into consideration any real-life work experience you complete as an LPN/LVN.

Your primary responsibility as a licensed practical nurse is to assist registered nurses (RN) and physicians within your designated work environment. You might perform patient care part-time or full-time in a nursing home, hospital, doctor’s office, or as an in-home care provider. A licensed practical nurse (LPN) will complete basic tasks and duties so that those with more education, training, and experience are able to focus on the more in-depth tasks. This allows everyone to have specific roles and responsibilities at any given time to ensure the best possible care to all patients. And, the next responsibility level falls to registered nurses, who choose to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing.

The responsibilities of an LPN/LVN will vary each day; however, they will always fall within the LPN's general purview such as collecting samples, taking vitals, providing patient comfort, administering medication, and reporting patient status to RNs and doctors. An LPN will not need to receive an undergraduate degree prior to practicing in this capacity. However, they will have to complete an LPN certificate program, with curriculum including nursing courses and health sciences, from an accredited college or state university and pass the National Council licensure examination for LPNs, as well as pass a background check and a drug screening.

A nurse with a bachelor of science degree in nursing, or BSN, can become a registered nurse rather than a practical nurse, and will have far more responsibilities and opportunities in the nursing profession. You will be able to begin to focus on specializations in the medical field such as emergency medicine, cardiac care, intensive care nursing, neonatal, and case management. Regardless of a specialty, you will be responsible for high levels of care and tasks that can more easily be used in any work environment and in any specialization than other nursing specialists, such as an LPN/LVN.


Components of A Successful Career in Nursing

Success in a nursing career may be defined differently from person to person. Regardless of whether you want to make more money, work in a better work environment, or have more responsibility, you will need to follow a similar path to accomplish any career advancement. You must establish goals each year and continue your education. Whether you wish to become a doctor or complete your bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN), goals and continued nursing education will be a critical part of the process.

It's also important that you volunteer and network whenever possible. Both of these activities can lead to tremendous job opportunities that you may never have experienced without them. You should see if you can find a mentor or a coach who can help guide you in the right direction to accomplish your end goals more easily. They can also write you letters of recommendation when you apply to nursing programs or a college of nursing and introduce you to the right people as you look for new employment opportunities.

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How to Earn an LPN or LVN to BSN Bridge Degree Online

Once you have completed an online LPN program, the steps to a BSN degree are significantly reduced. You will have to complete, or have completed, a number of prerequisites before you can enter an LPN/BSN bridge. It is essential that if you want your credits to transfer to an online LPN to BSN program at an accredited college or university, you must complete an LPN from a nationally accredited nursing organization or a regionally accredited college or university. You will also be required to have finished with a minimum GPA. This will depend upon the online nursing program you wish to attend.

Typical Online LPN to BSN Program Requirements

The prerequisites and online program requirements to participate in an online LPN to BSN program are extensive and specific. Each will vary based on the program and the reputation of the college or university. In addition to completing a number of prerequisite courses and meeting a minimum GPA, you will be required to have completed roughly 1,000 clinical hours working as an LPN. You might also be required to take a number of entrance examinations to determine whether or not you are properly prepared to begin a BSN career path. Additionally, you may be required to complete foreign language courses if you did not take them in high school or college.

Academic Standards for LPN/LVN to BSN Bridge Programs

You will have to reach a specific GPA in your LPN courses to continue into an online LPN/BSN program. In most cases, it will range between a 2.0 and a 3.0 with most reputable programs requiring at least a 2.5 GPA. You will also be required to meet specific scores on entrance exams. The score minimum will vary based on the exam and the college or university at which you complete the BSN portion of the online program.

Exam/Experience Needed for LPN/LVN to BSN Bridge Programs

exam_needed_for_lpn_to_bsn_bridge_programsIn addition to roughly 1,000 clinical hours or one year working as an LPN, in order to begin the BSN portion of this bridge nursing program you will be required to complete various exams. This could include the care of an adult, the care of a patient with a mental disorder, the care of a patient during childbearing, and the care of a child. These exams may cost you money to take and each will take between two and four hours. It is likely you will have to reach at least a 70% passing score to be accepted into LPN to BSN programs from reputable and accredited colleges and universities.

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How Do Clinical Hours Work?

You will likely have to verify that you have completed at least 1,000 clinical hours, or one-year experience working as an LPN, to qualify for the best LPN to BSN programs. You will be expected to complete additional clinical hours in the bridge program outside those performed for your current employer. You will rotate between various medical specialties so that you have as much exposure to all types of medicine and work environments as possible.

Important Questions to Ask

How much does an online LPN to BSN Program cost?

lpn_to_bsn_bridge_program_costThe cost of an LPN to BSN online program will start around $17,000 for a three-year program at a community college and could cost more than $50,000 at the most prestigious programs. Some people choose to pay for the program as they continue to work, and others will select financial aid. Do not forget to apply to scholarships.

What types of schools offer these online programs?

LPN to BSN online programs are available at community colleges, vocational or technical schools, and 4-year nationally and regionally accredited colleges and universities.

How many students graduate “on time”, in 4-6 semesters?

On-time graduation rates will vary greatly based on the college or university and the program. The average rate is roughly 55%.

What kind of accreditation should the online program have?

accreditation_lpn_to_bsn_bridge_programAccreditation is essential to your long-term career path. You must select colleges and universities that are regionally accredited for the best opportunities for career advancement in the future and to be accepted into the best transitional BSN portion of the bridge program if you change colleges or universities. You should also consider national nursing accreditation for the online program you select including the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Software, Technology and Skills Needed

Each year, the medical industry becomes increasingly more dependent on technology. As a nurse of any kind, you will be required to have relatively advanced technology skills in a variety of areas, including day-to-day record-keeping activities and in emergency situations using specialized equipment. Technology is used in nearly every aspect of medicine today from people with pacemakers to diabetes patients.

You will have to understand clinical information systems, be able to access electronic health records, operate drug retrieval and delivery systems, and work with various types of computers and medical devices.

Bridge Program Options


An LPN to ADN bridge program is essential to be able to start working as an entry-level registered nurse. As an RN, you will have more nursing responsibility and you could possibly begin to have leadership and managerial responsibilities with an ADN. It is important to note that, in the next few years, you may be required to complete a BSN for even entry-level RN positions. For now, an ADN is still the fastest route to becoming an RN. Because these online programs are often not available at most accredited colleges and universities, it is important to select an LPN to ADN program that is accredited by a professional nursing institution, association, or organization.

Where online programs are found: Community colleges, vocational and technical schools, and limited colleges and universities.
Required Credit Hours: 60 to 72
Length of Program: 1 to 2 years

Example Courses:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology


An LPN to RN online program is designed to provide you with the training and education that is required to advance your career to becoming a full-time RN professional. It is important to note that you will be required to complete a number of non-medical or non-nursing courses to complete these online programs. These courses, such as English or communication, are also critical to being a successful nurse. Because these programs are often not available at most accredited colleges and universities, it is important to select an LPN to RN program that is accredited by a professional nursing institution, association, or organization.

Where online programs are found: Community colleges, vocational and technical schools, and limited colleges and universities.
Required Credit Hours: 60 to 72
Length of Program: 12 to 18 months

Example Courses:

  • Medication Administration
  • Medical Equipment Operation
  • Disease Prevention
  • Pharmacology


An LPN to BSN online program is designed to transition you into the top nursing positions within any medical-based working environment. These programs lead to significantly higher pay, managerial positions, and specializations. The courses in this program will be far more demanding than previous courses. As a nurse with a BSN degree, you will have greater responsibilities and independence as you work, due to your training and education. You will also have more experience in nearly all areas of medicine rather than a finite amount of exposure to varying work environments and patient types. This program will be essential in the future for anyone who wishes to become an RN, as the professional community continues to place greater emphasis on the importance of registered nurses and the nursing profession.

Where programs are found: Community colleges, vocational and technical schools, and colleges and universities.
Required Credit Hours: 120 hours, plus clinical hours
Length of Program: 3 to 4 years

Example Courses:

  • Transition to Professional Nursing
  • Advanced Mental Health Nursing
  • Microbiology
  • Introduction to Psychology

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Careers and Salaries for BSNs

A licensed practical nurse is one of the most basic nursing positions one can use to enter into the nursing profession; whereas, a nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing is one of the highest nursing honors before becoming a nurse practitioner. As an LPN, you can expect a salary of around $44,000, and as a BSN, you can expect a salary of more than $70,000. Keep in mind these salaries will be dependent on a number of factors, such as location, experience, and size of facility in which you work.

Nursing Salaries by Occupation

Your salary will be greatly dependent upon your education, years of experience, specialized certifications, employer, and location of employment. There is roughly a $30,000 pay difference between an LPN and a BSN. You will be required to continue your education in order to remain certified and licensed within any nursing profession. As part of these education requirements, it is a good idea to always be in pursuit of the next degree and the next specialization certificate, which will increase your pay and help you remain ahead of the increasing competition.

Nursing Occupations:

  • Licensed Practical Nurse
    An LPN works as a nurse and doctor assistant in basic patient care. Such duties might include patient observation, communicating the orders of a doctor or RN to patients or their family members, and providing routine care. You might also work in the home of a patient to provide basic care.
  • Legal Nurse Consultant
    A legal nurse consultant is a relatively new nursing career compared to an LPN or an RN. These nursing professionals provide expert advice and consultation on medical lawsuits. They will offer information on the healthcare system and standard medical practices.
  • Trauma Nurse
    A trauma nurse works in urgent care facilities and emergency rooms. These nurses must have an RN license, plus additional experience working in an emergency room before they can apply for a trauma nurse certification. These nurses must be able to work under pressure and be exceptional at prioritization.
  • Travel Nurse
    A travel nurse is a nurse who travels from facility to facility and town to town to provide care wherever there may be a shortage of nurses or a short-term need for additional nursing staff. Many younger nurses enjoy being a travel nurse as a way to see the country and to meet new people before they settle down in one place.
  • Chief Nursing Officer
    A chief nursing officer is one of the highest-ranking positions in the nursing profession. These nursing professionals can earn up to $135,000 a year and make a real difference in the processes and procedures of medical care. They are responsible for administrative leadership and strategic planning on a daily basis. You may require a master’s degree and years of experience before you are qualified to apply for such prestigious positions.

LPN To BSN Scholarships

  • A Nurse I Am Scholarship

    The A Nurse I Am Scholarship is awarded by Cherokee Uniforms. This scholarship is a one-time, $2,000 award. Applicants must complete the viewing of an educational video and a documentary video followed by the completion of an application and an essay. This scholarship will be awarded to a number of nurses. Last year, seven awards were given.

  • Tylenol Future Care Scholarship
    Amount:(Up to 40 Awards)

    The Tylenol Future Care Scholarship awards up to 40 students each year with this scholarship. Applicants must demonstrate their commitment to community involvement, caring for others, academic excellence, and leadership development. It is also essential that applicants are in pursuit of a career in the healthcare industry and providing long-term care to others.

Professional BSN Organizations

  • NPWH


The National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health

The National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health is dedicated to nurse practitioners who are committed to addressing the unique needs of women in healthcare. This organization is critical as many medical practices have always been focused on the way to treat men, when in reality, the bodies of men and women function differently in many situations, such as heart attack symptoms. The NPs in this organization focus on ways to address women’s health more effectively.



The American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants

The American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants focuses on creating a community of legal nurse consultants to discuss and address issues specific to this nursing profession. They work to raise awareness of the importance of the profession and to allow members to network. This professional platform includes mentorship opportunities, certification recommendations, and much more.



The Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses

The Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses is dedicated to pediatric nurses specializing in hematology, oncology, and other related pediatric nursing professions. This organization works to create an environment of support and career advancement for all pediatric oncology nurse professionals. Members embrace innovation, take pride in their profession, and wish to collaborate to establish effective and strategic practices in this specialization.

Choosing an Online Accredited Program

Before you begin your online LPN to BSN program, it is critical to consider the accreditation of the college or university and the program. Most states have a list of colleges and universities that are approved for nursing licenses. It is essential that you attend an online program that is approved by your state if you wish to obtain a license and actually work as a nurse upon graduation. This will also help you if you wish to transfer programs throughout the pursuit of your LPN to BSN.

Online vs On-Campus vs Hybrid

There is an option of an online LPN to BSN program. These online programs are ideal for those who still work or care for family members at home. You can also attend on-campus classes exclusively if you wish. Keep in mind that all nursing programs are hybrid to some extent as you will have lab work or clinical work to complete in person at your college or state university.

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