Introduction to LVN to RN programs
A licensed vocational nurse, or LVN, also referred to as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) in many states, is someone who cares for patients under the supervision of a nurse or doctor. LVNs provide bedside care, such as bathing and feeding patients, or preparing them for operations, helping them walk, or measuring their height, weight, and vital signs. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, LVNs must complete state approved training before they can practice and complete the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN).
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What is an LVN-to-RN Program?
LVN to RN programs are structured specifically for licensed vocational nurses (LVN) who have a desire to obtain certification as registered nurses (RN) through an accelerated process, reducing the time it takes to complete the study. LVNs are equivalent to licensed practical nurses (LPN), the term used in most states.
What are the Various LVN to RN Degree Programs Available?
There are a multitude of academic institutions that offer accredited online LVN to RN programs. It is important to note that being an RN can be accomplished via different paths. While LPN to RN programs are excellent, there are also degree programs available that offer students the chance to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or Master’s in Nursing degree:
- LVN to RN: A licensed practical nurse (LPN) who is interested in becoming a registered nurse will benefit most from this type of degree program. Students in this program will be given the knowledge and skills needed in order to take the NCLEX Examination. Passing this examination will enable these persons to begin practicing as registered nurses.
- LPN to RN: A licensed practical nurse (LPN) to registered nurse (RN) program is tailor-made for nurses who want to complete LPN to RN courses that will enable them to have an advantage in the hiring and promotion process over their peers. Courses will focus on the essential areas of nursing, including preparations for the NCLEX Examination. Having an advanced degree can sometimes be quite crucial for a nurse seeking employment.
- Paramedic to RN: Although uncommon, there are programs designed for people who are trained as paramedics to become RNs at an accelerated pace in classes.
- LVN to BSN: This degree program is aimed specifically for licensed vocational nurses (LVN) interested in learning about many essential topics in nursing, including patient care, basic health care management principals, and more.
- LPN to BSN: This type of program is best for licensed practical nurses (LPN) interested in furthering their career by obtaining a bachelor’s degree. LPN to BSN courses deal with many subjects across the nursing spectrum. Graduates will be aptly prepared to apply for jobs in the nursing field, or to seek promotions in their current health organizations (most typically hospitals).
- RN to BSN: Being an RN is a highly rewarding career decision. It should be noted, however, that without a degree from an institution of higher learning, there can be barriers to one’s promotion within a single organization. This can be solved by pursuing a BSN degree. Being a BSN degree holder by completing RN to BSN courses can result in a pay increase, as well as an expansion of career prospects.
- MSN: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs offer nurses a way to obtain an advanced graduate degree in their field. Nurses who have a keen interest in holding leadership positions within their organizations should strongly consider pursuing this type of degree.
What Type of Salary Can Someone Who Completes an LVN to RN Program Expect?
Registered nurses typically command a higher salary than those who are an LPN or LVN. In addition to this, nurses who have completed advanced education programs (often earning a BSN degree or MSN degree), stand to make a significant amount more than those who haven’t yet received a college degree. The average salary for an RN is typically in the range of $50,000 to $75,000 per year. Some registered nurses can make as much as $90,000 a year.
Many factors influence how much you’ll make as a registered nurse. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Setting: Where you work can play a role in how much you make. For examples, nurses who work general medical and surgical hospitals typically earn more than nurses who work at nursing care facilities, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nurses work in a variety of settings including community health clinics, schools, and emergency care facilities, just to name a few. You can often find salary statistics based on setting by searching online.
- Education: Your level of education directly affects your salary. The more years of school you put in, the more you’ll earn. With a Master of Science in nursing degree, you can earn over $70,000 a year, depending on where you work and much experience you have. It always pays to earn that extra degree!
- Professional Experience: How many years you’ve worked in the field also affects your salary potential. Typically, more experience results in higher pay. When you complete a degree and have a few years’ experience under your belt, you can expect to earn a highly respectable salary.
A significant amount of variation in salaries occurs because of years of experience, and at the whim of the specific health care organization that is employing the nurse. With demand for skilled and knowledgeable nurses expected to continually rise, pay rates should remain competitive in the long term.
What Academic Institutions Offer LVN to RN Programs?
LVN to RN degree programs are offered by a variety of accredited institutions of higher learning. Some programs require a significant amount of in-class study, but others give students the option of completing their LVN to RN courses online. Obtaining this type of nursing degree online can be very beneficial for those students who have other time commitments such as a family or job. The following institutions offer competitive LVN to RN degree programs that are worth a second look:
- Kaplan University: Kaplan University is a large university with a diverse student body. Students interested in becoming registered nurses can enroll in degree programs such as an RN to BSN program, an RN to MSN program, an MSN – Nurse Administration program, and an MSN in Nurse Education.
- Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences: FHC has a focus on providing an education for students in medical fields. This narrow focus allows the entire institution to provide better resources and aid to students serious about working in health care organizations. Specifically, students can enroll in an RN to BSN degree program.
- University of Phoenix: The largest online university in the world in terms of enrollment provides students many different program options at all levels of study in the nursing field. Those who are interested in nursing can apply for admission to programs such as RN to BSN, MS in Nursing (MSN), and PhD in Nursing.
- San Joaquin Valley College: SJVC is an accredited private junior college that offers accelerated career-focused curriculum and instruction for nursing students. The LVN to RN program offered gives nurses a chance to complete coursework that will prepare them to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam.
- Mendocino College: Mendocino has an accredited LVN to RN bridge program that is tailored towards students interested in furthering their nursing careers. LVN to RN courses cover issues of role transition, concepts of nursing diagnoses, pathophysiology, and critical thinking concepts. Graduates will be prepared to take required examinations for licensure.
- National University: NU offers a program for licensed vocational nurses who want to complete the minimum number of units needed to take the licensure examination. This LVN to RN degree program covers a variety of topics and concepts essential to the nursing profession.
Is There Financial Aid Available for LVN to RN Programs?
Obtaining an education can significantly increase one’s earning potential; however, this also comes at a significant cost. Many students opt not to pursue their goals because of financial concerns. This is unfortunate, because there are many LVN to RN scholarships available to students who can demonstrate need or ability. Many scholarships are merit based, while others can be awarded simply for meeting certain criteria. In addition, there are many financial aid options, and many more students qualify than one would assume.
Filling out a FAFSA is always a good place to start. Once the FAFSA is completed, the scholarship search can begin. There are a variety of scholarships available for nurses and those interested in LVN to RN classes. Some of these scholarships include American Health Care Association Scholarships, National Black Nurses Association Scholarships, Nursing Student Loan Program and Scholarships, AORN Foundation: Nursing Scholarships, and more.
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