The Top Online LPN Programs 2021

September 21, 2021

reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
The Top Online LPN Programs 2021

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Online LPN and LVN Programs

Online LPN programs train students to work under the direction of registered nurses and doctors. A licensed practical nurse, or LPN, provides basic nursing care to patients.

To become an LPN, students enroll in a vocational school diploma LPN or LVN program. The fastest way to enter the nursing field, these programs typically take 12-13 months to complete. Curricula include topics such as anatomy and physiology, nutrition, and restorative nursing care, all of which can be stepping stones toward a nursing degree

Graduates who complete a licensed practical nurse program or licensed vocational nurse program often find employment in hospitals, long-term care facilities, independent doctor's offices, and schools. Their responsibilities include monitoring patient health, administering basic patient care, making patients comfortable, and keeping patient records. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, LPNs earn a median annual salary of $47,480 with a projected job growth of 9% from 2019-2029, much faster than the average job growth rate.

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Questions People Ask About LPN Degrees

true Q. What degree do you need to be a LPN?

LPNs complete a state-approved nursing program that culminates in a diploma in practical nursing.

true Q. How many years does it take to be a LPN?

It takes roughly one year to become an LPN. Aspiring LPNs complete a vocational program in practical nursing and pass a licensing exam.

true Q. What is the difference between an RN and LPN?

LPNs provide basic nursing care and maximize comfort for patients. RNs administer treatments, medications, and offer health advice to patients. It takes longer to become an RN than an LPN.

true Q. Is LPN the same thing as LVN?

Yes, LPNs and LVNs work the same job. Both LPNs and LVNs work under RNs and doctors. The term LVN occurs more frequently in California and Texas, while LPN occurs more frequently in other states in the U.S.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Nurse - Nursing Timeline

A typical nursing degree can take 2-4 years to complete. Each level of nursing has its own timeline, and that timeline can vary depending upon factors like part-time vs. full-time enrollment, certification, and the type of program.

Below is an overview of the typical amount of time it takes to complete a nursing degree, keep in mind that the length provided is for the amount of time it takes to complete that segment of the degree, not the entire academic path overall:

Nursing Degree LevelTime of Completion
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) 2-3 years
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN/LVN)1-2 years
Registered Nurse (RN)4 years
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)4-5 years
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)1.5-3 years
Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP)1-3 years

What Are the Goals of an LPN/LVN Degree?

LPN/LVN program objectives primarily include preparing students to take the NCLEX-PN licensing exam and obtain a career in the nursing field. Programs cover topics such as anatomy and physiology, nutrition, emergency care, pediatric nursing, and long-term care. Students also take courses in the psychosocial impact of disease, nursing administration, and cultural differences in medical care.

Some LPN/LVN programs offer the option to specialize in a particular area like obstetric nursing or rehabilitation. Students also gain hands-on experience through completing supervised clinical hours at a hospital, nursing home, or other healthcare environment.

Why Get an LPN/LVN Degree?

Pursuing an LPN/LVN degree comes with several personal and professional benefits, including affordability, career advancement, and a holistic overview of the nursing profession.

LPN/LVN programs allow students to enter the nursing field quickly and typically take 12-24 months to complete. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer affordable LPN/LVN programs. Some hospitals and healthcare environments reimburse tuition for an LPN/LVN program if students agree to work for them for a number of years after graduation. Graduates of an LPN/LVN program often qualify for bridge programs to more advanced nursing degrees, such as an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Students need these degrees to become an RN. LPNs and LVNs can earn certifications to demonstrate mastery of a specialization and earn a higher salary. Certifications for LPNs include gerontology, rehabilitation, long-term care, and pharmacology. LPN/LVN programs provide a well-rounded foundation in the field, combining instructional classes with hands-on clinical experience to train students in patient care.

What Are the Requirements for an LPN/LVN Degree?

Community colleges and vocational schools house most LPN/LVN programs. Admission requirements for an LPN/LVN degree coincide with entrance requirements for the college. Applicants need a high school or GED diploma. Some schools and programs require students to meet specific GPA or standardized test score minimums. LPN/LVN degrees often require prerequisites such as high school biology or advanced math courses.

To graduate from an LPN/LVN program, students must complete required courses and a certain number of supervised clinical hours. The exact amount of clinical experience required varies depending on the state and specific program.

Professional Organizations for LPN/LVN Students

Professional organizations provide students and practicing nurses with opportunities to network with colleagues in their field, access to continuing education and certification, educational and research resources, and career services. Some professional organizations also offer scholarships and preparatory resources for the NCLEX exam or certification exams. Organizations often specialize in a specific field or level within nursing. Others remain open to all nursing practitioners.

The ANA advances the nursing profession by supporting individuals and organizations. They offer several certifications, including the adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner certification (AGACNP-BC) and the family nurse practitioner (family NP) certification. Members also benefit from continuing education workshops, scholarships, and career services. The NSNA mentors nursing students and prepares them for careers as registered nurses. The organization boasts 60,000 members in all 50 states. Nursing student members gain access to professional development opportunities, the NSNA annual convention and midyear conference, and publications. The ENA supports the education and practice of emergency nurses. Members enjoy access to continuing education courses, certified nursing education (CNE) certification preparation resources, evidence-based resources for emergency nursing practice, and an annual conference. The ENA also advocates for emergency nursing professionals with government agencies and public policy.

Scholarships for LPN/LVN Students

Scholarships for LPN/LVN programs allow students to earn their degree more affordably. Organizations offer scholarships based on financial need, merit and achievement, and field of specialty. Other scholarships support students from underrepresented groups pursuing a career in nursing. See below for scholarships for nursing students.

Scholarships for LPN/LVN Students
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

DAR Caroline E. Holt Nursing Scholarship

$2,500 The Daughters of the American Revolution award this scholarship to three students admitted to an accredited school of nursing who demonstrate financial need. To apply, candidates include a nursing program acceptance letter or transcripts showing enrollment in a nursing program.

AACN Scholarship

$2,500 Hurst Review Services and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing partner to award students pursuing professional nursing degrees. Applicants must show enrollment in an LPN or RN program at an AACN member school. Eligible applicants have not obtained licensure at the time of application.

FNSNA Undergraduate Scholarship Program

Up to $7,500 per year The Foundation of the National Student Nurses' Association awards scholarships to students enrolled in nursing programs across the U.S. Each scholarship in the general scholarship program typically focuses on a particular area of specialization underrepresented in the nursing field, such as critical care, oncology, or emergency nursing.

The Top Online LPN/LVN Programs 2021

Copiah-Lincoln Community College View School Profile Wesson, MS $4990

Based in Wesson, Mississippi, Co-Lin offers a one-year licensed practical nursing training program. Students complete coursework online and gain eligibility to sit for practical nurse licensure exams.

Students take 44 credits in nursing foundations, including courses such as therapy and pharmacology, specialty areas in nursing, adult health nursing concepts, and body structure and function. Students complete required clinicals at the direction of the instructor. Students work various shifts and gain experience in direct patient care with direct mentoring from those in the field. At the end of the program, students can achieve certification and move on to the next stage of nursing.

Students need a minimum ACT score of 16 and a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students must also submit ATI TEAS exam scores. Accepted students must send a record of CPR certification and a physician-signed health form.

Co-Lin is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Coastal Pines Technical College View School Profile Waycross, GA $2933

Based in Waycross, Georgia, CPTC offers a diploma in practical nursing. Students can complete the program in five semesters, taking 57 credits of nursing foundation courses.

The program provides a clear introduction to nursing best practices. The curriculum begins with general education courses, including fundamentals of English, fundamentals of mathematics, and basic psychology, before moving on to nursing requirements. Notable nursing courses include structure and function of the human body, introduction to pharmacology and clinical calculations, and maternity nursing. Clinical requirements allow students to provide direct patient care and receive training in the field.

Applicants must possess a minimum GPA of 2.75 in all required courses to qualify for admission. Students may complete required courses during the first term of acceptance into the nursing program if space permits but should plan to take the coursework before applying.

CPTC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Ashland Community and Technical College View School Profile Ashland, KY $5733

Located in Ashland, Kentucky, ACTC offers a variety of nursing programs, including an option to become a licensed practical nurse. The program includes 46-53 credits, and most students finish in two years.

Students take courses such as medical terminology, general psychology, and pharmacology in nursing. Students can complete most coursework online, with practicum requirements completed in person. Lab and practicum requirements offer students the opportunity to provide direct patient care and gain vital skills within a real healthcare setting. Motivated students can move on to the school's online ADN bridge program.

Applicants must possess a completed nursing aid certificate and a minimum GPA of 2.5 to qualify for admission. Students must also complete all prerequisites with a grade of "C" or better for program eligibility.

ACTC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Jandy Gu holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Florida. She is an ethnographer by training, educator by job experience, and freelance writer by a combination of necessity and obsession. She has published scholarly essays, blogs, and informative articles on topics of art, culture, language, community and identity, and education.

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