Top LPN Programs and Schools in the Country

Updated November 22, 2022

An LPN program is a great pathway into a healthcare career. LPNs are in demand and can get additional education to earn even more as RNs.
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Are you considering a career in healthcare, but you aren't sure if nursing is for you? Or are you concerned about the time and money it may take to earn an associate degree in nursing? Becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) may be the career path for you. Most LPN programs take just one year, and LPNs are in high demand.

There are differences between LPNs and registered nurses (RNs) and LPNs and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). While LPNs earn more than CNAs, they earn less than RNs. Many RNs began their careers as LPNs, leaving room for career and salary growth.

As you learn more about LPN programs, you might see references to licensed vocational nurse (LVN) programs. Except for the title, there is no difference between LPN and LVN programs.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best LPN programs, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about LPN programs, or go straight to our list of the best LPN programs.

How Do LPN Programs Work?

LPN programs typically take 1-2 years to complete. This degree is most common in community colleges, but some hospitals offer them as well.

The coursework includes topics such as taking vital signs (blood pressure and heart rate), updating medical records, administering medication, drawing blood, and using medical equipment. LPN programs also teach patient safety, nursing ethics, and effective communication in a healthcare setting.

During your LPN program, you participate in a clinical experience within a healthcare setting. You begin by observing. Then, you learn more by participating under the supervision of a licensed nurse or other licensed healthcare professional.

Clinical practice helps you apply classroom learning in a practical setting. Once you graduate, you can take the National Council Licensure Examination for LPNs (NCLEX-PN).

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Learn More About the Best LPN Programs and Schools

#1 Top LPN Programs and Schools in the Country

South Georgia Technical College

  • Americus, GA
  • 2 years
  • Campus

Description:

The practical nursing diploma program at South Georgia Technical College readies graduates for the NCLEX-PN. Coursework and clinical experiences emphasize competent caregiving with the goal of landing entry-level licensed practical nursing positions.

Courses include maternity nursing, medical-surgical nursing, nursing fundamentals, and structure and function of the human body.

Details:

  • Program(s): Diploma in practical nursing
  • Campus: Americus, GA
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Georgia Board of Examiners of Licensed Practical Nursing
  • Tuition: $100 per credit hour 
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; age 18; college placement test or ACT/SAT scores; criminal background check.
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 5 terms
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$3,000
Out-of-state
$6,000
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,117
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Top LPN Programs and Schools in the Country

Ozarka College

  • Melbourne, AR
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Ozarka College offers a technical certificate in licensed practical nursing that prepares learners for industry certification. Courses cover topics in basic human nutrition, body structure and function, and nursing process. The curriculum includes clinical rotations in the campus' four-county area and Missouri. Students are responsible for travel costs.

Details:

  • Program(s): Technical certificate in practical nursing
  • Campus: Melbourne, AR
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Arkansas State Board of Nursing
  • Tuition: $121 per credit hour for in-state residents; $219 per credit hour for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: High school of GED transcripts; placement test scores; additional criteria specified by admissions office
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 18 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$2,160
Out-of-state
$4,512
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,170
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Top LPN Programs and Schools in the Country

Florida Gateway College

  • Lake City, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Offering a top LPN program in the country, Florida Gateway College awards an occupational certificate in practical nursing that qualifies graduates for the NCLEX-PN and Florida licensing. Students begin the program in the spring and learn basic nursing, human development across the lifespan, medical-surgical lifespan, and transition into practice. 

Details:

  • Program(s): Occupational certificate in practical nursing
  • Campus: Lake City, FL
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $6,522 total
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; age 18; Test of Adult Basic Education score of 11; TEAS exam scores; background check
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$2,369
Out-of-state
$9,473
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,406
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
63% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Top LPN Programs and Schools in the Country

Ogeechee Technical College

  • Statesboro, GA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

The practical nursing diploma program at Ogeechee Technical College prepares learners to provide competent nursing care with a curriculum that integrates theory and practice. Graduates gain eligibility to take the NCLEX-PN and can pursue entry-level nursing positions.

The program arranges clinical assignments at local healthcare facilities, but students pay travel costs.

Details:

  • Program(s): Diploma in practical nursing
  • Campus: Statesboro, GA
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Georgia Board of Nursing
  • Tuition: $6,070 total
  • Admission Requirements: High school or GED transcripts: age 18 at start of program; placement test scores; background check 
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 5 terms
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$2,400
Out-of-state
$4,800
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,079
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
58% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Top LPN Programs and Schools in the Country

Southern Crescent Technical College

  • Griffin, GA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Southern Crescent Technical College's practical nursing diploma track prepares students for NCLEX-PN and entry-level nursing practice. Cohorts begin in the fall or spring. The program integrates coursework and clinical experiences in nursing fundamentals, medical-surgical nursing, nurse leadership, and maternity nursing. 

SCTC places students into its healthcare assistant certificate program while they work on PN program admission requirements.

Details:

  • Program(s): Diploma in practical nursing
  • Campus: Griffin, GA
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $100 per credit hour for in-state residents; $200 per credit hour for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: High school or GED transcripts; prerequisites; 3.0 GPA in core courses; background check
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 5 terms
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$2,400
Out-of-state
$4,800
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
5,246
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Top LPN Programs and Schools in the Country

Palm Beach State College

  • Lake Worth, FL
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Description:

The practical nursing career certificate program at Palm Beach State College includes theoretical classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience in geriatric and long-term care nursing, medical-surgical nursing, obstetrical and pediatric nursing, and pharmacology and medication administration.

The curriculum prepares graduates for the NCLEX-PN. Students can apply 11 LPN credits toward an associate degree in nursing.

Details:

  • Program(s): Practical nursing career certificate
  • Campus: Lake Worth, FL
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Florida Board of Nursing
  • Tuition: $101 per credit hour for in-state residents; $363 per credit hour for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: High school or GED transcripts; Test of Adult Basic Education scores; online info session completion; HESI score of 75
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$2,424
Out-of-state
$8,712
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
31,289
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Top LPN Programs and Schools in the Country

East Arkansas Community College

  • Forrest City, AR
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

East Arkansas Community College offers a practical nursing certificate that trains LPNs to provide basic patient care and communication while practicing cultural sensitivity. 

Course topics include basic fundamentals, mental health, and nursing of mothers and children. Courses include clinical components at assigned locations, such as long-term care facilities, pediatric physician offices, and emergency rooms.

Details:

  • Program(s): Technical certificate in practical nursing
  • Campus: Forrest City, AR
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $88 per credit hour for in-county residents; $98 per credit hour for in-state residents; $118 per credit hour for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Academic transcripts; nursing entrance exam; background check
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$2,880
Out-of-state
$3,450
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,350
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 Top LPN Programs and Schools in the Country

Carl Sandburg College

  • Galesburg, IL
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

The practical nursing program at Carl Sandburg College readies graduates for entry-level nursing positions working under the supervision of physicians and registered nurses. Students learn to administer injections and medications, collect testing samples, dress wounds, provide basic bedside care, and take vital signs.

Sandburg maintains cooperative transfer agreements with Illinois nursing schools.

Details:

  • Program(s): Practical nursing certificate
  • Campus: Galesburg, IL
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $175 per credit hour for in-district residents; $262 per credit hour for in-state residents; $292 per credit hour for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Meeting with academic advisor; high school transcript; TEAS or ACT/SAT scores
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 1 year
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$7,140
Out-of-state
$7,952
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,925
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#9 Top LPN Programs and Schools in the Country

Southside Virginia Community College

  • Alberta, VA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Southside Virginia Community College offers a certificate in practical nursing geared toward beginning practitioners. Students prepare for the NCLEX-PN with classroom and clinical training that emphasizes collaboration, nursing judgment, patient-centered care, professional identity, and safe and effective care.

Courses include terminology and charting, drug dosage calculations, and developmental psychology.

Details:

  • Program(s): Certificate in practical nursing
  • Campus: Alberta, VA
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $157 per credit hour 
  • Admission Requirements: Information session attendance; high school transcripts or equivalent; transcript review to see if placement test required; TEAS exam scores: 55% overall, 53% math; 2.0 SVCC prerequisites GPA
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 3 semesters
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,620
Out-of-state
$9,918
Retention Rate
56%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,219
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10 Top LPN Programs and Schools in the Country

Coastal Pines Technical College

  • Waycross, GA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

As a top LPN school in the country, Coastal Pines Technical College's practical nursing diploma program focuses on passing the NCLEX-PN and providing competent patient care. Students gain hands-on experience through clinicals in nursing fundamentals, medical-surgical nursing, maternity nursing, and nurse leadership.

CPTC requires general education courses in English, mathematics, and basic psychology.

Details:

  • Program(s): Diploma in practical nursing
  • Campus: Waycross, GA
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); Georgia Board of Nursing
  • Tuition: $100 per credit hour for in-state residents; $200 per credit hour for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; age 16; transcripts; placement testing scores; healthcare assistant certificate; background check
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$2,147
Out-of-state
$4,294
Retention Rate
58%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,498
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Applying to an LPN Program

Those applying to an LPN program need a high school diploma or a GED certificate. Because LPN certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs vary by course requirements, completion times, and cost, carefully research the options available at vocational schools and community colleges.

Typical requirements include:

  • High school diploma or GED certificate
  • Criminal background check
  • Entrance exam
  • Minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Recommendation letters
  • Test of Essential Academic Skills or American College Test scores

Why Is LPN Program Accreditation Important?

Nursing accreditation means that an independent group of academics and nursing professionals reviewed the program's curriculum, teaching, and overall quality to ensure its graduates can practice safely. Because LPNs are so important to healthcare quality and patient safety, most employers won't consider hiring a graduate of an unaccredited program.

In addition, most accredited schools don't accept transfer credits from unaccredited programs. This means that if you invest your time and money in an unaccredited program, you might end up with nothing valuable to show for all of your efforts.

Frequently Asked Questions About LPN Programs


What is the shortest LPN program?

If you have a CNA, some LPN programs offer an accelerated option that lets you complete your LPN in six months. Otherwise, you can finish some programs in a year, depending on the school.

Some unaccredited programs promise a faster time line, but unaccredited programs aren't worth it.

What is the highest paying LPN?

According to Salary.com as of February 2022, the top 10% of LPNs earn $60,776 or more. LPNs earn a median of $48,820 annually, >according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Among the different specialties, the Journal of Nursing Regulation cites geriatrics LPNs as having the highest salaries at a median of $47,000.

How long does it take to become an LPN?

Most LPN programs take 1-2 years to complete. However, the time line varies by program, your schedule, and state requirements. You can take the NCLEX-PN right after you graduate, though some students prefer to study for an additional period.

Where is the best place to work as an LPN?

Four of the top-paying cities for LPNs are in California, >according to the BLS. In the San Jose — Sunnyvale — Santa Clara area, the average salary is $75,950, followed by Santa Rosa at $74,820, San Francisco — Oakland — Hayward at $74,520, and Vallejo — Fairfield at $72,350.

If you prefer a colder climate, Anchorage, Alaska, is next, where LPNs earn an average of $69,990.

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