Is it easier to get into an LPN program than an RN program?


I'm curious as to whether it's less competitive to get into an LPN program than an RN program. I hear these stories about waiting lists and very limited numbers of spots for RN programs. Is the same true for LPN programs? Do you have as many people applying to LPN programs?



58 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics. Has 9 years experience.

It my case, yes, it was definitely easier to get into an LPN program, but only for the program of that particular CC I'm going to attend. They do have many applicants, but people frequently don't show up, change their mind, etc., and there is always a good chance to get in within a year of applying. When I first started to look into nursing, I was going the "standard" route via an ADN/RN Program. I was quickly discouraged by the long list of pre-reqs which were also different for each college, so it would have been very hard to apply at different colleges and satisfy all their demands. I was very happy when I found this school that offers a strict LPN program, not a non-stop ADN/RN program. I only needed 4 pre-reqs to get in, and only a B or better in each subject. This school also offers a LPN-RN bridge program that I plan to attend once I'm an LPN. I will be an LPN, working, getting paid and getting experience while others are still waiting and praying to get into an RN program. I think it's a fantastic option.


1,051 Posts

Most of the time...There usually aren't pre-req's and the wait lists aren't that lengthy...All depend on your location as well...Hope this helps...


486 Posts

That was my experience. I had a semester-long wait for the RN program, but got in the next semester for the LPN program at my school. I accepted both offers, but applied to the RN program for the semester following the one I was supposed to start (this fall).

It's been a gift in disguise (doing the LPN program due to the wait). I'm learning so much. I am pretty sure I want to eventually be a NP, so I think as much time as I can get to gain experience is best. I'll be able to work as an LPN while I get my RN, ...

If I were you, I'd consider my career goals. If you see yourself working at a hospital, as a staff nurse or something, without wanting to go to school beyond your basic training, I'd go for the RN, regardless of the wait. If you are willing to work and go to school (after you earn your LPN), go for the LPN. Opportunities aren't so great (in many areas) at the moment for LPNs. For me, I just want to be out there, taking care of patients, asap. I like school, and like the idea of continuing, so the step-by-step plan works very well. Good luck!


932 Posts

I think the "why be an LPN vs RN" threads are too numerous for me to add my two cents on that :)

I will say that in my area my situation was a bit unique. There was no wait and no pre-reqs for the LPN program, other than just passing the COMPASS and taking the PAX entrance test. This is because so many fail the PAX here that they only get 2-3 for every 20 person testing (and you have to wait 6 mos between attempts). Also, its a VERY new program (2nd class graduated this month) and is in a small county in the middle of nowhere, so not many people know of its existence yet. They have no RN program or I'm sure that would have no/a shorter waiting list as well. The RN programs at the two other CC in neighboring areas have very well known RN programs with huge waiting lists. Luckily the LPN to RN bridge programs have much shorter waiting lists. Unfortunately they still have a few requirements that are not covered during LPN so I'll have one extra semester of classes to take in between, but its all good, because I'm sure I'll be ready for the break from nsg classes for a semester, and I'm hoping they'll work towards my electives/pre-reqs for my BSN and MSN (I am planning to become some sort of MSN...although the exact specialty is still up in the air atm)


409 Posts

It just depends. In my area we have 3 LPN programs. Two are fairly easy to get into, and one has an admissions process exactly like the CC RN programs around here.

I'm going to LPN to RN route because I'd probably have had to wait a couple of semesters in order to get into the RN program, and then it'd be two years. This way, I'm in the LPN program right away, will finish my LPN in June, start the RN in August (the LPN to RN programs are easier to get into than RN) and just have two semesters to be an RN!!!

Also, the BIG perk for me is that I can work as an LPN while I'm getting my RN and all of the hospitals in my area that hire LPN's will pay for you to get your RN! So, I'll have a job and a paid for RN. As a single mom, that's just huge.

Plus, I figure if something happens in my life and I have to take a break before I complete my RN, at least I can still be working as a nurse, making decent money and have benefits for my son and I. If I were doing the tradiational RN path, I'd have to keep waiting tables the whole 2yrs, kwim?


932 Posts

I've got similar thoughts to you, april, as far as being a mom and "if something happens". I was going to take the hospital's payment towards RN as well but I have been thinking and rethinking that because of the amount of personal/mental struggle I find myself in when wondering if I want to remain at a hospital that I have not "nursed" at, for 2 years, in order to repay my debt to them.


161 Posts

Thanks everyone for your replies. I live in the Atlanta metro area and there are several LPN programs here. I ultimately want to be an RN, but as some people have mentioned, the finances work out much better for me if I become an LPN first then bridge over to RN or later enter into a BSN program. It's encouraging to hear that the LPN admissions are not generally as competitive as the RN.

Jules A, MSN

8,863 Posts

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

In my area the percentage of applicants to spaces at the CC aprox. 400 to 40 was very similar but I suspect that the RN program applicants might have had better gpas. Don't know for sure but it seemed like all the hardcore 4.0 students I did pre-reqs with were heading for the ADN program. So that would actually make it easier to get in the LPN program?

In any event I only applied to the LPN program and am very happy with my decision to do that before I got my RN. It was so nice to have the luxury of being a nurse so much faster, imo. Good luck!


409 Posts

oh, I guess I should say that my LPN school had just over 200 applicants and there were 24 spots, I've heard that the major university in my area has over 1000 applicants for 50 spots, and I've heard that the CC's are about 200 applicants for 25 spots as well.

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