They are easier to get into. You do have to pass an entrence exam though and that can be a little tricky at times. I did get into Valley Medical College, it is in Salem. I drove all the way there from Beaverton four days a week the first term. At times I wanted to bang my head on my desk during class and the school did drive me nuts and I got sick of a few classmates...the school taught me what I needed to know and I passed my NCLEX no sweat. They do have pretty high pass rates. Student loans are a little spendy though.
The private, or technical, colleges are easier to get into. I am enrolled in Carrington College in Portland and they were super easy to get into. All you have to do is make the minimum scores on the Compass exam, which is very easy, just Pre-Algebra, Writing, and Reading. They take applicants on a first come, first served basis. You just have to be able to pass the Compass tests, and pass the drug and background screens. They are more expensive. But I would rather pay a little more and be an LPN in a year than doing all my pre reqs at a community college and HOPE I get in after that. Some people wait for upwards of 3-5 years to get into a CC. And you pretty much HAVE to get at least all A's to even be considered. They are very competitive since they are so much cheaper. I chose Carrington based on very high recommendations from my CNA Instructors, one of which was a Carrington student herself. They have a very high pass rate for their Practical Nursing program, and I've heard that the instructors are really nice. I like their office staff too.
I'll lay out the pros and cons of going to a career school. I have been to one myself, and eventually went into an RN program that was partnered with OHSU and hopefully will go to OHSU in a year.
-Admission into a career college is very easy.
-They are flexible on when classes are held.
-They're extremely expedient.
-They're a number of financial aide options.
-There are bridging programs for LPN to RN
-Most colleges for nursing in Oregon, (one of THE most challenging states to get into nursing school in the nation) are more likely to accept LPN's into their programs.
-If they accept an LPN, a lot of colleges give them advanced placement instead of making them do the entire program.
-If you get into an RN program and get advanced placement , some of the 2 year RN programs at a community college are linked with 4 year schools like OHSU and if you take a few extra classes you could be allow to continue into their BSN program as a Junior.
-They are looked down upon because of the expedience, so admission just because you have a diploma in LPN isn't guaranteed.
-They allow almost everyone in, so normally (and I'm not trying to be rude just honest) lower-class people tend to go to these schools, that does NOT be any means make everyone that attends a lower-class person
-They are almost 3 times as expensive as LPN programs at a community college, a stifling 25K-28K compared to almost 9K at Mt. Hood Community college. BUT that CC also takes a couple years just to get into the LPN program
-The teachers aren't always the best and usually aren't paid well.
-Credits from career colleges usually DO NOT transfer out to normal schools like community colleges and 4 year colleges, so bank on retaking some classes if you want to do something else at a Community college
If anyone can think of anymore please feel free to add.