Do you dream of a career where you make a difference, help others, and have plenty of room and opportunity for growth and advancement … all while making a great wage? Then becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) could be the right path for you.
Working under the direction of doctors and registered nurses (RNs), LPNs provide basic medical care services. These duties include but are not limited to:
Depending upon what type of health setting an LPN works in, some of these duties may be less prominent while others are more so. However, it is likely that an LPN will be a central figure to any medical establishment.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics through the United States Department of Labor, LPNs are in high demand nationwide. They are expecting 12 percent growth in the job market for LPNs between 2016 and 2026. This is almost double the seven percent growth expected during the same period for all other careers.
Nationally, the average LPN annual salary is roughly $45,030 or $21.65 per hour. In the state of Connecticut, the market for LPNs is even better than the average with their annual salary being approximately $57,210 or $27.51 per hour.
The first step is to enroll in an approved LPN program at an accredited school. While each institution has its own specific requirements for admission, there are some basic requirements that all schools share. These include:
Among the various nursing programs in Connecticut, LPN programs in Connecticut are regulated by the Connecticut State Department of Public Health. As such, only three schools are approved to offer the LPN program in CT. They are all less than two-year private schools that operate in a for-profit capacity. Between these three schools – Porter & Chester Institute, Stone Academy, and Lincoln Technical Institute – there are nine campuses that the state has approved to educate the next wave of Licensed Practical Nurses.
These programs are all accredited by the Connecticut Board of Nursing and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing Inc. For LPN licensure, the state requires that these programs provide 1500 or more hours of nursing theory spread over a minimum of ten months of study. It also allows for clinical work experience to be used as a substitute for missing hours.
To achieve the dream of becoming a nurse, you first have to choose the best school at which you will complete your program. To that end, this list has been developed using a detailed methodology that focuses on per credit hour tuition cost, NCLEX-RN pass rates, and student to faculty ratios.
The Rocky Hill campus of Porter & Chester Institute was established in 1973 and is located less than ten miles south of the capital city, Hartford. Situated along the banks of the Connecticut River, Rocky Hill was rated the 35th Best Place to Live in the United States by CNN’s Money Magazine. It offers students a large bedroom community setting in which to learn with ample cultural and entertainment options to add to their learning experience.
Check out the 80 acres of Dinosaur State Park National Historical Preserve with its fossilized Jurassic period prints. Ride the nation’s oldest continuously running ferry service, the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury Ferry. Get a well-rounded education to start your career in the nursing field.
Less than ten minutes east of New Haven, on the Long Island Sound, is the shoreline town of Branford. The campus of Porter & Chester Institute located here offers an LPN program that promises education and training to pass the NCLEX-PN in a large suburban setting. Learn about nursing surrounded by six historic districts that are listed on the U.S. National Registry of Historic Places (NRHP).
Opened in 1996, this campus offers state of the art classrooms and facilities for LPN students. In addition, the Branford community offers recreational and cultural options like cruises to the Thumb Islands, seal watching cruises in March, and a plethora of parks, marinas, and beaches along 20 miles of coastline.
Opened in 1979, the Enfield campus of Porter & Chester Institute offers LPN training in as little as 15 months. Bordered on the north by Longmeadow Massachusetts, Enfield is a part of Hartford County that is bordered on the west by the Connecticut River. This provides students access to a number of river activities between classes and clinicals. Enfield was once home to the historic Enfield Shaker Village established in 1793 that – while long gone – still leaves some interesting marks on the community.
Nicknamed “The Brass City,” Waterbury is home to the #4 campus on this list. Another Porter & Chester Institute campus, the Waterbury LPN program follows all others through this school by boasting a 70 percent graduation rate. The community it calls home is the fifth largest city in Connecticut and sits on the former Algonquin land along the Naugatuck River. It holds some interesting distinctions like being the setting for the book and movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and as the birthplace of actor Dylan McDermott. Neither of which have anything to do with their outstanding LPN program … but are still pretty cool.
The Stratford campus of Porter & Chester Institute is considered its main campus and has stood since 1973. It offers their LPN program at the standard Porter & Chester Institute cost of $17,220 for tuition and fees with $1600 in books and supplies. Located on the Long Island Sound along the “Gold Coast” of Connecticut, Stratford sits at the mouth of the Housatonic River. This allows for great river activities for downtime between classes, clinicals, and studying.
Lincoln Technical Institute opened in 1946 and offers both day and evening programs. Their LPN program requires roughly 52 and 92 weeks to complete respectively. It is 1591 instructional hours for a total of 61-semester credits. The Shelton campus of Lincoln Technical Institute boasts a 64 percent graduation rate for this program. The community of Shelton has the motto, “Vision To See, Faith To Believe, Courage To Do” which is an excellent mantra for those pursuing a career in nursing.
Lincoln Technical Institute also offers its LPN program at its campus in New Britain. The only difference from that program offered at their Shelton campus is that they have a higher graduation rate, 74 percent. The Hospital of Central Connecticut is New Britain’s largest employer which bodes well for those in this LPN program. An interesting – albeit unrelated – piece of New Britain history is that the basketball skill of dribbling was developed here in 1895.
Stone Academy offers an LPN program that promises no prerequisites, no waiting lists, flexible schedules, and job placement assistance. In addition, regardless of campus, Stone Academy provides an LPN program that is 1,800 hours and takes an average of 16 months to complete.
The Stone Academy campus in West Haven is their main campus and boasts the higher graduation rate of 71 percent. The West Haven campus has the newest facilities with roughly 28,000 square feet of generously sized classrooms, library space, medical labs, administrative offices, and a vast student lounge.
The LPN program offered at the East Hartford campus of Stone Academy costs slightly more than the same program at their main campus. It also has a lower graduation rate of 55 percent. Opened in 2005, this campus has a large landscaped campus with picnic tables, benches, campus buildings, and old growth maples. This home of Samuel Colt – founder of Colt Firearms – is the last school on this list of Connecticut LPN programs.
With the right information, choosing the school that will best meet your unique needs while pursuing an LPN program is not that daunting. By evaluating the schools listed here based on your own specific qualifying factors will narrow the list even further.
The schools on this list were all held to the same measure for evaluation purposes that led to their rankings. These factors were the per credit hour tuition cost, NCLEX-PN pass rates, and student to faculty ratios. Within these categories, the schools were evaluated thusly:
Per credit hour tuition cost
This amount is calculated for each school to represent a per credit cost for tuition. All figures are based on full-time attendance. For those that are provided as “per term” or “per year” totals, the per credit amount is determined via a formula that assumes 2 semesters per year at 12 credits per semester – the average amount among schools in the United States.
Schools were then rated on their per credit cost of tuition from the least expensive to the most expensive.
NCLEX-PN Pass Rates
These were gathered from the National Council State Boards of Nursing report. The higher the pass rate, the better the school was ranked for this category.
Garnered from the schools’ websites, these numbers were ranked with the lower ratios falling in a better position than those with higher ratios. Lower ratios guarantee small intimate class sizes and personal attention.
Once they were ranked individually, their rankings in each category were then added together to reach a total ranking indicating which schools have the most to offer prospective LPN programs. By using the same metrics to evaluate all the schools on the list, they can be ranked with confidence.
Those schools with a lower per credit hour tuition cost, higher NCLEX-PN pass rates, and lower student to faculty ratios top this list. Conversely, those with higher per credit hour tuition costs, lower NCLEX-PN pass rates, and higher student to faculty rations are nearer the bottom.