Online LPN Courses, Schools and Degrees
Online programs are limited for beginning LPNs, since this is a hands-on clinical field, but licensed LPNs who want to advance in their careers can find online bridge programs. Get more information about these options, the typical coursework and how to select an accredited school.
What You Need to Know
As a licensed practical nurse (LPN), you'd provide basic bedside care, interact with patients and assist physicians with tests and procedures. There are a few methods available to pursue an education in the field of nursing, and some of these include online components.
|Online||Limited due to the nature of critical, hands-on work|
|Programs||LPN to RN bridge programs|
|Courses||Specialized nursing care, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, pathophysiology, pharmacology|
What Online LPN Degree Programs Are Available?
Most nursing programs are offered in a traditional classroom environment, including licensed practical nurse programs. Although degrees are not commonly pursued at this level, a few technical schools and community colleges do offer online LPN diploma and certificate programs, which take 1-2 years to complete. Once you complete either program, you can sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN). In some regions, the LPN designation is interchangeable with LVN (licensed vocational nurse), though the roles are identical and both professionals undergo the same NCLEX.
Are There Any Prerequisites?
Before you can enroll in an online program to become a licensed practical nurse, you may need to fulfill specific prerequisites. Most schools require that you have CPR certification and that your immunizations be current since you will be interacting with patients. You may also be asked to undergo a background check and drug screen test.
What Online Degree Can I Earn If I'm Already an LPN?
If you are already an LPN, you can complete an LPN-to-RN (registered nurse) bridge program online; this results in an associate's degree and can take two years to finish. These bridge programs award you with up to 5-12 credit-hours that can be used toward an associate's degree in nursing when combined with credits from LPN certificate or diploma programs. In addition to becoming an LPN, some schools state that you must have completed a specific number of hours working in an acute care or long-term care facility to enroll. Once you complete the bridge program, you are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam.
What Courses Are Included?
In an LPN program, you may wish to learn about nursing care for specific types of patients, including children, women and those under psychiatric care. Elective classes may be specialized to address this particular interest. Any degree, diploma or certificate curriculum covers numerous science topics. In addition to nursing classes, you may need to complete specific general education requirements if you have not already. These topics could be explored as well:
- Human biology
- Introduction to psychology
- Fundamentals of nursing
- Adult health nursing
How Do I Select a School?
Before you select your online school, check with the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) to see if the institution is accredited. It's important to determine if you'll need to travel to campus to satisfy any of the school's requirements; some online bridge programs require you to be on campus for orientation, labs and proctored examinations. Most schools also require you to complete supervised clinical sessions at a health care facility, but most of those can be done near your residence. You should determine how the approval process for these sessions works prior to enrolling in an online LPN program. The following schools offer these programs:
- Rasmussen College
- Montgomery Community College
- Montana State University
- Fortis College
- Allegany College of Maryland