What to Look For in a Traditional LPN School 

Nursing is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. With dozens of schools and programs offering training to those who wish to become licensed professional nurses, or LPNs, it's not difficult to find an LPN school. The challenge for aspiring nurses lies in finding the right source of education for their interests and career goals.

LPN school

Choosing an LPN School 

Selecting the right school for your LPN studies is the first big, important step toward launching your nursing career. After you’ve gathered all of the relevant information by asking questions and doing the necessary research, you should be adequately prepared to choose the LPN school that’s best for you.

The choice of a school is more involved than simply finding a college with a solid reputation and good hiring results. It's a personal decision that will depend on many factors, including how long you're willing to study, what areas of specialty you're interested in, and whether you'd like to work concurrently with your LPN education.

Although the quality of education is important, many nursing candidates choose a school based on more personal criteria, including:

  • Location
  • Prerequisites and past education
  • Tuition and availability of financial aid
  • Flexibility of class schedules
  • Nursing specializations offered

Some programs offer the option of expedited LPN training, allowing students to enter the workforce more quickly and repay student loans faster, or more slowly, to accommodate those who are working part-time to fund their educations. Some programs offer the option for students to work as nurse's aides or nursing assistants during their training, which can provide valuable hands-on training during their studies. Although these programs are great for some, they’re not for everyone, so take the time to thoroughly consider what kind of educational program is the best fit for you.

Finding a Good LPN School 

Personal considerations aside, there are a few objective criteria that are useful in choosing a good nursing school:

  • The school's accreditation. Nursing schools abound, but not every education is equal. Schools that have been accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing and Education meet the standards of these organizations and will generally offer a better education than schools that bear neither accreditation.
  • NCLEX examination pass rates. The NCLEX exam is required by nurses to achieve full accreditation (as an LPN or an RN) and will be separate from the school's curriculum. Pass rates for this test for the previous 5 or 10 years are usually available, and can tell you a lot about the quality of education offered by an institution.
  • Job prospects. The percentage of new LPN graduates that get hired during their first six months out of school can tell you whether the school equips its students to find good jobs in the real world.
  • Class size. Smaller class sizes will ensure more student-to-faculty contact and, in most cases, a better education. Class sizes are most important in clinical rotations and specialized nursing courses.
  • Clinical rotation time. The number of hours spent in clinical rotation is important in determining how useful your training will be once you're out of the classroom and in the real world, where competence and working skills can save or lose lives. The best way to find out about clinical rotations in advance is by speaking with current students about their actual experiences.

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