Best LPN Programs

LPNs play a vital role in healthcare settings. Learn how top LPN programs train learners for this fulfilling career in only one year.

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by Thomas Broderick

Published on July 1, 2022

Edited by Kelly Thomas
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Best LPN Programs
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Licensed professional nurses (LPNs) spend much of their day working with patients directly in a clinical setting. Extensive one-on-one interaction with patients makes the career fulfilling for many workers. Other typical LPN responsibilities include recording patients' vital signs and collaborating with nurses and doctors.

LPNs benefit from more than a career helping improve patient outcomes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the profession's median salary of 48,070 as of May 2021 exceeds what the average U.S. worker earns ($45,760). This advantage makes enrolling in an LPN program a wise investment.

Best LPN Programs

Rankings Methodology:

  • Must offer less than one-year certifications
  • Accredited
  • Less than 18-to-1 faculty-to-student ratio
  • Less than $35,000 in tuition

Assabet Valley Regional Technical School

  • Type: Public nonprofit
  • Cost: $9,782 in-district; $17,234 out-of-district
  • Location: Marlboro, Massachusetts
  • Admission requirements: Entrance exam; Social Security number; resume; references; essay; official transcripts; interview
  • Graduation requirements: Passing grade of 75% in all classes; required clinical hours
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)

AVRTS's LPN program helps students start a career in just 10 months. All certificate-seekers take classes full time during regular work hours. Learning outcomes include advanced communication and professionalism skills.

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B.M. Spurr School of Practical Nursing

  • Type: Private not-for-profit
  • Cost: $6,550
  • Location: Glen Dale, West Virginia
  • Admission requirements: Personal references; background check
  • Graduation requirements: Maintaining satisfactory academic progress in each of the program's four quarters
  • Accreditation: ACEN

As of 2021, the B.M. Spurr School of Practical Nursing features a 93% graduation rate, and 100% of graduates pass the NCLEX-PN on the first try. The school achieves these impressive graduate outcomes by requiring rigorous classes in medical-surgical nursing, social science, and pharmacology.

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Chester County Intermediate Unit

  • Type: Public nonprofit
  • Cost: $19,620 in-state; $24,525 out-of-state
  • Location: Downington, Phoenixville, and West Grove, Pennsylvania
  • Admission requirements: Entrance exam; background check
  • Graduation requirements: Weekday clinical rotations
  • Accreditation: ACEN

CCIU offers its LPN program on three campuses. Each features a 15-month curriculum. Most graduates work in a Chester County healthcare facility.

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Delaware County Intermediate Unit - Practical Nursing Program

  • Type: Public nonprofit
  • Cost: $17,768
  • Location: Broomall, Pennsylvania
  • Admission requirements: Entrance exam; fee
  • Graduation requirements: Complete 1,500 clock hours in the program
  • Accreditation: ACEN

DCIU's LPN program uses a 12-month curriculum with classes in anatomy and physiology, pediatric nursing, and mental health concepts. Each 12-week term requires clinical rotations. DCIU offers students with young children an affordable preschool program.

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Fayette County Career & Technical Institute Practical Nursing Program

  • Type: Public nonprofit
  • Cost: $13,944 in-state; $15,944 out-of-state
  • Location: Uniontown and Cheswick, Pennsylvania
  • Admission requirements: Background check; personal references; essay
  • Graduation requirements: Required hours of clinical rotations
  • Accreditation: ACEN

FCCTI's LPN program features courses taught by professors with many years of experience and small class sizes. Classes in the three-semester program include an introduction to pharmacology, nutrition, and maternal-child health. FCCTI awards institutional financial aid.

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Fortis College - Centerville

  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Cost: Varies
  • Location: Centerville, Ohio
  • Admission requirements: Meeting with an admissions representative; high school diploma or GED scores
  • Graduation requirements: Coursework in biology, physiology, and emergency care
  • Accreditation: ACEN

Fortis offers its LPN program on 11 campuses in four states, including Ohio. Students complete clinical rotations in local healthcare settings. Graduates may apply their certificate toward a Fortis associate in nursing degree.

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Fox Valley Technical College

  • Type: Public nonprofit
  • Cost: $7,295
  • Location: Appleton, Wisconsin campus
  • Admission requirements: High school diploma or GED scores; criminal background check; entrance exam
  • Graduation requirements: 30 undergraduate credits; supervised clinical rotations
  • Accreditation: ACEN

Students can enroll in FVTC's on-campus LPN program in the summer, fall, or spring semester. Coursework covers nursing fundamentals, nursing health alterations, and an introduction to clinical care management. Nearly all classes feature a clinical rotation or other hands-on learning.

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Harmony Health Care Institute

  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Cost: $22,995
  • Location: Merrimack, New Hampshire
  • Admission requirements: High school or GED diploma; entrance exam; three professional references; essay
  • Graduation requirements: More than 1,100 hours of classroom instruction and hands-on training
  • Accreditation: ACEN

HHCI's LPN program features courses taught by instructors with significant healthcare experience. All students learn full time and graduate in about 13 months. Incoming learners may satisfy up to 25% of required coursework through transfer credit.

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Lincoln Technical Institute - Lincoln

  • Type: Private for-profit
  • Cost: Varies
  • Location: Lincoln, Rhode Island
  • Admission requirements: High school or GED diploma
  • Graduation requirements: More than 1,400 hours of classroom and clinical instruction
  • Accreditation: ACEN

Diploma-seekers enrolling in Lincoln Tech's LPN program learn full or part time. Part-time students graduate in less than two years. Core classes include anatomy and physiology, psychology, and pharmacology with a medication lab.

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Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center Practical Nursing

  • Type: Public nonprofit
  • Cost: $22,575
  • Location: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
  • Admission requirements: High school or GED diploma; entrance exam; interview; two references; background check
  • Graduation requirements: Over 1,600 hours of classroom instruction and hands-on training
  • Accreditation: ACEN

Wilkes-Barre Area CTC's LPN program requires classes in the calculation of drug dosage, pharmacology, and mental health. Most students graduate in 15 months. Learning outcomes include applying therapeutic communication techniques and ethical standards on the job.

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Steps to Become an LPN

Aspiring professionals qualify for an LPN program by earning a high school or GED diploma. LPN programs may require more academic preparation, such as some college experience. Schools may use other admission requirements, including recommendation letters, an essay, and financial aid forms.

LPN programs take 12-24 months to complete, depending on the school and student. Programs feature rigorous academic instruction and rotations in different clinical settings. Students graduate with a certificate, diploma, or associate degree.

LPNs need more than a college education. States also require passing an examination for licensure. Current students should ask whether their program offers exam preparation resources.

Are There Online LPN Programs?

How Much Do LPN Programs Cost?

Tuition differs between private and public schools. A private college may charge nearly $20,000 in tuition, fees, and other expenses. Some public schools, such as those this article highlights, cost much less.

Learners qualify for in-state tuition by living in a state for a specific amount of time, usually a year. Some public schools with online LPN programs may waive out-of-state tuition. This advantage results in significant savings for some students.

Degree- and certificate-seekers taking classes at least part time may qualify for many types of financial aid. Students should explore these options as soon as possible by contacting their school's financial aid office. Advisors help learners complete the FAFSA and other forms.

How Much Does an LPN Make?

The BLS reports that LPNs earned a median salary of $48,070 in May 2021. The average U.S. worker makes about $2,500 less per year.

Many factors affect salary, such as an employer. Government agencies and residential care facilities offered a median salary of $52,210 and $49,620 in May 2021, respectively. Home healthcare services agencies also offer well-paying positions.

Geographic location also impacts salary greatly. LPNs living in Washington, Alaska, and California made more than $63,000 per year on average as of May 2021. However, these states feature many cities with a high cost of living.

Financial Aid for Your LPN Program

Prospective students researching LPN programs should explore different forms of financial aid. Many private companies award scholarships. The federal government awards grants and scholarships as well.

Learners working while in school should explore whether their employer offers tuition reimbursement. Tuition reimbursement policies vary by employer.

Scholarships for LPN Programs

Caroline E. Holt Nursing Scholarship


TYLENOL Future Care Scholarship


Breaking Barriers Scholarship for Men in Nursing


R&D Systems Scholarship

Federal Grants for LPN Programs

Nurse Corps Scholarship Program

Frequently Asked Questions About LPN Programs

Can you be an LPN without a degree?

Yes. To become an LPN and qualify for a state-issued license, you do not need an associate or bachelor's degree. Shorter certificate and diploma programs from an accredited school provide the necessary education. Certificates and diplomas resemble degrees in that students earn undergraduate credit for each course passed.

LPNs with a certificate may transfer their credit to an associate or bachelor's program. Although not a requirement for an entry-level career, degrees offer many advantages, such as the potential for a higher salary and opportunities for advancement.

Prospective students should speak with an enrollment counselor to determine whether a certificate, diploma, or degree aligns with their career goals.

What will you learn in an LPN program?

LPN programs require general education and core curriculum classes. General education classes may include anatomy and physiology, introduction to psychology, and rhetoric and composition. The latter class helps learners develop their communication skills.

Certificate-seekers move on to the core curriculum after completing general education classes. Students prepare for a career with coursework in dosage calculation, nursing fundamentals, pharmacology, and adult health nursing. Online LPN programs let learners take these classes at home.

Students taking classes online or in person perform rotations in many clinical settings. Each rotation features a different emphasis, such as nursing fundamentals or adult health nursing.

How long do LPN programs take?

LPN programs awarding a certificate often take three semesters for full-time students. Degree-seekers in an associate program need 18-24 months to graduate. A degree takes longer than a certificate because it requires more general education classes. Students completing a degree may use their education to enter a bachelor's completion program leading to an RN.

Part-time students earning a certificate or degree need longer to graduate than their peers. They can work with an enrollment or academic advisor to explore their options and create an academic plan.

Do you have to take a test or certification to become an LPN?

Each state's nursing licensure board requires LPNs to pass an exam. These boards use the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) developed this exam.

Top on-campus and online LPN programs prepare students to pass the NCLEX-PN. Test-takers sign up on the NCSBN website. This process involves creating an account, paying a fee, and choosing a testing center.

As of May 2022, the NCLEX-PN uses modifications that NCSBN adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Test-takers must answer 15 unscored questions before moving on to the 75-question exam. NCSBN gives test-takers two breaks and up to five hours to finish.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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