If you’re looking to pursue a career as an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) in Pennsylvania, there are a variety of online programs that can help you achieve your goal. In this guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at the top online LPN programs available in PA.
What is an LPN?
Before diving into the details of LPN programs in PA, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what an LPN does. An LPN is a healthcare professional who works under the supervision of an RN (Registered Nurse) or physician. They are responsible for providing basic nursing care to patients, such as administering medication, monitoring vital signs, and dressing wounds.
Should I Pursue an LPN Program Online or In Person?
The decision to pursue your LPN education online versus in person depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. Some students find that online programs offer more flexibility and convenience, while others prefer the structure and hands-on learning opportunities offered by traditional classroom-based programs.
Online LPN programs typically consist of virtual lectures, discussions, assignments and exams that students complete from their own homes. Some programs may require students to participate in clinical rotations at local healthcare facilities under the supervision of a licensed nurse.
Top Online LPN Programs in PA
Here are some of the best online LPN programs available in Pennsylvania:
1. Harrisburg Area Community College
Harrisburg Area Community College offers its Practical Nursing program entirely online. Students complete coursework on their own schedule and must attend weekly virtual live class meetings with instructors. The program also requires 126 hours of clinical experience at approved healthcare facilities.
2. Delaware County Community College
Delaware County Community College offers a hybrid Practical Nursing program that combines online coursework with on-campus labs and clinical rotations at local healthcare facilities. The program can be completed in three semesters and leads to a diploma in practical nursing.
3. Community College of Philadelphia
The Community College of Philadelphia offers its Practical Nursing program entirely online, with clinical rotations completed at local healthcare facilities. The program can be completed in four semesters and consists of both virtual and face-to-face coursework.
4. Lancaster County Career & Technology Center
The Lancaster County Career & Technology Center offers an online Practical Nursing program that can be completed part-time over the course of three years. The program includes online coursework as well as hands-on clinical experience at approved healthcare facilities.
5. Reading Area Community College
Reading Area Community College offers a hybrid Practical Nursing program that combines online coursework with on-campus labs and clinical rotations at local healthcare facilities. The program can be completed in four semesters and leads to a diploma in practical nursing.
What to Look for in an Online LPN Program
When researching potential LPN programs, there are several key factors to consider:
- Accreditation: Look for programs that are accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
- Cost: Determine the total cost of the program, including tuition, fees, and any required materials.
- Clinical requirements: Find out how many clinical hours are required for graduation and if the program has partnerships with local healthcare facilities.
- Flexibility: Determine if the program allows you to study at your own pace or if it requires attendance at live virtual class meetings.
- Graduation rate: Research the graduation rate for each program to get an idea of student success rates.
- Job placement: Ask about job placement rates for graduates and whether the school has connections with local employers.
With so many options available for online LPN programs in PA, it’s important to research each school carefully before making a decision. Consider your personal preferences and circumstances, as well as each school’s accreditation, cost, clinical requirements, flexibility, graduation rate and job placement rate. With the right program, you can be on your way to a rewarding career as an LPN in no time.
What are the benefits of pursuing an online LPN program in PA?
Online LPN programs in PA offer flexibility, convenience, and affordability. Students can balance their studies with work and family responsibilities, complete coursework at their own pace, and save on commuting and housing expenses.
How long does it take to complete an online LPN program in PA?
The length of an online LPN program in PA depends on the institution and the student’s schedule. Generally, it takes 12-18 months to complete a full-time program or longer for part-time options.
Are all online LPN programs in PA accredited?
No, not all online LPN programs in PA are accredited. It is essential to check the institution’s accreditation status before enrolling to ensure that it meets national standards of quality education. Accreditation also affects eligibility for financial aid and licensure.
How much does an online LPN program in PA cost?
The cost of an online LPN program in PA varies depending on factors such as the institution, delivery mode, materials required, and other fees such as registration and technology charges. On average, students can expect to pay between $10,000-$15,000 for tuition and related expenses.
Can I enroll in an online LPN program without prior healthcare experience?
Yes, many online LPN programs in PA do not require previous healthcare experience or professional certification as a prerequisite for admission. However, some institutions may consider it during the selection process or offer preparatory courses to enhance student readiness for clinical placements.
What are some of the prerequisites required for admission into an online LPN program in PA?
Prerequisites vary by institution but may include a high school diploma or equivalent certificate, minimum GPA requirements, completion of pre-requisite courses such as anatomy and physiology, nursing fundamentals, and medical terminology. Some institutions may also require criminal background checks and drug screenings before enrolling.
What is the job outlook for LPNs in PA?
The job outlook for LPNs in PA is positive, with an expected 9% increase in employment by 2029 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). LPNs can work in various healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, home health agencies, and schools.
Can I transfer credits earned from previous coursework into an online LPN program in PA?
It depends on the institution’s transfer policy and accreditation status. Some institutions accept transfer credits from other accredited vocational or technical programs or community colleges while others may require students to retake certain courses to meet their specific requirements.
What are some common topics covered in online LPN programs in PA?
Online LPN programs cover a range of topics such as pharmacology, patient care concepts, medical-surgical nursing, pediatrics, obstetrics/maternity nursing ethics and professional practice standards. Students also gain hands-on clinical experience through supervised placements at healthcare facilities.
How can I find the best online LPN program in PA that meets my needs?
To find the best online LPN program that suits your goals and preferences consider factors such as accreditation status, cost structure, curriculum content and delivery mode (synchronous vs asynchronous), instructional support services (e.g., tutoring) student outcomes (e.g., licensure pass rates) Career services/Job placement assistance. Researching multiple options will help you make an informed decision that fits your unique circumstances.