Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Schools
How to Pick the Best One Near Helena Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Helena AL that will furnish the right instruction. California or Texas students will alternatively enroll in an LVN school to learn to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse. There is no distinction, apart from the names, between an LPN and LVN. Both work in health care facilities under the supervision of Physicians and Registered Nurses and fulfill identical job duties. However their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next segment. Most new students start looking for schools that are close to their homes and of those target the one that is least expensive. But there are other qualifications that a school must have and a decision should not be made based on cost and location alone. 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 various other questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will address later in this article. But first, let's have a look at what is involved in the education and licensing process.
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LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN near Helena AL. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study effectively 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 preferred way to receive training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Helena AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
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 start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Helena AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- 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. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Helena AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN or LVN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Helena 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 looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Helena AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Helena AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Helena LPN or LVN School
Deciding on the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you choose an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Helena Alabama.