By gaining admittance to one of the accredited LVN to BSN programs in California, Licensed Vocational Nurses have the opportunity to advance their career prospects significantly. Not only does this prestigious degree qualify a vocational nurse to become a Registered Nurse, but it often guarantees that the nurse will be paid at the high end of the scale for RNs as well. Best of all, these popular transition programs can usually be taken online in just four semesters while the LVN is working.
What is a BSN?
The acronym BSN stands for Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and is, for all intents and purposes, the equivalent of a four-year college nursing degree. Individuals who possess a BSN degree typically earn better pay than RNs (in California, BSNs average over $80,000 per year according to www.BLS.gov) have more career opportunities in the nursing field, and hold a greater number of responsibilities (including, in many cases, supervising RNs and LVNs).
LVN to BSN Programs – How to Become a BSN
Regardless of whether you are currently an LVN or an RN, you can become a BSN by enrolling in and successfully completing an LVN to BSN bridge program. Admission requirements for most programs in California require students to be a currently licensed nurse or vocational nurse, have documented proof of at least one year of experience working as an LVN or RN, and be a graduate of an accredited LVN or RN program. Some programs carry additional requirements for letters of recommendation, minimum GPAs in previous coursework, and minimum scores on standardized entry exams.
Coursework in LVN to BSN programs lasts for four semesters (two years), and in California typically focuses on nursing theory and developing the student’s competencies through exposure to the latest research findings and techniques. Most programs also focus a good part of their curriculum on teaching skills that will enable the BSN to play the role of an administrator.
Upon completion of an accredited bridge program, the student is eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam required for licensure as a Registered Nurse.
Online LVN to BSN Programs
Because the vast majority of students who enroll in bridge programs work full-time, it is extremely common for LVN to BSN programs to be offered online. Unlike standard online LVN programs in California, it is possible to complete all of the required coursework in a distance learning format.
Should You Become a BSN?
If you have previously worked in the nursing field as an LVN, you will surely hear conflicting advice on the topic of becoming a BSN. While it is true that your initial salary after earning your degree may not be much higher than an RN’s, over time, you will have the opportunity to advance far more easily than your colleagues who have not completed a BSN. With this advancement, naturally comes greater earning potential – not to mention more opportunity to craft the exact type of career you’ve always wanted.
The decision of whether or not to become a BSN is a personal one, and the added cost and commitment required to pursue a higher degree is not for everyone. You should consider, however, the fact that there is a growing sentiment in the health care industry for making BSN degrees a requirement for all RNs. Whether or not this will come to pass is uncertain, but what is certain is that enrolling today in LVN to BSN programs in California can put you in a great position to excel in professional nursing regardless of what the future holds.
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