Now that you are an LPN you may be interested in knowing that there are many options out there for you to consider in terms of improving your position and your qualification even further. A great way to do this is through one of the many LPN to RN fast track programs that are available.
What Is An LPN To RN Fast Track Program?
The first question that we need to address when looking at LPN to RN fast track programs is what exactly these programs are.
Well, basically, your LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse qualification is one of the lowest qualifications that you can have as a nurse. There are many other positions that have a higher status in the nursing community and that consequently come with higher paychecks for you to benefit from. However in order to become a nurse of this kind you will have to study further. The average LPN to RN qualification takes about 3 or 4 years to complete, which is costly and time consuming. fast track LPN to RN programs allow you to make the same transition from being an LPN to being an RN (or Registered Nurse) far more quickly and therefore becoming more and more popular in this day and age where everyone wants and needs to enter the job market as quickly as they possible can. Although there are a number of things to consider about these programs before you commit to attending one, they are by far one of your best options.
Most fast track LPN to RN programs will earn you an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing while other programs focus on preparing students for RN licensure and do not award a degree. Obviously the degree option will be the better bet for you if it is available.
There are a few requirements that you will have to meet in order to enroll in most LPN to RN fast track programs:
- Applicants need to be currently licensed as LPNs
- In some cases, applicants will be required to prove that they have actual LPN experience, although this will not be a requirement for all fast track programs
- In some cases, applicants may be presented with a list of basic nursing tasks and will then have to demonstrate their ability to adequately perform those tasks
- Prerequisite high school subjects as well as courses may be required for certain LPN to RN fast track programs
Once you have graduated from an appropriately accredited LPN to RN fast track program you will be allowed to sit the RN exam and join the ranks of Registered Nurses if you successfully pass that exam.
Coursework For LPN To RN Fast Track Programs
There are two main sections to these fast track programs, and these two sections are the same as in any LPN to RN program that you will find anywhere. You will basically have to complete both the theoretical side of your training as well as a clinical, hands-on aspect before you can qualify as an RN. There are some basic subjects that will be included in each of these two sections:
- Surgical nursing procedures
- Pediatric nursing
- Mental health nursing
- Nursing leadership
- Newborn nursing
- Maternal-child nursing
- Adult health
- Psychiatric nursing
- Surgical nursing
These are basically the same things that you would earn in an average LPN to RN program, except that the work will be squeezed into a far shorter time period, allowing you as a result to get working as an RN as soon as you possibly can. This is obviously an advantage.
When considering whether or not you should focus on getting into LPN to RN fast track programs rather than into normal LPN to RN programs you need to keep the coursework in mind. Firstly you need to consider if you can handle the coursework. If you think that you can the next aspect to consider is the quality of the coursework. The quality of the coursework may be slightly worse in fast track LPN to RN programs than in other LPN to RN programs simply because the same amount of work has t be covered in a far shorter period of time. This may not adequately prepare you for your job as an RN once you have qualified. And, no matter how good the coursework of these fast track programs are, you need to remember that unless you attend a certified and accredited school your hard work will be for nothing.
Advantages Of LPN To RN Fast Track Programs
There are a number of very obvious advantages to doing LPN to RN fast track programs.
- You will save time. What usually happens in LPN to RN programs is that you end up covering stuff that you already did during your LPN training and this effectively wastes your time especially if you know the work well. By doing fast track programs you will be able to save time in that you will only cover the coursework that is new and not repeat things that you have already done.
- You will spend less money. Because these programs are shorter and more condensed you will be able to save a lot in terms of tuition fees. LPN to RN fast track programs are almost always shorter than their counterparts which means that they are a great option especially for those nurses who are strapped for cash.
- You will become an RN sooner. As an RN you will be able to earn more money than when you were an LPN. There are also usually more benefits that an RN can get than an LPN can get. With a LPN to RN fast track program you will be able to start reaping these benefits a whole lot sooner and this will decrease your waiting time for success.
These are obviously some great advantages, and there are a few other advantages that may arise n certain situations that are also worth our consideration. For example in some cases your employer will pay you to get an RN qualification, and they are more likely to pay for these programs than longer programs as they will be able to reap the benefits of their investment more quickly that way. The shortage of nurses with advanced qualifications across the country means that you will also stand a very high chance of getting financial aid to help you attend a LPN to RN fast track program and you will also be guaranteed of a job once you have completed the qualification.
Disadvantages Of LPN To RN Fast Track Programs
You need to remember that LPN to RN fast track programs are not for everyone. If you have a friend that successfully managed to become an RN through this method, that’s great, but not everyone is able to equally benefit from a program such as this. This is because some people need a little more time to learn something. When you’re cramming everything into as short a period of time as possible some people struggle to take t all in, while others thrive in such a situation. Think back to your experiences at school and during your LPN training to try to decide whether or not a fast-paced program like this is really the best option for you.
In addition, many LPN nurses are not able to give up work while enrolled in these fast track programs which means that they have to find a way to balance both aspects of their lives. This is doable. There are a large number of these fast track programs out there that are specially geared to allow you to study in your spare time and that have flexible hours because the conveners of these programs know that it is seldom a practical option to quit your job. Despite this it can be a big challenge to work and study at the same time and not everyone is necessarily able to do this easily. The increased stress may cause you to burn out, so you need to examine yourself and your personality to decide whether or not you are someone who can work and learn at the same time.
You should also remember that to become an RN you will have to pass the RN licensing examination and these programs are often criticized for not providing adequate preparation for this exam. This means that you should think carefully about your own skills and whether or not a fast-tracked program will allow you to gather the information that you will need in order to guarantee success on the exam.
Job Outlook And Salary
LPN to RN fast track programs allow you to work as an RN in the following settings:
- Home-health clinics
- Extended-care settings
- Physician’s offices
The job outlook for RNs, and indeed anyone considering a career in the healthcare profession, is very good indeed. Because there will always be a growing need for health care professionals, this is a line of work that will never leave you unemployed if you are good at your job. The number of people employed as RNs is expected to increase over time and this means that there are few other jobs with as positive an outlook.
The average salary statistics for people who have completed LPN to RN fast track programs are as follows:
- Hourly Rate: $19.60 – $36.45
- Overtime: $18.29 – $56.62
- Bonus: $0.00 – $2,964
- Total Pay: $40,350 – $80,016
According to payscale.com the following salary statistics can be seen for RN nurses:
- DaVita Inc.: $22.26 – $35.50
- Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc.: $20.71 – $32.98
- HCA, Inc.: $20.81 – $33.86
- Kaiser Permanente: $29.18 – $62.53
- Kindred Healthcare: $19.66 – $34.22
- Healthcare: $19.77 – $36.64
- Hospital: $20.38 – $37.36
- Acute Care Hospital: $20.84 – $38.84
- Medical Services: $19.60 – $37.13
- Long-term Care / Rehabilitation: $20.53 – $35.47
Pay differences by gender:
- Men: $22.15 – $30.81
- Women: $22.26 – $31.17
Pay differences by degree:
- Bachelor’s Degree: $19.91 – $36.88
- Associate’s Degree: $19.43 – $35.27
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): $19.92 – $36.72
- Associate Degree Nursing (ADN): $19.50 – $35.43
- Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN): $19.19 – $35.24
Even at the lower end of the pay scale you can see that RNs earn far more than LPNs which means that if you are currently an LPN you may want to consider looking into the various fast track programs that are available in your area so that you can start working and earning as an RN as soon as possible.
How to Choose the Right Program for You
If you have decided that you want to look into these fast track programs you will need to consider several very important factors so that you can make the best possible decision about which of the many schools that offer these programs out there are best for you.
Firstly you will have to consider if you want to do:
- An online program
- A face-to-face classroom based program
An online program obviously comes with the advantage of taking up a lot of your time. It will make it easier for you to work and study at the same time. Remember though that even if the program s online you will still need to complete the practical side of the coursework, and this cannot be done online. Make sure that you choose an online program that makes provision for this. Also not all students have the self-discipline required to get through a self-study online program, so think carefully about your own abilities first. Also a lot of online program are not properly accredited which means that you may end up wasting your time and your money.
Remember to ask as many questions as you can when considering the different LPN to RN fast track programs. Find out if the program offers:
- Student services
- Financial aid
- Alumni networking
It is also a good idea for you to take the time to actually visit the campus that you will be attending if you choose that program. This will allow you to get an idea of whether or not you will fit in and if the environment feels right for you. In addition to finding out about the atmosphere this will also allow you to explore the clinical facilities that the program offers. If you are interested in online programs you should also take the time to do a virtual tour of the program and find out everything you can about it online.
Speak to current and past students to find out what their personal experience at the school was. This is the best way to get firsthand knowledge about the quality of these fast track programs. You should also research school rankings so that you can see where the LPN to RN fast track program that you are interested in ranks overall.
Some Colleges That Offer LPN to RN Fast Track Programs
There are a number of universities and colleges out there that offer these programs. The ones listed below are just some of the more common and popular options, but if these are not in your state or area, just remember that you will be able to find one that is closer to you.
1595 S. Semoran Blvd. #1501
Winter Park FL 32792
Northeastern Oklahoma A & M College
200 I St. NE
Miami OK 74354
Gateway Community College
108 North 40th St.
Phoenix AZ 85034
University of Phoenix
College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services
Indiana State University
Nursing Building Room 328
Lawrence Memorial /Regis College
170 Governors Ave.
Medford, MA 02155-1643
Florida Gateway College (formerly Lake City Community College)
149 S.E. College Place
Lake City, FL 32025
You will have the following career options when you complete fast track LPN to RN programs. You can become a:
- School nurse
- Prison nurse
- Nursing instructor
- Clinic nurse
- Camp nurse
- Cruise ship nurse
- Nursing educator
- Nursing manager
Now that you have most of the facts regarding LPN to RN fast track programs you should be in a far better position to decide whether or not this is the direction that you would like to take with your nursing career. Remember that becoming an RN comes with a bigger paycheck and more power, but it also comes with an increase in responsibility and, in most cases, and increase in the stress that you will experience on the job as well. Make your decision carefully.