There are many things to consider if a person is choosing the best vocational nursing schools. These include cost, accreditation, opportunities for training, and job placement. Another important factor is time. Nursing schools may have longer or shorter programs, and this might make a difference in how soon people can start practicing in their profession.
One thing people should know is that vocational nursing or licensed vocational nursing is also called practical nursing. Those looking at schools shouldn’t limit their search to “vocational” nursing schools, as “practical” nursing schools are usually the same thing and teach the same subjects. As for finding schools, it’s fairly easy to get a list of nearby schools, and these could include nursing schools, some vocational schools, and community colleges. With cost as a consideration, programs at community colleges should not be neglected. These are almost always accredited and teach the same curriculum, but do so at a much lower cost.
This doesn’t mean that community colleges always make the best vocational nursing schools. They need affiliation with a local hospital so nurses get plenty of training and it may take more time to complete an LVN program at a community college than at nursing schools or programs at trade schools. Even with this extra time, they are usually less costly, and it’s easy to get virtually all units to transfer to other colleges if people want to go back to school and get a bachelor of science degree in registered nursing. When people pursue an associate or arts (AA) degree at the same time they pursue an LVN or LPN, they might have only two additional years of training needed to get their BS degree.
Yet some people need to move more quickly and in these cases, a local vocational, trade or nursing school may be more appropriate. Some nursing schools are connected to colleges and to hospitals, and might be the best vocational nursing schools because they offer greater opportunity to practice and advance, and possibly some job placement surety once successfully completing programs. People might still want to consider finding a school that not only offers LPN training but also RN training, and make sure that LPN training would count if they want to study more in the future. Many nurses go back to school to get their RNs because they are paid more for their work and have greater responsibility.
It is vital to verify that any vocational nursing schools considered are accredited. This means an independent agency has reviewed the school and found it maintains certain standards in training. Not all schools offer this accreditation, and the best way to find out if a school qualifies is to call the state nursing board and ask. Some nursing boards have searchable websites too. State or country nursing boards may also be able to comment on any complaints or problems the school has.
Once people have found accredited programs in their areas, it’s time to start interviewing students of those schools and some of the faculty. Many schools allow people to tour the facility and then ask a faculty member questions, and they may set up interviews with students or former students. Good questions to ask faculty include those about job placement programs, ratio of graduation to job placement, opportunities to practice, and requirements of the program. Look for students or former students to be enthusiastic, be able to discuss the training and to discuss the helpfulness (or not ) of the faculty.
After people have had a chance to investigate several programs they’ve usually narrowed it down to a couple of the best vocational nursing schools. Sometimes it’s hard to make a choice between a few very good schools. Some final considerations could include things like distance of the school to home, personal feelings about each school, and any differing amenities offered by each school.