Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Schools
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Birmingham Alabama
One of the first things that you need to do after making the decision to become a Licensed Practical Nurse is to find and enroll in the right LPN school near Birmingham AL that will help guarantee your entrance into the rewarding vocation of nursing. Texas or California residents will alternatively enroll in an LVN school to train to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse. Other than the names, there is no difference between an LPN and LVN. Both practice in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors and perform identical job duties. However, as we will discuss in this report, their routine job functions can differ based on the state where they are employed. When beginning their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. While tuition and location are important points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Such as do the schools offer job placement assistance and do they have high placement rates, which are both extremely important as well. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's have a look at what is involved in the education and licensing process.
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LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN near Birmingham AL. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN and LVN Programs
Enrolling in LPN or LVN schools online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Birmingham AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN or LVN certificate or degree, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Birmingham AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate or degree program along with the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Birmingham AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs and LVNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN or LVN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Birmingham AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN or LVN schools you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Birmingham AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Birmingham AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Birmingham LPN or LVN Program
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is critical that you select an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Birmingham Alabama.