You’ve finally made the decision: You’ve been an LPN for a while and have put your dreams of becoming an RN off for long enough: you’ve decided to become an RN through an RN bridge program. You’ve weighed the pros and cons of attending a traditional nursing school to the bridge programs offered in a nontraditional setting (i.e. online schools) and, unlike a traditional program, the nontraditional LPN to RN bridge programs are a perfect fit for your busy life and other responsibilities: your job, your family, not to mention the simple lack of time and high cost of traditional nursing programs. With an online RN bridge program you can get credit for a lot of what you already know and make up the rest through credit by examination, a much more convenient method. Here’s an overview of how Credit by examination works in an LPN to RN bridge program:
Assessing your needs
o As an LPN, (or other allied health professional), you already have clinical experience, practical skills and academic credit that you can use toward an RN degree. The school you plan to get your degree from will examine all of this information and assess where the “gaps” (lack of credits) are; you, in turn, will create a “bridge” to fill those in by taking credit-by-examinations. For example, if your LPN to RN bridge program requires you to have 3 credits in English Literature and you have never taken that course, this is a “gap” that you will need to fill in and earn credits for. This can be accomplished through credit-by-examination.
What is Credit by Examination?
o Credit by examination is one of the most efficient and convenient methods you can use to earn college credit. Instead of enrolling in a traditional course offered in a classroom setting (often every day of the week), you can use your knowledge, experiences and study resources to “test out of” or earn credit for, a given subject. This is a one-time examination that you will receive credit for after having successfully passed it. It will take the place of a traditional college semester class. In addition to saving valuable time, credit-by-examination saves you money! Credit-by-examination classes can cost as little as $65 per credit, whereas community colleges charge $300.00 and upward for a three-credit course!
Where can I earn credit?
o You can use one of the well-established credit-by-examination programs such as CLEP (College Level Examination Program), DANTES (Defense Activity for Nontraditional Education Support), or ECE (Excelsior College Examinations). Excelsior College offers nursing credits you will need for an AASN RN degree. You can obtain your ASN degree entirely through credit-by-examination in an online LPN to RN bridge program.
o Credits earned this way are accepted at accredited schools across the country. Many schools give the same amount of credit as their own similar courses.
Where do I get my Study Material for my RN bridge program?
After you know what credits you need to complete your degree, you can contact CLEP, DANTES, or Excelsior College to obtain information about tests offered, study materials you may need and test dates. Your options are nearly limitless when it comes to locating resources to prepare you for your exams. You can obtain study material from college textbooks, reference books, study guides purchased online or through bookstores, library rentals and friends.