Is it worth it to get an LPN before nursing school?

When considering a career in nursing, many people limit themselves to the traditional path: a bachelor’s and then a job. However, there’s many more paths you can choose from. Many nurses choose to go with an LPN certification before moving onto an ADN or BSN for a variety of different reasons. This is completely up to you, but an LPN does provide many advantages. These advantages include experience, education, money, and convenience.


This is a big one. If you were to look for a job as an RN right now you’d likely see that a lot of positions require years of experience before an applicant will be considered. The nursing world is highly competitive – especially for new graduates. There’s a limited amount of positions that will accept a nurse with no experience, making them prized positions. If you get a job as an LPN you’ll get experience working in a medical environment while setting yourself up for a career as an RN. An LPN certification looks great on a nursing resume, and shows that you are already dedicated to nursing as a career. If you excel as an LPN, you’ll have great references to add to your resume as well. You may not be able to apply to all of the nursing jobs that you see, but you’ll be able to apply to more than someone with no experience at all. This can put you a step ahead of the competition. To get an idea of the positions available to you as an LPN, you can search for them here.


An LPN certification will include the basic building blocks of what you will need to know as an RN. You’ll learn a lot of things that many RNs perform every day, giving you a great base for your education going forward. This could assist you in getting better grades later in the game while working on your BSN or ADN. And, as you probably know, BSN programs are very intense. They require a lot of time studying. This could save you some of that time, while still keeping your grades up. Most importantly, it will make you a better nurse for your patients in the future.


BSN degrees can be expensive. Getting a job as an LPN could help you to pay off some of your classes without having to take out too many student loans. You can read more about how much you’d get paid as an LPN here. It will also give you a big layer of job security. If you were to get your LPN, and work while you get your degree, you could continue to work after you’ve gotten your degree. All of this can be done while trying to land your first job as an RN. That means that you’ll never have to worry about finding a job after you graduate to start paying off your loans. Even if you didn’t use your LPN to work while you get your degree, you can use it as a “plan B” in case you’re having a hard time finding an RN position. It will double your chances of finding a job after you graduate.


A lot of BSN programs offer an LPN to BSN bridge. These programs are shorter than typical four year BSN programs, and make it so that you won’t retake any classes. This will save you both time and money in the end. There’s a lot more information on those programs here.
For all the reasons outlined above, an LPN program can be the best first step into a career in nursing. Depending on your school’s programs, you may want to calculate exactly how each of the above aspects would benefit your specific situation. If you already know what school you’re going to attend, you can calculate the cost with our list of calculators here.

[efstable width =”100%”]

LPN to RN Salary Comparison

State LPN / LVN Average Annual Wage RN Average Annual Wage Percentage Difference
Alabama $35,470 $54,900 35%
Alaska $54,240 $85,530 37%
Arizona $49,560 $70,720 30%
Arkansas $35,890 $55,580 35%
California $51,700 $96,470 46%
Colorado $45,840 $68,290 33%
Connecticut $55,340 $75,280 26%
Delaware $47,300 $69,890 32%
District of Columbia $51,320 $79,640 36%
Florida $41,130 $60,920 32%
Georgia $37,620 $62,520 40%
Guam $35,830 $51,780 31%
Hawaii $45,860 $90,220 49%
Idaho $38,850 $59,890 35%
Illinois $44,580 $66,080 33%
Indiana $40,420 $57,770 30%
Iowa $38,090 $53,220 28%
Kansas $38,700 $55,880 31%
Kentucky $37,460 $57,120 34%
Louisiana $37,270 $58,850 37%
Maine $42,260 $61,960 32%
Maryland $50,030 $71,350 30%
Massachusetts $53,640 $81,380 34%
Michigan $44,240 $65,460 32%
Minnesota $41,760 $71,030 41%
Mississippi $35,750 $54,940 35%
Missouri $36,980 $56,670 35%
Montana $38,540 $59,860 36%
Nebraska $37,960 $56,460 33%
Nevada $52,450 $79,280 34%
New Hampshire $46,970 $63,820 26%
New Jersey $53,640 $78,040 31%
New Mexico $46,300 $64,650 28%
New York $45,040 $75,910 41%
North Carolina $41,880 $58,930 29%
North Dakota $39,680 $57,190 31%
Ohio $40,380 $61,000 34%
Oklahoma $37,570 $57,330 34%
Oregon $48,250 $83,650 42%
Pennsylvania $43,140 $65,110 34%
Puerto Rico $20,050 $31,480 36%
Rhode Island $53,630 $75,690 29%
South Carolina $39,000 $58,350 33%
South Dakota $34,960 $52,090 33%
Tennessee $36,000 $56,370 36%
Texas $43,950 $67,570 35%
Utah $42,610 $59,720 29%
Vermont $44,060 $60,960 28%
Virgin Islands $42,250 $46,050 8%
Virginia $39,490 $62,610 37%
Washington $48,020 $77,520 38%
West Virginia $34,490 $55,310 38%
Wisconsin $42,650 $64,090 33%
Wyoming $43,390 $59,650 27%