If you want to begin a career in the healthcare industry, becoming a nurse is a great way to get started. By completing a nurse training program, you will gain the experience, skills, and knowledge needed to begin an entry level position. There are several different nursing schools to choose from, and deciding which type of nurse you want to become will play a large role in your education.
Nursing schools offer education programs for both registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNS). Your choice to become an RN or an LPN will affect the length of your education as well as your coursework. For more information about nursing programs, contact a nursing school below.
What You Need to Apply for a Nursing School
Whether you hope to become an RN or an LPN, you will first need to earn a certificate or a degree at a nursing school. Most nursing schools require applicants to have a high school diploma or a GED. In addition, it is helpful to have some background knowledge in subjects related to the field such as anatomy, chemistry, nutrition, physiology, and even liberal arts. If you are thinking about becoming a nurse, you may want to research some of these subjects to prepare yourself for the type of coursework you will encounter throughout your education.
Program Lengths for Different Degrees
Nursing schools offer several different nursing degree programs. To become an LPN, you will have to earn a certificate from an accredited program. For those pursuing a career as an RN, you have a few more options. RNs usually pursue either a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing, an associate’s degree in nursing, or a diploma. Most nursing schools offer the following programs:
Certificate: Nursing certificate programs usually take one year to complete. In general, certificate programs are offered at community colleges, technical schools, and occasionally even in high schools. Students in these programs will take a wide variety of subjects that cover everything an LPN will typically encounter on the job. In addition to completing a certificate programs, LPNs must pass a licensing exam before working in any state.
Associate’s Degree in Nursing: An ADN degree program, in addition to nursing diploma programs, usually take 2-3 years to complete. In addition to standard courses covering anatomy, social and behavioral sciences, psychology, and more, students will be expected to complete supervised clinical sessions. This will involve on the job training in actual hospitals or physician offices.
Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing: A BSN degree program can take up to 4 years to complete and typically includes additional training in several areas. An RN with a bachelor’s degree will have more leadership experience, allowing them to work closely with doctors to aid and care for patients. As with LPNs, all RNs must obtain a license regardless of their degree level.
Choosing the Right Nursing School
A nursing school must be approved by the state board in order for graduates to be able to take the NCLEX licensing tests and begin their careers. Not to be confused with accreditation, a state approval simply means that the curriculum meets that state’s requirements for nursing education and is by no means to be construed as a national accreditation. Often times larger schools will have regional state approval but lack a national accreditation. Check with your school’s enrollment officials to determine the status of your program.
Accreditation is an extra, voluntary step that schools undergo in order to affirm that their programs meet certain higher levels of standards. Finding an accredited program can be vital depending on the career path you see for yourself. If you’re interested in one day furthering your education you should know that some programs will not transfer credits earned at a non-accredited institution. Graduates from a non accredited school are also prohibited from working at a VA hospital, federal prison or in any other governmental capacity.
There are two main accrediting bodies for nursing schools in America.
- The National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) – the NLN accredits LPN, ASN, BSN, and graduate nursing programs. If you’re just starting out in the nursing field and looking for a nursing school with accreditation, you’ll should ask about the NLN.
- The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) – The CNCE only accredits baccalaureate and graduate level nursing programs. You can browse their list of accredited programs on their website.
This isn’t to say that attending a nationally accredited school is the only option for aspiring nurses. Many nurses find gainful employment and successful careers after simply graduating from an approved school and earning their license. It all depends on where you see yourself progressing within the industry. It’s also worth noting that the NCBSN has made public strides urging state boards to adopt a national form of nursing accreditation though it’s unclear at this point if the movement will gain traction nor how that would affect existing RNs and LPNs already in the field.
You will also want to compare tuition rates between various nursing schools. If you cannot find tuition information online, contact the nursing program you are considering for more details. Another thing to consider is physical versus online nursing schools. If you are not close to a nursing school, you may want to think about enrolling in an online program.
Nursing Schools Enrolling Now
At Post University, we believe you shouldn’t have to put your life on hold to further your education. That’s why we offer a wide range of quality Certificate, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in a highly interactive online format that emphasizes flexibility, convenience, and support. Whichever program you choose, you can take classes in 8-week modules, six times a year from faculty members with advanced degrees and extensive real-world experience. You’ll also enjoy access to a full array of academic support services, including advising, tutoring, writing center assistance, and our virtual library at no additional charge.
- Post University Online
- Certificate: Legal Nurse Consulting
Franklin Pierce University
- 100% online – complete your degree on your own time, wherever you’d like
- 8-week courses – finish courses faster than in a traditional semester program
- Credit transfer available – transfer your associate degree or diploma credits easily
- Financial aid available to those who qualify – don’t let costs keep you from progressing in your nursing career
- RN to BS in Nursing
Discover all that Northwestern College has to offer:
- Financial aid and scholarships (for those who qualify)
- Day, evening, weekend, and online courses
- Academic and career advising
- Free tutoring sessions
- Employment assistance
- Externship opportunities
- An encouraging learning environment
- Medical Assisting
The Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health
The Salter School of Nursing & Allied Health is a licensed, post-secondary vocational school with a primary purpose of training individuals for employment in health care. The Career Education courses being offered are designed to provide participants with knowledge and skills that will foster employment success on a career ladder. The Salter School of Nursing & Allied Health is dedicated to the provision and promotion of quality, career-oriented educational opportunities for Nurses, Nursing Assistants, and Laboratory Personnel, through classroom presentations, hands-on laboratory experience and applicable on-the-job training in externship opportunities.
The institution is accredited by ACICS. The LPN program is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.
- Licensed Nursing Assistant
- Practical Nursing
Concorde Career College
We believe hands-on experience is the best way to learn. And at Concorde, you’ll find that a “learn by doing” approach to healthcare training will get you the skills you need to succeed – and get you into the workforce quickly.
Even in today’s economy, the demand for skilled healthcare professionals shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Career Guide to Industries (2010-2011 Edition), the healthcare industry will generate .2 million in new wage and salary jobs between 2006 and 2016 – more than any other industry.
Now’s a great time to get started – and to move toward a rewarding healthcare career.
- Kansas City
- San Bernardino
- North Hollywood
- San Diego
- Garden Grove
- Nursing - (AS)
- Nursing - (AAS)
- Practical Nursing - Diploma
- Practical Nursing
- Vocational Nursing
- Vocational Nurse