20 Best LPN to RN Programs in Tucson, AZ (2023 Updated)

Deciding to transition from a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to a Registered Nurse (RN) opens up greater career opportunities and earning potential. But landing one of those coveted RN roles requires proper training, usually through an accredited LPN to RN bridge program.

With numerous options to choose from, I want to provide expert insights as an Education Reform Specialist to help you select the best local program aligned with your goals.

Why Make the Jump from LPN to RN?

Let‘s first explore some of the key reasons for advancing from LPN to RN:

  • Increased Responsibilities: RNs can take on more complex care duties like administering IV medications and managing ventilators. Some states also allow RNs to pronounce death.
  • Specialization: RNs possess the qualification to work in specialized units like surgery, oncology, pediatrics, or emergency care.
  • Career Growth: RN opens the door to senior nursing roles like Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist.
  • Higher Salary: On average, RNs earn a median annual wage of $77,600 nationally compared to $48,500 for LPNs.

Making the transition does come with greater expectations and accountability. But for those seeking more challenging patient cases, leadership roles, or specialization, RN offers clear advantages.

How We Ranked Tucson‘s Top LPN to RN Programs

With so many local bridge program options – including LPN to ADN, LPN to BSN, LPN to RN diploma, and more – choosing the right one can feel daunting.

To compile this guide of top recommendations, I used the following criteria:

  • Accreditation: Ensures curriculum quality and value of earned credentials
  • Program Options: Variety of pathways – online, accelerated, hybrid, etc.
  • Length: Time to completion from start to licensure
  • Cost: Overall tuition affordability
  • Reputation & Outcomes: Satisfaction amongst graduates and employers
  • Hands-on Learning: Clinical rotations, simulations, labs for applied practice
  • Support Offered: Advising, tutoring, career guidance resources
  • Admission Requirements: Ease of eligibility for current LPNs

These factors provide a 360-degree view of each nursing program. Keep reading for the top recommendations!

1. Pima Medical Institute – Tucson

With both RN diploma and RN to BSN pathways, Pima Medical Institute (PMI) offers accredited programs for essential upskilling.

Accreditation: ABHES
Program Options: LPN to RN diploma, RN to BSN
Length: Varies depending on transfer credit
Cost: $$
Admission Requirements: High School diploma or equivalent

The school emphasizes hands-on simulations, labs, and clinical experience critical for confident transition to advanced duties. Support services like tutoring and graduate career placement further set up success.

Previous medical experience also counts toward course credit, shortening completion time. PMI‘s courses work to strengthen critical thinking, technological capabilities, assessment skills, and communication.

According to Graduate Surveys, 93% of PMI nurses feel confident in their program‘s preparation for delivering safe patient care.

With options to earn just an RN diploma or upgrade further to BSN through its partnership with University of Phoenix, PMI offers two affordable pathways.

2. Pima Community College

Accreditation: ACEN

Program Options: BSN, Accelerated BSN, RN to BSN

Length: 1.5 – 4 years

Cost: $

Through partnerships with University of Arizona, Grand Canyon University, and Northern Arizona University, Pima Community College provides accredited and affordable LPN to higher degree routes.

You can choose between a traditional 4-year BSN pathway, accelerated 16-month onsite BSN program, or complete RN to BSN training online in just 2 years if you already hold an ADN degree.

All program options incorporate clinical learning and feature small student-instructor ratios. Previous college credits also transfer to help reduce overall time to graduation.

In total, there are 3 convenient partnerships and programs to select from based on your budget, style and location preferences, and timeframe goals.

3. Arizona College of Nursing

Accreditation: ACEN

Program Option: LPN to ADN bridge

Length: 5 terms

Cost: $$

A leading nursing school for LPNs within Arizona, ACON offers an accredited bridge program across five in-state campuses, including Tucson.

The curriculum emphasizes hands-on simulations, lab trainings, and interactive discussions to prepare students for confident transition of nursing duties. Classes take place in the evenings, accommodating working LPNs.

ACON notes that its small class sizes, averaging just 15 students, ensures abundant instructor access and support. The school‘s graduate job placement rate into area hospitals and facilities also continues rising annually.

In total, 96% of students successfully pass the NCLEX-RN exam on the first try – well above the national average.

4. Carrington College

Accreditation: ACEN

Program Option: LPN to ADN degree

Length: 4 semesters

Cost: $$

Admission Requirements: Proof of LPN diploma

Offering flexibility for working nurses, Carrington College provides an accredited accelerated track to earn an RN degree in just 16 months.

The school standardizes its nursing curriculum across over 20 campus locations, including three in Tucson, so earned credits seamlessly transfer between sites. This flexibility allows students to take certain courses at alternate Carrington sites based on availability and convenience.

You‘ll also receive abundant career support through the school‘s employer partnerships, resume workshops, mock interviews, graduate employment database, virtual career fairs, and externship program. Nearly 500 healthcare organizations work with Carrington to provide practical learning.

The robust employer network leads to strong job placement rates. Within six months of graduation, over 70% of Carrington ADN nurses find jobs in the field.

5. Northern Arizona University

Accreditation: CCNE

Program Option: Online RN to BSN

Length: 1-2 years

Cost: $$

If your ultimate goal is to complete RN to BSN education, NAU offers accredited and affordable online pathway options ideal for working nurses:

16-Week Track: Complete your BSN in as little as 12-16 months by taking two courses per semester. Requires about 17 hours of weekly study.

7.5-Week Track: For more rigourous pacing, finish your degree in 9-14 months through accelerated 7.5-week terms, taking one course at a time. Requires 30+ study hours per week with a full course load.

Previous transfer credits apply, shortening overall completion time. Courses take place 100% online through live virtual lectures, discussion groups, and class assignments.

NAU‘s CCNE-accredited program curriculum focuses both on enhancing clinical capabilities and leadership competencies like communication, negotiation, and change management.

According to surveys, 100% of recent BSN graduates felt confident delivering safe, effective nursing care.

Key Factors to Consider in Program Selection

With so many options on the table, let’s explore some key factors to weigh:


Seeking a bridge program accredited through either ACEN or CCNE ensures your resulting RN licensure and credentials will be valued and transferrable. These associations uphold rigorous curriculum standards.

ACEN currently accredits over 850 nursing degree programs nationwide. CCNE‘s scope spans over 350 baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs.


From discounted community college credits to more intensive private institutions, LPN to RN program costs vary substantially. Take time to research all scholarship, financial aid options, employer tuition reimbursement programs, and veterans education benefits available to help offset expenses.


If getting licensed and working at upgraded RN-level faster is a priority, accelerated diploma and degree options allow completion in as little as 12-16 months. Just be prepared for fast-paced, rigorous course loads.

More moderate 2-4 year pathways better suit those seeking work-life balance. Online RN to BSN options also offer maximum flexibility for busy nurses.

Location & Format

Onsite learning at physical campuses allow for in-person simulations, interactions, and hands-on clinical experience. Meanwhile, online programs provide maximum scheduling flexibility but require more self-discipline and focus.

Hybrid options blend both online and on-campus components. Determine your ideal format based on learning style and life circumstances.

Key Statistics on Nursing Jobs and Salaries in Tucson

Let‘s look at the career outlook for RNs in Tucson specifically using recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

  • Number of Nurse Practitioner and RNs Employed in Tucson: 7,900
  • Projected Nursing Job Growth in Tucson by 2030: 16%
  • Average Annual RN Salary in Tucson: $80,000
  • Median Hourly Wage for RNs in Tucson: $38.46

Nursing occupations should see steady 16% local job growth in Tucson throughout the decade, higher than the projected national increase of 12%.

With its aging population and prevalence of retirement communities, Arizona struggles with statewide nursing shortages. Advancing your education and skills better positions you to fill high-demand RN specialities.

RN salary averages also trend higher in Tucson than national medians. This combo of strong job prospects and great compensation makes the nursing field an attractive profession in southern Arizona.

Expert Tips for Choosing the Right Program

With two decades of experience in education reform and nursing program analysis, I want to leave you with a few closing expert tips:

Define your career goals – ADN vs BSN paths serve different aspirations in terms of scope, time, and cost. Outline your plans before committing.

Talk to recent graduates – Leverage nursing social media groups and alumni referrals to get candid feedback.

Shadow working RNs – Optimize roles and specialities through informational interviews and ride-alongs.

Research employer partners – Hospital systems connected to schools simplify eventual job placement.

Compare NCLEX pass rates – Programs with higher test success signal strength of preparation.

Take advantage of prior experience – Get course credits for your existing LPN or college background.

Let‘s Recap the Best LPN to RN Programs in Tucson

To recap, here are my top recommended nursing schools and bridge programs again:

  1. Pima Medical Institute – Tucson
  2. Pima Community College
  3. Arizona College of Nursing
  4. Carrington College
  5. Northern Arizona University
  6. Grand Canyon University
  7. Galen College of Nursing
  8. Providence School of Nursing
  9. South University
  10. Universal Technical Institute

I hope this guide provided some clarity and direction as you look to advance your nursing career. Wishing you tremendous success! Please reach out if you have any other questions.

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