LVN programs, or licensed vocational nurse programs, are a type of nursing degree program and train students to work in a hospital, home health care facility, physicians' office or other health care organization. LVN programs provide the training needed for students who want to apply for an LVN license, and some LVN programs are offered in an online format. LVN programs prepare students to work as a vocational nurse or a nurse's aide in a hospital or medical clinic immediately after graduation.
What Type of Training Do LVN Programs Provide?
LVN programs train students to perform a number of different tasks in a hospital, clinic, home health care service or nursing care setting. LVNs are trained to take vital signs, gather information about the patient's health, collect lab samples, assist patients throughout the treatment process, and also serve as a nursing assistant or nurse's aide. Students who complete an LVN program and obtain their LVN license are eligible to apply for entry-level positions in their field.
Most LVN programs are just a year in length and offered at technical colleges or trade schools. Some LVN programs include didactic and lab training, as well as an internship so that students can get the hands-on, firsthand experience they need to be successful in their careers.
Applying to LVN Colleges and LVN School
Individuals interested in applying to an LVN college or LVN school must have graduated from high school or have completed their GED. They must also be 18 years of age. Students attending LVN colleges or LVN schools are responsible for paying all tuition and fees before enrollment, and some schools and colleges require students to complete a Scholastic Level Exam (SLE), as well as some prerequisite courses. Students applying to an LVN college or LVN school must have strong math and science skills, and most have excelled in high school biology, advanced algebra, statistics and health courses. Many LVN colleges and LVN schools require students to complete an interview with a program director as part of the LVN college admissions process.
LVN Courses and Training Requirements for LVN Programs
Students completing an LVN nursing program must take several different types of specialized LVN classes and LVN courses. Some of the most common LVN courses required at LVN schools or an LVN college include:
Anatomy and Physiology
Fundamentals of Nursing
Medical and Surgical Nursing
Advanced Medical and Surgical Nursing
Maternal and Child Training
Most LVN training programs also require students to complete CPR training, an internship workshop and attend student orientation before the LVN programs begin.
Completing LVN Programs Online
Some LVN schools and colleges allow students to complete LVN programs online. LVN classes and LVN programs offered online have a similar curriculum as LVN programs you would find at a brick-and-mortar school, except the online LVN nursing program may require students to watch live lectures, download course materials, complete quizzes and assignments over the web, and participate in discussion groups. Some portions of LVN programs require students to complete a clinical training component at a local hospital or other training facility.
Getting an LVN License Online
Students who are working full-time or those that are currently stay-at-home parents may benefit from completing LVN programs online. Online LVN programs provide students with the training and knowledge they need to get their LVN license and apply for a job in their field. Online LVN programs may be more affordable than LVN training programs at a vocational school or college, and offer students a chance to interact and work with instructors and students all over the country. After doing the necessary work to apply for an LVN license online, students will be well-prepared to apply for a bachelor's or master's degree in their field.
In order to obtain an LVN license, an individual must:
Be proficient in the English language
Complete a national background check
Graduate from a state-approved nursing program with a practical nursing certificate
Complete at least 960 hours of coursework in the last five years
Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)
Complete their state's license verification process
Career Options After LVN School or an LVN Nursing Program
Individuals who have successfully completed LVN courses and training through an LVN nursing program can find work as a Licensed Vocational Nurse. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 18 percent of LPNs and LVNs worked on a part-time basis in 2008, and employment of LPNs is expected to grow much faster than the average through 2018.
The majority of LPNs and LVNs worked in employment services, nursing care facilities, home health care services, general medical and surgical hospitals, and in the offices of physicians. As of May 2008, the median annual wages of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses were $39,030.