Are you a Licensed Nurse Practitioner (LPN) thinking about making the move to Registered Nurse (RN)? Or perhaps you're already an RN, but you've got your eye on a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree? Either way, we say go for it.
Nursing is projected be one of the fastest growing, most in-demand careers through 2026, and many hiring managers now give preference to candidates who have a BSN. So whether you want a bigger salary, increased job opportunities, or more autonomy in the workplace—or, let's be honest, why not all three?—advancing your training is the best way to get the career you desire and deserve.
Granted, getting an RN or BSN degree takes time, money, and hard work … but not as much as you might think.
Here's the secret: If you're a working LPN or RN, you've already done most of the hard work—and if you enroll in either an LPN to RN bridge program or an RN to BSN bridge program, you can leverage that hard work to save tons of time and a mountain of money.
What is a nursing bridge program?
Nursing bridge programs are focused degree programs specifically designed for nurses who are already working as CNAs, LPNs, or RNs.
You still get all the professional development, skills training, and even cultural awareness education you'd get in a traditional nursing program. But, by utilizing the experience and knowledge you've already gained, bridge programs enable you to skip over many parts of a typical college curriculum that would be redundant and/or difficult to fit into your full-time worker's schedule.
Is a bridge program the right choice for you? Let's break it down into pros and cons of nursing bridge programs.
8 Pros of a Nursing Bridge Program
- With a bridge program, you can earn your degree in as little as half the time it would take via a traditional college degree program.
- Traditional colleges courses begin and end on specific calendar dates. Most bridge programs offer classes year-round and fit your schedule, not the other way around.
- Traditional colleges often have constrictive wait lists. Most bridge programs have room for everyone.
- An online nursing bridge program means no more wasted time in traffic or trudging to and from classes.
- Traditional college degree programs cost anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 or more. Bridge programs can save you thousands of dollars in books, tuition, and other fees.
- The flexibility of a bridge program enables you to keep working while you pursue your degree.
- An online nursing bridge program saves gas money and wear and tear on your vehicle, since you can take the courses from the comfort of your own home.
Time and Money Savers:
One of the most important and exciting elements of some LPN to RN bridge or RN to BSN bridge programs is the credit by exam system. Instead of saddling yourself with traditional semester-long courses—and all the homework, classwork, and quizzes that go with them—you can take test prep classes that enables you to test out of certain college courses by taking a single exam after as little as five weeks. Not all bridge programs utilize credit by exam, but Achieve Test Prep does.
3 Cons of a Nursing Bridge Program
- Nursing bridge programs are fast paced, and they assume your existing experience is extensive enough that you'll be able to skim over the prerequisites and focus upon the truly new material. If you need to brush up, or need a learning environment with a gentler pace, a bridge program may not be right for you.
- Not all nursing bridge programs are accredited. Make sure the school you choose has accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). If it doesn't, you won’t be able to go to graduate school or get federal grants and scholarships – and many employers require it.
- Some nursing bridge programs require you to sign a long-term contract. You may have to pay for classes even if you decide to withdraw or transfer. Some contracts will consider excessive absences or low grades to be grounds for breaking a contract, resulting in fines, or, worst case, the loss of your entire fee. Fortunately, not all bridge programs resort to such tactics, but some do, so be wary.
Achieve Test Prep Nursing Bridge Programs
Ready to grow your career with a nursing bridge program? Then make Achieve Test Prep your first call. Our bridge programs utilize credit by exam, earning your RN or BSN in less time. Achieve's live, online classes are taught by qualified instructors who can provide support and answer your questions in real time. Together, we will make sure you succeed.