LPN to RN: Advancing Your Health Care Career

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Health care professionals make great nurses — from EMTs to LPNs. If you want to advance your health care career with nursing, now’s the time to do it. Start out the year taking the first steps toward your nursing goal!

At Utica, we’ve helped countless health care professionals take the next steps required to advance their career with a nursing degree. Here, we’re showing you what to expect if you take the ABSN route to advance from LPN to RN.

Why Some LPNs Want to Become RNs

There are many reasons why an LPN would want to advance his or her nursing career. LPNs are passionate about helping people and are always looking for more responsibility and challenges. But more than anything, they're looking for more opportunities and a more financially stable future.

Many LPNs have bachelor’s degrees in other fields, such as business. They became LPNs because they couldn't ignore their strong desire to help people and make a positive impact on people's lives. Then, after a few years as an LPN, they see that becoming an RN is the ideal way to get that ultimate career satisfaction (and paycheck) they want and need.

Sound familiar? Then you’ll need to know these five things about advancing your nursing career with an Accelerated BSN (ABSN):

1. How Long the Nursing Journey Will Take


While going from LPN to RN would seem like something that shouldn’t take years, it does. But it doesn’t have to take more than four years, which would happen if you go the traditional BSN route. But if you choose to take the Accelerated BSN (ABSN) route, you can become a working RN in as little as two years, depending on your level of education.

Note: The vast majority of ABSN students become nurses within three years, and many can do it in only two years.  

Related: Utica’s ABSN Admissions Requirements

2. Yes, There Are Prereqs (And No, You Can’t Skip Them)

It’s a bit of a hard pill to swallow when you find out that, after years as an LPN, you still have prerequisite courses to take before you can get into an ABSN program. Why can’t you “test out” of them or skip them all together? After all, you’ve been a working LPN for years now.

Unfortunately, nobody gets to skip prerequisites, and they are essential to your success in nursing school. (In other words, take them seriously.) LPNs generally have to take five or six prerequisite classes. The good news? Most of these classes can be taken online in weeks not months. The even better news? You don’t have to figure out when and where to take them on your own. You can just contact an Admissions Advisor for help.

Note: The course credits that LPN students take at vocational schools will not transfer. To get into an ABSN program, an LPN would have to take those courses again.

3. Ask About Financing ASAP, and Think Long-Term

Your Admissions Advisor is your go-to for everything involved with getting into an ABSN program. One of the first things she will tell you to do is to look into financing options immediately. While you’re gathering your transcripts and taking your prereqs, your Admissions Advisor will point you in the direction of financing options.

The price of any post-secondary education in the United States has skyrocketed in recent years. If it's been a number of years since you were in college, you might get sticker shock when you find out that an ABSN is a significant financial investment.

Don’t get scared of the price tag and keep focusing on the investment. Advancing your nursing career will help to build a more solid financial foundation for your family, which will bring you a very real sense of security. Don’t think of it as paying off a loan – think of it as building a foundation.

Related: Paying for Nursing School Doesn’t Have to be Overwhelming

4. It’s a Family Experience

Most LPNs have families at home. That means that when you go back to school, your entire family goes along for the ride. For two-to-three years, your life will be busy and hectic, and your income will decrease because you will not be able to work full time while pursuing your ABSN.

The best advice is to turn the challenges of becoming an RN into positives. Giving your kids more responsibility around the house will help them to grow with you. Taking a critical view of your family’s budget will likely show you places where you already should have been cutting back. When your kids sit down to study and do their homework, sit down with them and do your own studying. When they see you working hard, they’ll be inspired to work just as hard.

However you do it, it will be a family experience, so make it a good one. Your family will feel like they are part of your journey, which will make a hectic few years a lot easier.

5. You Really Are a Special Snowflake, So Contact an Admissions Advisor

When it comes to advancing your nursing career, every applicant has a different story. You really are a special snowflake so contact an Admissions Advisor. She will actually listen, and then help you make a solid plan on how to advance your nursing career with an ABSN.

The Ultimate Nursing School Admissions Checklist

Ready for nursing school but stressed about applying? We recommend downloading our free admissions checklist to learn the important ins and outs of applying to accelerated nursing school.

The ultimate nursing school admissions checklist