Online LPN Programs
One of the most common questions asked is how to find online LPN Programs. This is especially popular among people with full time jobs who do not have the time or resources to devote to a full time traditional education plan. Good news! There are online programs available. We’ll explain how they work, how to find them, and things to keep in mind.
How Online LPN Programs Work
Before we dive in, you may have noticed that sometimes the position is labeled LPN and sometimes LVN. What do they stand for? What do are the differences?
LPN: Licensed Practical Nurse
LVN: Licensed Vocational Nurse
Although the names are different, they should be thought of as the same job. LPN is used in more states, but giant states like California and Texas use LVN. Because of this, the terms should be viewed as interchangeable and any requirement you see for one, you can know to apply to the other.
The image above breaks down the four tiers of a nursing career and the relative educational requirements.
CNA: If you are interested in becoming a CNA, there is a lot of information here. Classes will take 4-12 weeks.
LPN: If you are interested in becoming an LPN, you’re in the right place. Classes will take 6-24 months.
RN: If you are interested in becoming an RN, you’ll either need an associates degree or bachelors. These can take between 2-5 years.
MSN/NP/NDP: If you are interested in any of these, you will need at least a masters degree.
As shown above, an LPN program is going to take between 6 and 24 months. This is to prepare you to take the certification exam and meet the state requirements. All educational programs for LPN are broken down into two parts: Classroom and Clinical. Classroom is going to be the portion where you read textbooks, listen to lectures, complete homework assignments and obtain the theoretical knowledge required. Clinical education, named because it is often in the context of a clinic, is the physical component.
An example might be helpful:
A student might be learning about venipuncture, the process of removing blood from the vein of a patient. The educational part might include diagrams, safety procedures, a step by step checklist of how to proceed, etc. This can be learned in a classroom and is designed to prepare you. However, you would not be fully prepared without actually practicing the steps in a clinic setting with a practice kit, simulated arm, or real life patients. Both parts of the education are important.
How To use Online LPN Programs
As you might have expected, the classroom portion of the education can be completed online. This works well for people who have full time jobs, are not close to an acceptable clinic, etc. You can NOT complete the clinical hours online. However, by taking an online program, you will have a hybrid education: classroom hours completed online, clinical hours completed in person. This will save you time, but it is important to know that you must compete clinic hours in person.
How to find Online LPN Programs
Because an online LPN program is actually a hybrid program, it is important that you consider your location. The tool below will allow you to search for programs that work within your geographical region.
Things to Keep in Mind
It can be tempting to find the first program available and get started, but it is wise to keep at least a few things in mind as you begin your search.
What course load is appropriate for you? An LPN program will end up being about 1500 hours, which is about 9 months of full time working. Completing a program in as few as six months is possible, but it is extremely taxing and will require your full efforts. Would an 8, 10, or 12 month course be better for you?
Does it prepared you for the NCLEX-PN? Most programs will give you the education and practical experience necessary to pass your NCLEX-PN, however, the ways that they facilitate this can be different. Some have explicit study sessions to guide you to excel on the test. Others, however, just teach you the job and educational underpinnings and assume that if you know the material you will pass the test. Neither is right or wrong, but it is important to know going in. If you end up needing additional study materials, we have a resource center to help.
Is this the job that I actually want? As mentioned above, there are easier and harder paths available. If you’d like a quick way to enter the nursing field, it’s possible that a Certified Nursing Assistant position is best for you. If you’d like to have the authority of a charge nurse, it’s possible you’d be more satisfied as Registered Nurse. If, however, you want a sweet spot where you can be a nurse with a good income without devoting years of your life to studying, then find an online LPN course today and get started.