Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) provide patients with basic medical care under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians. LPNs must complete an approved practical nursing education program but do not need an associate or bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible to sit for the National Council Licensing Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) exam and gain licensure.
Once licensed, an LPN may decide to pursue a career as a registered nurse (RN) with the goal of earning a higher salary and advancing their career to an administrative or managerial role. Registered nurses are also employed as healthcare researchers, public policy advisors, nurse educators, medical writers and editors, and other roles outside of direct patient care. LPN to RN degree or “bridge” programs allow practicing LPNs to complete an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) and qualify to sit for the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) exam.
A growing number of schools are offering LPN to RN programs online. Clinical requirements for such online or distance education programs are completed within a student’s locale. Applicants are typically required to have completed an accredited practical nursing program, have one to three years of work experience, and be licensed as an LVN or LPN in the locale where they will be doing their clinical practicum. Completion time for an LPN to RN program is usually one year to a year and a half.