Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing Schools
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Prattville 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 program near Prattville AL that will help you enter the rewarding vocation of nursing. Texas or California students will instead enroll in an LVN school to train to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse. There is no difference, apart from the names, between an LPN and LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following section. Many new students start searching for schools that are close to their homes and of those lean towards the one that has the lowest tuition. But there are other credentials 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 prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let's have a look at what is involved in the training and licensing process.
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LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide instruction to become an LPN near Prattville AL. The one that may be completed in the shortest time frame, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. 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, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind 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 Programs Online
Attending LPN or LVN schools online is growing into a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Prattville AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require 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 option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of 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, it could be that an online LPN school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN or LVN certificate or degree, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Prattville AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Prattville AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs and LVNs differ 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN or LVN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Prattville AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 Prattville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Prattville AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Prattville LPN or LVN School
Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is arguably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this post, it is important 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 using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Prattville Alabama.