If you’re interested in pursuing a career that helps people but don’t want to spend several years in school and training, it may be time to look into fast track LPN programs online.
These accelerated programs prepare prospective licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to take their state licensure exams so they can begin providing patient care in healthcare facilities.
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You can complete quick online practical nursing programs more quickly than bachelor’s or associate degrees, and you’ll have the freedom to study from home on a schedule that works for you.
Fast Track LPN Programs Online
Short LPN online programs help students with a passion for nursing develop the core skills they need to offer quality patient care. Although these certificate programs have a condensed format, they provide the same level of training as longer, more traditional LPN programs.
The specific classes you’ll take during your LPN accelerated program will differ based on the school you attend and your area of focus. Common subjects for these types of programs include:
- Nursing fundamentals
- Patient assessment
After you graduate from your LPN program, you may be ready to take the licensure exam for your state. Passing this exam allows you to receive a license and begin practicing in a professional setting.
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Students in LPN programs typically go on to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). These jobs often have the same responsibilities, but the title depends on where you live. LPNs often qualify for positions with a wide range of employers, such as:
- Nursing homes and long-term care facilities
- Skilled nursing facilities
- Rehabilitation facilities
- Doctors’ offices
- Mental health clinics
- Outpatient surgery centers
Some LPNs work in facilities with a particular specialization, such as pediatric care, wound care, or cancer treatment. Elderly care is an especially common area of focus for these types of nurses. You may also be well-positioned to work as a nursing educator in a community or technical college or write medical articles for blogs, magazines, or academic institutions.
If your ultimate goal is to become an RN, an LPN certificate serves as a solid foundation for your future work and a future nursing degree.
Practical Nurse Careers & Salaries
Many students enter LPN fast track programs with the intention of working as licensed practical or vocational nurses after they graduate.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some of the median salaries associated with LPNs and related careers.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurses — Nursing and Residential Care Facilities||$58,140|
|Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurses — Government||$57,200|
|Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurses — Home Healthcare Services||$54,080|
|Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurses — Hospitals||$49,760|
|Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurses — Offices of Physicians||$48,300|
Some LPNs teach nursing courses at colleges or provide health education through community clinics and health centers. Others share their medical knowledge as writers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for licensed practical and vocational nurses will grow by 5% over the next ten years, which is faster than the average rate for all occupations.
LPN Certificate Curriculum & Courses
An LPN accelerated program may include some general education courses, such as English and psychology, but the primary focus will be on theories and practices in nursing. Common classes include:
- Pharmacology: This class introduces you to drug preparation, administration, and effects.
- Anatomy and Physiology: In this course, students learn about the structure and systems of the human body and what functions they serve.
- Human Growth and Development: During this class, students explore different physical, social, and cognitive factors and how they influence the way that humans grow and develop.
- Introduction to Nursing: This class provides an overview of the duties of nurses in providing patient care.
- Concepts of Practical Nursing: With a combination of lectures and lab work, this class teaches students about practical applications of care in nursing environments.
- Psychosocial Nursing: In this course, students learn how to address patients’ social and psychological needs, including helping them process their emotions and overcome stress.
- Maternity and Pediatric Nursing: This class focuses on providing care to children and to adult patients during and after pregnancy.
- Medical Surgical Nursing: Students with an interest in surgical procedures can take this class to learn practical nursing skills that address complex health issues and improve patient outcomes.
- Mental Health Practical Nursing Concepts: Students taking this class learn necessary skills for treating patients with mental health conditions.
- Trends in Practical Nursing: This course prepares students to enter the professional world by reviewing topics such as licensure, ongoing education, and ethics.
In addition to helping students earn their LPN certificates, many of these courses may also help you work toward an RN program if you decide to continue your education down the road.
Although every LPN program has a unique admissions process, these are some common criteria:
- Test scores. Many programs don’t require scores from the SAT and ACT, but others may request them.
- Transcripts. A high school diploma or GED is a core requirement for LPN certificate programs. You’ll provide an official transcript as evidence of your educational background.
- Personal statement. The school may ask you to write a brief essay explaining your interest in the program.
- Recommendations. You can ask former instructors or supervisors to describe your strengths.
Some colleges offering fast online degrees also administer their own placement exams that students take before enrolling.
Online LPN Programs Accreditation
When you compare potential LPN programs or consider 1 year LPN to RN programs, it’s beneficial to focus on schools with accreditation. To earn this status, a school must undergo a rigorous assessment process and demonstrate the quality of its curriculum and faculty.
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Attending an accredited school helps ensure that you receive the most current information in the field. Many employers and licensure boards only accept LPN certificates from accredited programs for this reason. It’s also generally easier to transfer credits from schools with regional accreditation.
Accelerated LPN Programs ACEN Accreditation
Practical nursing programs can also receive programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education and Nursing. This organization specializes in evaluating academic programs in nursing.
As a result, an ACEN accredited program may offer a better education than other programs that have not received this accreditation status. Attending an ACEN accredited program may strengthen your candidacy for a future job, but it’s not generally a requirement to obtain licensure.
Practical Nurse Licensure and Certifications
Earning an LPN certificate is a major accomplishment, but it’s necessary to obtain licensure in order to begin practicing.
The specific licensure requirements depend on where you live, but states universally require students to complete an accredited and approved LPN program. In addition, prospective LPNs have to pass the NCLEX-PN exam, which assesses your practical and theoretical knowledge. If you pass the exam and meet all other requirements of your particular state, you’ll then be granted your state license.
Once you’re licensed, it may be necessary to meet continuing education requirements to maintain it. This often involves taking courses or participating in professional development programs.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Certificates are typically much less expensive than degrees, but the cost can still be an obstacle. Applying for financial aid can help reduce the amount of money you have to spend out of pocket.
A common first step is to file the FAFSA, which determines whether you’re eligible for federal loans, grants, and work studies. Your state government may also offer separate aid opportunities. Scholarship programs are another important source of funding for accelerated nursing programs online or on campus. You can search an online database for scholarships designed for students with your major or personal background.
If you’re currently working, you can also speak to your employer about whether they offer tuition reimbursement or assistance.
How Long Does It Take to Become an LPN?
Depending on your enrollment status and the structure of the program you attend, it will most likely take 1 to 2 years to become an LPN. Full-time students can typically complete an LPN program in a year, while part-time students may need 2 years or longer to graduate.
After finishing their academic LPN program, students are often eligible to take the licensure test. Not passing the exam the first time around will extend the length of time it takes to become licensed. Prospective LPNs must wait at least 45 days before they can retake the exam.
What Is the Fastest Way to Become an LPN?
If you want to start working as an LPN as quickly as possible, the quickest option is usually an accelerated LPN diploma or certificate program. Rather than spending several years as a student, you may be prepared to take the licensure exam in as few as 6 months.
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A fast-track LPN program usually operates on a condensed schedule, so it requires you to devote a lot of time to your classes. If you struggle with fast-paced learning environments or have limited time to devote to your studies, you might consider a traditional LPN program.
What’s the Difference Between an LPN vs. RN?
LPNs and RNs serve critical roles in healthcare facilities, but there are differences in their duties and expectations.
|Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)||Registered Nurse (RN)|
When planning for your future career, you might consider whether you prefer to focus on day-to-day caretaking tasks or healthcare strategy and management. Some professionals looking for a career change can look into accelerated BSN programs for non nurses.
Is Becoming an LPN Worth It?
Yes, becoming an LPN is worth it for many students. If you want to work in the field of healthcare, an LPN certificate is one of the fastest ways to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to become a nursing professional. Because of the need for quality patient care, LPNs are consistently in high demand.
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As a result, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for licensed practical and vocational nurses will grow by 5% over the next ten years, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
Universities Offering Online LPN Certificate Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Blinn College District offers a Vocational Nursing program that provides training for those looking to become licensed vocational nurses. The program is available on campus or in a hybrid format. The online program follows a semester schedule and starts each fall. Students may be able to finish the program in just 12 months and may apply for licensure after completing it.
The Blinn College of District is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Herzing University offers a Practical Nursing program for students who wish to become LPNs. General education courses may be completed online, and core courses are completed on campus. The program may be completed in just 12 months. Up to 27 credits of the program’s 37 to 48 required credits may be transferred in. There are eight campus locations available.
Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Illinois Valley Community College offers an LPN Certificate. This is a hybrid program consisting of online coursework and on-site experiences. It can typically be completed in 3 semesters. After completing the program, students may pursue the opportunity to become RNs with an additional year of courses.
Illinois Valley Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Lake Area Technical College offers a Practical Nursing e-degree. Coursework in this program is taken online but on-campus visits are required for clinical experiences. On-campus sessions are brief to make it more convenient for distance learners. Some clinical experiences may be taken locally. The program can potentially be completed in 11 months of full-time enrollment.
Lake Area Tech is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Lincoln Land Community College offers a Certificate in Practical Nursing designed for students who wish to become LPNs. Much of the program is online, but some labs and clinical hours require on-campus attendance. The program begins in the fall and can typically be completed in about 12 months.
LLCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Montgomery Community College offers a Practical Nursing Diploma. This is a hybrid program that requires the completion of 34 semester hours and 480 clinical hours. It can typically be completed in 9 months. The program offers eligibility to join the school’s Practical Nursing Club.
Montgomery Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
North Central Missouri College offers a Certificate in Practical Nursing. The program follows a semester schedule and can typically be completed in 11 months. It can be started in August or January, depending on the location. Some courses are online, while others are in a hybrid format.
NCMC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Northland Community and Technical College offers a Practical Nursing Diploma program designed for students who wish to become LPNs. All coursework is available online. The program requires the completion of 42 credit hours and may be completed in less than 1 year. Courses follow a semester schedule and may be started in the fall or spring.
NCTC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Rasmussen University offers an accelerated Practical Nursing (LPN) Diploma program. It requires the completion of 15 courses and may be finished in 12 months of full-time attendance. Rasmussen offers courses in a hybrid format. There are eight start dates throughout the year. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for the NCLEX-PN exam.
Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Nursing Process and Registered Nursing ranked Western Wyoming Community College among the best schools in the state for nursing programs. WWCC offers a Practical Nursing Certificate. The program is taken in a hybrid format, with required on-campus visits for labs and simulations. Start dates are offered in the fall of each year.
Western Wyoming Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your Certificate for LPN Online
Taking LPN classes online is an efficient way to become a nurse without obtaining an associate or bachelor degree.
You’ll learn about the various aspects of patient care, including treating minor injuries and maintaining accurate medical records. Although these certificate programs usually require 1 year of study, you can choose to graduate sooner by enrolling in a 6 month LPN program online. You’ll spend more hours each week attending classes and completing assignments, but you can also begin working more quickly.
If you’re ready for a career as a licensed practical nurse, you can get started by researching accredited colleges with fast-track LPN programs.