The Best LPN Programs Online

January 21, 2022 · 6 Min Read

Completing an LPN program online can help you become a licensed practical nurse with flexibility and convenience. Explore some of the best online LPN programs near you.

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NurseJournal.org 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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The Best LPN Programs Online
Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), also known as licensed vocational nurses, provide basic patient care in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. LPNs can complete their nursing training in about a year, allowing them to enter the workforce quickly with less financial burden or time commitment than a four-year degree.

Online LPN programs offer a convenient, flexible option for getting the credentials for entry-level nursing jobs. Students complete course requirements at their own pace to help maintain their work or family responsibilities.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best online 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 online programs, or go straight to our list of the best online LPN programs.

What Can You Do as an LPN?

LPNs directly contribute to the care and comfort of their patients. Depending on the work setting, duties may include recording vital signs, giving medications, changing wound dressings, and bathing and feeding patients.

Nursing care facilities, hospitals, mental health centers, home healthcare, and physicians' offices rank among the most common workplaces for LPNs.

LPN salaries vary by education level and type of employer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), LPNs earn a median annual salary of $48,820, with the highest-paid employees working in government agencies, nursing and residential care facilities, and home healthcare.

While most LPNs have a nurse certificate, earning potential increases for those who earn an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or higher.

What to Look for in an Online LPN Program

With so many online LPN programs to choose from, you should carefully research different schools to find the right fit for your personal needs and career goals.

Before enrolling in an LPN program, explore these key signs of academic quality.

Admission requirements can provide an indication of the academic quality a school expects of its students. Be wary of schools with "easy" admission standards, such as low GPA requirements. The LPN curriculum for most schools should offer basic courses in anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, chemistry, and biology. The program should also allow students to choose other courses aligned with their interests. Every LPN program requires clinical components. Online learners may complete some laboratory experiences as part of their coursework, although most programs require on-site placements.

Some schools allow online students to complete their clinical rotations at their workplace or help them find placements near their homes.
Accreditation by an independent agency, such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), ensures the quality of a nursing program's curriculum and clinical experiences. Most LPN programs require 40 credit hours and a minimum of 500 clinical hours. While most students complete training in 12-18 months, the total length of time varies by school and depends on how many credits students complete each semester. The reported pass rates for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) can serve as a measure of a program's overall quality. When choosing a school, consider how their pass rate compares with the NCLEX national pass rate for LPNs, which is just over 80% as of 2021. Graduation rates can provide a strong indicator of a school's commitment to student success. High graduation rates suggest that students receive the guidance and support they need throughout the program. Determine what kind of online delivery format works best for your success. Are you a self-motivated learner, or do you require some structure?

Some online LPN programs are asynchronistic which allow you to study at your own pace, while others use synchronistic models with classes scheduled on fixed days and times.

Featured Online Programs

Applying to Online LPN Programs

Prospective LPNs need a high school diploma or a GED certificate before they apply to a nursing program. Because LPN certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs vary by course requirements, completion times, and cost, carefully research your options available at vocational schools and community colleges.

Admission Materials

High school diploma or GED certificate; criminal background; entrance exam

GPA Requirements

Minimum 2.5 GPA

Other Requirements

Recommendation letters; some may also require the Test of Essential Academic Skills or American College Test scores

Why Is Online LPN Program Accreditation Important?

Accreditation for nursing programs measures the quality of the nursing program, making sure it has a rigorous set of standards to prepare graduates for nursing practice. Two independent organizations, the CCNE and ACEN, administer nursing accreditation in the United States.

Accreditation shows potential employers, state nursing licensing boards, and other schools that you have received a quality education. Most employers will not hire graduates of unaccredited programs.

If you attend an unaccredited school, you may not receive federal financial aid, and the credits earned may not transfer to another school.

Paying for Online LPN Programs

The cost of LPN online training depends on several factors. Taking LPN classes online rather than on campus may save money on housing and transportation costs, but you still must budget for tuition, distance learning fees, and books.

Public schools may offer more affordable tuition than private ones. However, some programs charge higher tuition rates for out-of-state students. If you plan on working while taking online LPN courses, consider if the program offers enough flexibility to set your own schedule.

You can apply for financial aid opportunities for nursing students to help offset the cost of a nursing education. Begin your search by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to see if you qualify for federal loans or grants.

In addition to government-sponsored programs, you may consider private loans or nursing scholarships and grants from private foundations, professional nursing associations, and schools.

Some scholarships provide funding for specific nursing specialties. Scholarships for minorities are typically based on race, ethnicity, or gender. If you are working, find out if your employer participates in a tuition reimbursement plan.

Learn More About the Top Online LPN Programs and Schools

Lake Area Technical College true View School Profile $$ Watertown, SD 71% 71% 32% Higher Learning Commission

Description:

Founded in 1965, LATC is a public community college. Full-time students can complete the college's 47-credit online LPN program in 11 months. Part-time students take up to 23 months to graduate.

While all coursework is available online, candidates complete four clinicals at LATC's Watertown campus or another accredited community college. Students also perform five additional clinicals in their local communities for a total of 674 hours. Graduates can apply their credits toward LATC's RN program.

This program is open to students living in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. Classes start every fall in 40-student cohorts.

Details:

  • Program(s): Practical nursing e-degree
    • Campus: Watertown, South Dakota
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation(s): ACNE
    • Tuition: $121 per credit
    • Admission Requirements: Complete ATI TEAS entrance exam; high school or college transcripts; minimum 2.5 GPA
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 11 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98%
Maysville Community and Technical College true View School Profile $ Maysville, KY 42% 28% 49% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Description:

Maysville was established in 1968 and boasts five campuses today. The college's online LPN programs prepare graduates to take the NCLEX-PN in about one year.

Students complete 51-63 credits, including general education classes, prerequisites, and core classes. Core courses in pharmacology, mental health, and nursing care, along with labs at the Maysville campus, offer the fundamental skills needed to work in practical nursing. While students take classes online, they must complete clinicals at local healthcare sites.

Maysville also offers an online LPN-to-RN program and certificate programs for candidates who wish to become a Medicaid nurse aide or Kentucky medication aide.

Details:

  • Program(s): Practical nursing diploma
    • Campus: Maysville, Kentucky
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation(s): Approved by the Kentucky Board of Nursing
    • Tuition: $179 per credit hour for Kentucky residents; $358 for non-residents
    • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or GED; ACT scores of 18 or higher and TEAS scores; CPR certification; active Medicaid Nurse Aide Registry member
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 11 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96%
State Fair Community College true View School Profile Sedalia, MO 30% 18% 63% Higher Learning Commission

Description:

SFCC opened its doors in 1968 near the Missouri State Fairgrounds and now offers more than 260 online classes.

Students seeking an LPN school online can graduate from SFCC in one year. The 55.5-credit hybrid program requires candidates to visit campus. Field experiences in adult health and child rearing family prepare students to care for diverse client bases.

Graduates meet the requirements to take the Missouri State Board of Nursing's LPN license exam. Learners can also complete an additional year of studies to become an RN.

SFCC's admission process is free. New students begin in the fall and spring semesters.

Details:

  • Program(s): Professional certificate in practical nursing
    • Campus: Sedalia, Missouri
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation(s): HLC (Regional)
    • Tuition: $117 per credit hour for in-district residents; $175 per credit hour for Missouri residents; $237 per credit hour for non-residents.
    • Admission Requirements: Official transcripts with minimum 2.75 GPA; ATI TEAS test score of 58.7% or higher
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%
Ashland Community and Technical College true View School Profile $ Ashland, KY 39% 35% 57% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Description:

ACTC serves 2,400 students through three campuses across the state. The college's online LPN program trains students to take the NCLEX-PN in 11 months.

Over three semesters, learners complete anatomy and physiology courses and labs. They also take part in stimulations to prepare for the practical nursing field. The last summer session includes a clinical practicum.

Candidates complete between 46-53 credits, unless they want to pursue an associate degree in general occupational/technical studies, which requires additional courses.

ACTC offers certificate programs for prospective Medicaid nurse aides and Kentucky medication aides.

Candidates must complete applications for both ACTC and the program itself before attending an online advising conference.

Details:

  • Program(s): Practical nursing diploma
    • Campus: Ashland, Kentucky
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation(s): Approved by the Kentucky Board of Nursing
    • Tuition: $179 per credit for in-state residents; $358 per credit for out-of-state residents in contiguous counties; $627 per credit for other out-of-state students
    • Admission Requirements: ACTC application; high school transcripts; minimum 2.5 GPA; CPR certification; a "C" grade or better in all prerequisites
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 11 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 73%
Hazard Community and Technical College true View School Profile $ Hazard, KY 35% 16% 48% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Description:

One of 16 colleges in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, HCTC maintains five campuses and an online learning division.

The college's online LPN program trains candidates for practical nursing jobs in three semesters. The credential also serves as the foundation toward an associate degree in nursing.

Nursing students take LPN classes/courses online that include nursing assistant skills, introduction to computers, basic anatomy and physiology, and general psychology. During the summer session, learners study in a healthcare setting to satisfy their practicum requirements.

Candidates can sit for the NCLEX-PN exam after completing 46 required courses.

Details:

  • Program(s): Practical nursing diploma
    • Campus: Hazard, Kentucky
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation(s): Approved by the Kentucky Board of Nursing
    • Tuition: $179 per credit for Kentucky residents; $358 per credit for non-residents in contiguous counties; $627 per credit for non-residents
    • Admission Requirements: Above average academic record from high school or minimum 3.0 GPA with at least 12 college credits
    • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
    • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 79%
Highland Community College View School Profile $ Highland, KS 35% 25% 43% Higher Learning Commission

Description:

HCC is widely known for being Kansas' first college. The school offers a nine-month fast track to becoming an LPN. The online LPN program requires 46 credits, which students complete over two intensive semesters.

Coursework and clinical components train candidates to provide adults, children, and families with specialized nursing care. Students complete four clinicals, spending a total of 337.5 hours on field- and lab work.

About 40 students begin the program every August and graduate in May. While graduates hold the nursing skills needed to take the NCLEX-PN, they can enroll in the LPN-to-RN program for another 2-3 semesters.

Details:

  • Program(s): Practical nursing certificate
    • Campus: Highland, Kansas
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation(s): ACEN
    • Tuition: $105 per credit for Kansas and out-of-state residents; $318 per credit unit for international students
    • Admission Requirements: Active certified nursing aide certificate; TEAS exam score of 58.7%; ACT Workkeys 5 score in math and 6 in reading; high school diploma or GED; letter of reference; transcripts showing a "C" or better in prerequisite classes
    • Minimum Time Commitment: Nine months
    • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 66.67%

Frequently Asked Questions About Online LPN Programs


How long does it take to become an LPN?

Many students complete their LPN training in one year of full-time coursework. However, several factors can affect this time frame. The number of required credits varies by program, from less than 40 to over 50. The clinical requirements can range between 500 and 750 hours, depending on the school or state regulations.

Do online LPN programs have in-person requirements?

All LPN programs, including those offered online, require clinical hours and lab, although the specific number of hours varies by school and state requirements. Your program will place you in a supervised clinical experience at a hospital, clinic, nursing home, or other healthcare facility.

Some schools can help you find placements close to your home.

What career advancement opportunities are available to LPNs?

The BLS projects the employment of LPNs to grow by 9% from 2020-2030, adding over 60,000 jobs each year. For those interested in becoming registered nurses (RNs), getting LPN experience can provide a competitive edge when applying to associate or bachelor of science in nursing bridge programs.

What's the difference between an LPN and an RN?

Although LPNs work as nursing professionals, they do not take on the same duties as RNs. LPNs provide basic care to patients, such as checking blood pressure and making sure patients are comfortable.

Because LPNs do not have the same responsibilities as RNs, they do not need to graduate with a nursing degree. Instead, they can get certification after completing an LPN program.

Related Online LPN Program Resources

NurseJournal.org 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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