My take on the should I become a LPN/LVN first

  1. 4
    I see this question posted on allnurses all the time. The should I become an LVN/LPN first or go straight for RN? I'd like to give this question a home so to speak and my opinion based on my own personal experience and taking into account various situations.

    IF you can live at home inexpensively and have a fair flexible non demanding job OR you can afford to live like a poor student for the 2-4 years then I would suggest going the RN community college or state college route. Do your prereqs, wait out the list and maybe work as a CNA/PCT on the side. You'll come out of the experience with little to no debt.

    The main factor in this working for you is usually if you have time. Usually if you are young and have no heavy financial commitments. Theres a certain period of time based on your family where living at home with your parents is acceptable and in some case encouraged. If this is your situation this is what I personally would recommend.

    But TTP you say I have a family/live on my own/have to pay rent/no parental/spousal support. I should become an LVN first right?

    Do you need a wage soon? OR Can you live on a CNA's salary for a couple of years?

    If you can get your LVN training inexpensively then yes go for it.

    If you can then can you afford to live plus pay back student loans while earning an LVN wage ( it's less than what the schools are going to promise you)

    Do you have a plan in place for once you become an LVN to complete your RN? If so then YES become an LVN first.


    My personal situation is this. My husband lost his job of 18 years in March 08 although he found another in less than 3 weeks it paid less and our sense of security was gone. I needed a career and I didn't have 4 years to do it.

    I signed up for a private college to start in June 08
    Put half on federal loans half in cash. After having private loans for another college years ago I always suggest you avoid and stick to the nice government ones

    Graduated June 09 got a license and job in Oct 09 (paid less than expected oh well)

    Before I started LVN school I never knew I wanted to be a nurse so only had English as a prereq. While I was doing LVN school I took psych and sociology courses online. My plan was to apply to a local college as soon after graduation as I could

    In spring 10 I applied for RN school. I applied to a school that would let me take my prereqs while still officially being in the program.

    I start Fall 10. I move into clinical classes for the bridge in Fall 11 and I finish Dec 2012

    So break down: Time elapsed from starting LVN to projected graduation date 4.5 years. About the time it would have taken if I did the community college and wait list route so that comes out even

    What I got in return: LVN License and a job that pays more than McDonalds and some experience.
    What I gave up in return : Way more $$$ and lots more loans. Probably I'll come out even in the end if you use the equation

    Tuition-Increase in earning=0

    I think my choice worked out because I was focused and worked out my game plan ahead of time including plans B-Z

    If I had the choice and could have got the community college route heck yes but it wasn't open to me anymore.

    So yes being an LVN is ok for me but only for the short term. I think I will get through RN school ok and I think I will already have known what burnout feels like. Hopefully be a better wise more savvy new grad RN than I was an new grad LVN

    So whats your story?
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  3. 30 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I should add what I DONT suggest. DO NOT sign up for an expensive BSN program from schools likeWest Coast University. $140,000 just to get a BSN in 3 years is not worth it. Chances are you wont get all the funding you need and may have to drop out halfway through and nothing will transfer.

    There are honest schools out there there are ways not to get stuck on the waitlists. Most involve having good grades though. Some require a little money but not $140,000.
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    My story about applying for LPN instead of RN is that because of this terrible recession I have no longer been getting the childsupport I need from my ex husband. I cant afford to stay in school finishing the pre-reqs and RN school while he has been unemployed for the last 20 months with no job in sight.
    prinsesspretty likes this.
  6. 10
    Hi!
    Thanks for starting this post! So many people always say why do LPN when you can go straight through to RN, but what they fail to realize is it is not that easy!! I started out on that path and regret it a little! I have spent the last 2 years doing pre req's for ADN only to be told I am being placed on a waiting list for a year possibly 2. I was very disappointed and frustrated & felt like maybe this nursing thing isn't for me! But after days of deliberating and feeling sorry for myself I came up with a solid game plan. I want to start a family soon, but wanted to be a nurse before doing so as I want financial stability! I have decided to start an LPN program in Oct & very proud of my decision! I wish I would have started it sooner, but hindsight is 20/20! I will be done in 4 quarters & have a job waiting for me @ the hospital I am @ already. Good Luck to everyone and be proud of your decision to becoming an LPN!!!!:redpinkhe
  7. 2
    Plus if you are already on a waiting list once you are finished with LPN your number will be up and you can go straight on to Rn if you want
  8. 0
    Exactly! Especially since one school told me that they don't put LPN's on a waiting list, they are automatically accepted once all pre req's are done! Go figure!! Very frustrating!
  9. 0
    I learned some good advice on this thread so thank you because this is what I have been debating for a while!!

    I have a couple questions for anyone that would like to answer or help me out!

    I took all my pre-reqs for RN school and got OK grades in them, not good enough to get into the lottery schools right away but got on a waiting list at a really good school, started in the high 400's and am now at 100. I've been on it for about a year and a half and meanwhile got my CNA and started trying to get into an ROP LVN program and just got accepted! I start in October and it's a 13 month program and I'm super excited! My question is...do you think if my number gets called up for the RN program before I finish the LVN program (it may likely happen that way) that I should drop the LVN and go straight into the RN?

    A few people have told me to YES drop the LVN and go into the RN because it takes a long time to go from LVN-RN by the time you start working and get into a bridge program. The LVN school is ROP so its pretty cheap so money wouldn't really be the big issue for dropping and starting the RN I'm wondering if thats what other people would do or would you finish the LVN and then bridge to RN??? Also what if I were to graduate LVN school and then right after got accepted into the RN program, can you start the 2 year RN program as an LVN or do you have to apply for the bridge as an LVN?? Would you just not tell the school that you have your LVN license or what???

    I feel like I want to finish the LVN and get experience working because waiting another 3 YEARS to get a nursing license just seems sooo long because I've already been waiting soo long!! But that might not be the right way to go since my ultimate goal is RN....

    Thank you for any advice you guys have!!! I have learned soo much on this website!!
  10. 8
    Flash back to the fall of 2004. I was 23 years old, living on my own with a mortgage and other bills to pay in my home state of California, and was beginning to have troubles at my factory job of three years. This factory job paid decently, but I was cognizant that I wouldn't be able to find another position that paid comparably if I were ever laid off or fired.

    So I took the dangerous plunge of quitting my factory job and enrolling in a full-time 12-month LVN program. A public college was out of the question because time was not on my side. I had no spouse or boyfriend to help with bills, and living with my parents was not a feasible option. I had no prerequisites completed and needed to attend a private program at a trade school where no prerequisite classes were necessary. The LVN program started in October 2004, I graduated in October 2005, and became licensed in January 2006.

    I moved from California to Texas in November 2005 because I wanted to repay my student loans in a lower cost-of-living state, earn a competitive LVN wage, and have an easier time getting admitted into an RN program. I started completing prerequisite classes in the fall of 2006 at my local community college and ended up enrolling in a private RN bridge program in late 2008. I graduated in March 2010 and passed NCLEX two months later.

    The major benefit of earning the LVN license first is the good income that you can earn while pursuing the RN. My first job was paying $17.75 hourly at a small nursing home in Texas in February 2006. Through job-hopping and becoming more demanding about wages, my final salary as an LVN was $27.04 hourly in June 2010. I was earning about $26 per hour as an LVN in Texas while pursuing my RN license and, as a result, was able to live comfortably while in school.
  11. 1
    Commuter, you continue to inspire me, ,

    But my reasoning for doing LVN before RN is about the same as everyone else. I have two kids I needed to care for now, but my goal is to be an OB nurse, and as we all know there aren't very many LVNs in OB (if any, because I've always only seen RNs doing this job), but I am trying to move back to Louisiana and take care of my two kids with out living with someone else, so LVN at a private school is my best route at the moment. Lord say the same I'll been done November 5th 2010, but who knows how long it will take me to take the test with California being backed up right now, lmbo!
    supergirl89 likes this.
  12. 0
    Not sure how relevant this is but If you chose to go RN instead of LPN, I would say don't waste your time with a CC ADN. By the time you take prereq's, wait, get in, and finish you could have your BSN. We have 12month FT and 18month PT private LPN-RN programs here which allow you to complete prereq's within the program. Thats a little different. But why spend 3.5+ years for your associate's?


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