Find nursing programs in RN, LPN and CNA schools
Nursing is a smart choice of career: nurses offer valued and valuable services to society, and job security is good, since there continues to be a high demand for them.
There are several types of nursing certification. A CNA, or certified nursing assistant, works under a registered nurse in an entry-level position. An LPN, or licensed practical nurse, is state-licensed and has more responsibility and undertakes a wider range of patient care than a CNA. An RN, or registered nurse, is the most advanced nursing designation -- an RN holds a nursing degree and successfully passes a national licensing exam.
Many people who think they might like to become a registered nurse take a CNA or LPN program first to become more familiar with what nursing work entails and to better facilitate their transition into an RN degree program.
What to Look for in CNA and LPN Schools
Choosing the right school for you is the first important step in your journey to becoming a certified nursing assistant or licensed practical nurse. Some of the factors you should look at when making your decision include:
- Accreditation. Is the school certified by state and national nursing bodies? It's very important to verify that it is, and that you will be getting a recognized education, before you hand over your tuition money.
- Financial aid. Postsecondary education is expensive; if you could use help with your nursing program fees, be sure to choose a school with a solid financial aid program that offers both bursaries based on need and scholarships based on merit and in-program performance.
- Opportunities for fieldwork. What medical institutions is the school affiliated with, and what locations does it offer for practical experience? Is it the kind of healthcare environment you hope to work in after you graduate?
- Online options. In addition to hands-on classroom learning and field experience, most nursing programs also offer online nursing degree courses. The flexibility of online coursework can make a huge difference in your successful management of a work-life balance, especially if you are already getting experience concurrently with your school training through part-time volunteer or other healthcare work.
- Possibility of degree advancement. If you are training to be a CNA or LPN, does the school also offer an RN program should you wish to further your nursing education there? Many LPNs go on to earn their RN nursing degree.