If you are thinking about becoming an LPN/LVN, also known as a Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse, (the job duties are the same for both LPN and LVN. However, Vermont, California, and Texas have chosen to use the term “LVN”) you have several educational options. Of course, you can spend a couple of years attending a regular brick-and-mortar college or earning a degree, or you can choose to take an accelerated LPN/LVN program.
By taking a fast-track LPN course online, you will save yourself the hassle of having to drive to the school and be there at set a set time. Moreover, you can graduate with a certificate after attending courses for 6 to 12 months.
What Does an LPN/LVN do?
As a licensed practical nurse, your core job is to provide care to patients while offering needed support to doctors and nurses. You will also need to be a source of support for concerned family members. The following is a short list of basic job duties you may be asked to perform:
- Interview patients to find the reason for the visit to the healthcare facility.
- Accurately record patient history, including symptoms, vital signs, and more.
- Placing IV lines.
- Giving patients the required medication.
- Help patients to groom and dress.
- Gather needed instruments for testing.
LPN/LVN Job OutlookThe following information was taken from The Bureau of Labor Statistics website:
- Median Annual Salary: $45,030
- Career Outlook: Expected to grow roughly 12% from 2016-2026, which is faster than average.
- Required Education: Certificate or Diploma
- Typical Entry-Level Education: Postsecondary nondegree award
- Work Schedule: Various, 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays.
States with the highest Licensed Practical Nurse employment levels
|State||Employment (1)||Employment per thousand jobs||Location quotient (9)||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage (2)|
Top Paying States for LPNs
|State||Employment (1)||Employment per thousand jobs||Location quotient (9)||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage (2)|
LPN/LVN Places of EmploymentAs an LPN/LVN, you will have a wide variety of places to choose to work. Take time to research and find the best match for your personality. Here is a list of some places that LPNs/LVNs are employed:
- Health Clinics
- Doctor’s Offices
- Nursing Homes
- Traveling Nurse
- Home Health Care
- Government Agencies
Requirements for Becoming an LPN/LVNAs with any career, there are certain items, both emotionally and educationally, that you will need before entering the LPN/LVN career. While each LPN/LVN program requires that you at least hold a high school diploma or GED, many schools will give you credit for college courses you have taken and successfully passed. These educational institutions want to see your GPA at 2.0 or higher and have a concentration in science courses.
Each school is different, so check the specific program you are considering for definite requirements and college credit transfer policies. Along with a good education, having the ability to help people in their time of need takes a certain attitude and mental capacity. Below is a partial list of emotional attributes that are highly desirable for LPNs/LVNs.
- An interest in helping people who are not at their best feel better.
- Excellent problem-solving skills, as you must: be in detective mode most of the time, searching for underlying health issues.
- Empathy for people in difficult situations.
- Superb communication skills to accurately report to other medical team members and communicate with the patient and family.
- Physical stamina, as you will spend much of your shift walking and standing.
- Superior attention to detail–you must be accurate on medication dosages and learn about the patient’s history.
Topics Covered in LPN/LVN Accelerated Courses
While on the route to receiving your accelerated LPN/LVN certification, you will take courses on a wide variety of different subjects. However, the majority of LPN/LVN programs include the following classes, as well as others:
- Medical Terminology
- PhysiologyLegal Issues
- Patient Ethics
- Patient Safety
- Infection Control
How to Choose an Accelerated LPN/LVN ProgramBefore deciding which fast-track LPN program to attend, there are several factors to consider. Here are just a few essential items to take into account.
Accreditation of School
When selecting a school to attend for your accelerated LPN diploma, consider its accreditations. Be aware that many student loan companies, including the government, approve only certain accrediting companies.
ACEN or Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. This accreditation is recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
NLNAC or National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. This accreditation is nationally recognized.
Time Frame of Course
The time it takes to complete the entire course varies, depending on the school and your prior experience. In this article, we cover programs from 6 weeks to 2 years. Consider how much time you can devote to class studies as well as homework and doing your clinical experience. Some places only offer courses during the week, while others provide courses at any time.
Cost of Course
Always consider the cost of the classes you are taking. Similar courses may be offered at different schools, and they may be charging a different rate. Research the school to discover why there may be a price difference if you run into a large price discrepancy.
Also, take the time to consider how long it will take you to pay back any student loans you may incur.
Student Pass Rate for the NCLEX-PN
To be an LPN/LVN, you must be able to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) test. The school’s pass rate for this exam will give you an idea of how well the curriculum is delivered to students.
Locations of Clinical Rotations
While you may be able to complete much of the coursework in these programs online, you will need to do your clinical rotations in person at most schools. Choosing a location close to where you live will reduce unnecessary travel and additional stress.
Accelerated Online LPN Programs
Featured Accelerated LPN Program
NCLEX Pass Rate: 94%
LPNs earn your ADN or BSN degree online in up to 1/2 the time and cost of traditional programs. With No Waiting List to get started, Free Books, and Financial Aid options available, this is the perfect way for LPNs, and LVNs to earn your Associates Degree in Nursing and your RN license. Our convenient, online, instructor-led test-out program allows you to learn at an accelerated pace and earn college credit-by-examination which then is eligible to be transferred to an ACEN accredited nursing school or 100’s of universities nationwide.
Six Month LPN/LVN Programs
NCLEX Pass Rate: 84%
Accreditations: Minnesota Board of Nursing Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
If you are a military veteran, who was recently discharged or an EMT, then you have the option to attend courses at Lake Superior College and earn your LPN diploma in just six months. This program is considered a “bridge program,” which requires that you possess some medical skills prior to applying for this fast track LPN program. Currently, this course only allows students to begin in January and graduate in June. Before you will be admitted to this educational institution, your current skills will be identified by pre-program testing. If you are deficient in any specific area, there are courses that you can complete to get you up to speed, prior to beginning the actual program. Additionally, you will have to pass a physical test as well as a TEAS Exam before you will be admitted to the program.
Nine-Month LPN/LVN Programs
NCLEX Pass Rate: 93%
Accreditations: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Division of Professional Regulation AdvancED / NCA CASI Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
The Capital Area School of Practical Nursing is located in Springfield, Illinois. This school offers an accelerated LPN program that will get you out into the nursing field in just nine months. However, all of your courses must be taken on-campus. Classes are between the hours of 7:30 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. Monday through Friday. Unfortunately, at this time CASPN does not offer any courses in the evenings or on weekends. Because of the rigorous learning schedule, it is also advised that you do not try to work while attending this fast track LPN program. LPN Program Cost Tuition: $11,000 Books, supplies, fees: $2,993 Expenses are estimates from CASPN and are subject to change.
NCLEX Pass Rate: 93%
Accreditations: The Higher Learning Commission
At Johnson County Community College, located in Topeka Kansas, you can earn your LPN diploma in just nine months. However, you also have the choice to attend classes part-time and complete this fast-track LPN program in 14 months. The full-time program is offered Monday through Friday and is limited to a total of 32 students. This accelerated LPN course is offered each August. The part-time program fits the needs of those who can only attend classes at night or on weekends and is limited to 24 students. This part-time course requires a June start date. Keep in mind that both programs are only offered at campus locations at this time.
10-Month LPN/LVN Programs
NCLEX Pass Rate: 95.2%
Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission The Minnesota Board of Nursing
Northland Community and Technical College offers two different brick and mortar locations in Minnesota as well as offering courses online. In this fast track LPN program, you will study for three semesters, being two fall semesters as well as one spring semester. During the admission process to this school, you will take a placement exam using Accuplacer, which will show what your current education and skill level. During your time at Northland, you must maintain at least a “C” in each course to remain a student and be eligible for graduation. In order to be accepted into this accelerate LPN program, you must possess a Basic Life Support Certificate, as well as a current CPR certification. Additionally, you will need to be current on all required immunizations as well as pass a background and fingerprint check. Northland also offers the AD Mobility Nursing Program, which is a fast track LPN to RN course. You will need to take an additional two to three semesters of classes, depending on your previous education. However, you must take these courses in person, as they are not available online.
LPN Education Cost (based on 15 credites for each semester) Estimated Annual Tuition: $4,950 Fees: $598.50
Saint Paul College
NCLEX Pass Rate: 79.3%
Accreditations: The Higher Learning Commission, Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), Minnesota Board of Nursing
Saint Paul College offers a fast-track LPN program, which takes approximately ten months to complete. This school also offers a part-time option, which will take roughly 18 months to complete. All courses are offered both days and evenings. However, clinical experience may be scheduled at any time, including weekends.
Classes are offered both online and on campus. If you choose to attend the online courses, keep in mind that you must log into your session by 11:00 P.M. on the 7th calendar day of the month, or you will be considered a no-show, but you will still incur the tuition charges. To apply to this fast-track LPN program, you must submit a copy of your immunization records and take the Test of Essential Academic Skills, and the Accuplacer exam. In addition, you are required to attend an information session, and you must already possess your Nursing Assistant Certification.
Lake Area Technical Institute
NCLEX Pass Rate: 98.1%
Accreditations: The Higher Learning Commission, The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, South Dakota Board of Nursing
At the Lake Area Technical Institute, you can earn a diploma by completing the fast-track LPN program in 11 months if you choose to attend full-time. However, you also have the option to attend part-time, but that will take 23 months to complete. While you can choose to take the majority of the classes online, you do have to be a resident of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, or Minnesota to be accepted into the program. Additionally, you will have to spend time on campus to
12-Month LPN/LVN Programs
NCLEX Pass Rate: 84.1%
Accreditations: Texas Board of Nursing (BON), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS/COC), Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
North Central Texas College allows you to earn your diploma in their fast-track vocational nursing program in 12 months. The courses are offered online, as well as on campus, but the school does require that you do your clinical experience in person. To be eligible for this accelerated LPN program, you will need a clean background check and be current on the required immunizations, as well as provide negative results for a TB test and chest x-ray. The online courses begin each spring, and clinicals will be scheduled on weekends. To remain in the class, you must maintain a “C” average or better.
North Central Texas College also offers an LVN to RN transition program. This course also takes 12 months to complete. As a student, you are required to spend the five weeks of the program attending clinical experiences, five days a week to complete this LPN to RN fast-track program. The school only accepts applications from April 15 – May 15 to enter this transition course. Classes begin in July, and you will graduate the following June. Some prerequisites for this accelerated LPN to RN program include human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and composition 1, to name a few. As with the LPN program, you must maintain at least a “C” average or risk being removed from the course.
LPN Program Cost
The approximate per-semester cost for the Vocational Nursing (LVN) Program at North Central Texas College is $6,200 to $8,400.