Have you always dreamed of being a nurse? There has never been a better time to start than right now! Nursing is a growing field that needs qualified people. One of the first steps you can take to begin an excellent career in nursing is to attend one of the best LVN programs to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a licensed vocational nurse (LVN).
An LVN and an LPN are basically the same things and the terms are used interchangeably. This level of nursing differs from that of a registered nurse (RN) as there is less schooling and less responsibility. However, LVNs are no less essential to healthcare than RNs and both make a difference in other people’s lives.
The duties performed by LVNs vary depending upon what state they work in and the company for which they are working. In general, as an LVN you will be part of a team of healthcare professionals providing care for the patients with whom you come in contact. Whatever you are doing, you can know that you are a vital part of every healthcare setting.
Your job as an LVN may include duties such as:
Licensed vocational nursing programs come in two varieties: certification or an associate degree. The minimum length is generally a year and it prepares you to sit for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing – Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) exam. This licensure test costs $200 to take and is administered by the State Boards of Nursing. These programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and are approved by the State Boards of Nursing. They require both classroom work as well as clinical hands-on experience.
Being an LVN qualifies you to work in an assortment of different healthcare environments including home healthcare agencies, schools, private practice offices, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. Licensed vocational nurses are in high demand and the job outlook is exceptionally good. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a 16% increase from 2014-2024, with a median salary of $21.20 an hour, or $44,090 a year.
Becoming an LVN is an excellent way to start working in the medical field without several years of schooling first.
Bismarck State College is located in its namesake, Bismarck, North Dakota. Their path to LPN/LVN certification is organized as a career ladder. It begins with training as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and progresses towards a certificate in practical nursing. The licensed vocational nursing program is 11 months in length with classroom work delivered via on-campus instructors and through the Interactive Video Network (IVN) connection with other schools and clinical/lab practice at local sites.
Auburn, Washington is home to Green River College. Their 105 credit LVN program offers small class sizes at a moderate annual tuition rate.
Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls, Minnesota provides their LVN program as a 44-credit diploma option. Classes are available on campus as well as online.
The licensed vocational nursing program at Northwest Technical College in Bemidji, Minnesota is a one-year campus-based program that starts each year in the fall.
In Fergus Falls, Minnesota, Minnesota State Community and Technical College’s practical nursing program is completed over two semesters and totals 40 credits.
North Dakota State College of Science is located in the town of Wahpeton in North Dakota. Their LVN program is five semesters long and begins twice a year during the fall and spring semesters. In the first two semesters instruction is entirely on campus and at local long-term care facilities with classroom, clinical, and lab instruction including IVN course work. The last three semesters focus on clinical work with affiliates in home health, long-term care, psychiatric, adult, and other nursing areas.
Anoka, Minnesota is home to the aptly named Anoka Technical College. It offers a moderate student to faculty ratio and tuition coupled with strong NCLEX-PN pass rates to make them a wonderful choice for beginning a career as a licensed vocational nurse.
The bustling town of Louisville, Kentucky is home to ATA College. Their LVN program is an associate degree program that takes 15 months to complete. At this time, they have no waiting list for this program.
In Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, Hennepin Technical College offers an LVN program each fall. At that time, a cohort of roughly 48 students is admitted to this two-semester program. The program is demanding with classes scheduled full time. Classes are approximately four days a week, from four to eight hours in length.
Dakota County Technical College is found in the community of Rosemount in Minnesota. The licensed vocational nursing program that they offer is 42 credits and begins in the fall and spring semesters. Classes are held during the day and students are expected to attend on a full-time basis.
Perkinston is a community in beautiful Mississippi and home to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Here they offer an LVN program twice each year, fall and spring, that has moderate class sizes and tuition costs.
Del Mar College calls Corpus Christi, Texas home and offers an LVN program. On campus, you’ll find small class sizes, low tuition, and a perfect NCLEX-PN pass rate. Some of the classes needed to complete this program are also available online.
Beautiful Sacramento, California is home to a campus of Carrington College. They offer a certificate in LVN/LPN studies that runs for 48 weeks of class time.
The Erie, Pennsylvania campus of Fortis Institute offers an LPN program. Their LVN program offers small class sizes and perfect NCLEX-PN pass rates.
The Associate of Occupational Studies in Practical Nursing can be found at the Platt College campus in Ontario, California.
The LVN program at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California accepts applications from April 1 through June 30 each year.
Pennsylvania College of Technology is located in the town of Williamsport. Their LVN program is 17 months long. It provides on-campus classroom instruction in basic nursing skills and theory as well as clinical experiences through area health care agencies, nursing homes, and hospitals.
The LVN program at Dickinson State University is a 66 credit Associate of Applied Science degree offered in Dickinson, North Dakota. They have very small class sizes that allow for great one-on-one learning.
St Cloud Technical and Community College in Saint Cloud, Minnesota offers a full-time and part-time option for students pursuing their LVN programs. Both are 40 credits and the college has an overall job placement rate of 97 percent.
The San Jose campus of Carrington College offers an LVN program that is 41 credits and results in a Certificate of Achievement. They offer moderate class sizes and a good graduation rate.
At the Platt College Los Angeles campus, the Associate of Occupational Studies in Practical Nursing is offered for LPN/LVN hopefuls. It blends classroom learning with real-life hands-on experience in real-world clinical rotations and onsite labs.
Gavilan College is located in the community of Gilroy, California. They offer an LVN program with the next cohort being admitted in the fall term of 2020. It is three semesters long and requires roughly 50 credits to complete.
Napa Valley College in Napa, California offers a two-year part-time LVN program. The next cohort for this program is being admitted in 2021 with applications being available in May of 2020.
The community of Marysville in California is home to Yuba College. Their LVN program provides nursing students with an innovative new curriculum, a quality simulation center, distance education opportunities, outstanding clinical facility placement, and high-tech computer labs.
The vocational nursing program offered at Feather River Community College District in Quincy, California provides a path to either a Certificate of Achievement or an Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing.
In the city of Carlsbad, the campus of New Mexico State University offers a 41 credit LVN program resulting in a Certificate of Achievement.
Mission College in Santa Clara, California offers an LVN to RN program in addition to their LVN programs so that students can continue their education if they choose. The next application period for their LVN program is scheduled during the fall 2020 semester.
The LVN program at Arkansas Tech University – in scenic Russellville – is a 63 credit hour track that leads to an Associate of Applied Science degree.
The beautiful community of Eureka, California is the home of College of the Redwoods. Their LVN program is 61 credits and results in an associate degree. Their stunning 100 percent NCLEX-PN pass rate is worth noting.
Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Washington offers an LPN program that is four quarters – one year – in length. In addition to the tuition, they charge an additional $100 in application fees for admission to this program. It is offered twice a year – fall and spring cohorts – and classes are filled on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Santa Rosa Junior College in California is offering a three-semester LVN program. Students attend classes, clinical, and skills laboratory for approximately 32 hours per week. Most weeks have 4 days of required attendance with some having 5 days. In addition to pre-requisite and co-requisite courses, students complete 665 hours of theory and 1101 hours of clinical/lab work.
The Lawton, Oklahoma campus of Platt College offers an Associate of Occupational Studies in Practical Nursing program that combines classroom learning with hands-on training in onsite labs and real-world clinical rotations.
Wharton County Junior College – in its namesake Wharton, Texas – provides a 12-month LVN program. It is a full-time program that requires 40-hours per week, Monday through Friday. Information sessions are held on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 4:00 pm September through March.
The LVN program at Pasadena City College in California is two semesters plus one summer intersession. It is a 12-month certificate program beginning every fall semester and includes required courses throughout the fall, spring, and summer sessions totaling 37 credits.
The LVN certificate offered by the College of the Siskiyous in Weed, California is 54 units in length. The next cohort begins in January of 2020 and offers strong NCLEX-PN pass rates and moderate tuition costs.
Butte College is located in scenic Oroville, California. Their Associate of Science degree in LVN studies is a 60-credit program with limited class sizes. Admission to the program is based on general and academic requirements and is unavailable to anyone having failed out of any nursing program more than once in the past.
Las Cruces is home to New Mexico State University-Dona Ana. They offer an LPN certificate program that boasts a 100 percent NCLEX-PN pass rate and highly affordable tuition costs.
MiraCosta College is found in scenically beautiful Oceanside, California. They offer a six-quarter LVN program. This program is predominately weeknights and weekends. Throughout the fall and spring semesters, it includes a four-and-a-half-hour Tuesday night class and eight-hour Saturday clinical. The summer session is more condensed and may include day hours. They are currently accepting applications for their next cohort in the fall of 2022.
Idaho State University, in the lovely community of Pocatello, provides an LVN program to help train the next generation of nurses. It accepts students every year in August and may include clinical hours that require evening, weekend, or overnight rotations.
Lewiston, Idaho is home to Lewis-Clark State College. They offer an LVN program of study that is 12 months in length with 2 semesters of required prerequisite courses prior to applying. It is a certificate program that is 44 total credits.
Saint Paul College in Minnesota offers an LVN program that is available through a variety of delivery methods. These include online, traditional on-campus, and a hybrid of the two. While they have relatively low tuition, their large class sizes and low NCLEX-PN pass rates coupled with a mediocre graduation rate have pushed them down to the 43rd position of our list.
Glendora, California is home to Citrus College. They offer a full-time vocational nursing certificate program that takes one calendar year to complete. A class of 24 students starts every fall and spring semester. The full-time track meets five days a week with some evening clinical rotations or weekend experience. Students can pursue an Associate of Science degree with a minimum of 60 units required. Eighteen (18) units from the vocational nursing program are applied to this.
Copper Mountain Community College – in Joshua Tree, California – provides an LVN program that consists of three full semesters beginning the Tuesday after Memorial Day and extending through the end of May of the following year. It requires attendance at classes five days out of every seven and may include weekend and evening hours. A new cohort of students begins each June and finishes the following May. The student may earn a certificate or, with additional coursework, an associate degree.
Santa Barbara City College offers a full-time LVN course of study that spans three semesters, with a summer break. A new cohort of students begins every 18 months with the next starting in the fall of 2020. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates receive a Certificate of Achievement in Vocational Nursing and are eligible to receive an Associate of Science in Vocational Nursing if all college AS degree requirements are met.
The LVN program at Merced College in Merced, California is three semesters of combined didactic and clinical work on campus and at affiliated health care facilities. Students can choose between a certificate program or an associate degree track.
Lassen Community College is located in Susanville, California and would be a great option for students wanting to be an LVN.
Cuesta College is found in San Luis Obispo, California. Their LVN program is a full-time program that requires a commitment of rigorous study for one year or three semesters. Students are required to attend classes and clinical rotations five days a week for six to nine hours each day and are expected to maintain a flexible schedule in order to accommodate the scheduling demands of the clinical rotations.
The California school, Imperial Valley College, offers a full-time 12 to 14 month – or part-time 18 to 20 month – LVN program that is 96 credits total. It accepts a cohort of 24 applicants that are chosen randomly by the Nursing Program Selection Committee.
Institutions offering LPN or LVN programs were evaluated using common factors. For the purpose of this list, those factors include the tuition (per year for undergraduate level students), the student to faculty ratio, and the graduation rate of each school.
If you feel your school should be on this list or spot an error in a school you represent, please contact us to let us know.