Considering nursing school, but not quite sure where to start? Many nurses get their foot in the door as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). It’s a fantastic way to get down the nuts-and-bolts of nursing, and even to test the waters to make sure that you enjoy the field before advancing. As with most decisions in life, there is more than one path to get to your goal! Both an LPN degree program and an LPN diploma program can result in a great place to begin your nursing career.
Besides being a springboard to other nursing roles, first, let’s pause at the LPN role. LPNs make a comfortable salary. According to the State of Connecticut, the wages reported for LPNs in 2019 reached a mean of $27.87 hourly! With a 40-hours a week role, 52-weeks out of the year, Connecticut LPNs make $57,970 annually, on average.
What does an LPN do?
As an LPN, you will provide front-line, practical care to patients. In your educational program, whether at the degree or diploma level, you will learn how to:
- Provide basic bedside care.
- Assist with personal hygiene.
- Identify key factors in monitoring patient condition.
- Collect data including physical assessments.
- Implement and delegate the provision of therapeutic care.
- Promote patient safety at your nursing facility.
- Follow the guidelines of the Connecticut Nurse Practice Act.
Where can an LPN work?
With an LPN degree or LPN diploma, you will be qualified to work in care settings such as:
- Nursing homes.
- Hospitals and emergency rooms.
- Rehabilitation centers.
- Public schools.
- Home house care.
Here is the bottom line.
You’ll receive the same training, be eligible for the same jobs, and the same salaries, whether you decide to enroll in an LPN diploma, or an LPN degree program. At the completion of your LPN program, you will need to take the NCLEX-PN exam in order to achieve your licensure. By law, you must be certified in order to begin practicing.
What’s the difference between an LPN degree and diploma program?
There are a few key differences. When you speak of an LPN “degree” program, really, you are referencing the word “Associate.” An Associate Degree is typically an 18-month to two-year program. Courses will include core subjects that may not apply directly to the nursing specialty, such as social studies or communications. Associate degree programs function as a stepping-stone to more advanced and lengthier degree programs, like the Bachelor’s or the Master’s. Typically, the coursework that sits outside of the nursing scope in the Associate Degree program, is there in order to bulk up the number of credits earned, therefore offering an advantage when attempting to transfer those credits. Due to this ability to advance, a “degree” program holds a certain amount of prestige in academic settings.
LPN diploma programs, on the other hand, put you right in the thick of nursing. The goal with an LPN diploma program is to hone in on only the courses that you need to complete the LPN job. Because of this, you can earn your LPN diploma in as few as 16 months. With a diploma program, you save time and money, and get to work faster. This, in turn, allows you to start earning and helping patients faster.
Both LPN degree and LPN diploma programs may be offered online, in a hybrid format which includes online and classroom learning, or in a classic on-campus setting. The advantage to learning online is that you may benefit from flexible scheduling options. And, you will never have to wait in line to sign up for a course that you need. The round-the-clock options available in online learning, are a good fit for many round-the-clock workers. You may be employed already. You may hope to continue working part or full-time while in school to become a practical nurse. If this is the case, it would be advantageous to consider a program that offers online coursework, and that gets you where you want to be quickly and conveniently.
When it comes to LPN school, the choice is yours. Take long-term planning into consideration, as well as current circumstances. Investigate program cost and format. Think about the time, money, and resources that you have available for education. Ask yourself if the NCLEX-PN exam is at the end of your educational tunnel for now. Think about whether a salary of almost $58k sounds like a good place to begin, and if, and how soon, you may want to continue investing in more school and more advanced degrees.
Take all of this into account, and call Stone Academy at 800-585-1315 to learn more about an affordable, flexible diploma program that can help you reach great heights as a Licensed Practical Nurse. Find out what it takes to apply today.