Top Online LPN Programs

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What is an LPN Program?

LPN programs help students prepare to pursue Licensed Practical Nurse career paths. They feature subjects important in a nursing role, like anatomy and pharmacology. Along with theory, they cover practical knowledge, like how to check blood pressure. And, they require supervised clinical experience.

LPN programs must be approved by your state, if you wish to pursue nurse licensure. So, it’s wise to check with your state board of nursing, when choosing your LPN program.

LPN ResponsibilitiesWhere LPNs WorkTypes of LPNs
  • Monitor patients’ health
  • Provide basic patient care, like changing bandages or helping with bathing
  • Listen to patients’ concerns and discuss their care with them
  • Keep patient records
  • Nursing and residential care facilities
  • State, local, and private hospitals
  • Doctors’ offices
  • Home healthcare services
  • Government
LPNs could pursue certification in specializations like:

  • Gerontology
  • Intravenous (IV) therapy
  • Urology
  • Nephrology
  • Hospice and palliative care
  • Maternal and pediatric nursing


Can I Take an LPN Program Online?

You can potentially take an LPN program online, if the program meets your state’s requirements. But, you will still need to complete some in-person experiences.

LPN programs include a blend of coursework, laboratory work, and supervised clinical practice. Some coursework, particularly general education courses, can be pursued online. Other components of your program will require you to visit campus or another location – like a hospital or clinic.

There are a couple reasons for this. For one, some aspects of patient care are best learned firsthand. Simulation labs and guidance from instructors can help you pick up these practical nursing functions. Also, part of pursuing an LPN education is learning how nurses work in different settings. So, experiencing different healthcare environments, like hospitals and clinics, may be a key part of your program.

Courses that include theory as well as laboratory and clinical practice may be offered in a hybrid format. That means some parts of the course could be completed online. But again, you’ll need to experience some parts of the course in person.

Look for programs like:

  • Practical Nursing Diploma
  • Practical Nursing Certificate

What Classes Do You Take for an LPN Program?

LPN courses cover nursing skill areas, plus science courses like biology, pharmacology, and more. Expect to study both the theory behind nursing, and the practical knowledge needed to provide patient care. Some programs also feature courses in a specialty area. These could include geriatric nursing or maternal and pediatric nursing.





Introduction to Practical Nursing: This course launches you into your studies, covering the key concepts you need to move forward. You’ll learn the scope of practice for LPNs, and what’s expected in the role. And, you’ll learn how to provide high-quality patient care in various health settings

Human Anatomy and Physiology: To provide ideal patient care, you need to know how the body works. This course covers the body’s structure, function, and chemistry. You’ll learn about organs and body systems, plus common diagnoses and health procedures.

Pharmacology for Practical Nurses: Pharmacology is the branch of medicine that focuses on drugs. In this course, you’ll learn how drugs work and how they’re prepared and administered. You’ll learn the difference between types of drugs, from over-the-counter medications to vitamins. And, you’ll study principles of safety and professional ethics.

Pediatric Nursing: Children and infants call for special considerations in nursing. You’ll study topics like growth and development, nutrition, and care that involves the whole family. And, you’ll study legal and ethical issues that factor into working with children.

How Long Does It Take to Become an LPN?

Most LPN programs take about one year to earn. Some may take longer. Following successful completion of an LPN program, prospective nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). The time it takes to study for and pass this exam may vary.

LPN Programs That Could be Completed in 12 Months

SchoolDegree Level# of Credits RequiredStart DatesMinimum Months to Complete
Rasmussen CollegeDiploma62Multiple12
Herzing UniversityDiplomaN/AMultiple12
Pennsylvania Institute of TechnologyCertificate50Multiple12

How Much Does an LPN Program Cost to Enroll In?

NCES states that the average annual cost of attending a public, four-year school is $19,189. Average tuition was higher for private and for-profit schools, at $39,529. Compare tuition for these schools that offer practical nursing programs:

SchoolDegree Level# of Credits RequiredCost Per CreditTotal Tuition Cost
Cecil CollegeCertificate35$283$9,905
College of Saint MaryCertificate35$337$11,795
Delta CollegeCertificate44$371$16,324

Top Schools That Offer LPN Programs

NCES lists 274 institutions with Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurse Training programs. From those schools, students were awarded 45,570 degrees in 2016 (the most recent data). The most common credential awarded in this field was a one- to two-year postsecondary certificate (86%).

School2016 Degrees awarded2018/19 Tuition (out of state unless *)
ECPI University683$16,039*
Instituto de Banca y Comercio Inc575$9,995*
Unitek College525$30,699*
Hondros College of Nursing515$18,270*
Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts413$31,519*
Bluegrass Community and Technical College378$14,480
Ivy Tech Community College376$8,402
West Kentucky Community and Technical College283$14,400
Northwest Louisiana Technical College253$2,976*
Jefferson Community and Technical College251$14,480

Choosing an Accredited LPN Program

To pursue an LPN career path, candidates must graduate from a state-approved nursing program. You can check with your state board of nursing for more information.

Some state regulatory agencies require your LPN program to be accredited. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits programs in practical nursing and other areas. They use a peer-reviewed process to help ensure each program’s quality. So, choosing an accredited LPN program is a step toward feeling confident your education prepares you for the challenges of nursing.

What Can You Do with an LPN Degree or Certificate?

The most current census data states that there are 4.11 million Health degree-holders in the workforce. That includes those who graduated from LPN programs. Overall, the healthcare field is expanding, with employment projected to grow 14% between 2018 and 2028. That’s much faster than average for all occupations.

Employment of licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses is also growing much faster than average. Roles in this field are projected to increase 11% by 2028. In part, this is due to the aging baby boomer population. LPNs and LVNs may be needed to care for elderly patients both at home and in residential care facilities. The rise of conditions like diabetes and obesity may also create demand for nurses. And, the rise of outpatient care centers may lead to more LPN roles.

So, do you see yourself as an LPN? The field is female-dominated, with 89.5% of graduates identifying as women. The average degree-holder was 43.3 years old.

Top Salaries by State for a Licensed Practical Nurses

StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
Rhode Island1,080$59,130


Jobs Similar to an LPN

Medical Assistant

Medical Assistants help keep healthcare facilities running smoothly. They do both administrative and clinical tasks. Administrative tasks may include scheduling patient appointments and entering patient records. Clinical tasks include taking vital signs, like blood pressure, preparing blood samples for lab tests, and more. In some states, medical assistants can give injections or medications.

Median Salary: $33,610 per year

Job Growth Through 2028: 23% (Much faster than average)

Typical Entry-level Education: Postsecondary nondegree award

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy Assistants work with occupational therapists to develop a treatment plan for patients. Assistants then help patients work on skills they need to develop or improve. They could help patients do stretches and exercises, teach them to use assistive devices, and more. Most work in the offices of physical, occupational, and speech therapists, as well as audiologists.

Median Salary: $57,620 per year

Job Growth Through 2028: 31% (Much faster than average)

Typical Entry-level Education: Associate’s degree

Surgical Technologist

Surgical Technologists help medical teams and surgeons before, during, and after operations. Before the operation, they do tasks like sterilize equipment and prepare the patient. During the operation, they assist doctors by passing instruments and keeping track of supplies. Afterwards, they handle duties like applying the patient’s bandages and restocking the operating room.

Median Salary: $47,300 per year

Job Growth Through 2028: 9% (Faster than average)

Typical Entry-level Education: Postsecondary nondegree award

© Education Connection 2019. All Rights Reserved.

EducationDynamics maintains business relationships with the schools it features.

Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum.