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Free guide to nursing education and training programs throughout the US. Browse approved programs offered by schools in every state. Learn about specific requirements to become a CNA, LPN or RN. Research the employment outlook and job prospects for different nursing professions. Join our nursing discussion forum to connect with nursing students and find answers to your nursing education questions.
Nursing careers offer a high degree of stability since they are an integral part of the health care industry, which is one of the strongest sectors of the US economy. Nursing salaries are very competitive given the amount of education required and many nursing positions offer excellent benefits packages. Health care employers such as hospitals, long-term care facilities and health maintenance organizations tend to be large in scale and financially sound. This allows them to offer strong incentive packages to attract the best possible job candidates.
Nurse Education Training Programs<
See our extensive state by state list of accredited nursing schools and online nursing programs<. If you are seeking to become an LPN, CNA or RN you can learn more about each career position and find training programs being offered in your local area. CNA training can be completed in about three months. LPN training usually takes about one year to finish. RN programs take between 18 months to 4 years to complete depending on the type of program you select.
If you are having trouble deciding which nursing career path to pursue try asking actual nurses about their jobs and gain valuable insight from their real life experience. Enrolling in an academic program is a serious commitment of time and resources and should not be taken lightly. Research various career options and learn more about the average salary you can expect to earn in each position before making a final decision.
Our registered nursing (RN) school catalog includes all state-approved accredited RN programs.
- RN Diploma / Certificate Programs
- You can become a registered nurse through an approved diploma/certificate program administered by a hospital or educational institution. These programs typically take 12-18 months to complete and the individual will then meet the prerequisites for taking the NCLEX-RN exam to become a licensed RN.
- The benefits of a diploma/certificate program are low cost and quick completion. The main disadvantage is that you do not earn an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree, which makes you less competitive amongst other registered nurses in the job market.
- Associate’s Degree (ADN) RN Programs
- Another way to become a registered nurse is through the completion of an Associate’s degree in nursing program. Most Associate’s degree programs take 18-24 months to complete at a local community college. Once the student has earned their ADN they can sign up to take the NCLEX-RN exam.
- These programs are also fairly quick to complete and relatively cheap since they can be completed at junior colleges. The nice thing about having an Associate’s degree is that you can always go back to school to earn your Bachelor’s degree at a later time. If you decide to enroll in a Bachelor’s degree program you will only need about two years to complete your degree.
- Bachelor’s Degree (BSN) RN Programs
- The best career choice for a future registered nurse is to enroll in a four year Bachelor’s degree in nursing program. Although this degree will take about four years to complete, the future graduate will possess a valuable degree that can be used in several different ways.
- A student who graduates from a BSN program can take the NCLEX-RN test and become a licensed registered nurse. An RN who holds a Bachelor’s degree will be preferred by employers over RNs with a lesser degree or no degree at all. An RN with a BSN degree can also apply for nursing management positions and advance quickly within the nursing profession into more specialized fields. Lastly, a BSN degree allows the individual to pursue other careers outside of nursing.
- A four year degree from a reputable university has value in the US economy and is a signal of academic achievement and general competence. Holding a BSN degree also puts you one step closer to achieving a Master’s degree with about 18 months of additional schooling.
CNA Training Classes<
A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is a trained health care provider responsible for providing basic care and treatment to patients suffering from disease, illness, injury or mental incapacity.
Most CNAs are employed in long-term care facilities, hospitals, nursing homes or other medical care facilities. Facility administrators maintain a large number of CNAs on staff to serve their patients and abide by state guidelines for ratio of care takers per number of patients. Since CNAs are more cost-effective to hire than registered nurses they make excellent candidates for employment in health care centers.
The average salary range for a CNA is around $25,000 per year. The average salary for an RN is around $60,000 per year. This is why CNAs are more attractive to employers seeking to maintain a significant amount of care providers on staff. However, since CNAs have fewer educational requirements than RNs they must work under the supervision of either a registered nurse or a physician. It is typical for health care facilities to employ one registered nurse for every 5-10 nursing assistants.
Daily Tasks & Duties of a CNA
The tasks and duties performed by a CNA are very similar to those of a registered nurse. The CNA will provide basic personal care and medical treatment for patients, including assistance with bathing, eating, dressing and toileting. CNAs also provide medical care such as measuring and recording vital signs, height/weight, temperature, blood pressure and heartbeat. They also administer medication and answer patient’s questions about their treatments and medications. One limitation of a CNA is that they cannot prescribe medication or make medical diagnoses. They are allowed to make recommendations to the registered nurse or doctor on duty. CNAs are usually responsible for maintaining daily relationships with the current patients and monitoring their progress. They keep their findings in a medical chart and submit these to their supervisor for review and consultation.
CNA Training Programs & CNA Certification<
The process of becoming a CNA is very simple and can be completed in about 3 months. For those seeking to gain experience in the health care industry without investing large amounts of time and money in education and training the CNA certification is an excellent option.
The first step is to enroll in a state-approved CNA training program and complete the coursework. The federal minimum number of training hours required is 75, but individual states have the authority to increase that number to an amount that they determine to be sufficient. Many community colleges offer approved CNA courses and cost between $400 – $800. Many nursing homes and assisted living facilities offer on-site CNA training for current or future employees.
These programs are usually lower cost because they are completed on-site during the process of regular work being performed. If the facility covers the cost of the program it is usually expected that upon graduation the student will become an employee at that facility. Some technical schools and vocational training colleges offer CNA training programs as well, but might have a higher cost because they are private learning institutions.
The second step is to take the state CNA certification exam and pass successfully. The CNA exam includes two parts: written multiple choice questions and a hands-on clinical skills test. Both portions of the exam must be completed satisfactorily to obtain CNA certification. Well structured CNA training programs should include practice for both parts of the exam and provide insight as to what to expect from the skills test. There are 25 basic skills that can be tested, but each certification exam will only test 5. However, the student must be prepared and feel confident in performing all 25 tasks to ensure that they will pass the test.
The final step is to register with the state nurse aide registry in the state where you hold your certification and wish to practice. Once you are included on the state registry list your license can be verified by prospective employers.
Practical nursing programs prepare an individual to become a licensed practical or vocational nurse commonly referred to as an LPN or LVN. Most LPN programs take between 10-12 months to complete. There is no minimum number of education hours required across the board. Instead of having a national regulatory policy regarding LPN training, each individual state board of nursing is responsible for governing the educational institutions within their jurisdiction to ensure that they are providing adequate LPN education to their students before they graduate.
After successful completion of the practical nursing education requirement the student is eligible to enroll to take the NCLEX-PN exam. The National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) is the final step in becoming a licensed practical nurse. After passing this exam the individual can register as a Practical Nurse with their state nurse registry and begin work as an LPN.
Advantages of LPN Programs
The primary benefits of becoming an LPN are the ability to work in a booming sector of the US economy (health care) and to earn a substantial wage. The average LPN salary in the US is around $45,000 per year according to a recent survey of current LPN job postings on Indeed dot com. This is almost 10% higher than the national average wage of US workers according to the 2009 data gathered by the US government.
Additionally, the job security is greater than usual due to the fact that the health care industry is amongst the fastest growing sectors of our economy. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for licensed practical nurses is expected to grow at a faster rate during the next decade than most other industries.
LPN Program Requirements
Most states require that students have a minimum high school diploma or GED before enrolling in an LPN training program. Beyond the educational requirements, LPN candidates should have a passion for caring for patients and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment. Future LPNs should be prepared for a challenging work schedule including 12-hour shifts, 4 consecutive work days in a row and possibly working night shifts. Practical nurses should not be easily upset by seeing people who are sick and have various diseases and conditions. The role of an LPN is to provide support and care for ailing patients and it takes a strong individual to perform these tasks.