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Questions to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
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 utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Anchorage AK as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Anchorage AK.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs and LVNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific 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 exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the LPN or LVN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Anchorage AK 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 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Anchorage AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with local Anchorage AK community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.