10 Best Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Programs in 2024

Jumpstart your nursing career with the best licensed practical nurse (LPN) programs in 2024. Learn more about their prerequisites, requirements, and salary expectations after graduation. Programs


A career in nursing can be rewarding as you'll get to spend your time helping those in need by providing excellent care. Still, looking into a nursing career can feel overwhelming since you can choose many degree programs and pathways to achieve your goal.

Taking the initial step towards becoming an LPN is a great milestone, and to guide you on this journey, we've gathered information on the top 10 best LPN programs and essential data on the degree and potential career prospects post-graduation.

What Is an LPN?

An LPN is a type of nurse who has typically spent one year earning their nursing diploma or certificate program. They are often called "practical nurses" or "vocational nurses." In comparison, a registered nurse (RN) typically spends between two and four years earning a professional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

After completing an LPN program, students must complete the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) to obtain their license and begin their nursing career.

Some of the LPN duties involve working under the direction of physicians and registered nurses and helping to maintain concise communication between patients, families, and their medical staff. They have a more limited scope of practice due to their education and training, but they still provide basic nursing care, administer medications, and assist in activities of daily living. After comprehensive patient assessments, LPNs must coordinate with RNs and physicians to create a nursing care plan for the overall patient's well-being.

Many individuals seeking to advance their careers pursue further education to become an RN through an LPN-to-RN bridge program. If the previous program is accredited, credits are often transferable to the new school.

Best LPN Programs in 2024

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most while selecting schools with the addition of NCLEX pass rates, graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, and admission rates of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

1. Holmes Community College

Located in Goodman, Mississippi, Holmes Community College's main campus offers a traditional LPN program and two accelerated LPN to RN programs for those wanting to further their education. The LPN program provides a full-time track, evening and weekend options, and a hybrid option. 

  • Cost: $150 per credit hour; $1,350 (full-time, out-of-state residents) 
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Certifying Body: Missippi Community State College Board

2. Ozarka College

LPN classes at Ozarka College in Melbourne, Arkansas, start in January or August, following an 18-month program. The school accepts applications from September 1st to November 1st for the January program start, while applications from February 1st to April 1st are accepted for the August class start. This college's LPN program is ranked first in the state of Arkansas by Best Value Schools for the year 2021.

  • Cost: $10,500 (in-state excluding other fees) for 66 credit hours
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Duration: 18 months
  • Certifying body: Arkansas State Board of Nursing 

3. South Georgia Technical College

South Georgia Technical College offers its LPN program at the Americus campus and their Crisp County campus. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent and acceptable SAT or ACT scores or acceptable scores on the college's placement exam. SGTC's program prepares graduates to successfully pass the NCLEX-PN through excellent academic and hands-on clinical experience.

  • Cost: $100 per credit hour, plus other fees
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Duration:  Two (2) semester prerequisites, Three (3) semesters occupational courses
  • Certifying body: Georgia Board of Examiners of Licensed Practical Nursing

4. Florida Gateway College

Located in Lake City, Florida, Florida Gateway College's LPN program begins each Spring term and offers an LPN-RN bridge program for students interested in furthering their careers. The college reports that NCLEX-PN first-time pass rates are consistently above state and national rankings.

  • Cost: $84.89 total net tuition per semester hour equivalent (in-residents); $157.88 credit hour for online (non-residents) 
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Certifying body: Florida Board of Nursing

5. Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College's LPN program in Miami, Florida, is on the medical campus. They offer an accelerated track where students can complete the program in three semesters. Miami Dade College graduates have a 98% employment rate after program completion.

  • Cost: $4,098.60/Total 
  • Mode: In-person
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Certifying body: Florida Board of Nursing

6. Lake Area Technical College

Watertown, South Dakota's Lake Area Technical College offers four paths for LPN students. These include a full-time online option, a part-time online option, and a full-time and part-time on-campus option. The full-time opportunities begin in August and are 11 months long, while the part-time options start each January and take 18 months to complete. It is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). The Aspen College revealed that Lake Area Technical College (LATI), received the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, a national recognition of remarkable progress and excellence in U.S. community colleges, setting a benchmark for reform.

  • Cost: $124 per credit; $8,110 estimated tuition
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Duration: 11-18 months
  • Accrediting body: ACEN

7. Carl Sandburg College

Located in Galesburg, Illinois, Carl Sandburg College offers an LPN to RN transition program that helps students prepare for the opportunity to apply for the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program at the college. LPN students can begin applying between October 1st and March 1st for the Fall semester start date. 

  • Cost: $175 per credit hour (in-district and online); $262 (out-of-district); $292 (out-of-state)
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Accrediting body: ACEN

8. Southern Crescent Technical College

Griffin, Georgia, is home to Southern Crescent Technical College. Their LPN programs begin in the Fall and Spring terms. Grading standards once admitted to the program are strict, and students must maintain a minimum grade of C to progress to the next course. 

  • Cost: $4,764 (tuition and fees for in-state residents)
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Duration: 5 Terms
  • Accrediting body: ACEN

9. Palm Beach State College

The 12-month program at Palm Beach State College in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, has a Spring term start date. Students can apply the 11 credit hours obtained during the LPN coursework towards an ADN at the college. This is a full-time program that requires 1,350 clock hours.

  • Cost: $4,638 (in-state); $16,875 (out-of-state)
  • Mode: On-campus
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Certifying body:  Florida Board of Nursing

10. Green River College

Located in Auburn, Washington, Green River College has state-of-the-art facilities with an 89% NCLEX pass rate and a program completion of 87%.  A reported 91% of its graduates reported working as a nurse within 6-12 months after graduation. It has four options for learning: full-time (face-to-face), part-time (hybrid), full-time MA to LPN and part-time MA to LPN.

  • Cost: $4,896.90 (in-state)
  • Mode: Hybrid and On-campus
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Accrediting body: NLN

LPN Program Prerequisites & Requirements

Before applying to an LPN program, students must meet the school's admission requirements. Some programs require a separate application for the LPN program after general admission acceptance.

Typical LPN requirements and prerequisite courses include:

  • High school diploma or GED certificate
  • Basic Life Support (BLS) or CPR certification
  • Medical field exposure or experience
  • Optimal score on the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS)

Additional requirements such as background checks, drug screenings, up-to-date immunizations, and a current physical examination by a healthcare provider.

Many programs also require prerequisite classes, typically in areas like Human Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Terminology, Algebra/Statistics, Psychology, Human Growth and Development, Nutrition, and Intro to Pharmacology. Admission criteria can vary, so it's important to research each program's requirements carefully.

Related: 10 Fastest Registered Nurse (RN) Programs in 2023

LPN Coursework 

Coursework is essential for building LPN competencies and skill sets. While different programs may have specific requirements for admission and slight variations in course offerings, all programs focus on integrating theoretical knowledge and clinical skills. 

The curriculum usually covers the following subjects:

Medical Math
Psychology and Sociology
Human Health and Disease
Fundamentals of Nursing
Child Development
Maternal/Infant Nursing

Steps for LPN Licensure

Make sure to look for schools accredited by the ACEN or the NLN CNEA or approved by the state board of nursing in the state in which you intend to practice as an LPN, as this ensures the state board accepts them for licensure. 

In addition to completing core nursing coursework, LPN students will also complete clinical rotations and shadow licensed LPNs at different facilities to learn valuable critical thinking and hands-on nursing skills.

After graduating from an LPN program, students will be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN exam). Before sitting for the exam, students must also meet state requirements, such as a background check and fingerprinting. Students who pass the NCLEX-PN are officially LPNs.

Education Beyond LPN 

Many students and LPNs choose to advance their careers before or after graduating from LPN school. This choice is due to various reasons, such as increased salary potential, learning new skills, or advancing nursing practice. Fortunately, there are many options, depending on the end goal. The most common and practical next step for LPN-prepared nurses are the:

  1. LPN to an Associate Degree of Science in Nursing (ASN) programs
  2. LPN to a Bachelor Degree of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs

LPN Program Costs

Costs associated with enrolling in an LPN program can vary significantly, influenced by several factors:

  • Tuition: Varies based on institution type (public or private) and residency status, often higher for private institutions and out-of-state residents.
  • Books and Supplies: Costs vary from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
  • Technology Fees: Additional charges for hybrid or online resources.
  • Lab Fees: Some courses may require fees for materials or equipment.
  • Miscellaneous Fees: Including applications, graduation, and administrative costs.
  • Living Expenses: Impacting individuals who are not working or need to relocate for their program.

LPN Program Financial Aid Insights:

  • Financial Support Avenues: Seek federal and state grants, loans, work-study arrangements, and scholarships targeted toward LPN students.
  • Scholarships and Grants: Offered by healthcare organizations, professional bodies, and community groups.
  • Loan Details: Federal loans generally offer more favorable interest rates and repayment terms than private loans. Borrow judiciously and understand repayment plans.

By evaluating these financial factors and preparing in advance, students can navigate the economic aspects of their LPN education and plan for costs effectively.

Salary Expectations of LPN in 2024

An LPN can work in many fields and settings after completing their program and becoming licensed. Many LPNs work in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and physician offices, while some LPNs serve as in-home providers, providing care to patients in their homes.

Salary expectations will vary depending on what field an LPN works in. The median salary for an LPN is $54,620 per year with an hourly rate of $26.26. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment to grow by about 5% from 2022 to 2032.

Top three paying industries for this occupation is listed below:

  • Personal care services ($90,950)
  • Grantmaking and giving services ($72,670)
  • Insurance carriers ($65,170)

However, the highest concentration of employment can be found at nursing care facilities, followed by home health care services, and retirement communities for the elderly. 

Salary expectations will also vary depending on the geographical region due to the differences in living costs.

The top three paying states are as follows:

  1. Washington ($69,950)
  2. California ($69,930)
  3. Massachusetts ($68,170) 

LPN Program Accrediting Bodies

Not all LPN programs are accredited by national nursing regulating bodies; many are approved only by the State Board of Nursing. While state-approved programs prepare LPNs for practice within their state, they may not fully prepare them for practice in other states. Prospective nurses should carefully consider choosing an accredited LPN program and research programs approved by reputable national accrediting organizations such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA). This ensures the quality of education and the legitimacy of the degree earned.

Key benefits of accredited LPN programs to consider; 

  • Educational Standards: Accredited programs maintain high standards in curriculum, faculty qualifications, resources, and clinical training, ensuring quality education through regular evaluations.
  • NCLEX Preparation: Accreditation enhances preparedness for the NCLEX-PN exam, a crucial step towards LPN licensure.
  • Licensing Requirement: In some states, completion of an accredited program may be mandatory for LPN licensure.
  • Career Advancement: Employers prefer graduates from accredited programs, opening up more career opportunities and aligning education with national standards. This is especially beneficial for those considering relocation.
  • Credit Transferability: Credits from accredited programs are more likely to be recognized by other institutions, facilitating smoother transitions for further education.
  • Enhanced Professional Credibility: Accreditation boosts professional credibility by showcasing education and training in line with national standards.
  • Access to Financial Assistance: Accreditation is often a requirement for federal financial aid eligibility, supporting students financially during their education.

Are LPN Programs Worth It?

When embarking on your nursing career, the multitude of program options can be daunting. Deciding whether to start with an LPN program adds complexity. Here are some key advantages and disadvantages to consider when determining the best path for your nursing journey:

LPN Pros:

  1. Cost-effectiveness: LPN programs are often shorter and less expensive than ADN or BSN programs.
  2. Early entry into the workforce: LPNs can start working in healthcare sooner than those pursuing higher degrees.
  3. Employer support for further education: Some employers offer tuition assistance or reimbursement for LPNs to pursue their BSN, reducing the financial burden of advanced education.
  4. Education flexibility: LPN programs can serve as a foundation, allowing individuals to work in healthcare while continuing their education to become an RN.
  5. Valuable experience: Working as an LPN provides valuable clinical experience that can be beneficial when pursuing higher nursing degrees.

LPN Cons:

  1. Lower salary range: LPNs typically earn less than RNs with ADN or BSN degrees.
  2. Limited career advancement: LPNs may have fewer opportunities for career growth compared to RNs with higher degrees.
  3. Scope of practice restrictions: LPNs have a more limited scope of practice compared to RNs, which may impact job responsibilities and opportunities for professional advancement.
  4. Limited job options: Some healthcare settings may prefer or require RNs, limiting job opportunities for LPNs.

FAQ and Additional Readings

Q: How are LPNs and CNAs different?

LPNs and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are integral to patient care in and out of the hospital setting. The most significant difference is that LPNs are licensed nurses, and CNAs are not.

CNAs help patients with daily functions such as eating, dressing, and bathing. LPNs can perform basic nursing functions, like medication administration and updating medical records. 

Related: Registered Nurse: What Is an RN, Salary, and How to Become One

Q: Are LPNs in demand in the United States?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, LPNs are in high demand across the United States. They expect employment in the profession to grow at least 6% over the next ten years, with estimates of about 54,400 LPN job openings each year.

Q: How long does going from an LPN to an RN take?

Many schools and programs now offer options to participate in LPN to RN bridge programs. This option typically means they can use some of their credit hours obtained during their LPN program to satisfy some requirements for the RN degree.

The time it takes to complete will vary depending on your situation and the program you choose, but students can usually accomplish this in about two years. There are many great ADN RN programs for LPNs to look into when they are ready to pursue this degree. 


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