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Bridge programs allow students without a nursing degree to enter a nurse practitioner program.  Some bridge programs require students to have a bachelor’s degree while others only require students to complete a certain number a bachelor’s level credit hours.  Bridge programs are also available for prospective nurse practitioner students with an RN or LPN degree but not a bachelor’s degree.

The benefit of a bridge program is a seamless transition from bachelor’s level nursing classes into a nurse practitioner program.  Students that enter nurse practitioner school though a bridge program do not need to reapply once their bachelor’s level nursing coursework is complete in order to enter the master’s program.  Bridge programs also take less time than completing a bachelor’s and master’s program separately. 

Are there any drawbacks of a bridge program?  Cost.  Bridge programs can be more expensive than completing BSN and MSN programs separately.  If you do not have a nursing degree and are looking for a nurse practitioner program, calculate the cost of completing your BSN and MSN separately as well as through a bridge program.  Completing a nurse practitioner program more quickly will allow you to start working and earn an income sooner- do not forget this in your cost calculation.

The 2012 Guide to Nurse Practitioner Programs includes information about schools that offer bridge programs.  Bridge programs often have special admissions requirements so once you identify a school of interest be sure to visit the school’s website for complete program information.

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