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LPN to RN Programs: The Basics

Updated on May 21, 2013
The helping professions offer many career opportunites.
The helping professions offer many career opportunites.

Advancing Your Nursing Career

Nurses can be divided into two different kinds. An LPN is licensed practical nurse. She generally has about a year and a half of training in the medical field. An LPN’s duties including assisting patients with direct activities as well as working with doctors to explain a patient’s basic stats to them.

A registered nurse is a nurse with at least two years of training. In order to become an RN, you have to earn at least a community college degree in the field. Registered nurses often earn a bachelor’s degree as well. An RN performs many of the same medical duties as well as an LPN. She assists patients with basic medical needs as well. A registered nurse’s duties also include supervising LPNs and making sure they have performed their duties effectively.

The Advantages of Becoming an RN

Nurses can be divided into two different kinds. An LPN is licensed practical nurse. She generally has about a year and a half of training in the medical field. An LPN’s duties including assisting patients with direct activities as well as working with doctors to explain a patient’s basic stats to them.

A registered nurse is a nurse with at least two years of training. In order to become an RN, you have to earn at least a community college degree in the field. Registered nurses often earn a bachelor’s degree as well. An RN performs many of the same medical duties as well as an LPN. She assists patients with basic medical needs as well. A registered nurse’s duties also include supervising LPNs and making sure they have performed their duties effectively.

Becoming a registered nurse offers many advantages if you are an LPN. Registered nurses earn more money than LPNs. While salaries vary from place to place, this difference can be in the thousands each year. In the highest paying markets such as California and New York, RNs often earn ten to thirty thousand dollars more than their non-degreed counterparts.

This salary differential will likely only increase as demand continues to be strong for nurses.

Another serious advantage to earning an RN degree is the very real possibility that states and countries may start to require additional education. Many states are considering asking new hires to earn additional certification in order to retain their positions. Hospitals particularly want nurses to demonstrate versatility and the ability to perform multiple tasks as well as demonstrate their mastery of a specific fund of knowledge.

As an RN, you will also be entrusted with more duties. Registered nurses are often given a great deal of responsibility for patient care. They are also given the opportunity to be directly involved in patient’s life and assist in their recovery. RNs assume additional duties as well including teaching patients and other nurses and making sure the hospital facility has all the necessary supplies to make sure it is functioning effectively.

Registered nurses, unlike their LPN counterparts also have more choices of where to work. As an RN, you may be hired in a hospital, nursing home and even a school. Licensed practical nurses are often limited to working in certain hospital settings and doctor’s offices.

A Community College Nursing Degree or a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing?

If you already have your LPN certificate and have decided to further your career in nursing, there are several factors you should consider before entering a registered nursing program.

The first consideration should be the type of program you want to enter. You can earn either a two year degree or a four year degree. Each degree has advantages and disadvantages. A two year degree will take the least amount of time to complete and probably cost the least to complete. As an LPN, earning a community college degree in nursing can take you as little as a year. Many programs will give qualified candidates with an LPN credit for the time they’ve spent on the job as well as the academic credits they’ve earned during their training.

Once you have your community college degree in nursing and passed your nursing boards, you can begin to immediately apply for jobs in the field.

While a community college degree in nursing is a great way to advance your career, an actual bachelor’s degree in nursing also has many additional advantages.

A four year degree in nursing is an ideal way to launch a serious career in the field. A four year degree holder can expect to earn more money and have a great deal of responsibilities in the field. She can also expect to have numerous chances to advance her career including the opportunity to earn a master’s degree more easily and enter fields such as certified nursing midwifery where she can expect a great deal of professional autonomy.

A four year degree is harder to get if you are an LPN. You can expect it to take at least two years to complete and possibly even longer if you need to complete your coursework part-time.

How to Investigate LPN to RN Nursing Programs

Once you have decided on the kind of nursing program, there are several other considerations as well.

Your primary concern should be the type of program you want to earn. Registered nursing programs can be divided into three basic types: online, in a hospital or in a college. Online nursing RN nursing programs have several advantages. These include the ease of taking classes often at your leisure without leaving your home. An online nursing program has some disadvantages including the fact that it can cost more than other programs and may not be as widely accepted.

Hospital programs are often ideal for the LPN who wants to earn her RN degree. An in house program where you work is often your best choice for both convenience as well as cost. Many hospitals even encourage employees to further their education and will give you paid time off to complete your training. The training can be low cost or even free.

However, not all hospitals have such programs. You might have to travel to another hospital to complete your training during very inconvenient hours to complete the program.

Another option for gaining a degree in registered nursing is that of a community or four year college. Community colleges offer only two year programs. They can also cost money and may not be easy to get to during the day. Community colleges can have long waiting lists so it can be hard to even get into a program.

However, they offer well respected training and degrees that are widely accepted everywhere. The same is true of four year college nursing programs. A four year degree in nursing has many of the same advantages and disadvantages of a two year program including cost but also offers additional prestige.

Ultimately think carefully before you begin. LPN to RN programs offer incredibly opportunities for those who complete them.

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