What You Need to Know About an LVN Program
Nursing is one of the most promising careers in the United States and worldwide. This can be attributed to the increasing demand for healthcare providers to cater the aging population. The beauty of nursing is that it is a very versatile profession, entailing more than one academic pathway.
A program in licensed vocational nursing (LVN) is among the most popular of the many academic pathways to becoming a nurse. It is a practical stepping stone to advance gradually in the nursing career ladder; a means to comply also with the continuing education requirements for one’s nurses’ license. However, what is an LVN program and how does it work?
What is a Licensed Vocational Nurse?
LVN basically stands for Licensed Vocational Nurse. LVNs, by definition, are licensed individuals who are trained to deliver basic healthcare to a variety of clienteles. They are, by essence, belonging to the hierarchy of nurses and are therefore considered as one. However, they are delineated from other nursing professions through their educational requirements, the roles and responsibilities assigned to them, and the state of origin of their given title.
An LVN is one that has undergone the necessary 12 to 13 months comprehensive LVN program that preps students to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination – Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN), and whatever skills and knowledge necessary for a practical nurse or LVN. The term LVN is more widely used in the states of Texas and California. Elsewhere in the United States, LVNs are otherwise termed as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Nurse Aides.
As with every embodying academe, LVN programs have their own set of requirements to qualify interested applicants for admission. The basic requirements are the following:
- Age requirement. In most states in the US, schools require a minimum age requirement of 18 years. You may need to prepare your birth certificate for this matter.
- High school diploma. LVN programs require you to be at least a high school graduate in order to be eligible for enrollment. You need to present you respective high school diploma upon application for enrollment, or if homeschooled, A GED (General Education Development) certificate can suffice.
- Grade point average minimum. Schools have their standards, and some schools require a GPA (Grade Point Average) of at least 2.5 in a scale of 5.0, or 2.0 in a scale of 4.0. For this, most schools require you to furnish your TOR (Transcript of Records). It is important to note, however, that LVN program schools require your respective high school to directly mail your transcripts to them, and not to be furnished by you to prevent any discrepancies.
- Entrance examination. The entrance examination for an LVN program is usually used to gauge your familiarity with basic healthcare topics, as well as essential science and mathematics knowledge.
- Interview. An entrance interview is one of the most basic requirements for any application. This is usually done to measure the basic communicating skills of the applicant, as nursing requires specialized skills in communicating therapeutically with patients. This also a means to seek the applicant’s EQ.
- Pre-requisite courses. Before proceeding to the actual LVN program coursework, students are to comply with the pre-requisite courses of the program. These are usually basic health and sciences subjects that you may opt to cross-enroll to another school, or take in advance during your high school education. It is also a good idea to undergo basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training in advance, as this is a hand skill as well as a necessity for any LVN or medical professionals in general.
The requirements for an LVN program, however, may vary depending on your respective school. Some schools may be lenient when it comes to GPA and pre-requisite course requirements. It is best to check on your school and prepare in advance for the needed pertinent papers for admission.
Tuition & Fees
The cost of an LVN program is basically cheaper compared to other nursing education pathway, as it entails lesser time for completion. However, since it is a medical course, it essentially does not come cheap. As of 2011, schools in the states of California and Texas incur approximately $740 to $2,500 per semester. It is important to note that a usual LVN program takes about 3 semesters to finish, so this can give you a heads up. Other costs that you have to prepare are the cost for the uniform, as nursing requires a crisp white uniform during duty hours and the like (approximately $250 to $300); nursing and medical books that can range from $50 to $100; and other miscellaneous fees such as allowances for nursing internship in medical facilities.
For students who are going for a cheaper education, you may opt to enroll at community colleges, as they offer LVN programs at an affordable rate. Financial aids such as scholarships, grants, and student loans are also made readily available for financially-challenged students.
As stated earlier, the length of a usual LVN program is about 12 to 13 months, or about 3 semesters of full-time study. Some schools may also offer the program at a part-time basis but can also finish within the same time frame of a full-time program. The coursework for the latter, however, is a condensed and comprehensive version of the LVN program.
The 12- to 13-month LVN program is subdivided into the didactic and internship portions. Students are to comply with a specific number of hours spent in classroom and laboratory discussions, and actual duties as interns in an affiliated medical facility.
LVN Bridge Programs
An LVN program can be your gateway to advancement in the nursing academe. With bridge programs, you are able to transfer credits from you previous LVN program to your current coursework (BSN, RN, and such). Two of the most common bridge programs are the LVN to BSN and LVN to RN programs.
- LVN to BSN Programs. A BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) degree is the traditional academic pathway to become a nurse. A BSN degree can offer you plenty of advantages in terms of employment opportunities and benefits. This type of bridge program can be completed in as short as 3 years. Read more
- LVN to RN Programs. An RN license is one of the most basic things to become a nurse. Registered nurses particularly hold more autonomy in the workforce as compared to LVNs, and are essentially paid more. These types of program gears students to finish a 2-year associate’s program in nursing, which can help them qualify to take the NCLEX-RN and acquire their RN license. Read more
Top 20 Schools Offering an LVN Program
LVN programs are being offered in community colleges, vocational schools, private institutions, and large universities in many areas in the United States, especially in Texas and California. To help you narrow down your choices in choosing a nursing school for you, we have shortlisted the top 20 schools offering LVN programs in the United States, as deemed by Campus Explorer, Inc:
- Pulaski Technical College
3000 West Scenic Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118
- Abington Memorial Hospital - Dixon School of Nursing
2500 Maryland Rd., Ste 200, Willow Grove, PA 19090
- Chattahoochee Technical College
980 South Cobb Drive, Marietta, GA 30060
- George Mason University
4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030
- Bunker Hill Community College
250 New Rutherford Avenue, Charlestown, MA 02129
- Fisk University
1000 17th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37208
- Texas Health School
11211 Katy Fwy, Ste 170, Houston, TX 77079
- Front Range Community College
3645 West 112th Avenue, Westminster, CO 80031
- Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences
- American River College
4700 College Oak Drive, Sacramento, CA 95841
- Texas Wesleyan University
1201 Wesleyan Street, Fort Worth, TX 76105
- Georgia Perimeter College
555 North Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA 30021
- Georgia Perimeter College
2000 Tower Street, Everett, WA 98201
- Madison Area Technical College
1701 Wright Street, Madison, WI 53704
- Grand Rapids Community College
143 Bostwick Avenue, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
- South Suburban College
15800 South State Street, South Holland, IL 60473
- PCI Health Training Center
8101 John W. Carpenter Freeway, Dallas, TX 75247
- College of DuPage
425 Fawell Boulevard, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
- Career Institute of Florida
701 94th Ave., Saint Petersburg, FL 33702
- St. Joseph's College
Online Licensed Vocational Nurse Programs
In the advent of the Internet, online education programs are being widely offered in community and technology colleges, as well other large universities. The program is taken at a part-time basis. The online program is dedicated to channel the didactic portion of the program through the internet, reaching out remote students who cannot attend to an actual classroom discussion. However, it is important to note that nursing internships cannot be done online and are therefore done in the usual way – an actual attendance to an affiliated medical facility. Although done at a part-time basis, students can still finish the online LVN program within the usual time frame, given that they have complied with the necessary coursework.
Below, we've listed the top 5 most popular schools that offer online LVN programs:
- Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences - Online School
- St. Joseph's College - Online School
- South University – Online School
- California University of Pennsylvania – Online School
- Independence University – Online School
An LVN program is a practical choice for individuals who wish to have their nursing career within a shorter period. With the many available resources nowadays, such as bridge and online programs and financial aids, one’s nursing career is just a step away.