How to Find the Best LPN or LVN Course near Opelika Alabama
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it's important that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Opelika 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, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in healthcare 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 address in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students start with those that are the closest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Even though tuition and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are various other questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN course that we will discuss later in this article. But first, let's look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many different tasks that they accomplish in the Opelika AL medical facilities where they are employed. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients seeking medical treatment is their domain. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their day-to-day work activities might include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Helping doctors or RNs with procedures
In addition to their job duties being controlled by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Opelika AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in various specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN CoursesThere are principally two academic credentials offered that provide education to become an LPN near Opelika AL. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Online Schools
Attending LPN programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Opelika AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online LPN training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsNow 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 utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Opelika 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 discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Opelika AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Opelika AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
- 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Opelika AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Find out if the schools have associations with local Opelika AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Opelika Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Picking the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most important step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is essential that you choose an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN or LVN in Opelika AL.