LPN to RN: There Is More Than One Reason to Make the Move

Many nurses begin their careers as LPNs and later discover a personal desire for more education, leading not only to more responsibility, but higher pay as well. If you are a prospective nursing student, you may even be considering whether to initially become an LPN or seek your RN immediately. Here are some of the benefits of LPNs going to nursing school to become RNs.

Career Opportunity

Some LPNs find that they lack sufficient autonomy to be fulfilled in their careers. While the job of an LPN can certainly be rewarding in itself, these nurses' upward mobility can be limited. An RN, on the other hand, will be eligible for management positions, is able to work more independently and is also able to provide more advanced care to patients. The additional education may also give you an advantage if you live in a major metropolitan area or wish to specialize in particular areas of health care.

Increased Pay

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median annual wage of an LPN was $41,540 in 2012 while the median annual wage of an RN was $65,470. That's a pretty big difference, and certainly a draw for nurses who also have a family to support. If you are lucky to be working in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Alaska or Oregon, these states have the highest mean annual wages for RNs.

Tailor-Made Education

Many educational institutions are now targeting nurses who want to increase their level of education by offering "bridge" programs that reduce the length of time necessary to receive an advanced degree. In as little as 2-3 years, an LPN can become an RN while also continuing to work. One benefit of working while furthering your education is that you will have that nursing experience under your belt; this experience will help you to be a more competitive candidate than other job applicants who have finished nursing school but have no experience. Whatever your reasons for furthering your education, do your research first. Be sure to compare classroom to online programs and find out whether your current employer offers tuition assistance or loan forgiveness programs. Making this move won't be the easiest thing you've ever done, but if you keep your eye on the end result, you will have all the motivation you need. 

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Karen N. Brown, MSHA

About Karen N. Brown, MSHA

Karen Brown is a freelance writer specializing in content for the health professions, but her writing projects have been quite varied in subject. She graduated from The University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Philosophy, and a Master of Science in Health Administration. For nearly 20 years, she worked at UAB, an academic medical center, most notably as a division administrator for a large, international HIV/AIDS program. She also has considerable knowledge in federal research regulation. Karen lives in Alabama's Birmingham metropolitan area. View all posts by Karen N. Brown, MSHA →