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Best Online LPN Programs in Louisiana

Explore online and hybrid LPN programs in Louisiana that offer quality, flexible education options to suit your needs.

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Author: Jenna Tidd
Editor: Kari Scare

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Two colorful streetcars, one green and one red, are on parallel tracks amidst a vibrant cityscape. Palm trees line the sidewalk in front of a series of historic buildings with shops and windows. A few cars are parked along the street in the background.

As an aspiring nurse in Louisiana, you want to know the best way to gain the skills and knowledge you need to start your career. At some point, you may have weighed whether to enroll in an RN program or become an LPN first. Licensed practical nurse (LPN) programs offer a solid education in a much shorter time than traditional, four-year bachelor’s degree programs.

If you want to start your nursing career as soon as possible and gain hands-on experience, you’re most likely looking for one of the best online LPN programs in Louisiana. Most LPN programs take four to six semesters with the option to earn a technical certificate, an associate degree, or to continue to become an RN. However, some fast-track LPN programs take less than a year. Although there aren’t any fully online LPN programs in Louisiana, you can still find flexible alternatives that fit your lifestyle within the state. Some colleges have multiple campus locations, while others offer night classes to accommodate work schedules.

In this guide, we spotlight two quality programs, list the steps you must take to become a practical nurse, and look at your earning potential. We also share valuable resources to help the process of becoming a practical nurse in Louisiana go smoothly. Keep reading to get started.

A Closer Look at Online LPN Programs in Louisiana

Finding the best in-person or online LPN programs in Louisiana that are a fit for you can be challenging. The two high-quality options highlighted below can give you a place to start your search. Both programs are examples of what to look for when choosing a school – whether you want in-person or online LPN programs in Louisiana — and show you what to expect regarding admissions to an LPN program.

South Louisiana Community College

South Louisiana Community College provides a licensed practical nurse program that consists of classroom instruction, labs, and supervised clinicals at accredited facilities. It’s also available at seven different campuses, and night classes are offered at the Lafayette campus. Coursework covers key subjects like anatomy, nutrition, nursing fundamentals, pharmacology, medical surgical disorders, pediatrics and obstetrics, mental health, and leadership. Graduates are equipped for jobs in hospitals, doctors’ offices, schools, home health, and nursing facilities.

Students can choose to pursue a technical diploma or an Associate of Applied Science in Practical Nursing degree. The technical diploma consists of 60 credits, and the associate degree program requires 75 credits. Both options can be completed in four semesters, but the associate program has additional general education courses.

Admission requirements include being 18 years old and submitting standardized testing scores that meet minimum standards. Meeting these requirements doesn’t guarantee a spot in the class, however, since seats are limited.

Sowela Technical Community College

At Sowela Technical Community College, nursing students can take advantage of a licensed practical nurse program that focuses on caring for the whole person. Coursework includes holistic nursing, stress and adaptation, hierarchy of needs, psychosocial development, and problem-solving skills. Students must maintain a minimum score of 80% in all courses to graduate.

Sowela’s LPN program also gives the option of earning an Associate of Applied Science or a technical certificate. Those who want an associate degree must complete six semesters of nursing and general education coursework for 1,740 hours or 77 credits. A technical certificate takes five semesters and 1,515 hours. Programs begin in the fall at four campuses: Lake Charles, Lamar Salter, Morgan Smith, and Oakdale. In addition to applying for state and federal financial aid, students can apply for scholarships through the Sowela Foundation.

Louisiana Licensing Information and Requirements

Want an overview of how to become an LPN in Louisiana? The key steps, listed below, explain the requirements and break down the process of doing just that. This at-a-glance overview gives you a step-by-step summary of how to reach your career goals as an LPN.

Background Check

When applying for or renewing your nursing license, you must submit an application to the Louisiana State Police for a criminal background check. Do this by filling out the application on both sides in legible writing, getting two fingerprint cards from a police office, and mailing them with the required fee to the state police. Background checks take up to 12 weeks to process, and results are sent to the Louisiana State Board of Nursing to determine your eligibility. If you have a record, it will assess whether the crimes would impair your nursing ability.

Education and Training

To become a practical nurse in Louisiana, you must complete an accredited practical nursing program with a minimum grade of 80%. This program must consist of at least 700 theory hours and 800 clinical hours that adequately prepare you to practice as an entry-level nurse. You’ll study topics like body structure and function, nutrition, pharmacology, community health, and the principles and practices of nursing. During clinicals, you’ll practice important hands-on skills under the supervision of licensed nurses. Successful completion of an LPN program doesn’t guarantee licensure, however, as students must take and pass the NCLEX-PN after graduation.

Professional Nursing Examination

Upon completing an accredited LPN program, you must apply for, take, and pass the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses). To be eligible, you must fill out the application, pass a background check, pay the required fee, and submit proof that you are a U.S. citizen who passed an LPN program. The NCLEX-PN determines if you meet the passing standard of nursing ability and shows if you are competent to practice as a nurse.

Renewal of Licensure & Continuing Education

After becoming an LPN, you must renew your license yearly between November 1st and January 31st with the Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners. If your license is still current, the annual fee is $61.08. If your license has lapsed, the fee to reactivate it is $162.88. Currently, Louisiana doesn’t have any continuing education requirements for LPNs. You must simply work a minimum of eight hours within the previous two years. Renewal is done online through the Nurse Portal, and payment is made with a credit card. It usually takes 24 to 48 hours to process and update your license expiration date.

Career and Earning Potential for Louisiana LPNs

As you consider a career as an LPN in Louisiana, it’s only natural to wonder about job opportunities and earning potential. The tables below provide key information about LPN positions and salary ranges throughout the state. Nursing jobs are projected to grow significantly in the U.S. in the next decade. As of 2020, Louisiana’s projected job growth rate is 1.80%. Although this is lower than the national rate of 9.30%, there will still be an average of 1,480 LPN jobs every year in Louisiana.

Wages across the state range from just under $31,000 to as high as $60,000 with a median salary around $47,000. Some locations are more lucrative than others, with New Orleans and Baton Rouge coming in as the most profitable places for LPNs to work. They’re also more likely to have open positions. Monroe, Louisiana has the lowest pay rates of all the major cities, but its average salary (just under $46,000) is not far off from the median salaries of higher-paying spots.

New Jobs
Job Growth RateAvg. Annual Openings

Source: Projections Central

Location10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
Alexandria, LA$36,080$46,050$57,250
Baton Rouge, LA$39,320$48,730$60,090
Hammond, LA$37,720$47,310$56,360
Houma-Thibodaux, LA$38,350$46,670$57,830
Lafayette, LA$33,280$45,980$55,810
Lake Charles, LA$39,320$47,920$56,570
Monroe, LA$30,960$45,820$50,980
New Orleans-Metairie, LA$40,060$49,290$59,280
Shreveport-Bossier City, LA$39,200$47,860$56,630

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Resources for Louisiana LPN Students and Professionals

  • Louisiana Association of Student Nurses: An affiliate of the Louisiana State Nurses Association, this organization supports student nurses with networking, collaboration, recruitment, community participation, and a healthy lifestyle. They act as a representative of the students to healthcare facilities and influence nursing policy, standards, and education through legislative action when appropriate.
  • Louisiana Nurses Foundation: This foundation gives scholarships, promotes education, and recognizes achievements within the nursing community. It also advances evidence-based practice and distributes money for the Nurse Relief Fund to support nurses, students, and groups of nurses.
  • Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners: An absolute must for practical nurses, this is where you apply for and renew your license. The site also has important information regarding laws and administrative codes, compliance, education, licensure, scope of practice, and criminal background checks. You can find links to additional nursing organizations here as well.
  • Louisiana State Nurses Association: Although not specifically for practical nurses, this organization supports all nurses in Louisiana, regardless of education level. The site is a central hub of information and related organizations, such as the Louisiana Association of Student Nurses and the Louisiana Nurses Foundation. Members enjoy the opportunity to network, continue their education, receive recognition and awards, and attend events.
  • National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service: This site is a goldmine of continuing education for new and seasoned nurses alike. The organization offers online courses and certifications in a variety of subjects to help practical nurses stay on the cutting edge of health. Courses range in cost from $4 to $395, so there’s something for every budget.
  • National Association of Licensed Practical Nurses: This national organization has state chapters across the country, including the Louisiana affiliate. They have a membership, a newsletter, and an annual conference that offers networking opportunities for nurses as well as continuing education credits.