Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Courses
How to Select the Best One Near Opelika Alabama
A first step that you need to take after making the decision to become a Licensed Practical Nurse is to find and enroll in the right LPN college near Opelika AL that will help you enter the rewarding profession of nursing. California or Texas residents will instead enroll in an LVN school to train to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse. Other than the titles, there is no difference between an LPN and LVN. They both work in medical facilities supervised by Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors and fulfill the same job functions. However their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following section. Many new students start searching for schools that are close to their homes and of those target the one that is least expensive. While cost and location are relevant points to consider, 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 various other questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will discuss later in this article. But first, let's take a look at what is involved in the training and licensing process.
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LVN and LPN Training
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Opelika AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, 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 any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study 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 emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Opelika AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
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 internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Opelika AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 organization. Besides helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools near Opelika AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN or LVN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby 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 programs 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 unhappy 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 good reputation within the Opelika AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Opelika AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Opelika LPN or LVN School
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you select 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 short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Opelika Alabama.