10 Best LPN to BSN Programs in 2024

Discover the best LPN to BSN programs in 2024. Jumpstart your career by reading our comprehensive guide's programs, prerequisites, salary expectations, and more. Programs


Opportunities are growing for healthcare workers, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics job outlook projects a 6% increase between 2022-2032, a rate that is faster than average.

For licensed practical nurses (LPNs) seeking to benefit from these opportunities, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) may be a good fit, as advanced education leads to more career options and higher compensation. To help decide, we've compiled information on prerequisites, requirements, salary expectations, and the 10 best programs available in 2024.

What Is an LPN to BSN Progam?

An LPN to BSN program is a pathway for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) seeking to advance their careers by earning a BSN degree. This program bridges the gap between practical nursing education and the comprehensive curriculum of a BSN program.

While LPNs possess the fundamental nursing education and clinical skills needed for nursing licensure, a BSN degree provides more extensive education in nursing theory, leadership, and hands-on training. Transitioning from an LPN to a BSN significantly expands the scope of practice. 

A BSN RN is responsible for all that of an LPN with the addition of the following:

  • Administering blood products, medication through central lines, and chemotherapy medications
  • Developing patient care plans
  • Educating new RNs as a preceptor
  • Executing physician verbal orders
  • Leading emergency response codes
  • Supervising LPNs and CNAs

Completing an LPN to BSN program allows graduates to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and enhances clinical capabilities, leadership potential, and career prospects, positioning nurses for advanced roles within the healthcare system.

LPN to BSN Coursework

BSN programs prioritize critical nursing courses, equipping students with the necessary skills to address the varied challenges of the nursing field. A typical LPN to BSN curriculum includes:

  • Advanced Health Assessment: Expanding on basic health assessment techniques to include comprehensive patient evaluations.
  • Pharmacology and Nursing Math: In-depth study of medication administration, pharmacological principles, and calculations required for accurate dosing.
  • Advanced Nursing Practices: Building on fundamental nursing skills to include more complex nursing interventions and patient care techniques.
  • Adult Health Nursing: Detailed care for adult patients, focusing on a variety of health conditions and advanced clinical practices.
  • Pediatric Nursing: Specialized care for infants, children, and adolescents, emphasizing growth and development, common pediatric conditions, and family-centered care.
  • Maternal and Neonatal Nursing: Advanced care for mothers and newborns, including prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal care.
  • Mental Health Nursing: In-depth study of psychiatric and mental health conditions, therapeutic communication, and interventions.
  • Community and Public Health Nursing: Expanded focus on nursing practice in community settings, public health principles, and health promotion strategies.
  • Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice: Introduction to research methods, critical appraisal of research literature, and application of evidence-based practices in clinical settings.
  • Leadership and Management in Nursing: Development of leadership skills, understanding of management principles, and application in healthcare settings.
  • Nursing Ethics and Legal Aspects: Comprehensive understanding of ethical and legal issues in nursing practice, including patient rights and professional responsibilities.

These courses provide a well-rounded education, ensuring LPN to BSN graduates have the critical knowledge and skills needed to excel in their nursing careers.

Clinical Training in LPN to BSN Programs

Clinical training in LPN to BSN programs is essential for developing the comprehensive nursing skills required to succeed in advanced nursing roles. This training includes:

  • Acute/Critical Care Clinical: Hands-on exposure to complex patient care techniques and advanced nursing principles.
  • Specialized Nursing Clinical Rotations: Experience in various specialized nursing areas, such as:
    • Acute Care
    • Pediatric Care
    • Geriatric Care
    • Women's Health
  • Leadership and Management Clinical Experiences: Opportunities to shadow nurse leaders, participate in healthcare project management, and gain insights into healthcare administration.
  • Community Health Clinical Placements: Practical experience in public health settings, focusing on community health promotion and preventive care initiatives.
  • Simulation Labs: Practice navigating complex and critical scenarios within a controlled environment to hone clinical decision-making skills and refine hands-on competencies.

These clinical experiences, along with simulation lab sessions, prepare students with the competence and expertise needed to succeed in various nursing roles.

Can LPN to BSN Programs Be Taken Entirely Online?

Acquiring nursing skills necessitates hands-on experience and practical application, which are not fully attainable through a purely online format for an entry-level nursing degree. As a result, LPN to BSN programs require in-person training sessions and direct patient care opportunities in healthcare settings. Nonetheless, many LPN to BSN programs offer online coursework options, establishing a hybrid learning environment that accommodates working students and those requiring more flexible schedules.

Where Do BSN-Prepared Nurses Work?

Nurses with a BSN have a wide array of career options and can practice in various care settings, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Home Care Agencies
  • Physician Offices
  • Educational Services
  • Government Agencies
  • Schools
  • Community Centers
  • Hospices
  • Dialysis Centers
  • Telephonic and Virtual Care Settings

While LPNs can be found in many of these settings, BSN-prepared nurses are more likely to work in specialty areas and general medical and surgical hospitals. In contrast, LPNs predominantly work in nursing care facilities, retirement communities, and assisted living facilities.

LPN to BSN Program Prerequisites and Requirements

Admission requirements for LPN to BSN programs typically differ from traditional BSN programs due to the existing nursing experience of LPNs. Common requirements include:

  • A valid and active LPN license.
  • Completion of a one-year LPN certificate program from a vocational school.
  • Completion of prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA.
  • Proof of clinical experience as an LPN.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • A personal statement or essay detailing career goals and motivations.
  • Some programs may require standardized test scores (e.g., TEAS).

These requirements acknowledge the practical experience LPNs bring while ensuring they are prepared for the rigorous academic and clinical training in a BSN program.


LPN to BSN Prerequisite Courses

Many programs also require the completion of prerequisite classes. However, this requirement varies depending on the school. If the program requires previous coursework, you usually must also meet a minimum grade point average (GPA) in these courses. Generally, LPN to BSN programs require the completion of prerequisite courses in areas such as:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medical Terminology
  • Algebra/Statistics
  • Intro to Psychology
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Nutrition
  • Intro to Pharmacology

Additional LPN to BSN Admission Requirements

  • Basic Life Support (BLS) or CPR certification: Ensures that students are prepared to handle emergencies.
  • Background check and drug screening: To ensure the safety of patients and adherence to healthcare standards.
  • Up-to-date immunizations: Protects both students and patients from preventable diseases.
  • Current physical examination by a healthcare provider: Confirms that the student is in good health and able to perform the duties required in clinical settings.

It's important to thoroughly research the admission requirements for each program to ensure you meet the specific prerequisites and GPA standards, as these criteria can vary from one school to another.

10 Best LPN to BSN Programs in 2024

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most while selecting schools with the addition of NCLEX pass rates, graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, and admission rates of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

1. University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas' LPN to BSN program focuses on the working nurse. The school offers it online, with no campus visits required. Students may complete practicums in their geographic location with local preceptors. It will take you 2 to 3 years to complete this course. This university is also considered one of the best online programs by the U.S. News World Report this 2023.

  • Cost: $329.22 per credit
  • Method: Online
  • Length: 2-3 years
  • Accreditation: CCNE

2. Point Loma Nazarene University 

Point Loma Nazarene University's School of Nursing is in sunny San Diego, CA. They focus on high-quality clinical experiences. As a Christian university, they offer a faith-based curriculum and create servant leaders. Their program offers licensed vocational nurse (LVN) to BSN. Note that LVNs are the same as LPNs but the latter title is used in the state of California and Texas.

  • Cost: $21,300 per semester for 12-17 units
  • Method: In-person
  • Length: 36 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE

3. Saint Xavier University

Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois, wants to guide you through becoming a BSN. From the beginning, you will have an academic success coach whose only job is to help you reach your fullest potential. As you graduate, an NCLEX coach will help you prepare for licensure. This university is awarded as a Center for Excellence (COE) in Nursing by the National League of Nursing (NLN).

  • Cost: $750 per credit; 36 credit hours to complete; $27,000 approximate cost
  • Method: In-person
  • Length: 1-2 years
  • Accreditation: CCNE

4. Azusa Pacific University

In Azusa, California, APU is a nursing college of distinction. The college has three locations for attendance (Victorville, San Bernardino, or Monrovia), providing a significant amount of flexibility for an in-person program. The school is known for its hands-on clinical experience and state-of-the art technology. APU has achieved recognition as one of the 126 institutions listed in the 'Best Western Colleges' category of the 2023 Best Colleges guide.

  • Cost: $825 per unit
  • Method: In-person
  • Length: 2 years
  • Accreditation: CCNE

5. California State University, East Bay

Cal State East Bay School of Nursing is celebrating its 50th anniversary, making it a well-established and proven program. This program gives priority admission to local community college transfer students and military personnel. If either designation applies to you, this could be the right fit.

  • Cost: $9,980 excluding other miscellaneous costs
  • Method: In-person or hybrid
  • Length: two and a half years (5 terms)
  • Accreditation: CCNE

6. Indiana State University

Indiana State University's School of Nursing has educated nurses since 1963. Their LPN to BSN program has a hybrid/online format and can be full-time or part-time. This schedule provides a great amount of flexibility for the working LPN.

  • Cost: $9,712 for both fall and Spring semesters (12-18 credit hours)
  • Method: Hybrid 
  • Length: 120 semester hours
  • Accreditation: ACEN

7. Excelsior University

Excelsior College has designed a program specifically for the working LPN. They will credit you up to 31 hours based on prior experience, saving you time and money to achieve a BSN. This program is also in a hybrid format, providing flexibility to work around your shifts.

  • Cost: $550 per credit
  • Method: Online
  • Length: 121 credit hours
  • Accreditation: ACEN

8. Kent State

Kent State boasts one of the country's most extensive nursing programs, and they want to use it to turn you into a leader in nursing. They have created a program for working healthcare professionals seeking a BSN degree and provide a wide range of specialty clinical experiences to fill the gaps in your knowledge with real-world, hands-on experiences.

  • Cost: $12,000 total depending on credit hours required for each
  • Method: Hybrid
  • Length: 15 to 18 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE

9. Hawaii Pacific University

Hawaii Pacific University, located in Honolulu, provides a unique backdrop to continue your education in person. In addition to the tropical location, HPU has many scholarship opportunities to aid your learning and unique partnerships with local organizations.

  • Cost: $16,260 per semester (full-time 12-17 credit hours); $1,355/per credit hours (part-time 1-11credit hours)
  • Method: In-person 
  • Length: 120 credit hours
  • Accreditation: CCNE

10. Georgia Southwestern State University

Georgia Southwestern offers in-state tuition to six different surrounding states—a unique opportunity for anyone living in the area around Georgia. This option can save you thousands on your journey to becoming a BSN.

  • Cost: $169.33 (online undergraduate); $3,016 (15 hours undergraduate resident)
  • Method: hybrid
  • Length: 120 credit hours
  • Accreditation: CCNE

LPN to BSN Program Cost

When researching LPN to BSN programs, prospective students should consider the overall investment beyond just tuition fees:

  • Tuition Costs: Private institutions generally have higher tuition rates, while public colleges might have varying tuition structures, which can be more costly for out-of-state students.
  • Additional Expenses: It is crucial to account for technology fees, lab charges, simulation lab access fees, and administrative costs when calculating total expenses.
  • Textbooks and Materials: The cost of required textbooks and supplies can add up, including specialized software or medical equipment needed for certain courses.
  • Living Costs: Even for primarily online programs, any on-campus requirements may lead to additional expenses for travel, lodging, and meals.
  • Technology Needs: Reliable access to computers and internet resources is essential for online learning, and potential expenses for necessary technology upgrades should be considered.
  • Licensing and Examination Fees: After graduation, students will need to cover the costs of licensure or certification exams relevant to BSN graduates.

Additional Cost Considerations

  • Opportunity Costs: Working professionals might need to reduce their work hours, resulting in lower earnings—an important indirect cost to consider.
  • Long-term Return on Investment: Assess the potential long-term benefits of different programs, such as enhanced networking opportunities, higher educational quality, or better job placement rates.
  • Personal Situations: Factors such as childcare responsibilities or maintaining employment during studies can influence the financial planning required for a program.
  • Accreditation and Reputation: Ensure the program is properly accredited and consider its reputation for future job prospects and earning potential.
  • Financial Aid and Scholarships: Investigate available financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and employer-sponsored tuition reimbursement programs.

Effective financial planning is crucial for managing educational expenses. To identify potential cost-saving opportunities, consider reviewing the Most Affordable BSN Programs of 2024 or the Most Affordable LPN to BSN Programs of 2024.

Salary Expectations of a BSN in 2024

If you're considering advancing your nursing education from LPN to BSN, it's important to understand that salaries in this field are influenced by several key factors. Your specialty, experience level, and the employer you choose can all impact your potential earnings. While some employers offer higher salaries to nurses with BSN degrees, many also provide substantial tuition reimbursement programs to support further education. Additionally, your salary can vary widely depending on your location, the type of healthcare facility where you work, and your level of experience. Keep these considerations in mind as you plan your educational and career journey in nursing.

To assist in your decision-making, we have detailed the variations in RN salaries and highlighted the differences between salaries for LPNs and RNs.

Licensed Practical Nurse Wage

  • Mean Hourly Wage: $29.23
  • Mean Annual Wage: $60,790.00

RN Wage

  • Mean Hourly Wage: $45.42
  • Mean Annual Wage: $94,480.00

Top Paying States for RNs

  • California: $137,690.00
  • Hawaii: $119,710.00
  • Massachusetts: $113,440.00
  • Oregon: $111,030.00
  • Alaska: $109,210.00

Typically, there is a noticeable income gap between ADN-prepared and BSN-prepared RNs, with BSN RNs generally earning higher salaries. However, the BLS does not differentiate between these educational levels in its salary reports. Using data from ZipRecruiter, we can identify the salary differences between ADN RNs and BSN RNs.

Average ADN RN Salary:

  • Hourly Wage: $39.00
  • Annual Wage: $80,321.00

Average BSN RN Salary:

  • Hourly Wage: $46.00
  • Annual Wage: $96,546.00

U.S Cities with the highest BSN RN salaries are: 

  • San Mateo, CA: $121,673.00
  • Green River, WY: $188,365.00
  • Johnstonville, CA: $115,131.00
  • Richmond, CT: $113,883.00
  • Stamford, CT: $112,504.00

By understanding these factors and differences in nursing salaries, you can make informed decisions about your nursing education and career to maximize your earning potential. To further analyze the differences in nursing salaries, check out our Nursing Salary Guide.

Is an LPN to BSN Program Worth It?

An LPN to BSN program can be a pivotal step in advancing your nursing career. It's value largely depends on your personal goals. If you aim to enhance your earning potential and qualify for more specialized nursing roles, an LPN to BSN program may be an excellent investment. However, it's important to consider the costs, the required commitment, and other factors. To help you decide, here is a list of pros and cons to consider:

LPN to BSN Program Pros

  1. Career Advancement: Obtaining a BSN can unlock opportunities for more advanced nursing positions, including leadership and management roles, and is often a prerequisite for certain specialties.
  2. Higher Salary Potential: Nurses with a BSN typically earn more than those with only an LPN or an associate degree.
  3. Broader Educational Foundation: BSN programs provide a more comprehensive nursing education, covering management, critical thinking, and research, which can enhance professional practice.
  4. Diverse Career Opportunities: A BSN opens up a wider range of career opportunities beyond bedside nursing, including roles in public health, education, research, and healthcare administration.
  5. Professional Recognition: Holding a BSN can enhance professional credibility and recognition, reflecting a higher level of education and commitment to the nursing profession.
  6. Better Patient Outcomes: Research indicates that BSN-prepared nurses are linked to better patient outcomes due to their extensive training in critical thinking, leadership, and evidence-based practice.

LPN to BSN Program Cons

  1. Cost: LPN to BSN programs can be costly, and financial aid options might be more limited compared to traditional pathways.
  2. Time Commitment: These programs require a significant time investment, which can be challenging for working professionals.
  3. Limited Flexibility: Unlike online programs, traditional LPN to BSN programs may have less flexibility in scheduling, making it harder for students to balance work, family, and education.
  4. Intensive Coursework: The curriculum is rigorous and demands a high level of commitment and self-discipline.
  5. Geographic Limitations: Attending in-person classes and clinical sessions may require commuting or relocating, which can be an added expense and inconvenience.

While an LPN to BSN program offers numerous benefits, including career advancement and higher earning potential, it is essential to consider the associated costs, time commitment, and other factors when deciding if this pathway is right for you. To further help your decision consider the career outlook for BSN RNs. 

BSN RN Career Outlook 

In 2022, the United States had a nursing workforce of 3,172,500 professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 6% growth in the nursing sector by 2032, resulting in approximately 177,400 new positions and bringing the total to around 3,349,900 professionals. Moreover, there are expected to be about 193,100 job openings for registered nurses each year over the next decade.

This projected growth presents substantial opportunities for those considering a career in nursing. Various factors contribute to this trend, including a current shortage of nurses, declining enrollment in nursing programs, and the anticipated retirement of a large segment of the existing workforce over the next twenty years. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for skilled nursing professionals remains high, especially due to the increasing healthcare needs of an aging population.

Choosing to pursue a BSN is a strategic career move. While LPNs and associate-prepared RNs have a solid foundation, a BSN degree opens the door to more specialized career opportunities. According to data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 28% of employers now require a BSN, and 72% prefer to hire nurses with BSN degrees. This underscores the value of a BSN for those looking to meet the growing demand for highly skilled nurses and enhance their career prospects.

However, regional differences can impact job competition, as some areas have a higher concentration of nurses. For instance, job market conditions can vary within different states, with certain regions experiencing a higher demand for nurses than others. Each state also has unique healthcare needs, making it essential to research local healthcare demands when planning your nursing education and career.

How to Choose a Nursing School

Reasons for choosing a nursing school will vary per student and their specific needs. Some students value the cost of education, while others may place greater emphasis on NCLEX pass rates, academic reputation, or other factors.

Although it will vary by individual, a survey by allnurses revealed the top 11 reasons nursing students chose their programs:

  1. Cost
  2. High NCLEX Pass Rate
  3. Location
  4. Academic Reputation
  5. Availability of Financial Aid and Scholarships
  6. Length of Time to Obtain Degree
  7. Flexibility of Schedule
  8. Curriculum
  9. Campus and Surroundings
  10. Nursing Clinicals Location
  11. Availability of Online Courses

Ultimately, prospective students should assess their needs and pick schools that are the best fit for them.

Importance of Accreditation for LPN to BSN Programs

In addition to the factors discussed above, the accreditation of your nursing program is a crucial consideration. Selecting an accredited nursing school is essential for pursuing a BSN for several significant reasons:

  • Assured Educational Quality: Accreditation ensures that the program adheres to rigorous standards of nursing education, offering a high-quality learning experience necessary for developing key nursing skills and knowledge.
  • Eligibility for RN Licensure: Most regulatory bodies require graduation from an accredited program for RN licensure. Although state board-approved programs without accreditation may permit practice within the state, they might restrict relocation and practice opportunities in other states.
  • Enhanced Career Opportunities: Employers frequently prefer graduates from accredited programs as it guarantees a comprehensive education and training.
  • Credit Transfer: Credits from accredited programs are more likely to be recognized and accepted by other institutions, making it easier for students to continue their education or transfer to other nursing programs if needed.
  • Access to Financial Aid: Enrollment in an accredited program is often a requirement for federal financial aid, as well as numerous scholarships and grants, which are crucial for managing educational expenses.
  • Boosted Professional Credibility: Graduating from an accredited program enhances professional credibility, signaling to employers, colleagues, and patients that you have a solid educational foundation.
  • Increased Public Trust: Accreditation standards ensure that nursing programs prepare students in a manner that promotes patient safety and well-being, which is essential for maintaining public trust in the healthcare system.
  • Thorough Preparation: Accredited programs undergo regular reviews to keep their curriculum current and comprehensive, equipping students to meet the demands of the healthcare field.
  • Valuable Networking Opportunities: Accredited programs often have connections with a variety of healthcare facilities, providing students with valuable clinical placements and post-graduation employment prospects.

Recognized accrediting bodies for BSN programs include the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA). These programs adhere to stringent national standards, ensuring that nursing students receive comprehensive training and are well-prepared to enter the nursing workforce upon graduation, with the flexibility to practice across state borders.

FAQs and Additional Readings

Q: Is a BSN degree worth it?

A: BSN-prepared nurses earn an average of $10,000 to $20,000 more annually than LPNs. They are also far more likely to advance to leadership positions, raising their yearly income potential. To be eligible for advanced nursing degree programs, nurses must obtain a bachelor's degree first.

Q: How demanding is the coursework required to achieve a BSN?  

A: A nursing program is demanding, as are other bachelor's degrees. There are online LPN to BSN programs, in-person programs, and hybrid programs to help fit your education journey into your life. You can also complete coursework full-time or part-time. Luckily, as an LPN, you have already completed a lot of training and have working knowledge from the real world of patient care. This experience gives you an edge in BSN coursework over someone who has never stepped foot in a hospital. Overall, the reward of achieving your BSN makes the time and effort put into the program more than worth it.

Q: How does a BSN compare to an associate's degree?

A: A BSN degree is more comprehensive than an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). BSN programs include additional coursework in general education topics like math, sciences, and social studies. They also have leadership, research, statistics, and community health courses. A BSN RN is ready for broader nursing careers and specialties.

Related: Fastest BSN Programs 2024

Q: Who is the best person to contact for information on LPN to BSN programs?

A: The best person to contact for more details on an LPN to BSN program is an admissions counselor or academic advisor at the college you are interested in. They can discuss the pathways open to you, prerequisite requirements you must meet, financial aid opportunities or scholarship availability, and answer further questions regarding their program. You may want to talk with BSNs in your facility who have completed a program already.

Q: How expensive is an LPN to BSN program?

A: There is an LPN to BSN program for every budget. Above, you can find tuition information on our top ten programs. Most college websites have a tuition and fees page, or you can contact the admissions counselor. Consider applying for financial aid or scholarships to lessen the cost of your new degree. Your place of employment may offer a scholarship or tuition reimbursement program in exchange for an agreement to work a set amount of time.

Q: Are there websites where I can read more about the prospect of becoming a BSN-RN?

A: You can visit many websites to learn about the LPN to BSN process. Above are links to the recommended colleges and the NCLEX website, where you can find answers about testing.  


Kate Houck has 10 years experience as a RN.

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