What advice would you give me?

Nursing Students Pre-Nursing


I am a 38 year old CNA. I became one in 2009 and got a hospital job right away. I like my work and have done well here. I want to take the next step.

There is a for profit school called Intercoast that offers a 15 month LPN program. I have a goal of being a nurse by the age of 40. With this program, I would be a nurse at 40 years 1 month.

Community colleges and universities in this area offer cheaper programs but the waitlists are crazy.I have no prereqs and all of my other college credits are too old to transfer anywhere. I personally know candidates who have everything going for them and then some and they are denied. If I were younger, I would wait. But time has become my enemy.

The drawbacks with the for profit program? The cost. $31K. But guaranteed admission. And eligible for Pell Grants and other aid. My state's BON recognizes the program and I would be eligible to take the NCLEX-PN.

All of this said, what should I do? Any ideas or thoughts?

Specializes in FNP, ONP.

I am debt adverse, personally. At your age the number one thing in my mind was securing a comfortable retirement.

I'd sit down with a financial planner and have him/her look at your finances, retirement savings, investments, etc and then help you do an amortization analysis to really weigh the cost/benefit ratio. If potential earnings in the time saved will get you to "break even" or even improve your retirement investment returns, I'd do it. Otherwise, no.

I applaud you for having a goal. But have you looked into job prospects and salary for an LPN in your area? Would the investment into this program be equal to what you would earn and how long it would take to repay any loans you would have to take out? That is an extremely large sum of money for school. My ADN was not even half that amount. I understand the goal to be a nurse by 40, but please be very careful about investing that type of money before you do. Maybe change the goal to nurse by 45? That way you could take some general courses you may need for the future while you wait to get into another more cost-friendly program?Good luck in whatever you choose!

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

31K for an LPN program is insanity. 31K for an ASN program would also be insanity. Walk away. Chances are it is not accredited and if you wanted to go for your RN you will have to start all over because nothing will transfer.

I could do gen eds for a year but, again, acceptance into a cheaper RN program is not guaranteed. What if I do gen eds and can't do anything with those?

Specializes in Neuroscience/Brain and Stroke.

What are the requirements for enrollment into the RN program? I can see people doing all of thier pre req's and getting all C's as having a hard time getting in, but if you ace all of your pre req's, you have healthcare experience, so on and so forth, you should have a good chance. It does depend on your school's requirements though, I would call them and ask what it takes before I listen to a third party, this is your education not thiers! But I will have to agree that 31k is rediculous, I am only paying 14k for my ADN. And once you get that degree, I'm sure you will care less that you are 41 or 42, you will just be too happy with yourself! Good luck to you!

Oh and here in the great state of MO, our classes will transfer forever with exception of sciences that only have a 5 year lifespan, so I would check into that to in case your state may be the same.

Specializes in Emergency.

I would actually just not do the LPN program. THe job market for LPN's is not good and very limited. Check into if your hospital has a tuition reimbursement program. That way you can actually take the pre-req's with less financial stress. I really would not recommend those for-profit schools...even if they are recognized by the BON in your state, they may not be recognized out of your state...and it was mentioned somewhere on allnurses that some hospitals still will not hire from that type of program as they feel like they aren't really that great.

At 38 you are not that old. Also, I wouldn't necessarily rule out your prior college credit. At *47*(!) I started an RN program at the local CC. My first degree was awarded in 1984! The school transferred all eligible credits! I still had to take some pre-reqs but did those online. I got my RN at 49.

I was lucky, insomuchas my local CC did admissions based on a point system, so no waiting lists. NG hiring was down when we graduated, but most of us had no problem finding jobs eventually. I went $20K into debt. Since the hospital has a tuition reimbursement program, I will be starting my RN-MSN in Jan. With the MSN, the original $20K will not be much of an impact against that higher level pay.

I agree with the poster that said that an LPN may not bring a good enough cost/benefit situation. An RN program at a CC would take 15 mo after pre-reqs are completed, so I would think you would be better off thinking a bit bigger. Is there a reason why you wouldn't want to shoot for RN?

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

You have complete control over what grades you make. Most schools do not operate by the lottery system. Therefore you control strongly your own chances of getting in.

Specializes in Forensic Psych.
I could do gen eds for a year but, again, acceptance into a cheaper RN program is not guaranteed. What if I do gen eds and can't do anything with those?

No, acceptance isn't guaranteed. You'll have to work for it and go against others who have worked for it. But if you go back to school and come out with a 4.0 and great test scores, I highly doubt you'll struggle for years to get in.

If you come out with a 2.0, that's not so great, but that also might be a great indicator that more work needs to be done before NS.

As others have mentioned, that's an insane amount for an LPN program. LPNs are dying out, so the job market is terrible, and going back to school to become a BSN is just going to pile the debt on top of what you're thinking of taking out, if you choose to go that path. Also take into account that if you want to become an RN at a fully accredited university, you'll probably have to start all over again. Many of those types of school's credit do not transfer anywhere but to other technical schools.

I'd consider if meeting an arbitrary age deadline is more important than a thought out career plan and secure finances.

I would advise against it. Not sure where you live right now, but I do know that job prospects for LPNs aren't great...unless you don't mind being restricted to a Nursing Home or Doctor's Office. Many hospitals just aren't hiring LPNs anymore--they're beginning to phase them out. Also, 31K is A LOT of money for an LPN program. That is bunkers. My BSN program didn't even cost close to that much. You're only paying for convenience, i.e. guaranteed admission. I also don't know how much I trust programs that guarantee admissions. I think the program, overall, is not economical.

You also have to evaluate your reasons for wanting to become a nurse. Do your research--is it actually worth it? Many people come into Nursing super excited and 6 months later, they absolutely hate it. If this happens to you, you'll be stuck in a career/job you hate, but can't leave because of all the debt.

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

$31,000 is a huge amount of money. Have you determined how much you'd have to repay per month after you graduate? I did some calculations (based on lots of assumptions) and here's what I determined. Let's say you have student loans at the rate of 6.8% interest per year (a current going rate for unsecured loans these days). Let's say you pay off the loans in 10 years. Using those numbers, your payment would be $357 per month. Let's say you earn about $15 per hour (that's on the high range for LPNs in my community--I know you might earn less or more). That would mean you would work about 24 hours per month just to pay your loan. Taking this further, if you earn $15 per hour and work full time...you'd earn about $2400 per month before taxes. Take off 1/4 for taxes and other deductions. That leaves $1800 per month for life. Take off the $357 and you're left with $1443 to live on. That's not much.

Do talk to someone about your personal scenario. I'd worry that you'll graduate and won't be able to survive on what you have left after you pay for your education.

Some for-profit schools are awesome. Some aren't so awesome. Some are degree factories that don't give students what they need to succeed. Some pass students that shouldn't pass, so they can maintain a high pass-rate. Remember that the school gets paid whether you pay or a loan-provider pays. If a school is for-profit, well, it's FOR PROFIT. What's this school's reputation? It would be good if you could talk to current students to get their feedback about the program.

Again, $31,000 is a huge amount of money for an LPN education. Talk to Intercoast as well as other schools in detail. Don't get into something that could be not-a-good-thing. Community colleges have waiting lists for their LPN programs, yes, but often they'll let you take pre-reqs while you wait to get into the official program--in fact sometimes they require it.

Good luck to you!

+ Add a Comment