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Questions to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Birmingham Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Birmingham Alabama.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Birmingham AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Birmingham AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning 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 prerequisites for LPNs vary 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 approved school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, 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 prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN programs 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Birmingham AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- 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.