Let's be honest - most of us who have been Licensed Practical Nurses (or LPN-Licensed-Vocational-Nurse-LVN/">Licensed Vocational Nurses as we're known in California and Texas) want to become RNs, and it's for that reason that LPN and LVN to RN programs are so very popular these days. Usually referred to as bridge programs, these courses are created to help LVNs pass the NCLEX-RN examination that's required in order to become a Registered Nurse. Coursework focuses on the theories and clinical facets of RN work, and can be studied through any approved online or on-campus program.
Why Become an RN?
Vocational nursing is an excellent place to start your career in health care, but RNs are paid significantly higher salaries, and have far more career possibilities open for them. RNs also get greater flexibility in both their job environment and work schedules compared to LVNs. Even better, for you particularly ambitious types, upward mobility from RN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) positions and ultimately even Masters (MSN) and PhD-equivalent positions is significantly easier.
Exactly What are the Requirements for LVN to RN Programs?
In order to be admitted to an LVN to RN bridge program, applicants have to already be a Licensed Vocational Nurse, to own a secondary school diploma or GED, and to have recorded a 2.0 GPA or better on their post-secondary coursework. Depending on just how long it has been since you completed your LVN coursework, certain programs may also ask you to acquire a "recency waiver" (based upon work experience) in the event you haven't taken certain classes in over five years.
Finding the Best LVN to RN Program
Undoubtedly, the single most crucial thing you need to think about when selecting an LVN to RN program is its accreditation. The institution operating the program has to be accredited by your home state's nursing regulatory body if you are to be qualified to take the NCLEX-RN exam at the conclusion of your studies. If you plan on working in a state other than the one where you take your LVN to RN program, you should also remember that some states don't recognize out-of-state degrees from these schools.
It's also extremely important to find a program that fits your budget and schedule. Because you will probably be employed as an LVN while attending your bridge program, picking a school that lets you continue your professional development without adding undue stress isn't something you ought to overlook. More than every other factor, that is the reason that many aspiring RNs decide to register for online programs. Online learning not only resolves the problem of finding time to attend class, but it is also usually a lot more affordable than on-campus alternatives.
One Last Word on LVN to RN Programs
RNs certainly work tirelessly, but they also are paid very well for a career in Nursing that many people view as highly rewarding and exciting. By enrolling in an LVN to RN program you will cross the bridge from your current role into one that offers even more opportunity for personal growth and career advancement. Both on-campus and online classes may be completed while you continue working, and by counting course units finished in your LVN program, are usually just 12 months in duration. It just may be the smartest thing you've ever done for your career.