Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Programs
How to Find the Best One Near Opelika Alabama
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's essential that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Opelika AL that will furnish the right education. Texas or California residents will instead enroll in an LVN school to learn to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse. Apart from the names, there is no difference between an LVN and an LPN. They both perform the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. Although, as we will cover in this article, their daily job activities can vary based on the state where they are employed. Most new students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their homes and of those lean towards the one that has the lowest tuition. But there are additional qualifications that a school must have and a selection should not be made based on location and cost 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 additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let's take a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
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What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have a number of duties that they complete in the Opelika AL healthcare facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients requiring medical assistance is their dominion. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their daily work activities may include:
- Taking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Assisting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their job responsibilities being regulated by each state, the health facilities or other Opelika AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Degree and Certificate ProgramsThere are generally two academic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN near Opelika AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide 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 syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Programs Online
Attending LPN or LVN programs online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Opelika AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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 job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What 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 utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Opelika 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 workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, 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 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. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Opelika AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs and LVNs differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN or LVN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Opelika 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Opelika AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Opelika AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Opelika LPN or LVN School
Choosing the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous factors that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you select an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare 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 drive to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Opelika Alabama.