There are a number of online colleges with LPN to RN programs available. While it might not be a difficult decision to go back to school to become an RN, choosing which program is best for you takes careful deliberation. There are pros and cons to each program available, so let’s talk about some of the major factors to consider.
Factor #1: Accreditation
By far, one of the most important characteristics for an online nursing program to have is accreditation. Schools that aren’t accredited often don’t require much of their students. Essentially, they are diploma mills, handing out certifications in exchange for “tuition” money. This isn’t true of every non-accredited program, of course, but if you work in the field of medicine, you need to have an education from an accredited school or you may not qualify for licensing. If your school isn’t accredited, you also may not qualify for scholarships and grants.
Factor #2: Hands-On Learning
Medical work is very hands-on, so training has to be as well. Find out what kind of hands-on learning is available with every LPN to RN program you consider. Does the school have partnerships with local hospitals? Are there simulators available online through the program? If your education boils down to lectures and reading, it is probably not the top LPN to RN program online.
Factor #3: Experienced Nurses as Professors
Just because you don’t go to college on a campus doesn’t mean that your professors don’t need to be authorities on the subjects that they teach. Most of your professors should be experienced nurses or other types of health care professionals. Ask for credentials to ensure that those teaching you about nursing are qualified to do so.
Factor #4: NCLEX-RN Preparation
To become an RN in your state, you must graduate with at least a 2.5 GPA and you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. Does your online program help you prepare for this test? A quality education doesn’t necessary teach for the test, but at the same time, your final weeks in the LPN to RN program should focus on what to expect for the exam. They should also help you fulfill other requirements to become an RN, such as filling out the Nursing and Allied Health application if you haven’t done so already. In other words, your online program should have a support system to help you go from student to nurse.
Factor #5: Modern Material
As an LPN, you likely already know the ropes when it comes to nursing. However, as the world changes, hospitals get new equipment and doctors learn new techniques every single day. The best LPN to RN programs available online don’t shy away from this new technology. If you graduate from the program and everything you’ve learned is 10 years out of date, you might as well have just continued to be an LPN.