State Approved LPN/LVN Programs
LPN or Licensed Practical Nursing education and training programs is the quickest route that a nurse wannabe can take. LPN programs are commonly available at community colleges, technical schools, and now even in some renown universities.
The one-year Practical Nursing program is specially designed for students with no prior nursing background to acquire skills, knowledge, attitudes and judgment to be able to provide safe nursing care under the supervision of registered nurses, licensed doctors, even a licensed dentist. Graduates of this program are made eligible to seek out employment in various health care settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, doctors' offices, assisted living facilities, home care agencies and clinics.
LPN programs are commonly offered by community colleges and technical schools although there are some programs that are offered by hospitals and high schools. LPN programs offer combination of theoretical instruction in nursing courses and other related subjects including, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and biology as well as offering clinical practice.
Clinical experience is usually offered in a range of healthcare facilities such as long term care facilities, hospitals, assisted living facilities and other clinical settings. You may be required to offer proof of a health exam, laboratory tests for contagious diseases, immunization series, drug screening and criminal background check before being allowed to practice in clinical settings.
Some programs have specific requirements such as US citizenship or legal residency, eighteen years of age or older and references.
General Admission Requirements
The LPN program usually requires you to have a high school diploma or equivalent although some programs are arranged to admit high school seniors and adults with life experience. Most programs require applicants to sit for pre-entrance exams including but not limited to the COMPASS and TEAS. You should complete high school level science, English and math as part of the pre-requisites for application.
In a few cases, an applicant may be required to possess current certification as a certified nursing assistant.
Online LPN Program
Some LPN program offer a selected portion of their instruction online although all approved programs will require you to enroll for in person clinical experience hours. Programs that offer online classes commonly have an arrangement with healthcare facilities in their region of operation allowing you to complete clinical hours.
The financial cost of the LPN program varies widely according to the type of school you are interested in and the location. Program offered at community colleges tend to be cheaper within county and in state applicants paying the least. Programs run by private schools and fast track programs are on the higher end of the spectrum.
Other costs you may expect to incur during your enrollment in the LPN program include the costs of books, liability insurance, uniforms, criminal background check, health examination, equipment and licensing examination.
Compared to private institutions, admission to community colleges is very competitive but you can complete your study at a much lower cost. In private colleges you can expect to pay $15,000 - $30,000 per academic year where as public colleges cost $3,500 - $10,000.
Salary and Job Outlook Data
The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS says jobs for LPNs are expected to increase by 21% in 2008 through 2018. This substantial growth means approximately 155,600 new job slots, a few of which are brought about by the aging population and the innovations in medical treatments.
Licensing and Continuing Nursing Education
Becoming a licensed practical nurse means completing the LPN program and passing the NCLEX-PN or National Council Licensure Examination. The LPN licensing requirements vary per state but continuing education is mandatory in order to remain licensed.