Vocational nursing programs are most commonly available as diploma and certificate programs that last approximately one year. After completing the coursework and clinical experience these programs require, students usually take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) to work as a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) in their state. Schools commonly offer continuing education options for graduates through an associate's degree program that prepares them for registered nurse (RN) licensure. In some cases, those already possessing a nursing associate's degree can find a specialized vocational nursing certificate program.
Houston Community College
Founded in 1971, Houston Community College, located in Houston, Texas, offers classes to over 63,000 students each year. Those interested in nursing studies can choose from a certificate for aspiring vocational nurses or an RN associate degree program for those who are already LVNs.
The 44-credit, 1-year certificate program is highly selective for admissions. Classes cover topics such as anatomy, nutrition, pediatrics and general nursing skills. Training qualifies students to take NCLEX-PN exam, and students may continue on with the associate's program to get licensed as an RN. The 72-credit-hour LVN-to-RN associate's degree program includes classes in pharmacology, microbiology and clinical decision-making.
Lone Star College
Lone Star Community College (LSCS), which has two of its campuses in North Harris and The Woodlands, enrolled over 62,000 students in Spring 2010. For its production and award of associate degrees, Community College Week ranked the school 16th in the nation and number one in Texas, as of 2010. The school offers certificate programs in nursing assisting and vocational nursing, as well as two professional nursing associate's programs.
The 28-credit nursing assistant certificate program covers topics such as anatomy, physiology and introductory nursing. Both of the vocational nursing certificate programs require 47 credit hours of coursework and lead to LVN certification. The first program is suitable for those entering the nursing field for the first time, while the second program is for nurses who possess an associate's degree and is only available at the North Harris location. Students take classes in pharmacology, microbiology and clinical nursing.
The school offers a 72-credit associate's program with a nursing specialization, as well as a 60-credit program that is designed to help students transition to an RN career. Both programs include nursing classes for anatomy and physiology, microbiology, clinical nursing and practical nursing skills. The transitional program includes more clinical nursing sections.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School||School Type & Setting||Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Houston Community College||2-year, public; large city|| Vocational Nursing Certificate
AAS - LVN-to-RN
| $1,632 (in-district),
|Lone Star College||2-year, public; small city|| Nursing Assistant Certificate
Vocational Nursing Certificate
Vocational Nursing ADN-to-VN Certificate
AAS - Nursing Specialization
AAS - Transition to Professional Nursing
| $1,600 (in-district),
Source: *NCES College Navigator