Choosing an LPN Program in Maine
Looking for a program in practical nursing? Maine has just two listed on the Board of Nursing site. (http://www.maine.gov/boardofnursing/education/lpn-nursing-programs.html). Obviously, geography will be a big consideration in your decision. Here are some other things to keep in mind when choosing an LPN program.
Approval and Accreditation
State approval is mandatory. National accreditation through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) can be an extra validation of program quality. In fact, Maine requires programs to pursue accreditation within a certain amount of time after approval.
You may want to consider whether a program has full approval or initial approval, and whether any conditions have been imposed on the program for not meeting all standards.
Maine NCLEX-PN Test Scores
Whatever program you opt for, you will eventually need to pass the NCLEX-PN, a national board examination. You may feel more confident enrolling in a program with high pass rates. Maine along with many other state boards make pass rates public information. (http://www.maine.gov/boardofnursing/education/nclex-pass-rates.html). The percentage you see next to the school name shows how many passed on a first attempt at the exam.
Articulation Between Programs
You may consider articulation options. Some programs have multiple entry and exit options. They let you earn a practical nursing certificate after one year, and then continue on for an associate degree and a registered nursing license.
Recognize that admission requirements may be stringent. You may need to take an entrance exam and complete a few prerequisites before you are admitted to the program.
You may also inquire about articulation agreements between individual schools.
The Admission Process
A prospective student will want to inquire about admission procedures and whether the program has a waitlist.
Some programs admit students only once per year, so it’s important to be mindful of deadlines. It may be necessary to take a test and provide immunization records and other documents before a specified date.
Issues of Convenience
You may have to travel to get a nursing education in Maine, but some programs are housed in schools that have dormitories.
Since clinical education training includes hours in healthcare facilities out in the community, you may need to make sure you have transportation to more than just the campus!
Paying for Nursing School in Maine
There are many things to take into consideration when deciding if a particular program is worth the investment. Cost is an obvious one. As a Maine resident at a state-funded school, you may pay as little as $3,000 for tuition. Budget a couple thousand for additional education-related fees (not including room or board).
Proprietary schools are often more expensive than state-supported ones. They often do have higher completion rates and they are vested in keeping students by offering whatever support is necessary. (It’s a good idea to ask the individual schools in question about completion rates and services.)
Another consideration is what will be the return on your investment? What percentage of students who complete the program are employed in the field six months later? Ultimately, Maine LPNs do average $40,310 (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292061.htm). Don’t expect to make the average your first year in the field. But even LPNs at the 10th percentile earn $32,060.
There are a number of options for financial aid. Eligible students can receive federal Pell grants. These will never need to be repaid. Stafford Loans are also readily available but require repayment.
Other Options for prospective students
What if there is no program of practical nursing near you and you don’t want to relocate? You may consider if you are ready to enter a program of registered nursing at the associate’s level. Otherwise you may opt to begin as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
Learn about becoming a Registered Nurse, LPN or LVN in your state:
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