Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Courses
How to Pick 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 college near Gardendale AL that will help guarantee your entrance into the gratifying vocation of nursing. Texas or California residents will alternatively enroll in an LVN school to learn to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse. There is no difference, aside from the names, between an LPN and LVN. They both work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors and perform identical job functions. However their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following section. Most new students start searching for schools that are within driving distance of their homes and of those target the one that is least expensive. Although cost and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection 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 program that we will talk about later in this article. But first, let's take a look at what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
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LVN and LPN Training
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN near Gardendale AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest time period, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing 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 type 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 guarantees that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Online Programs
Enrolling in LPN or LVN programs online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Gardendale AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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 family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Now that 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 use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Gardendale AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Gardendale 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN or LVN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Gardendale 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 programs 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Gardendale AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Gardendale AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Gardendale LPN or LVN School
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous factors that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Gardendale Alabama.