Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) looking for career advancement opportunities can find exciting options through postsecondary education. Through academics and extended clinical practice, LPN advancement is made possible — expanding a nurse’s overall knowledge while elevating their clinical skills and strengthening their career success.
Advancing Your LPN Career with an Associate Degree
Licensed Practical Nurses typically earn a diploma that covers the fundamentals of practical nursing. This diploma takes at least one year to complete. LPNs must also pass the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Licensing Examination (NCLEX-PN) before interacting with patients and practicing in the industry.
Upon landing a job in the field, LPNs can carry out a range of basic patient care duties. LPNs measure vital signs, maintain patient records, and help patients bathe, eat, and dress. LPNs may also administer prescribed medications, dress wounds, monitor patient progress and answer calls. Licensed Practical Nurses often work in home healthcare agencies, physicians’ offices, and residential care facilities. Their primary role is to assist Registered Nurses (RNs) and doctors in providing primary patient care.
Many LPNs seek more autonomy in the field of nursing. After gaining experience as an LPN, you may consider advancing your career by becoming a Registered Nurse. If LPNs seek to advance their nursing career this way, they can enroll in a state-approved two-year nursing program to earn their associate degree in Nursing (ADN).
Completing an ADN program makes one eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. Upon successfully passing the NCLEX-RN exam and adhering to all requirements from their state’s board of nursing, an ADN graduate is approved and licensed to practice as a Registered Nurse.
It is important to note that becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse is not required before becoming a Registered Nurse. However, starting out as an LPN can give you a leg-up in the field, as you will already have direct experience in patient care.
Why Advance Your LPN Career to with an ADN?
Registered Nurses Have More Autonomy in their Roles
An associate degree in Nursing curriculum covers more advanced topics and clinical experience than an LPN certificate or diploma. This enables RNs to complete more advanced patient care tasks upon entering the field.
Nurses who have earned their associate degree have an added benefit to their careers compared to LPNs. With only a few more months in nursing school than LPNs, Registered Nurses can treat patients independently — developing and implementing patient care plans, managing patient cases, and advising people on disease prevention and health maintenance.
Registered Nurses supervise Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), home health aides, and Licensed Practical Nurses.
If a prospective Registered Nurse already holds a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, the RN seeker has the option of completing a fast-track program like an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) to complete their career goals quicker than the standard timeline.
For instance, at Goodwin University, nursing students can graduate with their ADN in as few as 20 months, part-time, or their ABSN in as few as 16 months, full-time.
Registered Nurses Enjoy a Full Scope of Patient Care
A Registered Nurse is a part of a holistic healthcare team working alongside physicians to provide comprehensive patient care. Registered Nurses may also educate the public about a range of health conditions.
An average day for a Registered Nurse may include assessing patient symptoms, educating patients on ailment and injury management, examining a patient’s familial and personal medical history, operating medical devices, performing diagnostic tests, and analyzing medical test results.
Nurses with an associate degree in Nursing can find compassionate careers in the following settings:
- Community centers
- Doctor’s offices
- Educational services
- Government agencies
- Home healthcare services
- Long-term care facilities
- Outpatient clinics
- Private clinics
- Support services
- Urgent care clinics and more
The RN Salary Potential is High, Compared to LPN Careers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2021, Licensed Practical Nurses earned a median annual wage of $48,070. The same year, Registered Nurses made a median yearly wage of $77,600.
The LPN field is projected to grow by six percent from 2021 to 2031, with 58,800 job openings predicted yearly. Employment for Registered Nurses is also estimated to increase by six percent from 2021 to 2031, accounting for 203,200 positions opening annually over the decade.
The same trends are true in Connecticut. In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 8,350 Licensed Practical Nurses working in Connecticut. That year, the average LPN earned $59,440 annually.
Further, there were 34,320 Registered Nurses employed in Connecticut in 2021, and the average RN made $88,530 per year.
LPN Advancement Opportunities Await
With RN retirements on the rise and Baby Boomers increasing in age, Registered Nurses are needed now more than ever to meet the exceeding demands of care.
To close the nursing shortage, LPNs seeking autonomous roles and self-governing shifts should consider completing an associate degree in Nursing.
ADN graduates hold more authority and independence, and also gain a substantial increase in employability. Registered Nursing is a rewarding career with a promising return on investment, with associate degree in Nursing alums having a much higher earning potential.
For LPNs seeking career advancement, Registered Nursing provides an in-demand, fulfilling professional field that makes an everyday difference in the lives of others.
Are you ready to transition from an LPN to a Registered Nurse?
Learn more about earning your associate degree in Nursing!