How to Pick the Best LVN or LPN Course Near Birmingham Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Birmingham AL that will furnish the necessary instruction. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the following segment. When beginning their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Although cost and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only criteria 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 very important as well. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will discuss later in this article.
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Questions to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Birmingham Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see 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. In addition to helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Birmingham Alabama.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Birmingham AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing 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 are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along with graduation from an approved school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Birmingham AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain 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 Best Birmingham Licensed Practical Nurse Program
Choosing the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you choose an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN in Birmingham Alabama.