An LPN program online is probably the fastest way you can enter the nursing profession. But, no LPN program is strictly online, but we’ll go into more detail about that later. In general, LPN programs are direct-entry, meaning you can enter directly from high school without any previous training in nursing. LPN programs last on average 1 year (two years in Canada), which is on par for other accelerated nursing programs where you receive a different type of nursing degree, such as a BSN or MSN. We’ll sort out all the details you need to know about these programs in this article. We’ll also talk about the advantages of fast-track LPN programs online, and give you tips on how to improve your nursing school application.


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Article Contents
10 min read

List of 6-Month LPN Programs Online (US) List of 6-month LPN Programs Online (Canada) What are 6-Month LPN Programs Online? Are 6-Month LPN Programs Online Worth It? How Do I Get into 6-Month LPN Programs Online? Pros and Cons of Online LPN Programs How to Get into 6-Month LPN Programs Online Conclusion FAQs

List of LPN Programs Online (US)

Most LPN programs, both online and in-person, average around 12 months. However, there are some that are just over the 6-month mark that are considered "fast-track" LPN programs online. We've listed these below:

  1. Rasmussen University – 12 months
  2. Lake Area Technical College – 11 months
  3. Portage Lakes Career Center – 9 months
  4. City College at Montana State University Billings – 12-14 months
  5. Herzing University Practical Nursing – 12 months
  6. Pinellas Technical College – 12 months
  7. South Piedmont Community College – 8 to 9 months
  8. Gateway Community College – 9 months
  9. Delta College Fast-Track Advanced PN – 12 months
  10. Northland Community and Technical College – 9-12 months
  11. Blinn College 10 months

Want to learn tips and expert responses to 10 common and challenging nursing school interview questions? Watch this video:

List of LPN Programs Online (Canada)

  1. Centennial College
  2. Seneca College
  3. Algonquin College
  4. Cambrian College
  5. Canadore College
  6. Durham College
  7. George Brown College
  8. Humber College
  9. Niagara College of Canada
  10. Sheridan College

Are There 6-Month LPN Programs Online?

Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) or practical nursing programs online are programs that allow you to complete an entry-level nursing program remotely. But no accelerated LPN program is fully online. Engaging with patients and providing in-person care is essential to nursing and nursing education, so you’ll have to perform some of your program requirements in-person. What exactly you have to do in-person depends on the program you’re in, but it could be anything from a concentrated week of classroom instruction and simulation labs to clinical rotations at a hospital or healthcare clinic.

However, there are no 6-month LPN programs online that fit this exact description. The shortest length of any of these programs is around 9 months. None of the programs in Canada last just 6 months, so finding a program that short may be difficult. The typical length of these programs are also for full-time instruction. Taking these programs part-time would mean extending your time in school by at least another year.

But even though you may find it hard to find a super short 6-month LPN program online, 9- to 12-month LPN programs online still offer significant advantages. For one, successfully completing an LPN program can be useful if you’re thinking about how to get into nursing school at the university-level. Second, you can learn at your own pace with an online LPN program, especially if you have work or family commitments. Much of the coursework and assigned readings for LPN programs online are digital and stored on a central server that you can access whenever you want.

This flexibility is one of the advantages to LPN programs online but we’ll talk more about the advantages (and disadvantages) later. Several of the LPN programs in Canada offer bridge programs that you can take to get into a university-level BSN nursing program. Some colleges, along with offering LPN programs, also offer a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree BSN as one of their degrees, so you can enter directly into a BSN program after graduating from the LPN program if you meet other requirements, such as minimum GPA, or have adequate test scores.

Are LPN Programs Online Worth It?

Yes, enrolling in an LPN program online is definitely worth it if you want to be a nurse. There is a shortage of nurses in both the US and Canada and with aging populations there is more need for the type of nursing care that LPNs usually provide, which include:

  • Hands-on patient care (feeding, dressing, bathing)
  • Administering medication
  • Taking samples and checking vital signs
  • Recording patient histories

But LPNs do not always work in a hospital setting. If you graduate and pass your NCLEX-PN exam, you can find work in a variety of healthcare settings from hospice care to long-term, assisted living centers or even work with personal support workers to attend to patients in their homes. So, if you don’t want to only work in hospital settings, getting an LPN can give you the freedom to choose the workplace that most appeals to you.

More Access, Lower Costs

But taking an LPN program online is worth it because they are more accessible to people from remote, rural or disadvantaged communities, who either do not have BSN programs near them or cannot afford the costs of a four-year, in-person BSN program. They are also much shorter than BSN programs, which means the cost of tuition is also lower, compared to a four-year BSN program.

For example, the yearly cost of the LPN program online at the City College of Montana State University is $11,476. The cost of one year for the BSN program, also offered at Montana State University, is $26,670 for in-state residents. It is much higher for out-of-state residents ($49,988). The LPN program at City College of MSU is also unique because it is one of the most “online” programs on this list.

Meaning, you complete a majority of your curriculum requirements online, but your clinical rotations can be done in your city (Montana-only), so you do not have to travel to Billings if you’re not a resident. However, don’t think that this is a universal feature. Many LPN programs online do not offer this convenience, so you have to make sure you understand which parts of your program’s curriculum can be completed online and which ones must be done in-person.

Direct-Patient Experiences

But maybe the most important reason LPN programs are worth it is the hands-on, direct-patient experience you’ll get, which will prove invaluable if you decide to enter a BSN program, and later, a nurse practitioner program. University-level BSN programs do not require you to have patient experience, but it is highly recommended.

With the experiences you get during an LPN program online, you’ll have a much more compelling application than applicants without direct patient care experience. Granted, online nursing programs do not have as many direct-patient experience opportunities as in-person programs, but as we said earlier, even online nursing students must complete clinical rotations in-person, so you will still be immersed in a clinical environment at some point. 

How Do I Get into LPN Programs Online?

LPN programs are entry-level so you usually only need a high school diploma to get in, although the admissions requirements vary between all these programs. For example, the 9-month Practical Nursing program at Rasmussen University does not have prerequisite coursework you have to complete and it does not even ask for a Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) score or any other entrance exam. 

But this is not the case for other programs. The Practical Nursing E-Degree from Lake Area Technical College (LATC) does require a TEAS score, as well as a minimum GPA of 2.5 and completion of a list of prerequisites such as:

  • Human Anatomy
  • English Composition
  • Algebra
  • General Psychology 

Most of the LPN programs online will ask for a combination of these admission requirements; some will ask for less, others will ask for more. In Canada, most of the LPN programs have similar admissions requirements to LATC, including a minimum GPA, completion of prerequisites, and often, TEAS or CASPer test scores.

But one notable absence from these requirements is an interview. Interviews are usually reserved for university-level programs, so, fortunately, you won’t have to read over nursing school interview questions or do mock interviews to prepare.

As for other typical nursing school application materials such as a nursing school personal statement or an essay about the case that defined you as a nurse, they are program dependent. Again, using the City College of Montana State University as an example, you must submit a personal essay describing why you want to be a nurse, along with a single recommendation letter.

You’ll find that the LPN programs associated with universities or state colleges will ask for at least one essay or personal statement and one nursing school recommendation letter, while private, for-profit colleges will not.

For example, the Practical Nursing program at Seneca College requires only the following:

  • Minimum grade percentage of 70%
  • Completion of four prerequisite courses (English, Math, Biology, Physics)
  • Transcripts

Applying to LPN Programs Online

The application process for LPN programs online is different for each program. You do not have to submit an application through a centralized service such as PharmCAS (for pharmacy students), AMCAS (for medical students), or NursingCAS, which is used for applications to undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing offered by colleges in the US. For 6-month LPN programs online, you have to apply directly to these colleges and vocational schools to be admitted.

Pros and Cons of Online LPN Programs

Pros of LPN Programs Online

1. Choose your Learning Style

The obvious benefit to any online learning program is that you get to choose when, and where you learn. People from all walks of life choose to be nurses, and their backgrounds are not always traditional, meaning, straight from high school. The freedom given by LPN programs online makes it easier for any type of student (working, student parents, mature, international) to continue with their other responsibilities, while also learning nursing fundamentals or doing their simulation labs.

2. Learning from Accredited Programs

Many of these LPN programs online are accredited by state or provincial nursing boards, so they often carry the same or similar accreditation as the best nursing schools. But there are accreditation agencies at the national level as well.

The City College at Montana State University LPN program holds accreditation from the National League of Nursing Accrediting Agency (NLNAC), which is the body responsible for LPN program accreditation. The Northland Community and Technical College along with the Lake Area Technical College not only hold accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) for all their academic programs, they also hold NLNAC accreditation and certification from their respective state’s Board of Nursing.

In Canada, LPN programs are similarly accredited by their local College of Nurses, such as the College of Nurses in Ontario, or the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba.

3. The Savings

We touched upon the differences between tuition for online and in-person LPN programs online, but they are worth repeating. We arrived at the cost-of-attendance figure for the LPN program online at MSU by subtracting the room and board costs that residential students would have to pay, which is almost $10,000/year. This is a significant amount of money, especially for students who have other financial responsibilities or who have only recently entered the workforce. But you can subtract even more expenses when you learn online. There are no transportation costs for gas or public transit. You can continue working while you study, so you’ll be earning while you learn, which is more difficult to do as an in-person student. On top of all this, many of these programs also offer entrance scholarships or grants if you meet certain conditions determined by the admissions or financial aid office.

Cons of LPN Programs Online

1. Lack of In-person Interaction

This works on three levels. First, you won’t be able to develop a support network with your fellow students online, as you would be able to do with in-person classes. Second, you won’t have the same access to support resources in the form of faculty, or practicing nurses who can help address any issues you have with the material or other concerns. Third, you also won’t get the same amount of experience with real or simulated patients that is the norm for in-person classes. Of course, you will have to do this even in an LPN program online. But being full-time on-campus will give you many more opportunities, as you can choose to seek more patient experiences on your own by volunteering at a local clinic. In-person classes means you can also do a wide variety of extracurricular work such as doing research projects or lab work.

2. You Don’t Develop Critical Skills

Nursing is a very patient-facing profession. As an LPN, or any type of nurse, you’ll spend more time with patients than doctors, so you need to be able to communicate effectively and handle patients’ questions, problems, concerns and anxieties. Communication skills are hard to teach, but in-person programs allow the possibility to develop this, and many other crucial skills (how to resolve nursing conflict scenarios, for example), while LPN programs online do not.

How to Get into LPN Programs Online

1. An Above-Average GPA

Many LPN programs online make it seem like they are the easy to get into, but nursing school acceptance rates in the US say otherwise. These programs are as competitive as university-level nursing schools, so, if you’re a high school student, be aware of the grade minimum for the prerequisite courses for these programs. Many programs have minimum GPA requirements that range from 2.5 to 2.7. Your GPA is key because it is the only way these colleges can determine whether you are able to handle the workload which is why getting an above-average GPA to show your academic abilities is so important.

2. Prepare for any Entrance Exams

The use of entrance exams is sporadic among all the LPN programs online listed above. If a program does require an entrance exam it will either be the TEAS, the CASPer exam, or a program’s own assessment test they have created for nursing applicants (George Brown does this with an Admission Assessment test). The TEAS is the main assessment test used for admission to nursing school, and you can prepare for the test in advance through free test prep resources such practice tests or sample questions.

The TEAS covers four specific areas – reading, math, science, English – similar to the GRE sections. Some colleges have minimum score requirements, so you have to put a lot of time (at least two months) and effort into preparing. You should also know how to prepare for the CASPer test, as many nursing programs in Canada require it. You have to put a lot of effort into CASPer test prep by either reading over CASPer questions and answers from high-scoring tests to catching up on the most current events in nursing, healthcare, and healthcare public policy.

Conclusion

LPN programs online are rare, but the lengths of the program listed here are shorter than most accelerated nursing programs. Fast-track programs are hard. They are usually for people who are driven by a specific career goal and do not want or need to spend more time in school than they have to, or international students who need US or Canadian schooling to be able to qualify for licensure. But if you’re a high school or mature student who knows they want to be a nurse, these programs are a valuable and fast pipeline to a rewarding nursing career.

FAQs

1. What are LPN programs online?

LPN programs online are for people who want to enter the nursing profession as a licensed practical nurse, which is an entry-level position. The way LPN programs online are structured means that you will listen to lectures and do the readings online, but you will have to do clinical labs and rotations in-person. There are no fully online LPN programs and none of them last for 6 months. 

2. Are LPN programs fully online?

There are LPN programs online, but you should be wary of any program claiming to offer a fast track to complete an LPN program. Check to see whether they are accredited by any of the organizations we mentioned above to see if their program has been approved. Nursing is a difficult profession and it requires a lot of skills and training. While you can complete some of these programs in 9 months, anything less will not prepare you adequately to be a nurse. 

3. What are the requirements to get into an LPN programs online?

The minimum requirements are a high school diploma, a minimum GPA score, all your academic transcripts, and TEAS or CASPer test scores. Some programs may also ask for personal essays or letters of recommendation. 

4. How do I apply to an LPN program online?

You usually have to apply directly to the program through its host college or institution.

5. What kind of degree or certificate will I get from an LPN program online?

LPN programs, in general, are diploma-granting programs. With this diploma, you’ll be able to take the Practical Nurse licensing exam in the US or Canada to become a registered practical nurse. Afterward, you can apply to university-level nursing programs or find a job as a nurse to gain on-the-job experience. 

6. Where can I work if I get an LPN diploma?

You can work in a variety of healthcare settings, from acute care hospitals to rehabilitation centers to assisted living centers. But your work will be supervised and overseen by a registered nurse. 

7. How much do LPN programs online cost?

The costs of each LPN differs, but the tuition alone for most programs runs between $4,000 and $6,000. But with added costs (books, learning materials, personal living expenses) the final tab can come to anywhere between $10,000 to $20,000. 

8. Should I enroll in an LPN programs online?

If you want a faster, and less expensive route to becoming a nurse, you should definitely enroll in an LPN program online. They’re an ideal introduction to the nursing profession and will help you develop important skills for the future if you want to become registered nurse or a nurse practitioner. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting


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