LVN to BSN Programs

What is an LVN?

An LVN practices nursing in California or Texas. In all other 48 states, these nurses are referred to as LPNs. The jobs are essentially the same; the major difference between the LVN and the LPN is the job title and location of employment. Regardless of the state of employment, an LVN/LPN may desire to continue their education and become an RN. They may choose to obtain an ADN degree or a BSN degree; both options will allow the nurse to earn an RN license. It is not surprising that there are many types of education programs that will allow the LVN to become an RN; below is a description of the types of programs. The differing programs will allow the LVN to select a program that best fits his or her needs.

What is the Difference Between an LVN and an RN?

There are a few different ways to obtain the title of RN– obtaining an ADN degree, a BSN degree, or a diploma nursing certificate. An ADN degree and diploma nursing certificate take less time and less education than earning a BSN degree. An ADN degree typically takes 2 years after obtaining prerequisites. A diploma nursing certificate has a variable length of time and is dependent on the program itself. A BSN degree takes about 4 years to obtain – start-to-finish, prerequisites included. The total time in this nursing program is roughly 3 years, depending on the program. The end result of an RN program is an RN license, obtained by sitting and passing the NCLEX-RN.

An LVN may choose any of these routes when advancing their degree. While all education paths will allow the LVN to increase earning potential, expand the job pool, and perhaps increase job satisfaction, earning a BSN degree will increase job opportunities more than the other options.

What is the Difference Between the Types of RN Nursing Degrees?

An RN is a registered nurse. There are a few different ways to obtain this title – obtaining an ADN degree, a BSN degree, or a diploma nursing certificate. An ADN degree and diploma nursing certificate take less time and less education than earning a BSN degree. An ADN degree typically takes 2 years after obtaining prerequisites. A diploma nursing certificate has a variable length of time and is dependent on the program itself. A BSN degree takes about 4 years to obtain – start-to-finish, prerequisites included. The total time in this nursing program is roughly 3 years, depending on the program. The end result of an RN program is an RN license, obtained by sitting and passing the NCLEX-RN.

An LVN may choose any of these routes when advancing their degree. While all education paths will allow the LVN to increase earning potential, expand the job pool, and perhaps increase job satisfaction, earning a BSN degree will increase job opportunities more than the other options.

Education Options for LVN to BSN

An LVN may have their pick of multiple types of LVN to BSN programs. The options can be weighed based on the needs of the LVN – does he or she desire to be done with school quickly, maximizing their earning potential? Does he or she desire to work quite a bit and still have time with family? These are things that can be considered when selecting a type of nursing school

A traditional LVN to BSN program is an option; a traditional BSN program is typically offered at colleges and universities. These may be either public or private schools. A traditional program may or may not take into consideration prior nursing experience. Typically the LVN must apply just as all other students will. These programs often have a set amount of spaces available and the LVN will be competing for these spots with all other students. This option may be desirable to the LVN that desires an education from a very well-known college or university. It may also be desirable if the school is close to the area of employment or where the LVN lives.

Online LVN to BSN programs is a great option for the LVN who must continue to work full-time as these programs typically have the option of being full-time or part-time. They also may have clinical portions that the LVN can select based on their own preference in location. In addition, for the LVN with a family or other obligations, having the option to attend school part-time is desirable. The caveat is that the student typically must be motivated and a self-starter; some people have a difficult time staying motivated and keeping up with coursework when they are not in a classroom, so this should also be considered when weighing options.

A fast-track LVN to BSN program is designed to get the student through school quickly; these programs are typically three semesters, back-to-back, with no summer break. This is desirable for the LVN who wants to become an RN quickly in order to maximize earning potential. These programs may not be desirable for people who must work full-time or balance family and other obligations.

Cost of LVN to BSN Programs

The cost of an LVN to BSN program is highly variable. A public university or college will be more affordable than a private university or college. An online program may end up being more costly Cost of LVN to BSN Programsdue to the convenience of the program. It is difficult to give a cost for such programs, so many colleges and universities offer an online tuition calculator to estimate costs. For example, our list of net-price calculators gives nurses the options to enter grade level, in-state or out-of-state residency, on campus or online and multiple other options. The results that follow are based on the credit hours, but it gives the user a broad idea of what the cost for a year of education will be. In addition, the following link gives the LVN an idea of other costs that may be associated with their LVN to BSN education. While a calculator put forth by a college or university typically estimates the cost per credit hour, this link will allow the user to estimate other costs, such as textbooks, uniforms, and other fees associated with a college education. Using a tuition calculator and the former link will give a generous idea of what the cost of a nursing school education will cost.

Waiting Lists for LVN to BSN Programs

The terms “nursing school” and “waiting list” are notoriously associated. Traditionally, nursing schools accept a set amount of students per semester, placing the students that were not accepted on the dreaded wait list. According to the American Nurses Association, the nursing shortage is not stopping soon. For a variety of reasons, the United States will be seeking an increasing amount of RNs to fill the void. However, the fact that almost all nursing schools have a wait list means that there are plenty of students seeking to become RNs who are unable to get into nursing school, although they meet all of the requirements. There is not necessarily a lack of nursing schools, but a lack of instructors to teach all of the would-be RNs.

For the LVN who is having a difficult time obtaining entry into an LVN to BSN program due to the highly competitive nature of the program, there are options. Many online programs do not have wait lists; they will take on as many students as possible. For the LVN who is not self-motivated and does not do well without a classroom setting, this can certainly be daunting. However, entry into these programs is practically a given if minimum requirements are met. It used to be that students graduating from an online program were thought to have an inferior degree; however, that mindset is changing as our world is becoming increasingly virtual. It is now possible to find almost every type of college degree at an online school so this should not deter would-be BSN students.

Job Outlook for LVNs Becoming BSNs

According to California Healthline, new nurses in California may have a difficult time finding an entry level nursing job. This may be due to the fact that baby boomer nurses are working longer due to job satisfaction and increasing retirement needs. While the demand is still high for nurses, many hospitals are just not hiring new graduates without experience. This leaves a conundrum for these new BSNs – how to obtain experience if no one will hire the new graduate? However, California hospitals are often hiring BSN-prepared RNs versus ADN-prepared RNs, making an RN with a bachelor’s degree more hirable. In fact, “the proportion of California hospitals requiring new hires to have a bachelor’s degree rose from 4.6% in 2011 to 8.2% in 2013… More than half of employers require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing for positions beyond staff nurse.” For the LVN who selects an LVN to BSN program, this may be reassuring.

Texas has over 68 transitional nursing programs. This means that from anywhere in this state, there is an option for the LVN to continue for their BSN, whether it is from a traditional education setting or an online school. In addition, Texas has a low unemployment rate, meaning that people seeking any type of job will have an easy time finding work. Texas also has a high concentration of LVN jobs – this means that Texas is a great place to find work, no matter what type of nursing degree is held.

Employment Options for LVNs Becoming BSNs

LVNs are typically in entry level positions, at the patient’s bedside or in clinics. Once the LVN obtains a BSN degree, they may still have to work in an entry level job. However, with a little Employment Options for LVNs Becoming BSNsexperience, job opportunities really open up. Due to the greater depth of education of a BSN degree holder, often these RNs are eligible for jobs in management and faculty positions. These positions typically are not open to LVNs or RNs with an ADN.

In the end, career goals must be assessed prior to continuing for an RN degree. If the ultimate goal is working at the bedside, an LVN or ADN degree is sufficient. If a higher level nursing job is desired, a BSN degree is most likely required.

Salary Comparison: LVN vs BSN

When comparing the salaries of an LVN to a BSN, we can see that the difference in earning potential is staggering. The salary is dependent on location and specialty of nursing. However, we can outline the average salary by state.

LVN Salary in California

  • California
    • On average, an LVN will earn $51,700. California also employs roughly 61,000 LVNs.
    • On average, an RN will earn $90,860. California employs about 250,230 RNs.
Area Employment Hourly Median Wage Annual Median Wage
Bakersfield-Delano, CA          1,200 $23.66 $49,210
Chico CA              400 $23.29 $48,450
El Centro CA              200 $24.80 $51,580
Fresno CA          1,290 $22.96 $47,750
Hanford-Corcoran CA              320 $25.53 $53,110
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale CA Metropolitan Division        20,780 $24.09 $50,100
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana CA        27,170 $23.97 $49,870
Madera-Chowchilla CA              210 $25.30 $52,620
Merced CA              250 $23.72 $49,330
Modesto CA              650 $23.98 $49,890
Napa CA              140 $26.44 $54,990
Oakland-Fremont-Hayward CA Metropolitan Division          3,750 $29.62 $61,620
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura CA              840 $24.85 $51,680
Redding CA              310 $22.84 $47,500
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario CA          6,280 $22.78 $47,380
Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville CA          2,440 $27.17 $56,510
Salinas CA              930 $23.75 $49,410
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos CA          4,440 $24.31 $50,570
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont CA          5,850 $29.32 $60,980
San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City CA Metropolitan Divi          2,090 $28.77 $59,850
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara CA          2,150 $28.04 $58,330
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles CA              320 $25.43 $52,890
Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine CA Metropolitan Division          6,380 $23.68 $49,260
Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta CA              580 $27.46 $57,120
Santa Cruz-Watsonville CA              220 $29.54 $61,440
Santa Rosa-Petaluma CA              740 $24.72 $51,420
Stockton CA              930 $24.40 $50,740
Vallejo-Fairfield CA              670 $25.54 $53,120
Visalia-Porterville CA              580 $21.92 $45,590
Yuba City CA              200 $22.46 $46,720
Mother Lode Region of California nonmetropolitan area              190 $25.53 $53,110
North Coast Region of California nonmetropolitan area              430 $24.16 $50,250
North Valley Region of California nonmetropolitan area              110 $23.16 $48,180
Northern Mountains Region of California nonmetropolitan ar              420 $24.71 $51,400

Source: http://www.dol.gov/, 2014 Data

LVN Salary in Texas

  • Texas
    • On average, an LVN will earn $44,880. Texas employs about 71,000 LVNs.
    • On average, an RN will earn $67,580. Texas employs about 185,000 RNs.
Area Employment Hourly Median Wage Annual Median Wage
Abilene, TX              960 $18.37 $38,210
Amarillo TX          1,110 $20.12 $41,860
Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos TX          3,480 $21.74 $45,230
Beaumont-Port Arthur TX          1,110 $18.07 $37,590
Brownsville-Harlingen TX          1,100 $21.19 $44,080
College Station-Bryan TX              450 $18.28 $38,020
Corpus Christi TX          1,240 $20.21 $42,030
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington TX        15,700 $23.05 $47,950
Dallas-Plano-Irving TX Metropolitan Division        11,320 $23.68 $49,250
El Paso TX          1,530 $21.11 $43,910
Fort Worth-Arlington TX Metropolitan Division          4,390 $22.26 $46,290
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown TX        13,680 $22.21 $46,200
Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood TX          1,500 $20.63 $42,910
Laredo TX              560 $23.88 $49,680
Longview TX              940 $20.37 $42,360
Lubbock TX          1,600 $21.02 $43,720
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission TX          2,190 $22.69 $47,200
Midland TX              330 $20.98 $43,640
Odessa TX              250 $20.22 $42,060
San Angelo TX              510 $20.47 $42,570
San Antonio-New Braunfels TX          6,730 $20.56 $42,760
Sherman-Denison TX              860 $21.61 $44,960
Texarkana-Texarkana TX-AR              660 $16.46 $34,230
Tyler TX          1,460 $20.76 $43,190
Victoria TX              660 $16.94 $35,230
Waco TX              600 $22.37 $46,530
Wichita Falls TX              930 $17.30 $35,980
Northwestern Texas nonmetropolitan area          2,950 $17.65 $36,710
North Central Texas nonmetropolitan area              800 $20.40 $42,430
Eastern Texas nonmetropolitan area          3,230 $19.14 $39,810
Central Texas nonmetropolitan area          1,800 $19.85 $41,280
Southern Texas nonmetropolitan area              870 $17.28 $35,940
Gulf Coast Texas nonmetropolitan area          1,560 $20.85 $43,360

Source: http://www.dol.gov/, 2014 Data

What is an LVN?
What is the Difference Between an LVN and an RN?
What is the Difference Between the Types of RN Nursing Degrees?
Education Options for LVN to BSN
Cost of LVN to BSN Programs
Waiting Lists for LVN to BSN Programs
Job Outlook for LVNs Becoming BSNs
Employment Options for LVNs Becoming BSNs
Salary Comparison: LVN vs BSN
LVN Salary in California
LVN Salary in Texas