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The LPN to RN Bridge Program: How Long Does It Take & How to Go From LPN to RN

The LPN to RN Bridge Program: How Long Does It Take & How to Go From LPN to RN

If you are a licensed practical nurse (LPN) and want to advance your nursing career, becoming a registered nurse (RN) is the principal way to go. While you can pursue various routes to advance to the RN role, the most efficient way is by enrolling in an LPN to RN bridge program.

However, before you embark on your next educational journey, you should understand the critical differences between LPNs and RNs and the implications of advancing to a higher nursing position. Additionally, you must assess all the details of such a program, including the actual process of becoming a registered nurse as a licensed practical nurse and how long it will take you to do so.

We will explore these elements and help you make the best choices in your journey so that all your efforts to advance your nursing career are well-directed. Here are the key details of the LPN to RN educational path that should inform your decisions:

LPN vs. RN differences

Before Going From LPN to RN: What Are the Differences?

LPNs and RNs are two nursing roles that differ based on their level of education and preparation, duties and responsibilities, workplace settings, workplace autonomy, as well as expected salary brackets and advancement opportunities.

A registered nurse is better prepared, with the minimum level of education to qualify as one being a 2-year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). Comparably, licensed practical nurses only have to pursue a 1-year PN diploma program. The difference in education results in different levels of responsibility allotted for each role, with LPNs requiring supervision from better-certified staff, including RNs. Additionally, there are some medical practices that LPNs simply cannot complete, including mixing IV medications, performing IV therapy, or administering oxygen therapy.

If you want to discover more about the LPN roles and duties, including their limitations, read our in-depth guide.

Beyond the level of education required, autonomy in the workplace, and ability to perform various tasks, RNs and LPNs also have different projections for their average salaries, specializations, and career advancement options.

LPN to RN Salary Changes

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs are better paid than LPNs on a national and state level. Thus, advancing from LPN to RN can add $26,600 to your yearly salary.

Salary differences between the two roles will depend on the state in which you work and your level of education. Read our in-depth nurse salary by state study to understand what payment you can expect based on your location.

LPN to RN Job Outlook Differences

The number of registered nurses is projected to increase slightly faster than that of licensed practical nurses throughout the decade. As an LPN, you have 54,400 new job openings yearly, amounting to a 5% increase through 2032. Comparably, as an RN, you will have around 193,100 new jobs opening per year (3.5 times more), with a 6% increase by 2032.

Lastly, a registered nurse can advance to a certified nurse practitioner (CNP) by pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, given that they hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Comparatively, licensed practical nurses first need to become an RN by getting an ADN, earning a BSN, or pursuing a bridge program.

In other words, advancing from LPN to RN is not only the main path to take for a practical nurse but the principal career advancement decision that you can take in this position.

If you want to discover the complete list of differences between the two roles, you can read our LPN vs. RN comparison.

And if you want to take the first important step towards advancing your career as an LPN, you can do so conveniently with Nightingale College’s LPN-to-ASN bridge program. By pursuing this hybrid path that combines online didactic instruction and on-ground supervised field experience, you can receive the preparation required for advancing to the RN position in as little as 16 months.

Take the next step in your nursing journey with our LPN-to-ASN path. Send in your application today!

what is an lpn to rn program?

What Is an LPN to RN Program?

An LPN-to-RN program is an accelerated educational path that prepares licensed practical nurses to sit the NCLEX-RN exam, which is the prerequisite for becoming a registered nurse. You can find such programs in universities, some healthcare facilities and community and private colleges, and you can attend them either partially online (hybrid programs) or offline.

Compared to the longer full-time ADN and BSN options that you can start from scratch, LPN-to-RN paths use the prior knowledge and experience of practical nursing licensure programs to advance to the RN position faster, easier, and at a lower cost.

LPN to ADN vs. LPN to BSN Programs

There are two main paths for the LPN to RN advancement route: you can either opt for the 2-year LPN to ADN or LPN to ASN programs or pursue a lengthier LPN to BSN path.

Program type



Length of Program

16 months – 2 years

2 years – 28 months

Type of Degree Earned

Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Applied Associate of Science in Nursing (AASN)

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

Available online

Yes (hybrid)

Yes (hybrid)

Approximate tuition costs



LPN to RN salary difference 

$26,600 more

$35,426-$47,380 more

Both options will end with you becoming a registered nurse. However, you should note that ADN and BSN levels of preparation will have an effect on your job outcomes and opportunities, with BSN nurses receiving better pay and having more advancement opportunities and available job positions, including management roles.

Read more about the difference in education and outcomes in our ADN vs. BSN comparison.

How Long Is an LPN to RN Program?

How Long Is an LPN to RN Program?

Completing an LPN to RN educational path generally takes between 16 months and 2 years to complete but can last up to 28 months or more if you aim to graduate with a Bachelor's degree.

If you want to advance to the registered nurse position as fast as possible, you should pursue LPN to ADN or ASN programs that can take under 2 years to complete and fully prepare you for the NCLEX-RN. ADN and ASN certifications are similar in level of education, with the latter being centered around practical experience.

At Nightingale College, you can pursue a hybrid LPN-to-ASN bridge program that prepares you to attend the NCLEX-RN in as few as 16 months. The learning path also provides learners with a more convenient educational experience by providing all didactic instruction online, which can accommodate your lifestyle better than offline programs.

Take the first step to becoming an RN with our LPN-to-ASN program!

LPN to RN Requirements and Prerequisites

The main prerequisite for embarking on an LPN to RN learning path is being a licensed practical nurse. Thus, if you have completed a PN diploma program and have passed the NCLEX-PN, you are nearly ready to enroll.

Many bridge programs also require applicants to have completed at least 6 months of practice as licensed practical nurses. Additionally, you will have to sit an entrance exam and possibly complete some prerequisite courses.

Prerequisites can vary from one program to another, and you should always consult the information provided by the institution you intend to study at.

When to Apply to an LPN to RN Program?

When to Apply to an LPN to RN Program?

You should start considering advancing your education in order to become a registered nurse when your current accreditation does not allow you to advance in payment and responsibilities. Although it is essential to the nursing field, the LPN position is worth pursuing and practicing if you want to test the waters of nursing as a career. As soon as you have exhausted your advancement options as a licensed practical nurse and you are convinced that nursing is your career of choice, you should explore your advancement options.

Similarly, if you wish to gain more autonomy in your workplace and be able to practice without direct supervision, you should look into studying for RN certification. Registered nursing is one position where you can develop your administrative skills, as not only will you get to supervise other staff members, but you may get to access roles dedicated to the management of a healthcare environment.

Lastly, if you consider that your salary does not reflect your aptitudes or does not meet your expectations, furthering your education is the one sure way of increasing your pay. If you want to know what you can reasonably expect from an LPN salary, you can read our complete presentation. And, if you aspire for better payment, you should try to advance to a better position.

How to Apply to an LPN to RN Program & What to Expect

How to Apply to an LPN to RN Program & What to Expect

Here is how you should apply to an LPN to RN program and how to complete the educational path for RN licensure successfully:

  1. Establish your desired level of education: Decide whether you want to pursue a shorter ADN-level bridge program or wish to go for the longer BSN accreditation. Although BSN nurses have a better outlook for payment and positions, the program will take longer and cost you more. Plus, you should remember that, as an ADN-level RN, you can get a BSN degree in a reduced period via an RN-to-BSN track.
  2. Decide how much you can commit to education: Establish how much you can invest and whether you can pursue the program full-time or not. These factors can be instructive for your final choice. For example, if you're seeking an educational path while still working, you should consider a hybrid program, such as Nightingale College's LPN-to-ASN path
  3. Find your desired program and institution: Weigh your options for your degree of choice and explore the institution’s requirements, performance, and benefits. Remember that your chosen school must be accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
  4. Ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements: Check whether the institution asks applicants to complete prerequisite courses or any other similar requirements. You will eventually need to sit the entrance exam.
  5. Attend the program and earn your accreditation: Once you complete the educational program, you have to pass a clinical assessment and sit the NCLEX-RN. Once you successfully pass these exams, you earn your certification and can practice as a registered nurse.

LPN to RN Curriculum

The curriculum for the LPN to RN program you will attend depends on the level of accreditation you pursue. However, all options will include theoretical classes and supervised practical experience sessions. You will have classes on core nursing subjects like anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, and behavioral science. Additionally, you will have to complete between 200 and 500 clinical hours in specialized facilities.

As for most educational fast tracks, you can expect the learning experience to be faster paced, demanding more attention on your part. If you pursue the LPN to BSN program, you will have to assimilate more theoretical knowledge, as opposed to LPN to ADN or ASN paths that prioritize clinical experience.

Lastly, didactic styles can greatly change the base curriculum of a program, with more traditional ones having a denser set of courses. However, concept-based programs, like Nightingale College’s LPN-to-ASN path, prepare you to employ your critical thinking, clinical competence, and technical proficiency in healthcare settings.

Scope of Practice Outcome of an LPN to RN Program

Scope of Practice Outcome of an LPN to RN Program

Moving from LPN to RN will have multiple effects on your day to day life and activities in your work environment of choice. Most importantly, you will gain new responsibilities for completing various tasks, often without supervision.

If, as an LPN, you will mostly spend your time taking vital signs, providing basic care and assistance, and talking to patients, as an RN, you will gain responsibilities, such as administering medication, drawing blood, inserting IV drips, as well as performing diagnostic tests and collecting lab samples.

You will still provide extensive hands-on care to patients, with the added responsibility of educating them and their families on health management, as well as setting patient care plans.

Lastly, RNs do not need the same extent of supervision as LPNs do. You will continuously collaborate with other RNs, advanced practice RNs (APRNs), doctors, and other professionals, but with considerably more autonomy. And depending on your experience and level of certification, you may even oversee staff members or occupy leadership and management roles in nursing.

In short, going from an LPN to the RN role will mean more responsibilities, autonomy, as well as more options for specializations and career advancements.

Should You Go For an LPN to RN Program?

Should You Go For an LPN to RN Program?

Many licensed practical nurses will find their level of certification and healthcare role to be enough for their work expectations and desires. However, if you find your current position to be unsatisfying, either from a payment point of view or another, you should seriously consider the available LPN to RN educational paths.

They represent the most accessible way of increasing your base salary, level of responsibility in the workplace, and occupational outlook. An LPN to RN program is also shorter than full time ADN/ASN or BSN programs and if you pursue a hybrid program, you can also pursue it while working.

The LPN-to-ASN track at Nightingale College combines online didactic instruction with on-ground supervised field experience to guarantee maximum accessibility and convenience for you, regardless of your lifestyle or priorities. The evidence-based curriculum prepares you for sitting and passing the NCLEX-RN and becoming an apt registered nurse in your future workplace in as few as 16 months.

Take the next step in your nursing career with our LPN-to-ASN program. Send your application today!


Can an LPN Become an RN?

Licensed practical nurses can advance to the registered nurse position, either by pursuing full-time ADN/ASN or BSN degrees or by enrolling in LPN to RN bridge programs. The latter tend to be the faster paths that also valorize the experience gained during your time as an LPN. 

How Long Does It Take to Become an RN From LPN?

If you opt for a bridge program as an LPN, you can become an RN in a time frame ranging from 16 months to over 2 years, depending on the level of education you pursue. You can complete LPN to ASN to ADN programs in 16 months to 2 years, with LPN to BSN programs taking up to 28 months or more to complete.

What Is the Fastest LPN to RN Program?

The fastest way of advancing to the registered nurse position as a licensed practical nurse is by completing an LPN-to-ASN program. The shortest period of time for its completion is 16 months, after which you can sit the NCLEX-RN.

How Much Does an LPN to RN Cost?

While tuition costs will differ from one institution to another, LPN to ADN or ASN programs can cost anywhere from $4,000 to over $9,000, with LPN to BSN bridge program costs surpassing $11,000. Overall, tuition costs for these bridge paths fall under those of full-time ADN or BSN programs.

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