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Top Online LPN Programs 2024

10 Min Read Published November 1, 2023
The Best Online LPN Programs | Nurse.org

There’s never been a better time to enter the healthcare field, and becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) is one of the most rewarding and accessible options available. Healthcare professionals make a difference in the lives of patients no matter what their title or role, but LPNs provide hands-on care and compassion at the time that they need it the most.  

As the population ages, the need for healthcare professionals is growing, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is projecting that there will be 2.6 million new jobs in the industry in the next ten years. Now’s the time to earn your credentials and set yourself up for a stable career with plenty of growth opportunities. The top online LPN programs profiled below provide a great way to accomplish that goal.

What is an LPN?

LPN stands for Licensed Practical Nurse, and it is a nursing title that takes little time to achieve, with candidates going from wondering about a career to working in a little more than a year. 

LPNs are entry-level nurses who can be found working in almost every setting where care is provided, but most work in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. Patients and their families rely on LPNs for assistance with eating, bathing, toileting, and understanding the treatment plan that’s in place, while the medical staff looks to their skills in administering intravenous drugs and medications, monitoring patient vitals, and helping ensure that care is effective. LPNs work as integral partners in the healthcare team.

Fast Facts About Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)

Salary

$54,620 per year (BLS)

Program Length

1-2 years

Requirements

High school diploma or GED with minimum GPA or GED score

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Are There Online LPN Programs?

Aspiring LPNs can complete their coursework online, but because nursing is by definition a hands-on profession you will still be required to fulfill your clinical training hours in person. Every online LPN program has its own ratio of in-class and clinical training and its own required number of hours dedicated to each. Both online and in-person programs have their own arrangements and criteria for the type of facilities at which students can put in their practical hours.

Top Online LPN Programs

Choosing the online LPN program that’s the best fit for you is a highly personal decision that’s based on your specific needs, so the selection criteria that we used for our list of the best online LPN programs consider the factors that most students value most highly: 

  • The quality of their curriculum and faculty
  • The cost to attend
  • Flexible access to online classes
  • Reputation
  • Student/faculty ratio
  • Student placement services 
  • Return on investment

1. Holmes Community College

Holmes Community College is a public institution located in Central Mississippi. The practical nursing program trains its students to benefit the community through the promotion of health and well-being, education, and community service. It offers both campus-based and distance education LPN programs that are offered as either a full-time day track or a hybrid option. 

  • Tuition: $1,350 per semester
  • Program Length: Full Time – One year (3 semesters)/Hybrid – 20 months (5 semesters)/ Evening/Weekend (5 semesters)

  • Are Online Options Available? Yes

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 

  • Requirements: High school diploma or GED certificate; official transcripts from all schools/colleges previously attended criminal background check, drug screening, fingerprinting. Must complete prerequisite courses.

2. Lake Area Technical College

Lake Area Technical College is a public community college in Watertown, South Dakota. The school offers four paths to an LPN degree: a full-time and part-time campus option and a full-time and part-time online option. The Practical Nursing E-Degree is only available to residents of South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

  • Tuition: $2,728 per semester

  • Program Length: 11 months (full-time) or 22 months (part-time)

  • Are Online Options Available? Yes 

  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)

  • Requirements: High school diploma or GED certificate; official transcripts from all schools/colleges previously attended. ATI-TEAS entrance exam. Must complete prerequisite courses.

  • Contact Information: admissions@lakeareatech.edu, 605-882-5284, Online Form

3. Ashland Community and Technical College

Ashland Community and Technical College is a public community college in Ashland, Kentucky. It is an open-admissions college and part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. The program offers both in-person and online classes in nursing theory, as well as hands-on training aimed at maintaining health and preventing illness.

  • Tuition: $8,550-$10,070 for the entire program

  • Program Length: One year

  • Are Online Options Available? Yes 

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

  • Requirements: High school diploma or GED certificate; official transcripts from all schools/colleges previously attended. Must complete prerequisite courses.

  • Contact Information: 855-246-2282, Online Form

4. Pinellas Technical College

Practical Nursing is offered as either a traditional on-site program or an online (hybrid) format. The two are exactly the same, though the online program provides the majority of its academic theory via computer. Clinical hours are scheduled on weekends and evenings as much as possible. The school does not accommodate students who want to complete hours at clinical sites other than those in its immediate area. The LPN program partners with HCA Florida Northside Hospital and students have the availability to secure employment after successfully completing the program. 

  • Tuition: $7,435 total program cost (traditional) $7,453.90 total program cost (hybrid)

  • Program Length: 15 months

  • Are Online Options Available? Yes 

  • Accreditation: Council on Occupational Education (COE)

  • Requirements: A high school diploma or GED is required to enter the program. Applicants are required to take and pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS). Specific health occupations admission guidelines (immunizations, drug screening, background check, etc.) are also required.

  • Contact Information: corthellk@pcsb.org, 727-538-7167 ext 2017

5. Northland Community and Technical College

All of the general education courses are available online, though Minnesota State Board of Nursing policy dictates on-site attendance requirements for six specific courses and that the clinicals and other on-site requirements for the Practical Nursing Diploma program be completed at the East Grand Forks, MN campus.

  • Tuition: $187.53 per credit hour

  • Program Length: One year

  • Are Online Options Available? Yes 

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission and National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation, Minnesota Board of Nursing

  • Requirements: A high school diploma or GED is required to enter the program or complete developmental courses if indicated by the Accuplacer test and meet all program prerequisites with a grade of ‘C’ or higher. Students must submit evidence of competency as a nursing assistant within the past 5 years. Current CPR certification and specific health occupations admission guidelines (immunizations, drug screening, background checks, etc.) are also required.

  • Contact Information: enrollment@northlandcollege.edu, 1-800-959-6282

What to Expect in an Online LPN Program

LPN programs are formal training programs that provide an education in basic nursing. Most are offered by community colleges, technical schools, and hospitals, and though LPNs do not graduate with a degree upon graduation they are prepared to take the National Council Licensure Examination for LPNs (NCLEX-PN) exam and are eligible for admission into fast-track programs to becoming Registered Nurses in the future. No matter which program you choose, upon graduation you will be able to begin working with patients quickly. 

LPN Classes & Coursework

Every program has its own features and priorities, but most classes offered in LPN programs are foundational and designed to provide a strong base of knowledge in nursing theory and ethics. 

Whether you enroll in an in-person or an online program, you will engage in both classroom and lab work, as well as practical training within healthcare facilities. LPN students spend much of their time learning,

  • Anatomy
  • Human growth and development
  • Nutrition and physiology
  • How to administer medication
  • Monitor vital signs
  • Enter pertinent information in the electronic medical records 

Your hands-on training will stress the compassion and care that patients need and deserve, particularly relating to hygiene, mobility, and communication. Because there are so many different patient populations and care settings with their own unique character and operations, most LPN programs will dedicate time to familiarizing their students with the needs of varied age groups and facility types so that nurses can adjust their care appropriately. 

How Long Does it Take to Get Your LPN Online?

LPN programs can take as few as seven months to complete and as long as 24 months, but most take approximately one year whether offered in person or online.  

Online vs In-Person LPN Programs: Which is Right for You?

Both online and in-person LPN programs offer the opportunity to quickly gain the education and training you need for a career in healthcare. But beyond the outcome, there are significant differences between the two, and the one that’s right for you is based on your personal preferences and needs. 

While a traditional in-person program offers the opportunity to interact directly with peers and professors and the advantage of having practical hours established for you by the institution, online learning offers greater flexibility and convenience, and the ability to continue meeting family obligations or earning income as you learn. Advances in technology have virtually erased many of the quality and networking differences that earlier online students experienced and have opened the possibility of networking with professionals far beyond immediate surroundings. 

When it’s time to make your decision, there is less difference between online and in-person education than in the quality of an individual program, its accreditation, the reputation of its faculty, and the services that its administration provides in terms of placement and professional guidance. By doing your homework on these elements, you can be sure to give yourself the best start on a bright new career.

LPN Career Overview >> LPN to RN Programs >> LPN vs RN >>

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