For a motivated student looking to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), an accelerated program may be the right path. With many LPN programs falling in the 9-12 month to completion range, and even some just over 6 months, you could be ready to take your exams and land your first job in less than a year. In order to be accepted into one of these programs, you often must have a previous certification or degree program as a CNA, EMT or military medic experience, prior to applying.
Many of these programs are online or combine online and in-person classes in order to add flexibility for their students. These accelerated programs are often intense and require concentrated effort to successfully complete in such a short timeframe, but maybe ideal if you are looking to get your career started quickly and save money by shortening the process. This guide highlights specific accelerated programs and outlines some factors to consider while researching schools.
Blinn College 10-Month and 12-Month LVN Options
Blinn College, a two-year public junior college in Brenham, Texas offers a Vocational Nursing Program that provides a solid foundation of nursing knowledge and skills for competent practice as an LVN in a variety of healthcare settings (Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) is the equivalent to Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)). Health science skills gained include:
- Critical thinking and evidence-based decision-making
- Oral and written communication
- Professionalism and teamwork
- Personal and social responsibility
The program’s curriculum consists of classroom-based nursing theory courses, hands-on labs, and clinical rotations at hospitals and other healthcare facilities located throughout the Brenham and LaGrange communities. The face-to-face format features all on-campus coursework and labs, begins each fall, and continues for 10 months. The blended format features a combination of online didactic coursework with in-person labs and clinical rotations. The blended program also begins each fall but lasts for 12 months.
Admission is selective with spots awarded to the top-qualified applicants. Entrance requirements include:
- A high school diploma or GED
- An ATI TEAS minimum composite score of 65% or composite score plus additional qualifying points equaling at least 65%
- A completed application form and acceptance to Blinn College
- A completed Allied Health Student Application
- Texas Success Initiative (TSI) status of college-ready or exempt
- Up-to-date immunizations
- Good physical and mental health
After acceptance into the program, students must complete a criminal background check, drug screen, CPR course, and health/physical examination at their own expense.
Estimated total program costs (including tuition, fees, books, supplies, kit, uniforms, and licensing fees) for in-district residents is $12,975 for the traditional format and $13,073 for the blended format. Higher tuition rates apply for out-of-district and out-of-state/international residents.
Blinn College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and its Vocational Nursing Program is approved by the Texas Board of Nursing.
Delta College’s Fast-Track Advanced PN Certificate Program
Delta College is a public community college located north of Saginaw, Michigan in the Bay County community of University Center. Delta’s Practical Nurse Advanced Certificate program features a fast-track program that is typically completed in one year not counting prerequisite coursework. Nursing theory classes and labs are attended in-person primarily in the college’s Health Professions Building. The building features a state-of-the-art lab that provides students with a simulated hospital environment where they can develop their hands-on practice skills. Students also attend clinical practice hours at program-affiliated healthcare facilities in and around the University Center area. Some prerequisite courses like College Composition I and Human Anatomy & Physiology can be taken online.
The clinical program commences each year in the fall semester, continues through the winter term, and concludes with the following spring semester. Students must complete a series of prerequisite courses and receive a “Semester and Year of Validation” to advance to the clinical portion. Once prerequisite coursework is complete, prospective LPN students are placed on a waitlist for admittance into the LPN clinical program. The typical wait time is two to three semesters.
Admission requirements for Delta’s LPN program include:
- A high school diploma or GED
- Completion of all prerequisite coursework
- Successful completion of a criminal background check following successful clinical entry registration)
- Proof of a current or prior Michigan CNA certification or documentation of basic nursing skills before entering the first clinical course
- Completion of all health requirements, including a physical exam, drug screen, immunizations, and basic life support certification
The program requires 44 credits, including prerequisite classes. In-district tuition and fees are $6,222. Higher rates apply to out-of-district students. There are also additional costs for books, uniforms, transportation, etc.
Delta College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and its Practical Nurse Certificate program is approved by the Michigan Board of Nursing. Graduates meet all academic and practice hour requirements to sit for the NCLEX-PN exam. The Practical Nurse Certificate Program boasts an exceptionally high (96%) NCLEX-PN pass rate and 98% employment rate for recent graduates.
LPN program graduates with one year of full-time practical work experience can advance their careers by becoming registered nurses through Delta’s 16-month LPN to RN Associate Degree program.
Gateway Community College’s (Slightly More Than 6-Month) Fast-Track LPN Program
Students living in the Phoenix, Arizona area looking for a quick path to LPN licensure should consider the Fast Track Practical Nursing Program at Gateway Community College. The program is available on Gateway’s Washington Campus in Phoenix, located between downtown and Tempe. The Fast-Track program is a two-semester, full-time program for college credit, and both fall and spring semester starts are available. Students beginning their studies in the spring attend the program through the spring and summer semesters, allowing them to complete the program in just over seven months. Students opting for a fall start attend the fall and spring semesters and complete the program in just over nine months.
The program consists of on-campus didactic nursing classes and hands-on labs along with clinical rotations at local area health care agencies. Both day and evening cohorts are offered. Day students attend primarily during daylight hours, while evening students typically attend classes after 5:00 pm on weekdays with clinical lab, simulations, and assignments often occurring on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Approximately 40% of the evening cohort is delivered virtually through live, online, synchronous classes, and online asynchronous modules. Graduates receive a Certificate of Completion and qualify to sit for the NCLEX-PN exam.
Admission criteria for this program include:
- A high school diploma or equivalent (GED)
- Passing the nursing program admissions test
- A Fingerprint Clearance Card
- Documentation of all health and safety requirements
- Possession of either a current CNA certification, an LNA license, or a program-issued waiver for military veterans with demonstrated work experience. Students not meeting any of these three requirements must complete either the Basic Certified Nursing Assistant or the Nurse Assisting course before admission.
Program costs for this Fast Track Practical Nursing are among the most affordable available with tuition and fees at $3,792. This figure does not include additional costs for books, supplies, uniforms, transportation, etc., which may be substantial.
Portage Lakes Career Center’s 9-Month LPN Program
The Portage Lakes Career Center is a public vocational school in Uniontown, Ohio that offers career training and development programs to both high school students and adult learners. Its Licensed Practical Nurse program is a full-time program that typically begins each year in the last week of August and continues over 36 weeks, finishing in the last week of May or the first week of June. Didactic coursework and labs are taught by experienced registered nurses in classes attended on the center’s Uniontown campus. Along with foundational nursing theory, course subjects include pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology. Classes are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm. Start times may vary on clinical days. Supervised clinical practice experiences are attended at healthcare facilities throughout the Akron-Canton area.
PLCC’s Licensed Practical Nurse program also offers a standard format option for part-time students with a 16-month course of study. Graduates of the LPN program receive a completion certificate and meet the academic and clinical practice hour requirements for the NCLEX-PN exam. Graduates can also apply the 30 technical credits earned in the program toward an associate degree in technical studies through the University of Akron.
Admission requirements for PLCC’s Licensed Practical Nurse program include:
- A high school diploma or GED
- BCI/FBI background check
- Submittal of health records
- Urine drug screen with negative results
- Current CPR certification
Applicants must also attend a mandatory orientation meeting on the PLCC campus and complete a pre-admission interview. Enrollment in the program is limited to 50 students annually.
To help students budget for their education, PLCC’s Licensed Practical Nurse program features a single tuition price of $15,495. This covers all instruction, books, supplies, uniforms, and graduation costs as well as the fees for taking the NCLEX-PN exam.
Portage Lake Career center is administered by the Portage Lakes Vocational Joint School District’s Board of Education, approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing, and fully accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE), a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Rasmussen University’s Fast-Track Practical Nursing Program
Rasmussen University is a private institution with campuses throughout the U.S. that feature a range of fully-online and hybrid diploma, degree, and certificate programs. Among Rasmussen’s hybrid program offerings is its fast-track Practical Nursing (LPN Track) Diploma program. The program is available on Rasmussen campuses in Florida (Brandon, Fort Myers, Ocala, and Odessa) and Minnesota (Brooklyn Park, Eagan, Mankato, Moorhead, and St. Cloud). The 56-credit curriculum features a combination of online general education and nursing didactic courses, on-campus simulation labs, and clinical practice experiences attended at program-approved healthcare sites in and around each campus’s local area.
Convenience is a keynote of the program with features that include eight start dates annually, no waiting lists on many campuses, and no prerequisite course requirements. Study flexibility is also key. Students can tailor their course loads to fit their work and life schedules. Full-time students with substantial transfer credits can complete the entire program in as few as 12 months.
As you might expect from a private university, the cost of Rasmussen’s LPN program is somewhat higher than those at public institutions. Tuition and fees for Florida students completing the program in 12 months cost $23,555. LPN students, however, may be eligible for funding opportunities to help pay for their educations, including reduced per-credit tuition rates for active military, corporate alliance discounts, and credits awarded for military training, professional certifications, or self-directed assessments.
Along with a high school diploma or equivalent, acceptance requirements for Rasmussen’s fast-track Practical Nursing program include:
- Acceptable score on the School of Nursing Entrance Exam for admission to Rasmussen’s School of Nursing
- Clear criminal background check
- Basic Life Saving and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation with Defibrillator certifications
- Health/physical examination and required immunizations
Applicants with previous college credits receive a transcript evaluation as part of the admissions process.
Graduates of the LPN program in both Florida and Minnesota are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-PN exam and LPN licensure in those states. The LPN program also meets the academic requirements for licensure in most other U.S. states and territories. Students intending to practice in states other than Florida and Minnesota should confirm licensure eligibility before enrollment.
Rasmussen University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. All five Minnesota campus LPN programs, along with the Odessa, Florida LPN program, are also programmatically accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Additionally, Rasmussen’s Minnesota LPN programs are approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing, and its Florida programs are approved by the Florida Department of Health.
Accreditation for Online LPN Programs
Accreditation is the process by which colleges and universities and the programs they offer are vetted for quality. Proper accreditation is an important consideration for any LPN program you consider, but it’s particularly important when considering programs with substantial online components. It’s your way of assuring that, regardless of its online presence, the program provides you with the quality education and training you need to practice competently as a professional practical nurse.
There are two basic types of accreditation to look for in your LPN program search. Institutional accreditation considers the college’s or university’s quality when taken as a whole. Institutional accreditation of U.S. postsecondary schools is administered by several national and regional agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The Higher Learning Commission, for example, is the institutional accrediting agency of several of the programs featured in this guide.
The second type of accreditation is programmatic accreditation. The primary accrediting agency for practical nurse education programs in the U.S. is the Accreditation Commission for Education and Nursing (ACEN). It’s important to note, however, that not all quality LPN programs are accredited by the ACEN, and you should not eliminate such programs from consideration simply because they are not ACEN-accredited. What is essential in any program you select, whether online or on-campus, is that the school offering it is institutionally accredited and that the program itself is approved by its state’s regulatory agency which, in most cases, is the board of nursing.
By its very nature, practical nurse training requires substantial hands-on practice with real patients in real practice settings. That’s why fully-online LPN programs simply do not exist. A growing number of schools today, however, are incorporating distance learning components into their LPN curriculums. So, if you’re interested in taking advantage of the convenience and affordability of online study, check out this helpful guide to online LPN programs.
LPN/LVN to BSN programs provide current practical nurses with a time-saving and cost-efficient path to career advancement by becoming registered nurses. Many schools offer LPN/LVN to BSN programs that are largely online, at least in terms of didactic coursework. This guide gives you a good idea of what’s currently available. Keep in mind, though, that students still need to complete substantial clinical rotation hours in person at program-affiliated healthcare facilities.