LPN To ADN Bridge Programs
Of all the bridge programs available to LPNs, the LPN-to-ADN is the simplest and most basic in terms of its goal, which is to get an associates degree in nursing. This is almost universally required in all states, and its an essential starting point in the nursing profession.
In addition, its especially useful to LPNs who have no desire to go on for further education and merely wish to work in the nursing profession. Many of these LPNs get their initial education in community colleges or vocational schools, then transfer to a traditional college or university if they wish to acquire their ADN.
Experience and Job Prospects
One possibility for which the ADN bridge program is especially appropriate is that of LPNs who wish to use the ADN as a second degree. Many of these candidates don’t have time to go to a full four-year college or university, nor do they have the desire to do so.
Another door that’s often opened by the ADN degree is for LPNs to do a higher level of work once they get the degree. LPNs and RNs often start out doing the same work at the lower levels, but the associates degree is necessary to advance to the upper levels.
LPNs should be aware that there is a significant push taking place in the nursing community for nurses to get advanced degrees, with many nursing organizations advocating for this shift. That means the ADN may not be sufficient to qualify for many nursing jobs as their careers progress over time.
Overall employment opportunities for nurses in the US are expected to grow approximately 20 percent in the coming decade, according to the US Department of Labor. The median annual wage for registered nurses in the US is approaching $70K, so the incentive to get an ADN is considerable.
The reasons for this growth include spiraling rates of chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes, along with the increased health care service needs of baby boomers and expanding opportunities as our existing healthcare system continues to be overhauled. .
Most ADN programs require two years of study once prerequisites are met. Basic nursing courses cover assessment, documentation, safety, hygiene, nutrition and post-op care. In addition they are required to take pharmacology, which in part teaches them to administer medications via IV, through injection and orally
In addition to the required coursework, the classroom time required to earn an ADN often changes the perspective of many nurses. It gives them greater insight into the nursing process, more hands-on experience with the technology used in patient care and better critical thinking skills.
Many nurses start on this path thinking an ADN will be sufficient, but once they get the degree they end up choosing further education and other bridge programs.
Another element that must be factored into the choice of schools is the number of required contact hours to go with the degree program. Virtually every state requires some ongoing education to maintain a license, and these requirements must be factored into managing the workload for the LPN-to-ADN bridge program.
In addition, some states require specific coursework as part of their continuing education requirements, so its important to check the requirements for the appropriate state.
The Online Option
LPNs considering the bridge program to get an ADN will find that many courses are available online, but clinical work that requires some presence on campus is also acquired
Specifically, online ADN programs teach students how to care for adults and children with illnesses and injuries. Online courses that are available usually include general education courses and courses in nursing theory, anatomy and medical terminology. In addition, some programs allow students to complete clinical work at a location near their home.
There are also several additional degree options in the online world that fall under the heading of associates degrees. These include the Associate of Science in Nursing and the Associate of Applied Science in Nursing.
Graduates of ADN bridge programs will be qualified for licensing via the NCLEX-RN. This exam is administered by Pearson Vue and costs approximately $200. An exam fee of $50-100 is normally required in most states, but there are differences in costs and procedures that should be checked in advance.
The educational prerequisites for an LPN-to-ADN bridge program include a high school diploma or GED, and a minimum GPA is sometimes required at this level.
In addition, some programs require students to be active CNAs with at least several months of experience, along with proof of specific immunizations, a negative drug screening and the ability to pass a criminal background check that includes fingerprinting.
Choosing the Right School
When it comes to making a good choice of schools, some elements are obvious. For LPNs who want to work in specialized nursing environments doing specific jobs, the LPN-to-ADN program can be choose whatever track they wish to get into early in the education process.
Specific areas can include management, education, clinical environments, or extremely specialized work with certain illnesses and diseases and patient types (e.g., pediatric oncology nursing).
Another element of the program that should be checked carefully, though, is the school’s track record, both with regard to passing the NCLEX-RN and providing the background necessary to get into more advanced education programs latter on. Virtually all schools publish pass rates for the licensing exam, and these rates can be specified to include those who have required multiple attempts to pass the exam.
In addition, graduation rates should be checked, as well as the track record with regard to GPA and admission to other nursing programs for further education.
A full list of schools offering LPN to ADN bridge programs is beyond the scope of this article, but fortunately there are numerous resources available to find these programs. Consult the list at
Common work environments once the ADN has been acquired include private physicians offices, hospitals, clinics, and home healthcare services. There are many other options available in specialty fields.