Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Training Programs
How to Choose the Best One Near Gardendale Alabama
A first step that you need to take after deciding to become a Licensed Practical Nurse is to locate and enroll in the right LPN school near Gardendale AL that will help you enter the rewarding field of nursing. If you live in California or Texas, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. Apart from the titles, there is no difference between an LPN and LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following section. Many nursing candidates begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their homes and of those target the one that has the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors, 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 potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will cover later in this article. But to start with, let's look at what is involved in the education and licensing process.
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LVN and LPN Training Programs
There are basically two academic credentials available that provide training to become an LPN near Gardendale AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, 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 another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Online Programs
Attending LPN or LVN schools online is becoming a more favored way to get training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Gardendale AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online LPN program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN or LVN certificate or degree, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Gardendale AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate or degree program as well as the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Gardendale AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs and LVNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN or LVN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Gardendale AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN or LVN schools you are considering 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Gardendale AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with local Gardendale AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Gardendale LPN or LVN School
Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is important that you pick an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Gardendale Alabama.