Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), sometimes referred to as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) depending on the state you live in, assist registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians and other medical and healthcare staff with the care of injured or sick patients, including the elderly. An LPN typically works under the supervision of a physician or registered nurse.
LPN Program Requirements
Licensed practical nurses are required to complete an accredited LPN program from a licensed vocational school, community college, 4-year college or other nursing program. Upon successfully completing the program, an aspiring LPN is required to take the licensure exam for LPNs. Once this exam has been passed, an LPN license is awarded.
A typical LPN program can be completed in 1 to 2 years. LPN programs include classroom instruction and clinical rotations which allow students to gain hands-on experience in nursing and direct patient care.
Individuals interested in applying to LPN school must have a high school diploma or GED. Some LPN programs also require applicants to pass an entrance exam and have a minimum GPA.
LPN Program Duration
A conventional LPN program can take anywhere between 9 to 18 months to complete. How long it takes to complete your LPN program will depend on the school you select and whether you’re going to be a part-time or full-time student. Unlike associate and bachelor degrees in nursing which provide accelerated programs, there are no accelerated programs for LPNs. If you want to become a licensed practical nurse you simply take the course provided by the school in your area.
Some LPN programs offer classes on the weekends and in the evenings. While these programs may take a bit longer to complete than a full-time program, they are ideal for working adults who must maintain a full-time job during the day.
LPN Program Cost
The cost of an LPN program can vary dramatically from school to school and state to state. In smaller states LPN program costs can be as low as $7,000, and in bigger states they can be as high as $20,000. When evaluating LPN programs you’ll want to check and see if the cost of LPN school also includes ancillary fees, supplies and lab costs for the duration of the program.
If cost is a big issue, then you’ll want to check out the LPN programs offered at your local community colleges and vocational schools. These institutions typically have lower fees compared to private schools and colleges. And they usually give a discount to residents.
Online LPN Programs
There are now a number of online LPN programs designed to address cost and time. It is typically much less expensive to complete an LPN program online since you don’t have to rely on the resources of the school. All you need is a stable internet connection, a computer and the discipline to study and complete coursework.
If you decide to complete you LPN degree online, we recommend that you make sure your chosen program is accredited by the state nursing board. Earning your degree from an accredited school is important for earning your LPN license, and it will allow you to use your LPN degree as a platform for future education opportunities.
Online LPN programs have several benefits. In addition to being cost-effective, they are typically very flexible. You can study when, where and for however long you want. You’ll be able to pace yourself as you learn on your own time.
Online LPN programs also have some drawbacks. It can be difficult get the clinical, hands-on nursing experience you’ll need to prepare for your licensing exam and future career. Make sure that if you’re going to participate in an online program, that the program provides clinical rotations or hands-on experience of some sort. In addition, the nature of some of the coursework in an LPN program can be demanding and difficult to understand. You’ll want to make sure that your online program has live professors and faculty that you can speak with to get additional help when required.
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