A licensed practical nursing (LPN) degree is generally considered the initial stepping stone for those exploring a career in nursing. LPN degree programs provided through a college or university's distance-learning services normally require applicants to have earned at least a high school diploma or GED prior to enrollment.
Degree programs teach prospective nurses essential technical skills, which can lead the individual to licensure credentials and entry-level nursing jobs in many different types of healthcare environments. When researching options for obtaining their LPN degree, prospective students should verify that the program they are interested in is accredited by their state's Board of Nursing. Coursework for these programs is offered online, and students must make sure they have access to computers with video conferencing capabilities. In addition to this, most programs require that some in-person clinical training be completed as well. As such, no LPN programs can be entirely completed online. However, medical assistant associate's degrees can be found entirely online.
After students successfully complete their online LPN degree program, which normally takes about one year, they are required to pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-PN) and a state licensing exam before they are considered a licensed practical nurse.
Each school designs its own curriculum for LPN training. Below are some of the frequently found courses in distance-learning LPN programs.
Human Body Structure and Functions
This course is found at the beginning of online LPN education programs. It includes vital training lessons in topics like anatomy and physiology.
Mental Health Aspects in Nursing
With this course, students learn about the communication and human interaction roles of nursing. Therapeutic methods, mental health concepts and interpersonal communication tools are taught.
Nursing Care of Adults
This online class discusses methods of providing care unique to adults and elderly residents in hospital-type environments. Instruction is also given on how to make clinical judgments about the type of care given to patients who have or are recovering from an illness.
Nursing Care of Children
This course focuses on critical thinking techniques in regards to the best methods of providing children and parents information on preventing illnesses. Prospective LPNs also learn to give advice on recovery processes.
Online programs combine traditional training and a flexible schedule. Normally, the programs blend online lectures via video conferencing or similar technology with hands-on clinical assignments at local care facilities. Programs may combine courses that are asynchronous, allowing students to study at their pace, and synchronous, requiring real-time participation.
Overview of Schools
Below are two schools offering programs that qualify students to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN).
Southeast Community College
Southeast Community College in Nebraska offers a hybrid LPN degree program through a number of its 20 locations across the state. Students learn to assess the health status of a patient, prepare physical and psychological health plans and provide safe care. This community college has been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since the early 1980s.
- Student Population: 9,248
- Tuition (2015-2016, In-state): $3,218
Chemeketa Community College
Chemeketa Community College is located in Salem, Oregon, and offers a practical nursing certificate program. Students are required to complete 50 credits, which are applicable to the school's Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree.
Chemeketa's curriculum includes teaching its students a holistic style of nursing for giving individuals and families care, as well as methods of decision-making at the LPN level, which is in compliance with current legal and ethical standards.
- Student Population: 11,454
- Tuition (2015-2016, In-state): $4,230
Licensed practical nurse degree programs prepare students for entry-level positions in the nursing field. Many programs are available online, however they require practical, in-person training in addition to online courses.