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The Best LPN Programs Online

Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BCNurseJournal Rankings Team
Updated September 19, 2023
Edited by
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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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Nurse comforting a patientCredit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) are nursing professionals who deliver direct patient care across the lifespan in a wide variety of settings. They administer medications; record patient data; and perform procedures, treatments, and other duties, usually under the supervision of a registered nurse or doctor.

Online LPN and LVN programs are flexible, affordable, and comparatively short diploma-based non-degree pathways to an entry-level nursing career. Many LPNs eventually choose to further their career by earning an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s in nursing at a later date.

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.

Popular Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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What Can You Do as an LPN?

LPNs are also known as LVNs in California and Texas, but the training, scope of practice, and skills of both are identical. Rather than a college degree, LPNs earn a diploma, although some programs are housed within community colleges.

LPNs can perform many duties, including wound care, assessing vital signs, taking patient histories and documenting patient information, administering tests, and giving medications. LPNs are allowed to start and monitor IVs, but they cannot administer IV or IV push medications. Overall, LPNs’ scope of practice is limited in comparison to that of RNs.

LPNs generally have much less autonomy than RNs. In most clinical situations, they work under the supervision of registered nurses. Both LPNs and RNs can supervise Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), who perform patient care tasks, such as feeding, bathing, dressing, and toileting, also known as activities of daily living (ADLs). LPNs are frequently employed by skilled nursing facilities, assisted living centers, memory care facilities, and home health agencies.

An LPN program can serve as a fast-track into the nursing field, since most programs can be completed in as little as 12 months.

Why Attend an Online LPN Program

An online LPN program offers the flexibility to study on your own schedule. You will, of course, also need to attend in-person clinical assignments and skills training labs. Once you’re working as an LPN, you can consider transitioning from LPN-to-RN in order to increase your earning power and marketability. Bridge programs allow LPNs to apply their prior education to requirements of an associate degree in nursing. Since online LPN-to-RN and LPN-to-BSN programs offer flexibility and part-time options, LPNs seeking to become RNs can complete their education while working as an LPN. With some employers covering the cost of education, this can be an excellent avenue for advancing your nursing career.

Average Salary as an LPN

LPNs can earn a promising salary after a comparatively short course of study. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), LPNs earn a median annual salary of $54,620, or a median hourly wage of $26.26.

The highest-earning states for LPNs, by average salary, are:

  • Washington: $69,950
  • California: $69,930
  • Massachusetts: $68,170
  • Rhode Island: $66,770
  • Alaska: $66,710

In comparison, the BLS reports that RNs, who must undertake a much longer and more costly education, earn a median annual salary of $89,010 and a median hourly wage of $42.80. As you can see, advancing from LPN to RN can significantly increase your earning power.

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

Admission requirements explain what you need to submit when applying to a program. Schools may require proof of high school graduation or GED completion.

Program Curriculum

The curriculum offered by different LPN programs may influence which program you choose. Read the descriptions carefully and choose a program that appeals to what you’re looking for in an LPN education.


Accreditation is extremely important since some employers may only hire nurses from accredited programs. If you want to continue your education and earn your associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree, the accreditation of the programs you have attended will be examined very closely.

Program Retention Rate

The retention rate of an LPN program can give you a sense of what students think of the program and whether they feel it is worth their while to complete their education. An LPN program with a low student retention rate should be a red flag that perhaps the quality of the education may be lacking.

Online Learning Format and Requirements

If you’re going to be attending online classes, the format of online courses and the technical requirements for attending will be very important. Online education generally requires that you own a laptop computer. You will also likely need a webcam, as well as a relatively fast and reliable internet connection.

Why Is Online LPN Program Accreditation Important?

Accreditation is the method by which educational programs are monitored and approved by objective third- party organizations for the quality of the education they provide. When a student attends an accredited program, future employers and educational degree programs can be assured of the quality of education that the candidate has received. If you attend an unaccredited program, you run the risk of an employer or college not accepting the education that you’ve received, potentially causing you to be rejected from either a job or a college-level nursing program you wish to attend. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits LPN programs, and their website allows visitors to search a database for accredited programs. The state board of nursing handles licensing and discipline issues.

Top Online LPN Programs

See our methodology to learn more about how we create our rankings.
#1 The Best LPN Programs Online

Lake Area Technical College

  • Location-markerWatertown, SD
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$3,630
  • Out-of-state$3,630
  • Retention Rate82%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled2,217
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment44%
  • AccreditationYes

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.

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    Admission Materials

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

    Minimum 2.5 GPA
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    Other Requirement

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

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 schools. 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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online LPN Programs

How long does it take to become an LPN?

Most online LPN programs take 12 months to complete full time, although completion times vary. Attending part time is more likely to take approximately 24 months.

Do online LPN programs have in-person requirements?

All LPN programs, including those offered online, require clinical hours and lab experiences, 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 5% from 2022-2032, 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.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.