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Which route would you take LPN or ASN?


Hello All,

I am in the process of making a life changing decision that not only affects me but my family as well. I am currently an elementary school teacher (9 years come August 2013). Although I enjoy teaching I don't love it... its not my passion. I want to be a nurse.

Before I became a teacher I took all of the pre-reqs for a nursing program and I graduated with my BA in Gerontology. Unfortunately, I did not get into any nursing programs or I was put on waiting list after waiting list. Basically my pre-req GPA was lower than many of the other candidates (2.6 compared to 3.0 and above). Therefore, I became discouraged and I became a teacher.

Now that I am back to looking into nursing schools again I am finding that my pre-req GPA is still very low for many of the programs. I have the option to apply to a LPN program then transition to RN through a bridge program. This program is full time days, 15 months long, and is a total cost of about $5,500. My other option is being accepted conditionally into an ADN program which will required me to retake 4 of my pre-reqs in the fall and then begin my nursing core in the spring. The program will run me about 20 months and total cost is about $35,000.

I am a single parent of a 6 year of with special needs so I want to do the program that will still allow me time with my son. The LPN program is 7:30-1:30 M- F, and the ADN program is 8-5pm M-F. I will still need to work at least part-time to maintain. Financially the LPN is cheaper considering I already owe a ton is student loans from my BA degree.

Any suggestions, thoughts, alternative point of views.... ?



I say it depends on what you want to do. Will you be satisfied as a LPN only? 5500 for LPN for a 15 month program is awesome. My LPN is 33000 and 11 months 8-5 m-f.. so yours sounds awesome. If you want to be a RN. Just shoot for ASN.

Hi Lite Candles,

Thanks for responding :) I plan to become an RN... eventually. I guess I see LPN as a way to get my foot in the door considering my GPA is low and I am having a difficult time getting into a College or University Program. I might have a good chance of getting into Keiser University... this program accepts you conditionally and you complete the pre-reqs after acceptance and are guaranteed a seat in the core nursing classes if you maintain a 3.0 GPA. After meeting with an admissions specialist I was told that if my application is accepted that I would have to repeat the 4 pre-reqs that I scored a "C" average in this fall then begin the core nursing courses in the Spring 2014. They have 3 start days for their ASN program- May, September, and January of every year. My only concern is the cost... its a private institution and I would be spending about $35,000 total. I am in debt more than $60,000 already in student loans from my undergrad years :unsure:. So I really don't want to rack up any more but I will if I have to. People have been saying to me... oh, LPNs are being phased out- it would be a waste of your time. Plus it will take even longer for you to go back and get your RN. I just want to do what will be in the best interest of me and my son.

Are there any LPN/BSN bridge programs near you? That is the way I am going, my GPA is not all that awesome (3.5, and the programs around here wat a 4.0), and I need to start working. The LPN program I am looking at is $8,000 and then the LPN/BSN is $24,000. It is a cheaper way for me to go too.


Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

I think going for the ASN would be best, not just for the increased pay but also for the increased flexibility that you require to accommodate a special needs child. You are going to face the challenges of being a new grad in your job search either way but once that challenge is resolved and you find a job, you will need the highest new-grad pay that you can get just so you will be able to be available for your child. As an LPN, you may find that more hours on the clock are needed just to make ends meet........seems like that as an RN, too, depending on the area in which you live. I don't knock being an LPN because I was one for 24 years until I got my RN license 3 years ago. And even then, economic changes FORCED me back into school even when i was making $28/hr base. That kind of pay looks good on paper, but when your shifts are cancelled and your pay goes from $28/hr to zip for the entire day, i needed to do something that would make those kinds of blows a little softer. But things were so different when I entered the nursing world back then. I didn't face a tenth of the challenges then that new nurses face now. Whatever your decision is, I wish you well with juggling a career and a special needs child.

Hi HeatherMax

Yes, there are LPN-BSN programs near me. That's an option I will consider as well. Right now I just need to look at the pros & cons of doing LPN then bridge or doing a ASN. Like I said the decision breaker right now I guess is cost of the program.

Edited by Unequaledbeauty30

Hi Lyndaa,

Yes, I am very concerned about how this decision will affect my family. My son has mild autism (some would say Asperger's syndrome because he is very high functioning) and a speech/processing disorder. My mom helps me with him alot.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

I was an LPN/LVN for several years before bridging to the ASN (RN) portion. I opted to complete an LPN program first because, at the time, I had very few college credits to my name and no prerequisite courses completed. I worked as an LVN at a nursing home full time while attending an RN completion program full time.

My friend had a 2.6 grade point average in her first degree (BS in public health). Due to her low GPA reducing her competitiveness with other applicants, she completed an LPN program first and then bridged to the ASN (RN).

ASN's are being pretty much forced to get their BSN, so I wouldn't bother with the LPN if there isn't a LPN/BSN bridge. LPN/ASN bridge would just be extra money spent for school, and it would still leave you with ASN/BSN. Around me the bridge programs are "easier" to get into; AKA not as many applicants as the straight ASN program.

What is your goal job once a nurse? Hospital, doctors office, school nurse...

ASN's are being pretty much forced to get their BSN, so I wouldn't bother with the LPN if there isn't a LPN/BSN bridge. LPN/ASN bridge would just be extra money spent for school, and it would still leave you with ASN/BSN. Around me the bridge programs are "easier" to get into; AKA not as many applicants as the straight ASN program.

What is your goal job once a nurse? Hospital, doctors office, school nurse...

That's not true everywhere. Here ASNs have no trouble finding a job nor are they being required to get a BSN.


Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 35 years experience.

That's not true everywhere. Here ASNs have no trouble finding a job nor are they being required to get a BSN.

I think facilities are beginning to lean towards the BSN. Ironically, as soon as I received my RN license 3 years ago, the "main hospital" of our facility, one of the 3 major ones here in Georgia, did a company-wide survey to see how many of its RNs held a BSN degree. That was an eye-opener for lots of LPNs on the company's roster. Fortunately for me, I obtained the ASN before they mandated it (less pressure if you do it on your own as opposed to someone else imposing a deadline on you), and I'm pursuing the RN-BSN in the same manner. So far, the BSN survey hasn't progressed to a mandate but in my continued search for better positions, I encounter the "oh, you're just an RN; we want a BSN" attitudes more than I thought I would. Of course, all areas are different.

But my fear for LPNs, even those more talented in med-surg than some RNs, is that they will eventually be isolated into the geriatric/psychiatric/rehab community. I've worked in those areas as an LPN, too, and there is nothing wrong with those areas. But it would be nice to have other options, like med-surg, etc. However, there are those facilities that are assigning their ASN nurses to the role that the LPNs once held if they choose not to get the BSN. And those same facilities, one in particular here in Georgia that I know of, gave their LPNs the choice of accepting the role of CNA or leaving the hospital altogether. This particular hospital gave no fore-warning of obtaining an ASN in x years or lose the job. It happened immediately where Charge RNs (ASN) were put back at the bedside and LPNs took a step down.

I would just like to advise in the kindest, softest way the ALL nurses, no matter where you are or what degree you hold, to do everything you can as a nurse EXCEPT become complacent. That's when your guard is down and you are blind-sided by a changing world.

There is another post here on allnurses debating the need for BSN. If you can find it, I would definitely suggest having a peek at it. The most skilled nurses lose their jobs because they failed to see those changes migrating to their little piece of paradise.

Just keep your eyes and ears open! It may not be where you are yet, but if it's happening, then it's coming.:yes: Better to be offensively prepared than to be defensively unprepared.

That is true, not all areas, but mine is one that is. Even the hospital that has a college attached, that teaches LPN and ASN, won't hire LPN's or ASN's that graduate from their program, they are placed in the long term care facilities. I have been shadowing in the hospital and have been told that there are ASN's that work there, but they have been grandfathered in. They will not hire any new people that are not BSN to work on the hospital floors.

Before you make a decision and spend any money and time, I would call around to the places you might want to work and find out if they will hire a LPN or ASN.


Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC,.

Since you asked what I would do, I am re-posting my reply to a similar question asked here on AN:

I was taking RN (BSN) prereqs, then I went through a divorce, had no real way to take care of my 3 children, so I went to a 1 yr LVN program. When I finish I plan to jump right back into taking my final year of prereqs and then entering the BSN program.

I am doing this because I will bring home more money than I earned working as a CNA while taking RN prereqs.

Plus, I'll have that LVN license to work and if financial necessity forces it, I will be employable in a manner that can support my family if I work full time as an LVN and postpone RN/ BSN school. Not my 1st choice, but an option I feel blessed to have.

I am in a similar situation as you because I also had about 25K in undergrad loans, though I had no degree. Finishing a degree in child development to become a teacher used to be a goal of mine and I could probably finish that in less than 2 years, maybe 1 1/2. But I wanted to become a nurse.

I actually could not afford LVN school, because in my area, LVN school costs what you are saying RN school costs in yours. But, I was blessed to get a grant to cover part of the cost and loans covered the rest.

Because my RN would be completed through a public college, it costs significantly less, though would take more time: 3 years to earn my BSN or 1 year to earn my LVN.

Neither program is part time and because of the intense and ever changing schedules, working more than on weekends is not feasible for either.

Before I considered switching gears to LVN, I looked at the following factors, and encourage you to do the same:

1. What is new grad LVN pay in the most likely to hire setting?

I did my own research on foot at SNF's and asked several hiring managers this question. Can you afford to live on LVN pay? I can, but it's definitely NOT my long term goal, as the pay is less than what I used to make before I decided to earn my BSN. Consider taxes, the cost of health insurance and loan repayment, also when looking at your take home pay.

2. Will you have enough money available to you to complete your long term goal of becoming an RN? This can be from money you earn while working as an LVN through RN school if you find a school to let you pay as you go, or this can be from student loans if you haven't reached the CAPS or have good credit to get private loans.

3. How badly do you NEED to earn money working as a nurse quickly? I was in a very bad situation, so it was a no-brainer to take the option of LVN school if it presented itself.

4. Even so-called "part time" nursing programs may not allow you the possibility of working your way through them. Just keep that in mind, as I have had my instructors tell me that some schools make this claim, even though it's not really realistic for students to work and be successful with the amount of homework, group projects and clinical time required and travel time to distant clinicals. If you have a job that will schedule after school is out, and if your school schedules clinicals at preset, unchanging times (this doesn't happen in my area!) then if you are a good student who typically does well academically (as I assume you might be, since you are a teacher), then there is certainly the possibility to work through the program.