Online Vocational Nursing Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

Vocational nursing training can be completed partially online, typically through certificate programs. Students may also be interested in transitioning from vocational nurses to registered nurses after receiving initial training, which is also possible to do in a semi-online format. Below we will discuss various degree options, program flexibility, and necessary licensure requirements.

How to Select an Online Vocational Nursing School

Students considering online vocational nursing schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Vocational nurses, also known as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), work under the direction of registered nurses and physicians to care for ill, disabled or injured patients, often in long-term care facilities, like nursing homes. Although fully online programs in vocational nursing are not an option, some colleges offer hybrid programs in which students complete coursework online and clinical experiences at a hospital or healthcare facility. Successful completion of a certificate program can usually qualify graduates to take the exam necessary to become an LPN.

Degree Options and Licensing Requirements

Fully online degrees for prospective vocational nurses do not fulfill licensing requirements. Though requirements vary by state, all vocational nurses must complete the NCLEX-PN examination before being licensed to practice. This involves completing an accredited program with associated clinical components.

A few hybrid programs are available that allow students to take a portion of their class work online are available. Hybrid programs are also available for practicing vocational nurses who wish to further their nursing education and become registered nurses.

Program Flexibility and Scheduling

Normally, the online classes associated with a hybrid program do not have any particular schedule and can be completed at any time before a single class end date. Most of these hybrid programs are designed to serve working adults, with in-person classroom sessions and clinical requirements scheduled for nights and weekends.

Online Program Options for Vocational Nursing

Online-Hybrid Certificate in Vocational Nursing

A hybrid certificate program in vocational nursing is typically designed for students who wish to complete their nursing education while still working full time. Students may be able to complete clinical requirements during nights or weekends, and in-person classes are often offered on the weekends. Common courses include:

  • Cultural diversity and health care
  • Gerontology
  • Nursing health and illness
  • Finance management
  • Healthcare ethics

Online-Hybrid Associate of Applied Science in Nursing

Online associate's degrees in nursing are available specifically for practicing vocational nurses who wish to complete their nursing degrees and take the NCLEX-RN examination required of registered nurses. Normally, these degrees are also hybrid, but a few fully online options are available depending on the institution and the state. Common courses include:

  • Dosage calculations
  • Common and complex concepts of adult health
  • Care of children and families
  • Nursing jurisprudence

Schools with Online Vocational Nursing Programs

For students with no background in nursing, they may be interested in pursuing North Central Texas College's (NCTC) licensed vocational nurse program, which can be completed online except for the clinical requirements scheduled on weekends. The program takes one year to complete and is split into three semesters. Students who are completing the program online must start in January and end in the month of December, as there is only one admission date for online students. Before beginning the program, students must take Anatomy and Physiology for Allied Health.

Panola College also offers an Associate Degree in Nursing that is designed for vocational nurses who want to transition into RNs. This hybrid track can be completed over 12 months with online classes. Students will complete clinical requirements on evenings and weekends, though the clinical site must be within 70 miles of Carthage, TX. For individuals interested in this program, they will have to complete seven prerequisite courses including biology, psychology, and English courses. They will also have to take the HESI A2 Admission test and score beyond the minimum requirements to qualify for admission, in addition to providing documentation of at least a year of vocational nursing experience.

To conclude, students who are interested in vocational nursing can complete online certificate programs with in-person clinical requirements. They may also choose to transition from vocational to registered nursing with hybrid associate's degree programs that take their past work and educational experiences into account.

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