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Choosing an LPN Program in Hawaii

If you live in Hawaii and are interested in studying to be an LPN, geography will probably be a big consideration. Hawaii boasts four practical nursing programs: one each in Hilo, Honolulu, Kahului, and Lihue (http://hawaii.gov/dcca/pvl/boards/nursing). Some maintain satellite locations. All are state supported schools.

Admission Policies

Prospective students will want to consider the application process and timeline. Spaces are limited. Hawaii practical nursing schools may handle demand in one of two ways: by placing qualified candidates on a waitlist or by admitting only top applicants, based on test scores and grades in prerequisite and co-requisite courses. Taking co-requisites early may increase the chance of acceptance.

The Nursing Career Ladder

Some prospective nurses will be interested in career ladder programs. These allow them to complete coursework for an LPN license first, and then then continue on for an associate degree and an RN license. The program may be competitive as candidates will need to show at the onset that they have the skills for success as professional nurses.

It's not necessary to make the decision at the onset. Other institutions offer LPN to RN (or even BSN) programs. Performance in LPN programs is a factor for admission to the more competitive ones. (In other words, if one isn’t academically prepared at the onset, there is time later.)

NCLEX Test Scores in Hawaii

Prospective nurses may want to consider test scores when making application decisions. Whatever island -- or state – students do their education, they'll be taking the same examination, the NCLEX-PN.

Paying for Nursing School in HI

Nursing school often costs several thousand dollars above base tuition rate. Still, one should be able to complete an LPN program for less than $9,000. Students may complete a financial aid application to determine if they qualify for Pell Grants or other federal need-based aid. Schools may also have their own scholarships.

Ensuring Job Success

An LPN can make good money. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported $20.39 an hour or $45,070 a year as the average wage for Hawaii LPNs in 2012 (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292061.htm). A person often starts out below the average, though -- and the first challenge is securing that first job. That’s why nursing students may want to know about job placement services and job placement rates. If the school website has a link marked "gainful employment", this will be a source of information. In addition to information about job placement of graduates, there may be information about what percentage of those who begin LPN programs actually complete them. If only a fraction of students are completing the program on-time, a prospective student may want to know the reasons. Low completion rates can indicate a lower quality of instruction or fewer resources available to those who need them.

Special Programs

Programs may be distinguished by facilities (like state-of-the-art laboratories) and by special programs they offer.

People tend to think of specialization as something one does at the higher levels of nursing practice, but one can earn a specialty certificate as early as the LPN level. One option is transcultural nursing.

Out-of-State Nursing Students

A person who lives elsewhere and dreams of being a nurse in Hawaii may want to complete LPN training beforehand.

Hawaii schools sometimes favor in-state candidates... or even require residency within the state prior to application. Costs for out-of-state students may also be much higher -- with tuition rates approaching three times as much ($5372 for residents vs. $15,512 for non-residents at Kaua‘i Community College).

Information Sessions: Getting All the Facts

Nursing schools hold group academic/ career counseling sessions. It is advisable to attend even if the school doesn't mandate it.

Resources

LPN License Requirements in Hawaii

Becoming an LPN in Hawaii: A career overview

Professional and Vocational Licensing in Hawaii: Nursing

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