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Recent Unitek RN Grads/Current Attendees

California   (28,383 Views 37 Comments)
by madelynsmom madelynsmom (New Member) New Member

1,735 Visitors; 29 Posts

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Okay here's my 2nd attempt to post this... a little background first.

Hi everyone. I am making the very scary step to leave my fairly secure and well paying corporate job that I am miserable in to pursue becoming a RN. I am in my late 20's, married, and have a 7 1/2 month old daughter who is my whole world. My income takes care of a large portion of our bills so for me to quit my job and go to school will be tough for my family but my husband is supportive. Right now I am just really trying to make the right decision in terms of my education.

I was going to go the community college route. I live in the Bay Area and was at first interested in going to Chabot or Ohlone nursing programs. But I have never taken any college courses so I would have to take 2-2 1/2 years of the pre-req classes before even being eligible for the nursing program. Since you all know, it is a lottery system, it could be 5+ years before I would finally graduate. I am not able to go that long without having a job.

I came across the Unitek website. I contacted their campus in Fremont (I live in Livermore, it would be only a 25-30 min drive on 680) and have a meeting with them on Monday. But I have never met anyone that has taken classes there. I have heard some good, some not so good. The positives of me going is that although it is CRAZY expensive, it is a 2 year program. They said that includes the pre-req's I would have to take. That means that my family would only need to cut back for 2 years. I could be working as a RN by the time I am 30 years old.

My question is... does anyone know how they get the pre req's done in those 2 years in the program? The program is first the LVN program and then LVN to RN. Then, how many of those grads actually get good hospital RN positions afterwards? Do hospitals seem to be receptive towards Unitek graduates? I don't want to get close to $80k in student loans to end up not being employable due to the college I attended. Also, I am hoping to become a Labor & Delivery RN or Pediatric Nurse, do they have any specialty courses?

Any advice or experience would be greatly appreciated. I am very nervous, anxious, but excited too to start this new chapter in my life. Thanks in advance!!!!!

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9,182 Visitors; 399 Posts

Hi, I live in Livermore too. I'd like to PM you about this but I don't think you have enough posts for PM capability yet. What's your email?

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2,429 Visitors; 181 Posts

Hello, I would advise you to think long and hard about this. Long and hard. I have a sister who went to Unitek and failed to pass the NCLEX on 3 attempts. It could be argued that she isn't bright enough, or it could be blamed on the education. Second, most of her clinicals were done in a lab versus in a hospital setting. I'm currently in nursing school as well, and understand a portion of clinicals has to be in lab, but by no means is it a huge percentage. Third, the cost-I know it sounds tempting especially based on high wages for RNs in the bay, but 80k-100k on a sub-par education is really poor. To give some perspective, John Hopkins (one of the top nursing schools in the entire country is 90k for accelerated program. I know the thought of such a convenient program is so tempting, especially if they promise prereqs to be done as well as degree in 2 yrs. but for some it takes a whole year just to get just prereqs done, how do they squeeze that and nursing school done. They will argue it can happen by going completely full time. Last and most important, proliferation of these for-profit schools happened because of a perceived nursing shortage, if u troll this forum, especially in Cali you will find the new grads from reputable, traditional, non-profit colleges can't find jobs. It does not bode well for grads of for-profit schools.

I only bother responding because you have a daughter and family to think of. The decision to go to this school can potentially ruin you financially. Is it a guarantee you won't be able to find a job? Of course not, because anything can happen. The odds of you out competing a student from a reputable, traditional program in the current state for new grads is very slim. Programs like Unitek prey on people who are searching for a better career and like and they sell it partly by its convenience and the ease( you only have to pay-versus completing prereqs ad applying for admission).

My recommendation is that you don't even go to the info session, because you'll be meeting with part admissions person/part salesman. Whatever statistics they give you will be very hard to verify. Please if you want to become an RN, do it the old fashioned way, no matter how difficult it will be for you, no matter that it will take you 5 years, because I will bet you a Unitek education will keep you on the sidelines from employment for a very long time. Please consider going the traditional route, for-profit schools are good for only vocational type jobs...with the trend towards Bachelor degrees, the industry does not consider RNs to be vocational-how would it sound if your attorney or a software engineer at google went to a school like Heald, Devry, or Unitek. Doesn't sound good, right? Please don't do it.

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2,429 Visitors; 181 Posts

One last thing, I am so passionate about you not attending that school, post some messages so you can get private message privileges and we can really talk about it. It's 15 posts I think to get it. I can be wrong though.

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1,735 Visitors; 29 Posts

Thank you pnlu007- I truly appreciate the honest feedback. I am having bad feelings about it already and you just helped build my case that it probably is not the route to go. I just have to find a way to get school to work. Do you or anyone have any thoughts on the Chabot or Ohlone programs? I hear very good things about them- especially since Chabot ended their lottery system.

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akulahawkRN has 3 years experience as a ADN, RN, EMT-P and works as a Emergency Department RN.

16 Likes; 26,987 Visitors; 3,430 Posts

When I first started looking into getting into nursing, I looked at those for-profit schools too. I looked at the school's out here in the Sacramento region, and I found the same basic things. They are very expensive and they only would save me a couple of months at the most. One of the things that the programs on here do is that they take roughly one year to get you through LVN. That may typically send you to the Junior college level so that you can complete your required prerequisites and then they'll re-enter you into their RN program as an LVN to RN student.

I believe the total cost for both programs was somewhere in the neighborhood of $85-$95,000. They roughly split that half so you could do about forty thousand dollars first four LVN and then about another $40,000 for the LVN to RN transition program. Offhand, I would say that going to a for-profit school is rather expensive and probably a not great use of your money. Or your time. I would think that you would probably be better served in the long run going to a junior college or university to get your prerequisites completed and then apply everywhere to the traditional schools for your RN.

The other thing that you should do is check out the California BRN website for their NCLEX pass rates for the programs that you are looking for. The other thing you're looking for is how many students that they send to the NCLEX. A 100% pass rate doesn't look so good if they're only sending say 10 or fewer grads there... vs say 60 or 70 and a pass rate in the 90's...

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2,966 Visitors; 105 Posts

Hey all, I was a late 20-something changing careers too, a couple years ago. I took my pre-reqs at Foothill College because they offered the classes on a quarter system and I was able to finish all the prereqs in just over a year. I applied to accelerated programs all over (only public) and a few community colleges, including Chabot. I ended up getting into a CSU school and I'm about to graduate in May! When all is said and done, it's been a 3 year process, which is very fast considering I didn't have any science background. If you plan ahead wisely, you can do it in under 5 years. I would advise against the for profit schools because they have very poor NCLEX pass rates and you end up with a huge debt at the end. Especially right now when it's hard to get a nursing job out of school, it would be a bad decision. You could always get your CNA certification and work as a CNA while you take your prereqs to help in continuing to support your family. Good luck!!

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1,735 Visitors; 29 Posts

To update, I cancelled my meeting with Unitek. After reading and hearing so many negative stories, I ended up having a bad feeling. Now my husband and I are just looking at how we can manage without my income and I hopefully will start at Las Positas/Chabot with pre-req's this summer. I am looking for a part time job while I am in school. So fingers crossed I can find out that fits my schedule with school! Thank you all for the feedback and advice.

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597 Visitors; 1 Post

I went to unitek and did my lvn then lvn-rn bridge with them, i had all my prereqs already when i applied! I got tired of being on waiting lists so we committed to pay, my dauhter was 6 months at time i started!! I had a per diem job and worked while i went to school!! My clinicals with them werent just in their lab! It took me 2 yrs to do lvn and lvn-rn!! They taught me enough where i passed my nclex the first try!! Many of my classmates did too! The pre-reqs they offer its a review of the the nursing prereqs!! Their adminstration is not too helpful but again they gave me what i needed it to get my license! I got a job in the ER within 6 months, lucky i know!! I love my job!!

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vintagemother works as a Nurse and Mom.

7 Likes; 44,113 Visitors; 2,687 Posts

I just want to offer some more insight...

While the non - public funded schools are quite expensive, and you are right to be cautious, I want you to also consider the following:

You could potentially find yourself unable to get into the prereqs that you need on your first shot, you may also need to repeat pre req classes. Even if you get enrolled in and pass all of your pre reqs on the first shot, many community colleges have lottery systems. I'm not in your exact area, I'm in the greater Sac area so I'm speaking more on my area specifically.

I was 29 when i started taking prereqs at public community colleges and am now 32 and in a non-public school LVN program. It isn't cheap, but the completion of it will allow me to work in my career field sooner if necessary. Also, ill be eligible for the Lvn to rn bridge programs at the community colleges (or at a private school).

As an FYI: my marriage didn't survive the financial impact of my choice to attend school to become a nurse, which is why I switched gears to the shorter path of becoming an LVN 1st.

Also, if your GPA is high enough, you can bypass some wait lists, particularly at the California State Universities.

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akulahawkRN has 3 years experience as a ADN, RN, EMT-P and works as a Emergency Department RN.

16 Likes; 26,987 Visitors; 3,430 Posts

For those of you that are considering using the LVN - RN upgrade path, you need to be very careful about which route you choose. California requires that all nursing programs (RN) offer a 30 unit option. This option will provide you with the education necessary to get authorized to take the NCLEX RN. It will not provide you with the necessary education to get an ADN. The 30 unit option RN license is not portable from state to state, or if it is, portability/endorsement options will be very limited.

Some programs, like the program that I currently attend, offers a "Career Mobility Option" which is similar to the 30 unit option, but it is really more like a bridge course in which you take a short six-week class and if you pass that you are placed on a space available basis into the third semester of their regular RN program. Provided that you have met all of the other degree requirements, you would be awarded the ADN. You would then be authorized to sit for the NCLEX RN and your education background would allow your license to be portable/endorsed from state to state without any issues.

Just this past December, I was investigating the possibility of doing LVN – RN program myself. That's when I found out the above information.

Something to remember about the Sacramento area nursing programs, specifically the 2 year colleges, is that they generally run on a lottery system. CSU Sacramento runs on a point basis which they basically select the top students and alternates to fill the program. In either case, you would do well to get the best grades you can in your prerequisites and do your best to ensure that your overall GPA is also relatively high so that you can have the option to do either. With the 2 year colleges, their lottery system is such that if you are minimally qualified or are maximally qualified, you are qualified and considered equal to any other student that has also made it into the lottery system.

Good luck!

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