Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Training Programs
How to Pick the Best One Near Opelika Alabama
A first step that you need to take after deciding to become a Licensed Practical Nurse is to find and enroll in the right LPN college near Opelika AL that will help guarantee your entrance into the rewarding profession of nursing. If you reside in California or Texas, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, apart from the names, between an LPN and LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However, as we will discuss in this article, their daily job functions can differ based on the state where they are employed. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least expensive. Even though tuition and location are significant points to consider, they are not the only qualifications 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 course that we will talk about later in this article. But first, let's have a look at what is involved in the training and licensing process.
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LVN and LPN Degree and Certificate Programs
There are principally two academic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Opelika AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum effectively 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 preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Opelika AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN or LVN certificate or degree, and if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably 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 lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Opelika AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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. Some 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 outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN or LVN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Opelika 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 get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local Opelika AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Opelika LPN or LVN Program
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is important that you choose an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 desire to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Opelika Alabama.