Top Online LPN-to-RN Programs for 2024

Are you a licensed practical nurse aiming to become a registered nurse? Obtaining an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing, along with an RN license, can enhance your job opportunities and earning potential.

An online LPN-to-RN program offers a cost-effective and relatively quick route to earning an ADN or BSN while preparing you for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

Discover our rankings of the best online LPN-to-RN programs and learn what to expect from these courses.


The Top Online LPN-to-RN Programs
  1. University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas Fayetteville’s online LPN-to-BSN program requires 120 credits and takes 2-3 years to complete, primarily through asynchronous study. Applicants should verify that their state approves the program for licensure preparation. Distance learners must arrange their own clinical sites within their communities.

The curriculum focuses on the healthcare impacts of cultural, economic, political, and social issues. Students study nursing leadership, health information technology, health assessment, pharmacology, and healthcare policy to broaden their practice scope. Graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX for nursing licensure or pursue further graduate studies.

Program: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Campus: Fayetteville, Arkansas
Type: Public
Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Tuition: $329 per credit
Admission Requirements: LPN license; 2,000 hours of LPN work experience within 12-24 months; 48 credit hours of prerequisites; TEAS score of 65%, if applicable
Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
On-Campus Requirements: None
School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2023): 83.5% first-time pass rate
Median Earnings Four Years After Graduation: $66,626 for bachelor’s graduates, according to College Scorecard


  1. Excelsior College

Excelsior College’s online LPN-to-RN program offers both associate and bachelor’s degrees. The program combines self-paced online learning with in-person clinical experiences in hospitals. The bachelor’s-level curriculum emphasizes collaborative and individual practice experiences, population-based health, and the role of nurses in influencing healthcare delivery.

Excelsior accepts applications from candidates in fifteen states, allowing students to transfer up to 31 credits into the program. To advance to the bachelor’s coursework, learners must obtain an RN license after completing their associate-level courses.

Program: Associate in Applied Science in Nursing; Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Campus: Albany, New York
Type: Private
Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
Tuition: $550 per credit
Admission Requirements: LPN license; 200 hours of supervised employment in a direct patient care environment; TEAS scores
Minimum Time Commitment: Variable
On-Campus Requirements: None
School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021): 74.2% first-time pass rate


  1. Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s online LPN-to-BSN program is designed for Oklahoma-based LPNs seeking to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing. The program exclusively accepts applications from residents of Oklahoma. Clinical practicums require in-person attendance at sites located within 100 miles of distance learners’ residences. Occasional campus visits are necessary for check-offs.

The curriculum focuses on enhancing professional growth and leadership skills. Coursework covers acute and chronic care across the lifespan, community health promotion, issues and concepts in professional practice, and the transition from LPN to BSN roles.

Program: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Campus: Weatherford, Oklahoma
Type: Public
Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
Tuition: $11,212 total program cost
Admission Requirements: Oklahoma residency; LPN license; 2.5 GPA; 70% score on NACE exams; prerequisite coursework
Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
On-Campus Requirements: Yes
School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2022): 73.21% first-time pass rate
Median Earnings Four Years After Graduation: $74,597 for bachelor’s graduates, according to College Scorecard


  1. Pennsylvania College of Technology

The accelerated LPN-to-RN program at Pennsylvania College of Technology leads to an associate of applied science nursing degree. Utilizing a hybrid format, students primarily complete their nursing coursework online and attend campus sessions once weekly. Course offerings encompass LPN-to-RN role transition, medical-surgical nursing, nursing care of children, and psychosocial nursing.

Prospective students must fulfill placement requirements, which may include ACT or SAT scores, placement testing, and/or completion of transfer courses. Prerequisite coursework mandates include anatomy and physiology, English composition, and technical algebra or trigonometry.

Program: Associate of Applied Science in Nursing
Campus: Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Type: Public
Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
Tuition: $608 per credit for Pennsylvania residents; $866 per credit for out-of-state students
Admission Requirements: Pennsylvania LPN license; placement requirements; prerequisite coursework; 2.5 GPA
Minimum Time Commitment: Five semesters
On-Campus Requirements: Yes
School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 90.7% first-time pass rate
Median Earnings Four Years After Graduation: $69,178 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard


  1. Wilson College

Wilson College has developed its online LPN-to-BSN program with working students in mind. The program emphasizes holistic nursing practice and incorporates 240 in-person clinical hours during the final three weeks of study. Students residing within a two-hour radius of campus complete 80 clinical hours through hospital and simulation experiences. Those living farther away can opt for a 7-10-day residency on campus to fulfill their clinical requirements.

LPNs entering the program receive 18 credits toward the total of 120 required for the degree and may transfer up to 54 credits for prior coursework. Course content includes nursing informatics, geriatric care, ethics, and quality and safety measures.

Program: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Campus: Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Type: Public
Accreditations: National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation
Tuition: $465 per credit
Admission Requirements: Current active LPN license; high school transcripts or GED certificate; LPN program transcripts; college transcripts, if applicable; minimum 3.0 GPA; TEAS score no more than four years old, with a score of 65
Minimum Time Commitment: Variable
On-Campus Requirements: Yes
School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2021/2022): 77.78% first-time pass rate
Median Earnings Four Years After Graduation: $70,919 for bachelor’s graduates, according to College Scorecard


  1. Missouri Valley College

Missouri Valley College offers an LPN-to-BSN pathway tailored for Missouri-based LPNs. While coursework is completed online, students are required to attend campus sessions to validate their registered nursing skills in the transition to registered nursing class. The curriculum includes a senior seminar, practicum experiences, and courses covering nursing of families, community and public health nursing, as well as NCLEX preparation.

Prerequisites for the program include courses in introduction to nursing, human nutrition, microbiology or general chemistry, and human anatomy and physiology.

Program: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Campus: Marshall, Missouri
Type: Private
Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Tuition: $21,300 total program cost
Admission Requirements: Missouri LPN license; 2.75 GPA; minimum grade of B in prerequisite courses; TEAS score of 58.7
Minimum Time Commitment: Four semesters
On-Campus Requirements: Yes
School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate (2023): 81.82% first-time pass rate


Navigating Our Rankings: Key Considerations in an LPN-to-RN Program

When evaluating top online LPN-to-RN programs, prioritize indicators of academic excellence such as accreditation status, NCLEX pass rates, and graduation rates. Take note of admission requirements, curriculum specifics including clinical obligations, program duration, and the flexibility of distance learning formats to ensure the program aligns with your goals.


  • Admission Criteria

Admission requirements differ, but typically include a high school diploma or equivalent, a specified minimum GPA, and a current practical nursing license. These criteria ensure that students have the necessary academic foundation to excel in a demanding and intensive program.


  • Program Curriculum

An LPN-to-ADN and LPN-to-BSN program cover comparable core courses and NCLEX-RN exam preparation. However, a BSN offers specialized education in leadership, public health, and research, potentially enhancing career prospects and providing a basis for advanced studies. It’s crucial to evaluate how well a program aligns with your career aspirations and interests before making a decision.

Many states now mandate BSN attainment for nurses. For instance, New York requires RNs to earn a BSN degree or higher within a decade of licensure or upon initial licensure.


  • Clinical Training

Online LPN-to-RN programs typically mandate between 200 and 500 clinical hours. It’s advisable to communicate with program administrators to ascertain whether distance learners can organize their clinical placements at their workplace or near their residence, or if they are required to travel to approved sites for these placements.


  • Accreditation

Accreditation guarantees that the LPN-to-RN program you select adheres to current, evidence-based professional standards. Accreditation is essential for meeting NCLEX-RN licensure requirements. Your school’s accreditation status dictates your eligibility for government financial aid and determines whether credits can be transferred.


  • Length of Program

The duration of an LPN-to-RN program varies based on whether you pursue an ADN or a BSN degree. LPN-to-ADN programs typically span between 12 to 18 months, whereas RN-to-BSN programs generally take around two years to complete.


  • School NCLEX Pass Rate

The NCLEX-RN pass rate reflects the program’s effectiveness in preparing students for the licensure exam. Pass rates that meet or surpass the national average indicate strong program quality and effective teaching.


Format and Requirements for Online Learning

Online programs offer synchronous classes with scheduled meeting times, asynchronous classes allowing self-paced study, or hybrid formats blending remote and in-person learning. Certain programs may necessitate occasional on-campus visits. It’s essential to choose a program that aligns with your schedule and preferred learning approach.


Why Accreditation Matters for Online LPN-to-RN Programs

It’s crucial for prospective RNs to recognize the significance of enrolling in an accredited nursing school. All the online LPN-RN programs listed in our rankings are accredited by either the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Accreditation from these organizations ensures that the program you select has undergone regular evaluations to meet rigorous academic and professional standards, preparing graduates for licensure and professional practice.

  • Accreditation guarantees that the curriculum of your chosen program provides a high-quality academic experience aligned with national standards.
  • Benefits of choosing an accredited program include enhanced career advancement opportunities and improved job prospects.
  • Many employers prioritize or require candidates who have graduated from accredited programs.
  • Federal financial aid programs typically limit eligibility to students attending accredited institutions.
  • Graduate nursing programs typically admit students who have completed undergraduate degrees from accredited programs.
  • Accredited nursing programs generally do not accept transfer credits from institutions lacking accreditation, and proof of a degree from an accredited program is typically required for RN licensure.


Understanding the Operations of Online LPN-to-RN Programs

Online LPN-to-RN programs present a flexible, convenient, and often more cost-effective alternative to traditional in-person degrees. Nurses have two pathways to RN licensure: the LPN-to-ADN and LPN-to-BSN. The ADN option requires less time and expense compared to the BSN, although BSN holders typically enjoy more opportunities for leadership roles and specialization. Additionally, a BSN serves as the necessary prerequisite for graduate school admission.

While some online LPN-to-RN programs allow completion of all coursework remotely, others may mandate attendance at occasional on-campus sessions. Clinical requirements vary; some programs permit students to arrange their own placements locally, while others require travel to designated sites. Virtual clinical experiences are also offered by some online programs.


Applying for Admission to an Online LPN-to-RN Program

Admission requirements for online LPN-to-RN programs vary depending on whether you are pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree, but all programs mandate an LPN or LVN degree from an accredited nursing program. Other typical requirements include a minimum GPA, placement exams, completion of specific nursing prerequisites, clinical experience, and an unrestricted and valid practical nursing license.

  • Admission Requirements Common criteria include a high school diploma or GED certificate, graduation from an accredited LPN/LVN nursing program, and a current, unrestricted practical nursing license. Programs generally admit applicants with 6-12 months of work experience. Some programs may also require the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) or other entrance exams.
  • Admission Materials Ensure all required documentation is submitted with your application, including official transcripts, records of prerequisite coursework, and proof of completion of clinical hours as mandated by the state nursing board that issued your LPN/LVN license. Additional requirements may include proof of LPN licensure, BLS/CPR certification, letters of recommendation, and employer verification letters.
  • GPA Requirement Programs typically set a GPA requirement, which can vary from 2.0 to 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. You may need to demonstrate a GPA of 2.75 or higher specifically in nursing prerequisite courses.


Paying Online LPN-to-RN Programs

Paying for a nursing degree presents one of the primary challenges on the path to becoming an RN. The cost of an online LPN-to-RN degree is influenced by factors such as program duration and the acceptance of transfer credits toward degree completion.

Online students have access to various forms of financial aid. To start, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for government grants or loans. If currently employed, check if your employer provides tuition reimbursement programs.

Additionally, explore scholarships and grants offered by schools or private organizations, some tailored to specific groups like first-generation students, adult learners, or individuals from underrepresented communities. Governments at the federal and state levels also sponsor loan forgiveness or repayment initiatives for nurses working in critical-need areas.


Career Opportunities with an ADN or BSN

ADN and BSN degrees equip graduates to perform similar foundational clinical duties, including patient monitoring, medication administration, and maintaining medical records.

While an ADN offers the quickest path to RN licensure and entry-level nursing roles, a BSN opens doors to enhanced career prospects. BSN holders can pursue leadership roles, graduate studies, and specialized nursing fields.

When deciding on your educational path to become an RN, consider both your immediate and long-term career objectives. While employment opportunities are available for RNs with an ADN, a BSN may offer higher earning potential and greater career advancement opportunities.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing advocates for the BSN as the minimum education standard for nursing practice. Many hospitals, the largest employers of RNs, increasingly prefer to hire BSN graduates.

Earning a BSN can also expand your career options and earning potential by preparing you for advanced training and roles in specialized patient care and specific patient populations.


Common Queries About Online LPN-to-RN Programs
  • Do LPN-to-RN programs require entrance exams for admission?

Admission requirements vary among nursing programs, and some may require entrance exams for admission. Commonly used assessments for LPNs and RNs include the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS), the National League for Nursing Pre-Admission (PAX) exam, and the Nursing Entrance Test (NET).


  • Which LPN-to-RN program offers the quickest route?

 LPN-to-RN bridge programs leading to an ADN degree can be completed in as little as one year. Earning a BSN may take between 1 to 2 years, depending on the requirements of the RN-to-BSN program and the number of transfer credits accepted from prior coursework.


  • Is pursuing an LPN-to-RN program worthwhile?

According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, RNs earn an average annual salary of $94,480, which is more than $33,000 higher than the average salary of LPNs. RNs also have broader practice responsibilities, greater autonomy, and access to leadership and specialized nursing roles that are not available to LPNs.

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