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What to Ask LPN and LVN Programs
Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, as well as if you will attend classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Homewood Al as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate 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 along with the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Homewood 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 organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Homewood 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Homewood 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 criteria for LPNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as graduation from an approved school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN schools 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 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 Homewood AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts 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.