When choosing the best licensed practical nursing program, it is important to consider both the length of time it takes to complete the program and the daily and weekly demands of the program. Other factors that are important to consider include the accreditation of the program, the amount of preparation that is given for the licensing exam, and individual professional goals.
Some practical nursing programs can be completed in approximately one year. These programs require full-time attendance in order to complete the program in this time frame. Programs are also available for those who can only commit to part-time schooling, but these programs may take longer to complete. Part time programs often hold classroom instruction in the evenings for those who also work during the day. Any licensed practical nursing program should consist of both classroom study and clinical coursework that provides opportunities to learn in a professional setting.
Reputable schools will be accredited by a state or regional licensing board of nursing. Such a board is generally responsible for governing the regulations and upholding the state and local laws for the nursing industry. These organizations may be able to provide a list of accredited learning institutions that offer a licensed practical nursing program.
Many areas require candidates to pass an exam before receiving certification or professional designation as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). It is important to explore what type of preparation each prospective school offers its students. The licensing exam can be extremely in depth and lengthy, so extensive preparation will benefit a student's performance on the test. The test is rarely, if ever, included in the program itself; however, it is still a required step in becoming an LPN.
A licensed practical nursing program can be a stepping stone for further advancement of a student's credentials in the field of nursing. While some students complete a practical nursing program and begin working immediately after passing the licensing exam, others choose to further their education and proceed with a higher degree program. It is important to know if the credit hours completed in the licensed practical nursing program are transferable to other institutions. It is also important to know if these credits can be used toward obtaining an advanced degree in nursing, such as an Associate's, Bachelor's, or Master's degree.