Individuals in Pennsylvania who are interested in becoming licensed practical nurses have a wide range of schools with which they may study. Programs lead to certificates and diplomas; a few training programs ending with certification eligibility only are also available. Certificate programs may take 18 months to two years to earn the credits necessary and some include general education courses in addition to nursing classes. All nursing programs include practicum or clinical elements.
Community College of Beaver County
Students in the practical nursing program at the Community College of Beaver County in Monaca can earn a diploma in three semesters, or one calendar year. The 50-credit program begins with the spring semester. Courses include anatomy/physiology, information technology, human development and psychology. Nursing courses have classroom and clinical components, and students get supervised experience working with adults, children and newborns in healthcare facilities.
Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center
Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center offers the LPN program at its Johnstown, Ebensburg and Monroeville campuses. Students can enroll in a full-time day program or a part-time program with classes in the evenings and weekends. The full-time program requires three 16-week periods of study, while the part-time program calls for three 32-week periods. Students take courses in math for nurses and nursing fundamentals and learn about nutrition, pharmacology and body structure. Classes and clinical experiences in mother/child nursing, pediatric nursing and medical/surgical nursing are part of the program as well.
Harrisburg Area Community College
The complete LPN certificate program is offered at the Harrisburg and Lancaster campuses of Harrisburg Area Community College, and some courses available at the Gettysburg, Lebanon and York campuses. General education courses cover 13 credit hours, with the clinical portion of the program comprising an additional 30 credit hours over three semesters. The college also offers a 136-hour program that allows LPNs to focus on a specific area of nursing, such as home health care, long-term care or ambulatory health care. This LPN New Pathways program costs $950, plus the cost of textbooks.
Lancaster County Career and Technology Center
Students in the practical nursing program at Lancaster County Career and Technology Center in Willow Street get 1,575 clock hours of classroom instruction and clinical experience in the practical nursing program. The program is divided into three levels. In Level I, classes include nutrition, human development, anatomy/physiology and introduction to medical surgical nursing as well as a practicum in nursing principals. In Levels II and III, the students get instruction and practical experience in nursing topics including pediatric nursing and mother/child nursing.
Lehigh Carbon Community College
Lehigh Carbon Community College offers a 51-credit certificate program in practical nursing at its Schnecksville and Tamaqua facilities. The program requires three semesters of study including classroom and clinical courses in various aspects of nursing. Students take courses in sociology, human development, anatomy and current social issues as well.
Northampton County Area Community College
Northampton County Area Community College offers a certificate program in practical nursing at its campuses in Bethlehem and Monroe. The one-year program begins in the fall. Students complete 16 credits of general education courses and 27 credits of nursing courses, which include classroom and clinical work. Classes, labs and most clinical experiences are offered during the day. General education courses are also available in the evenings and online.
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Practical nursing students at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport must earn 75 credit hours for the associate degree program. The degree prepares them to go to work in the field or to continue their education at the associate or baccalaureate level. Courses during the 17-month program include nursing care of adults and mother/child nursing as well as anatomy, psychology and English composition. Admission to the LPN program is competitive, and applicants are ranked according to total number of college credits and grades in their pre-major courses, especially math and science. The school also offers a three-month practical nursing certificate.
Pennsylvania Institute of Technology
Located in Media, the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology offers a certificate program in practical nursing that can be completed in 12 months of full-time studies in the day program or in 21 months of evening and weekend classes. The program consists of lectures, labs and clinical experiences in area healthcare facilities, and students get a foundation in pediatrics, maternity, acute care and long-term care. Admission is competitive, and applicants must be at least 17, take an admissions test and provide a high school transcript or GED diploma with scores.
Reading Area Community College
The practical nursing program at Reading Area Community College in Reading requires 12 months of nursing study plus the time required to complete prerequisite general education courses in writing, reading, math and science. In the nursing program, students learn through classroom work along with clinical experiences and observation in area healthcare facilities. Students must have at least a 2.5 grade point average in their prerequisite courses for admission to the practical nursing program.
Westmoreland County Community College
Practical nursing students at Westmoreland County Community College in Youngwood and in Waynesburg get clinical experience and classroom instruction in a variety of nursing areas including in a long-term care, mental health nursing, acute care and maternity care. Both campuses have modern simulation labs where students can practice their skills. The students have the option of exiting the nursing program after three semesters of nursing study with a diploma in practical nursing or to complete selected courses at Level I and Level II in order to earn an associate's degree in nursing. Completing all the courses in Levels I and II would give the student both a diploma in practical nursing and the associate's degree.
Practical nurses in Pennsylvania are under the supervision of the State Board of Nursing. To become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) in Pennsylvania, an individual must complete a practical nurse training program approved by the state and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN.) The board requires a criminal background check.
Here are short synopses of programs at 10 of the largest institutions with LPN programs, all of which meet state licensing requirements.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Practical Nursing Diplomas and Certificates Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-16)|
|Community College of Beaver County||Two-year; public; large suburb||Practical Nursing Diploma||$5,460, in-district; $10,320, in-state; $15,180, out-of-state*|
|Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center||Less than two-year; public; small suburb||Practical Nursing Program||$16,530*|
|Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg||Two-year; public; small city||Practical Nurse Certificate||$6,015, in-district; $7,500, in-state; $8,940, out-of-state*|
|Lancaster County Career and Technology Center||two-year; public; large suburb||Practical Nursing Program||$12,744*|
|Lehigh Carbon Community College||Two-year; public; large suburb||Practical Nursing Certificate||$3,800, in-district; $7,070, in-state; $10,340, out-of-state*|
|Northampton County Area Community College||Two-year; public; large suburb||Practical Nursing Certificate||$3,990, in-district; $8,700, in-state; $12,840, out-of-state*|
|Pennsylvania College of Technology||Four-year, primarily associate's; public; small city|| Associate of Applied Science Degree with Practical Nursing Emphasis,
Practical Nursing Certificate
|$15,810, in-state; $22,470, out-of-state*|
|Pennsylvania Institute of Technology||Two-year; private not-for-profit; large suburb||Practical Nursing Certificate||$13,200*|
|Reading Area Community College||Two-year; public; small city||Practical Nurse Program||$5,130, in-district; $8,850, in-state; $12,510, out-of-state*|
|Westmoreland County Community College||Two-year; public; rural||Practical Nursing Diploma||$4,830, in-district; $8,670, in-state; $12,330, out-of-state*|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).