LVN stands for licensed vocational nurse, and LVN programs help people learn and train to become LVNs. In many places the term LPN or licensed practical nurse is in more common use. People searching for LVN programs may also want to search for LPN programs, especially if they live outside of California or Texas, where LVN is most used.
There are several ways an LVN program may be offered. They may be available through community colleges, which is often the least expensive way to complete a program. There are also online LVN programs through some colleges, and a number of trade or private nursing schools offer training to become a nurse too. Since numerous places may offer LVN training, length of time required to complete a program can be variable.
Most LVN programs will be completed within one to two years, and this usually includes the amount of time that a training nurse must spend doing practical supervised work. Most people who have graduated high school meet all requirements to get into a vocational nursing program, but each school may have its own requirements. Those programs offered through standard four-year colleges might have more entry requirements than does training offered at a nursing school or community college.
People considering LVN programs should definitely look for those that offer practical experience. This may be a fault of some distance learning opportunities, and it may be a problem when it comes time to look for work. LVNs with hands on experience are generally thought more employable.
Equally important is that any school attended is reputable and will result in obtaining licensing. If a school is not accredited and recognized by licensing boards, it’s not worth attending. It isn’t hard to find numerous schools that are recognized and will help attain LVN or LPN status.
Many people who become LVNs or LPNs later want to become RNs (registered nurses). The pay is more rewarding and RNs are in high demand. Those interested in LVN programs should verify that each program will help count toward RN studies. Some nursing schools do have LVN to RN programs that will help make this transition easier, but if a person wants a college degree they should consider programs that offer transferable college credits and an associates degree on completion of the program.
LVN programs vary in length, training and expense. Community colleges may offer the least expensive programs and often have well-established practical training opportunities. Nursing schools may help train LVNs more quickly, and though these are more expensive, most people may qualify for financial aid. Since salary for an LVN is not high, people should weigh amount of loans they may require to finish a program against earning potential in the future. Less expensive options that don’t require accumulating a lot of debt can be preferable.