From LPN to RN: A Guide to the Next Step of Your Career

From LPN to RN: A Guide to the Next Step of Your Career

The best nurses consider themselves life-long learners, constantly seeking ways to expand and improve their practice. If you’re ready to take that next step and become an RN, this handy guide can help you figure out where to start.

What’s the difference between LPNs and RNs?

LPNs are licensed practical nurses, also called licensed vocational nurses (LVN) in some states. They focus on providing basic medical care. They perform a variety of tasks that help keep patients comfortable and healthy, including:

  • Monitoring vital signs
  • Changing bandages
  • Helping patients bathe or dress
  • Reporting progress to registered nurses or doctors1

Registered nurses (RNs), meanwhile, generally have a broader scope of responsibilities. In addition to basic medical care, they can also:

  • Assess patients’ conditions
  • Set up plans for patients’ care
  • Collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • Operate and monitor medical equipment
  • Teach patients and their families how to manage an illness or injury2

You can read more about the different levels and degrees available within nursing on our blog, Different Nursing Paths for Nurses Who Never Stop Learning!

How do I become an RN?

In order to become an RN, students must earn either their associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. Look for a program that allows you to leverage your existing LPN education and experience to help streamline your path towards registered nursing.

Here are some questions to ask when considering degree programs:

  • How long will it take me to earn my degree?
  • Can I transfer credits from my LPN education?
  • Will I be able to balance my schoolwork with my nursing job?

Below, we’ll provide a break-down of the WCU programs that can help you reach your goal of becoming an RN!

Associate Degree in Nursing

Our Associate Degree in Nursing program is offered out of our WCU-Miami campus. The LPN to ADN pathway allows students to transfer up to 10 eligible credits towards their degree. Here’s what you need to know:

(with 10 LPN transfer credits)
Time to Completion20 months17 months
Where is it available?WCU-MiamiWCU-Miami
NCLEX Licensure Preparation

LVN/LPN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Our LVN/LPN to BSN program bridges the gap between your LPN education and a bachelor’s in nursing. LPNs are able to apply their previous experience towards their degree. Here’s what you need to know:

Time to Completion34 months at the
Accelerated pace*
Where is it available?Florida, Texas, and California
NCLEX Licensure Preparation

*Multiple program paces available so you can find the schedule that works for you.

Taking the First Step

Are you ready to begin your journey towards your RN education? We’re here to help. Start by scheduling a campus tour. You’ll be able to explore our facilities and get to know our nursing programs.

We look forward to helping you reach your full potential!

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Registered Nurses

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.