How to Find the Best LPN or LVN College Near Auburn Alabama
Once you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college near Auburn AL that will deliver the appropriate education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following section. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their residences or that are the least expensive. Even though cost and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important also. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will address later in this article. But first, let's have a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
It Only Takes a Few Minutes to Start Your LPN or LVN Career Below
LPN and LVN Job Description
The most basic definition for what LPNs do is that they provide routine care for the sick or injured. They work in conjunction with RNs to adhere to a care plan for each patient. RNs typically have a wider scope of practice than LPNs, such as interacting with doctors and administering medication through IVs. While an LPN’s scope of practice may be smaller than that of a registered nurse, there are still plenty of important nursing duties on their plates. LPN duties do vary somewhat by state and employer, but in general terms they provide hands-on patient care regardless of the location or employer. LPNs are responsible for a range of patient care and administrative tasks, which can include:
- Monitoring basic patient health such as vital signs and overall condition
- Changing dressings or inserting catheters
- Taking patient histories and maintaining documentation
- Assisting with tests or procedures
- Providing personal care, such as helping with bathing and toileting
- Consulting with RNs on care plans
LPNs provide care in a variety of healthcare settings. More and more patients are seeking care in or near their homes, which has resulted in many LPN jobs moving away from the hospital environment and into more specialized settings. A few of the most common places LPNs work include Auburn AL hospitals, physician offices, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and even correctional facilities.
LVN and LPN Certificates and DegreesAfter deciding on the type of program to pursue, students need to find one approved by their state. Each state establishes its own educational requirements for LPNs and approves the schools offering credentials. Most yearlong programs are offered by junior colleges, hospitals, community colleges or technical schools, and provide the opportunity for supervised practical nursing clinical experience. In some cases applicants can get a head start by completing prerequisites in mathematics, chemistry, biology, English and psychology prior to enrolling; however, these are not always required so students should check their program’s requirements first. Admission varies by state, although applicants need at least a high school diploma or equivalent to enroll in a nursing certificate or diploma program. Additionally, some schools may require applicants to pass an entrance exam prior to acceptance to an LPN certificate program. Upon completion of an approved LPN/LVN diploma or certificate program, graduates sign up to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). All states and the District of Columbia mandate the NCLEX-PN competency exam as a core requirement to be employed as an LPN.
Attending LPN and LVN Online Classes
Attending LPN schools online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing certificate or degree in Auburn AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental 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. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, 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 choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Auburn Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things 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 see how your pick compares to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Auburn Alabama.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Auburn AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Auburn AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships. Also, it's important that you choose a school that offers clinical training in the type of facility you are most interested in. For example, if you want training and experience in pediatric care, make sure that the school you choose provides adequate clinical rotation in an area Pediatric Hospital.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for LPNs differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together with graduation from an approved school. Many states require a specific 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 a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN schools 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Auburn AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- NCLEX Exam Pass Rate. Once you receive your certificate or diploma, you must sign up for and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Enrolling in a school with at least a 75% pass rate is highly preferred. Lower pass rates may indicate that a school’s program, curriculum or instructors are ineffective in teaching its students. You can find out from the school what their passing rate is for the last 5 years, or request the information from the State Board of Nursing.
Choose the Right Auburn Licensed Practical Nurse School
Deciding on the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is arguably the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you choose an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list 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 right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN in Auburn Alabama.