This article discusses several 2- and 4-year colleges in Florida that offer undergraduate technical and vocational certificate programs for aspiring licensed practical nurses (LPNs). These programs combine classroom lectures with labs and clinical experiences. Courses cover anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, health care vocabulary, community health, mother and infant care, geriatric care and surgical nursing. Applicants may need to complete certain prerequisite courses and pass an assessment exam to be considered for admission. Programs may take around 1-1.5 years to complete.
Daytona State College
Spaces are limited in the practical nursing certificate program at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent, take a skills assessment test and complete an introduction to healthcare course and an anatomy/physiology course for healthcare providers. The certificate program requires three semesters of full-time study. The curriculum consists of classroom studies as well as lab and clinical skills practice. Courses include neuromuscular sensory nursing, mother/child nursing and medical-surgical nursing. Students learn clinical techniques, communication skills and employability habits during their training.
Eastern Florida State College
At Eastern Florida State College in Cocoa, students can earn a practical nursing certificate in one year. The program begins in January, and admission is limited. Students are chosen based on application information, such as high school and college grades, healthcare work experience and performance on a skills assessment test. Brevard offers a transition route for Florida certified nurse assistants (CNAs) who want to enter the LPN program. The LPN curriculum includes courses in nutrition, pharmacology, mother/child nursing and medical-surgical nursing. Students learn through labs and nearly 700 clock hours of clinical work in real healthcare facilities.
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Florida State College at Jacksonville offers a practical nursing certificate program through its jobs training division, Florida Coast Career Tech. The program requires 45 course credits earned through 1,350 contact hours. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate and take a basic education assessment test. The LPN curriculum consists of five courses. In the health careers core course, students learn about the healthcare delivery system, communication and nutrition. In the nursing careers core, they study anatomy, medication administration and medical terminology, as well as complete a clinical component. Three practical nursing courses cover various types of nursing and include clinical experience in local healthcare facilities.
Gulf Coast State College
The practical nursing program at Gulf Coast State College is offered at the Gulf/Franklin Center in Port St. Joe. Admissions are selective, and applicants must be high school graduates or the equivalent. They must also take a basic education assessment test. The program consists of 14 courses totaling 45 credit hours. The first two courses in the program qualify students to take the CNA examination. Courses in the LPN program cover the structure of the body, pharmacology, life span development and community health. Students gain practical experience through supervised nursing work in a variety of healthcare settings.
Indian River State College
Earning a certificate in practical nursing at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce requires one year of full-time study. Students take six courses that cover all aspects of practical nursing, including geriatric care, medical-surgical nursing and anatomy/physiology. Most courses have a clinical component that allows students to practice their skills. There is also a course that prepares students for the licensure exam and helps them with employability issues.
Palm Beach State College
At Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, practical nursing certificate students can earn a certificate in about 16 months of full-time study, with classes and clinical work offered during daytime classes, Monday through Thursday. Students gain experience caring for patients of all ages, with acute and chronic conditions. Because South Florida has a large population of elderly residents, special attention is given to geriatric nursing. Students who complete the LPN program are granted 10 credits towards an associate's degree in nursing.
Pasco-Hernando Community College
Pasco-Hernando Community College offers the practical nursing program during the day at its North Campus in Brooksville and during the day, evenings and weekends at the West Campus in New Port Richey. Clinical work is scheduled at facilities in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. Space is limited in the practical nursing programs, and students must take a skills assessment test. The practical nursing certificate requires 45 credit hours of courses, including anatomy and pharmacology. Students take classes and gain practical experience in nursing skills and caring for patients of all ages.
Pensacola State College
Located in Pensacola, this school has a certificate program in practical nursing that requires four terms of study: two summers, a fall and a winter. The program calls for 45 credits, with courses in physiology, pharmacology and interpersonal relationships in nursing. Students learn nursing skills through classroom lessons and supervised clinical experiences and lab work.
Santa Fe College
Students in the practical nursing program at Santa Fe College in Gainesville spend about half their time in classes and labs and the other half gaining practical experience at healthcare facilities in the area. This certificate program calls for just over ten months of study. Courses cover nursing concepts, assessment and nursing theory. Clinical experiences involve mother/child nursing, medical-surgical nursing and care of patients with complex needs.
The Florida Board of Nursing licenses practical nurses. To become a licensed practical nurse, an individual must complete a practical nursing program at a state-approved or accredited institution or take courses in a registered nursing program that are equivalent to practical nursing education. Military training also may be acceptable. Aspiring LPNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Applicants for licensure must undergo criminal background checks and submit information on their health. Below are brief overviews of the ten largest Florida schools that have LPN programs, and all meet state standards for practical nursing education.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||LPN Certificates Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Daytona State College||Four-year, primarily associate's, public; small city||Practical Nursing Vocational Certificate||$3,282 in-state; $12,352 out-of-state*|
|Eastern Florida State College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Practical Nursing Postsecondary Adult Vocational Certificate||$2,496 in-state; $9,739 out-of-state*|
|Florida State College at Jacksonville||Four-year, primarily associate's, public; large city||Practical Nursing Workforce Certificate||$2,830 in-state; $9,944 out-of-state*|
|Gulf Coast State College||Four-year, primarily associate's, public; small city||Practical Nursing Vocational Certificate||$2,765 in-state; $10,072 out-of-state*|
|Indian River State College||Four-year, primarily associate's, public; large suburb||Practical Nursing Certificate||$2,764 in-state; $10,201 out-of-state*|
|Palm Beach State College||Four-year, primarily associate's, public; large suburb||Practical Nursing Postsecondary Adult Vocational Certificate||$2,444 in-state; $8,732 out-of-state*|
|Pasco-Hernando Community College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Practical Nursing - Technical Certificate||$3,155 in-state; $12,032 out-of-state*|
|Pensacola State College||Four-year, primarily associate's, public; small city||Practical Nursing Vocational Certificate||$2,704 in-state; $10,875 out-of-state*|
|Santa Fe College||Four-year, primarily associate's, public; midsize suburb||Practical Nursing Vocational Certificate|| $2,539 in-district;
Source: *NCES College Navigator.