How to Find the Right LPN or LVN School near Opelika Alabama
Once you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Opelika AL that will deliver the appropriate training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the following section. When beginning their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least expensive. While tuition and location are significant points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other factors, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will cover later in this article. But first, let's have a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What is an LPN or LVN?
Licensed Practical Nurses have numerous functions that they accomplish in the Opelika AL healthcare facilities where they work. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be accountable for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients in need of medical attention is their domain. Every state not only controls their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can't perform. So based on the state, their everyday job activities can include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Assisting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their occupational functions being governed by each state, the health facilities or other Opelika AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN CoursesThere are generally two academic credentials available that provide education to become an LPN near Opelika AL. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN and LVN Schools
Enrolling in LPN schools online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Opelika AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active 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 use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many 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 to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Opelika AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Opelika AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Opelika AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Opelika Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Training
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is arguably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous factors that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you enroll in an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Opelika AL.