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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 internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Anchorage Ak as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near Anchorage Alaska.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Anchorage AK 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. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Anchorage AK 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) along with graduation from an approved school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska 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 displeased 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 Anchorage AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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.