Why become an RN & how to achieve it

RNs command a higher salary and have more options. Looking to move from LPN to RN? Learn the steps you need to take to become and RN.

January 2024

Why you need to become an RN

It’s possible for a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) to become a Registered Nurse (RN) with additional education. Advancing from an LPN to RN provides nurses the ability to earn a higher salary, gain additional job opportunities, and make an even greater impact in their profession. 

Registered nurse is a great career choice!

  • RN ranks in the “Top 10 Best Healthcare Jobs” (U.S. News& World Report)
  • RN ranks in the “Top 20 Best Jobs” overall (U.S. News &World Report)
  • RN average salary is $81,200 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) 
  • RN salary is 49% higher than LPN salary (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) 
  • RN salary is 37% higher than the national average salary(Forbes)

There is one big step you will need to take in order to transition from an LPN to RN—earning a nursing degree. You won't be able to become an RN without an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor's degree in nursing.

Wondering how long an LPN to RN program takes? 

Well… that depends on you and the choices you make including: 

The Bridge Program and nursing school you choose. 

There are many different paths along the RN journey. You'll want to choose the path that will accommodate your schedule to allow you to work and live your life while going back to school.

The degree program you choose. 

There are two different options for those who want to become an RN. You can choose to pursue either an Associate of Science in Nursing(ADN/ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). An ADN/ASN degree will take less time, but may provide less opportunities than a BSN.

The time you choose to set aside for studies. 

Enrolling in a full time nursing program is obviously the fastest way to earn your degree, but this isn’t an option for most of us. Luckily, there are great part-time options available to help you earn your degree as well. 

Steps to completing an LPN to RN Bridge:

  1. Choose a Bridge Program
  2. Pass Prerequisites and General Education Courses
  3. Complete Nursing Courses and Clinicals
  4. Prepare for and Pass the NCLEX-RN
  5. Obtain Your RN License
  6. Land Your First RN Job

1. Choose a Bridge Program

This is one of the most important choices you will make when it comes to moving from an LPN to RN. There are so many options out there that the choice can get overwhelming quickly. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Does the LPN to RN program offer a flexible schedule that can meet your needs for class times, coursework requirements, tests, quizzes, etc? 
  • Can you complete at least some of your LPN to RN online or is in-person attendance required? 
  • Are there extra fees for purchasing textbooks, parking passes, childcare, etc? 
  • Will previously earned credits transfer and be counted towards your degree? 
  • Is it possible to apply your knowledge and “test-out” of courses to earn credits more quickly? 
  • Is there a waitlist to get started?
  • Do you want to go from LPN to ASN or from LPN to BSN? 

2. Pass Prerequisites and General Education Courses 

With either an ADN/ASN or BSN program, you will be required to complete general education and prerequisite courses such as Algebra, History, Statistics, etc. before enrolling in your core nursing courses. 

Achieve Test Prep provides a faster way to prepare for and pass these courses which shortens the overall time it will take you to earn your degree and saves you money. 

Here’s how it works:

  • Attend one live, online class lesson for one hour, once each week and study your course materials in between these lessons. 
  • Interact with instructors and peers as much or as little as needed via email and online discussion forums. 
  • Prepare for your final course exam without all the extra quizzes, group projects, busywork, and additional requirements you’ll find in a traditional course. 
  • Pass one exam, and earn credit that can be transferred to the nursing school of your choice to count toward your degree program.

This method allows you to earn credits MUCH faster than attending a traditional college course. You’ll complete your course and earn credits in as little as 5 weeks compared to 16 weeks for traditional programs. 

3. Complete Nursing Courses and Clinicals

As you’re working on your general education and prerequisite courses, it’s a good idea to start looking at nursing schools. Many nursing schools have a waitlist, and you’ll want to be prepared. You’ll also want to be aware of the requirements for admission. For example, do you need to have a certain GPA? 

Once you’ve decided on and enrolled in your nursing school, it is time to complete your core nursing courses online or in person depending on your program. Nursing courses can be tough. Don’t be afraid to ask to help or seek out additional tutoring to help you get the hang of the concepts you’re being taught. You want to know the material inside and out so you are prepared for clinicals and your NCLEX-RN, which you’ll need to pass to obtain your RN license. 

Clinicals are a part of every good nursing school program. They provide hands-on training and testing with a nurse educator to ensure that you’re ready to work on your own as an RN outside the classroom. Clinicals can be scary for many nurses, but if you stay calm and focus on what you’ve learned, you’ll do just fine.

4. Prepare for and Pass the NCLEX-RN

If you want to become an RN in the United States, you must first pass the NCLEX-RN exam and obtain your nursing license.

While the NCLEX-RN tests the material you will have learned in nursing school, the answers are not always straightforward. You’ll need to be prepared to evaluate given questions and use critical thinking skills to determine if one or more of the answer choices are correct. These questions are not necessarily difficult when you know the material, but it’s a good idea to practice and prepare for them in advance of your test.

A good NCLEX-RN prep program is a valuable tool that will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to achieve success on test day. Upon successfully passing the NCLEX-RN, you  will be able to practice as a registered nurse in the state where you took the exam, and you’ll qualify to apply for licensure in other states. 

5. Obtain your RN License 

After you graduate from an accredited nursing program and pass your NCLEX-RN, you will need to meet any additional Board of Nursing requirements in your state in order to obtain your license. 

Each state has its own unique requirements surrounding RN licensure. Check with your state Board of Nursing to ensure you understand what those requirements are and what you will need to do to obtain your license. 

6. Land Your First RN Job

When you earn your license, congratulations! You’re officially ready to look for RN jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be 193,100 jobs for RNs each year throughout the next decade, so you’ll have some great opportunities. 

Moving from LPN to RN is a big goal but with the right preparation and support, you can achieve it! Not only will you increase your salary and gain additional job opportunities as an RN, but you’ll also expand your ability to impact the health of others. 

How Achieve Test Prep Works to Help You Move from LPN to RN

Achieve Test Prep exists to support working nurses, like you. We offer flexible bridge programs that will help you begin your RN journey on the right foot. You’ll start by completing a Bridge Plan which will give you a detailed view of everything you will need on your journey and the steps you need to take to reach your goal. 

We help you through your nursing education! You’ll get personalized attention and the ability to ask questions in real time through live, online courses. When you enroll in the nursing school of your choice, we provide on-demand tutoring for your core nursing courses, so you can proceed with confidence. Finally, we offer NCLEX-RN prep that will help you go into test day fully prepared and ready to succeed. 

Are you ready to begin? It might not be easy, but you are worth the effort! Start your LPN to RN online with Achieve. Learn more about how this program can work for you.

Take your next step

Move towards your education and career advancement goals in less time with a more supportive, flexible program built for busy, working adults.

Take the first step

Find out how to use innovative learning solutions to finish your degree requirements faster. Why not take the next step and see if you’re a good candidate for our credit by exam program.

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