Practical nursing presents a rewarding career that offers many employment opportunities. Thousands of practical nurses are licensed annually and the demand is increasing rapidly across the country. Each year more job opportunities are being made available in: hospitals, physicians’ offices, nursing homes, home health care, public health and other medical sectors. The programs offered at LPN schools enable individuals to be academically qualified, trained and licensed to practice as a licensed practical nurse. It is vital that aspiring students make an effort to find the best LPN schools so they can benefit from the highest quality education and increase their chances of establishing a lucrative career within this field.
Schools with LPN Programs
Schools with LPN programs include community colleges, vocational training centers, hospitals and some 4-year universities. These training institutions offer students a short and swift way to enter this field. Programs typically take one year to complete, and award diplomas and certificates. Basic requirements for admission include: a high school diploma or its equivalent, transcripts, completion of prerequisite courses, adequate assessment test scores, drug screening, criminal background check, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certification, physical examination, proof of current immunizations (including Hepatitis B) and health or liability insurance. LPN schools provide a combination of learning experiences, which include classroom lectures, lab courses and clinical experiences. As well as traditional nursing programs, there are many online schools with LPN programs. These schools provide students with an asynchronous learning environment, where students can participate at their convenience instead of being limited to participating at the designated location and the time when a class is offered. In so doing, they offer busy students who are trying to balance a family, career, and other commitments the opportunity to earn a degree without sacrificing their other interests and obligations. Students, however, need to consider a number of important factors, such as school accreditation, NCLEX-PN exam pass rate, clinical practicum locations and cost, before they choose to enroll at a traditional or online nursing school.
Unlike registered nurse (RN) schooling, LPN schooling is of shorter duration and students can get training and earn licensure in as little as 18 months. Most licensed practical nurse training programs take 2 to 3 years to complete. But, how long it takes to complete the course often depends on the school that one chooses and whether one is going to be a part-time or full-time student. Some nursing schools offer accelerated LPN programs as well as classes on the weekends and in the evenings. Accelerated programs allow eligible students the opportunity to complete the course in less time because the program semesters run in sequence. With an accelerated program, students can complete training and be able to earn licensure and begin working within one year. Students can also opt for an online practical nursing program, which takes anywhere between1 to 2 years to complete. For both traditional and online practical nursing programs, practicum or clinical experience is required. Practicum arrangements are usually arranged by the school and, therefore, vary by institution as well as the specific program. During LPN schooling, prospective licensed practical nurses learn about all aspects of providing basic care to patients in a multitude of health care settings. Hands-on clinical learning is typically integrated throughout the program curriculum.
Accelerated LPN Programs
Some nursing schools offer flexible and accelerated online and on-ground nursing programs for students interested in improving their employment potential. These programs are typically meant for students with their Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) license or those who are looking for a quick and easy way to break into the nursing field. They build on the students’ previous education and experience to help aspiring LPNs transition into the nursing profession. The design permits an economical and efficient method of acquiring nursing education to prepare the graduate to sit for the NCLEX-PN licensing exam. Nursing schools with accelerated practical nursing programs usually offer nurse assisting and practical nursing program in addition to nursing degree programs. This makes it easy for students to transfer credits from their previous courses. For those nurse aides who meet the prerequisites, accelerated licensed practical nurse programs usually take 8-12 months to complete. The curriculum is often intense and fast-paced, allowing students to rejoin the workforce as soon as possible. Through an accelerated practical nursing program, students learn the theory and practical skills required to practice as a practical nurse in acute care, intermediate care, and extended care settings. After successful completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-PN to become a licensed practice nurse.
LPN Bridge Programs
A number of nursing schools offer licensed practical nurse bridge programs, which allow nurses to move up the career ladder. These programs are available to licensed CNAs and LPNs. Many people seeking to enter the nursing field often prefer starting out as a licensed practical nurse, since it allows them to finish their education in a shorter period of time as well as start out their careers promptly while they can earn a good salary. Needless to say, licensed practical nurses have more advantages over CNAs, while registered nurses (RNs) have more advantages over LPNs, in terms of career opportunities, job stability and salary. Unfortunately, getting RN certification can take a long time if you wish to undertake the conventional RN training program, which takes 4 years to complete. With licensed practical nurse bridge programs, you can shorten your time to get your LPN or RN license. Many schools offer both classroom-based and online bridge programs that can be completed in as short as 9-18 months. These programs typically award credit hours from your previous nurse training program.
LPN Online Program
A number of colleges, universities and vocational training schools offer online licensed practical nurse programs that offer flexible study timings and allow students to study without compromising their family and work commitments. With web-based practical nursing programs, students get to complete their theoretical nursing coursework entirely online. The lectures and the theoretical part of the coursework are made available in the form of Power Point slide shows and lecture notes that are uploaded on the web portal. For practical application of the concepts, instructors often use video lectures. There are also online discussion platforms that allow students to interact with other students taking the same class and the instructor. However, online practical nursing programs offer only part of the coursework over the internet; so students are required to attend campus or the designated health care facility for lab classes and clinical studies. Aspiring practical nurses should focus on schools located within a close proximity to their residence that are well-recognized and accredited.