Failed LPN Program, what to do?

Dear Nurse Beth Advice Column - The following letter submitted anonymously in search for answers. Join the conversation! Nurses Nurse Beth Nursing Q/A

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Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Possible,

I'm sorry to hear you failed out of the program and glad to hear you have not given up.

If you attended a college that is not accredited, there is a good chance your credits will not transfer. (However, some  non-accredited but reputable community colleges have credit transfer agreements with other local colleges). 

If you attended a college that is accredited, you may be able to transfer credits for your core and pre-requisite classes, such as English and Medical Terminology. You will need an official copy of your transcript.

An official copy bears the institutional seal and may be in a sealed envelope. It assures authenticity and costs a small processing fee. Receiving colleges will not accept an unofficial copy. Receiving colleges may also ask for a description of the course content before approving credit transfer.

Keep in mind that there is a "use by" date of anywhere from 5-10 years for some courses. This is because knowledge is updated in some fields.

So far I've been talking about prerequisites only. Do not expect credits from your LPN program to transfer. If you are accepted into another LPN program, your will be required to  start in their program from Day 1.

If you consider a for-profit school, be sure and do your due diligence. They can be costly. Some are poorly run with sub-par clinical experience. If the program has a poor reputation in the community, good employers will not hire the graduates.

Here's some questions to ask of any potential program:

  • Check to see if the school is approved by the Board of Nursing in your state. Go online and search the BON website or call and ask for a list of approved schools.
  • Check to see if the school is regionally accredited (not just nationally accredited). If it is not regionally accredited and you choose to go back to school in the future, your credits will likely not be transferable.
  • Ask if the LPN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Typically accredited programs prominently display the accreditation graphic on their website.
  • Find out where the clinical sites are. If they name a reputable skilled nursing or acute care, ask if all students are assigned there, or just a few.
  • Ask about their graduation rates. What percent of each class completes the program?
  • Ask about their NCLEX pass rates. What percent of each class passes the NCLEX exam?
  • Ask about their employment data. Schools that accept financial aid have to publish employment figures. 

Lastly, think about what you need to do differently in order to succeed. More help around the house so you can study? Study groups? Taking effective lecture notes?

Wishing you all the best,

Nurse Beth