The Best LPN Programs Online

The Best LPN Programs Online

If you want to complete an LPN program online, you can achieve your goal of becoming a licensed practical nurse with flexibility and convenience. Discover some of the top online LPN programs available.
Nurse comforting a patient
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) are healthcare professionals who provide direct patient care across various settings and age groups. They are responsible for administering medications, recording patient information, conducting procedures, treatments, and other tasks, usually under the supervision of a registered nurse or a doctor.

Should I Choose to Become an LPN or a CNA?

Online LPN and LVN programs offer flexibility, affordability, and shorter diploma-based non-degree paths to begin a career in nursing. Many LPNs later choose to advance their careers by pursuing an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in nursing.

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We use a data-driven approach to rank the best online LPN programs, making it simpler for you to discover a program that suits your needs. Our ranking is based on metrics that we consider most important to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Continue reading to learn more about online LPN programs, or jump straight to our list of the best online LPN programs.

Popular Online Programs for Registered Nurses (RNs)

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Are the Roles of an LPN?

LPNs are also known as LVNs in California and Texas, but their training, scope of practice, and skills are the same. Unlike a college degree, LPNs earn a diploma, although some programs are part of community colleges.

LPNs perform various tasks, including wound care, assessing vital signs, taking patient histories, documenting patient data, conducting tests, and administering medications. LPNs can initiate and monitor IVs but cannot administer IV or IV push medications. Overall, the scope of practice for LPNs is narrower compared to that of RNs.

In most clinical settings, LPNs work under the supervision of registered nurses. Both LPNs and RNs can oversee Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), who carry out patient care activities such as feeding, bathing, dressing, and toileting (referred to as activities of daily living or ADLs). LPNs are frequently employed in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living centers, memory care facilities, and home health agencies.

An LPN program can be a fast track to a nursing career, as most programs can be completed in as little as 12 months.

Advantages of Enrolling in an Online LPN Program

An online LPN program allows you to study at your own pace. However, you will also need to attend in-person clinical assignments and skills training labs. Once you become an LPN, you can consider transitioning from LPN to RN to enhance your earning potential and marketability. Bridge programs enable LPNs to apply their previous education toward an associate degree in nursing. Online LPN-to-RN and LPN-to-BSN programs offer flexibility and part-time options, allowing LPNs to continue their education while working. Some employers may cover the cost of education, making it an excellent path to advance your nursing career.

Average LPN Salary

LPNs can earn a promising salary after completing a relatively short program of study. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for LPNs is $54,620, with a median hourly wage of $26.26.

The states where LPNs earn the highest salaries on average include:

– Washington: $69,950
– California: $69,930
– Massachusetts: $68,170
– Rhode Island: $66,770
– Alaska: $66,710

In comparison, the BLS reports that registered nurses (RNs), who undergo a longer and more expensive education, earn a median annual salary of $89,010 and a median hourly wage of $42.80. As you can see, advancing from LPN to RN can significantly increase your earning potential.

Key Considerations for Selecting an Online LPN Program

With numerous online LPN programs available, it’s crucial to carefully research different schools to find the one that suits your individual needs and career aspirations.

Before enrolling in an LPN program, look for these essential indicators of academic quality.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements outline the documents and information you need to submit when applying to a program. Schools may require proof of high school graduation or GED completion.

Program Curriculum

The curriculum offered by various LPN programs can influence your choice. Read the program descriptions carefully and select one that aligns with your educational goals for LPN training.

Accreditation is critically important, as some employers may only hire nurses who graduated from accredited programs. If you plan to continue your education and pursue an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree, the accreditation of the programs you attend will be closely examined.

Program Retention Rate

The retention rate of an LPN program reflects what students think about the program and whether they find it worthwhile to complete their education. A low student retention rate in an LPN program may indicate potential issues with the quality of education.

Online Learning Format and Requirements

If you’re attending online classes, the format of online courses and the technical requirements for participation are essential. Online education typically necessitates owning a laptop computer, a webcam, and a fast and reliable internet connection.

Why Is Accreditation Important for Online LPN Programs?

Accreditation involves the monitoring and approval of educational programs by impartial third-party organizations to ensure the quality of education they provide. Attending an accredited program assures future employers and educational degree programs of the quality of your education. If you attend an unaccredited program, you risk potential rejection from a job or a college-level nursing program. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits LPN programs, and their website allows you to search for accredited programs in their database. Licensing and disciplinary matters are handled by the state board of nursing.

Lake Area Technical College

Location: Watertown, South Dakota
Duration: 2 years
Format: Online + Campus

Aspiring licensed practical nurses (LPNs) exploring online LPN programs may discover a suitable option at Lake Area Technical College. The institution offers a hybrid LPN program that includes online and in-person components, preparing students for the LPN examination. Enrolled students complete LPN courses online, covering nursing theory, and gain practical experience on campus. Topics include the fundamentals of nursing, child and adult care, pharmacology, professional nursing concepts, and maternity care.

Program: Practical nursing e-degree
Campus: Watertown, South Dakota
Type: Public
Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
Tuition: $868-$1,860 per semester full-time; $496-$992 part-time
Admission Requirements: TEAS scores; 2.5 GPA; and prerequisite coursework in anatomy, composition, algebra, general psychology, and medical terminology
Minimum Time Commitment: 11 months
On-Campus Requirements: Yes

Average Undergraduate Tuition
In-state: $3,630
Out-of-state: $3,630

Applying to Online LPN Programs

Prospective LPNs must possess a high school diploma or a GED certificate before applying to a nursing program. Since LPN certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs have varying requirements, completion times, and costs, it’s important to research the options available at vocational schools and community colleges.

Admission Materials
High school diploma or GED certificate; criminal background check; entrance exam

GPA Requirement
Minimum 2.5 GPA

Other Requirement
Recommendation letters; some programs may also require Test of Essential Academic Skills or American College Test scores

Financing Online LPN Programs

The cost of online LPN training can vary depending on several factors. Taking LPN classes online, as opposed to on-campus, can save money on housing and transportation costs. However, you still need to budget for tuition, distance learning fees, and textbooks.

Public institutions may offer more affordable tuition than private schools. Some programs may charge higher tuition rates for out-of-state students. If you plan to work while pursuing online LPN courses, consider whether the program offers enough flexibility for you to set your own schedule.

You can explore financial aid opportunities for nursing students to help offset the cost of your nursing education. Start by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to determine your eligibility for federal loans or grants.

In addition to government-sponsored programs, you can consider private loans, nursing scholarships, and grants from private foundations, professional nursing associations, and schools.

Some scholarships specifically support certain nursing specialties, while others focus on minorities based on race, ethnicity, or gender. If you are currently employed, check if your employer participates in a tuition reimbursement program.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online LPN Programs

How Long Does It Take to Become an LPN?

Most online LPN programs take approximately 12 months to complete when pursued full-time, though completion times can vary. Part-time enrollment is likely to take around 24 months.

Do Online LPN Programs Have In-Person Requirements?

All LPN programs, including online ones, require clinical hours and lab experiences, with the specific number of hours varying by school and state requirements. Your program will place you in a supervised clinical experience at a hospital, clinic, nursing home, or other healthcare facility. Some schools can assist you in finding placements near your location.

What Career Advancement Opportunities Are Available to LPNs?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 5% growth in employment for LPNs from 2022 to 2032, adding over 60,000 jobs annually. For those interested in becoming registered nurses (RNs), LPN experience can provide a competitive advantage when applying to associate or bachelor of science in nursing bridge programs.

What’s the Difference Between an LPN and an RN?

While both LPNs and RNs are nursing professionals, they do not share the same responsibilities. LPNs provide basic patient care, including tasks like checking vital signs and ensuring patient comfort. Unlike RNs, LPNs do not require a nursing degree but can obtain certification after completing an LPN program.

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