How to Pick the Best LPN or LVN Program Near Gadsden Alabama
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Gadsden AL that will provide the necessary training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the following segment. When starting their search for schools, many future nursing students start with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least expensive. While price and location are relevant factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other factors, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are additional questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will talk about later in this article.
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What to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Gadsden Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Gadsden Alabama.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Gadsden 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 effective way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Gadsden AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist 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 vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along with graduation from an approved school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- 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 displeased 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 good reputation within the Gadsden AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain 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.
Choose the Right Gadsden Licensed Vocational Nurse School
Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is arguably the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you select an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN in Gadsden Alabama.