LPN Programs in Michigan

Michigan boasts 35 approved practical nursing programs (https://mihott.org/). Most are housed in colleges; a few are in vocational/ technical schools. The essentials are that the program is approved by the state licensing agency and that it appears on the Michigan Proprietary Schools List.

Geography is an obvious consideration when selecting among approved programs, but an urban resident can find themselves with almost too many choices! Here is a guide to selection.

Considering the Nursing Career Ladder

The first step is determining if practical nursing is indeed the right step on the career ladder. Practical nursing is entry level nursing. Graduates are more likely to be employed in long-term care settings, but within these settings may rise in rank.

LPN programs can be completed within the space of a year, and so seem like the perfect short term educational investment. After all, Michigan LPNs were averaging $42,600 in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292061.htm).

However, LPNs are not quite as “in demand” as RNs — nationwide or in Michigan. The government projected a 13% growth in practical nursing in Michigan between 2010 to 2020, with 750 positions opening a year. This compares to 19% growth for RNs: 3,260 positions.
However, 750 jobs a year means there are positions. Entry requirements for LPNs are lower and able nursing students have plenty of opportunity to make decisions down the road.

Preparing for Job Success

One can expect an LPN program to include clinical hours – hours spent in actual healthcare facilities. On the surface, requirements may seem very similar. In practice, they aren’t. A prospective student may ask about the total number of clinical hours, about how varied the experiences are, and about the particular healthcare facilities that the school partners with.

School-supervised clinical experience sometimes does lead to a job after program completion. Here again, it can be an advantage if the program has plenty of clinical sites and provides both breadth and depth.

Career services can also be important in finding a first job. Schools can be surprisingly varied when it comes to job placement rates of graduates. One should recognize that shifting economic conditions affect all programs – but at the same time not be afraid to ask for, and compare, gainful employment data.

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NCLEX Pass Rates

There is one other piece of “hard data” to consider: NCLEX-PN pass rates. Passing the NCLEX is a requirement for licensure both in Michigan and around the nation.

Special Programs

Prospective students may also want to consider whether the program includes any special coursework. Some programs prepare LPNs to take the National Association of Practical Nurse Educational Services (NAPNES) Pharmacology Certification Examination.

The Cost of Nursing School

A student may get a practical nursing education at a public college for $10,000 to $12,000. Fees at for-profit institutions may be higher – more than twice as much in some cases.

There is financial aid available to practical nursing students: both grants and loans. Some programs depend on a student’s particular circumstances. Displaced Workers may want to call Michigan Works at 1-800-285-WORKS to see what services (financial and otherwise) they may be eligible for (http://www.michiganworks.org/about-michigan-works/the-system/). Some LPN programs are WIA-eligible (http://www.mycareereducation.org/occsearch.asp).

LPNs can be considered for Nursing Student Scholarships as this is a state scholarship. This and other options (including national programs) are described on the site of the Michigan Center for Nursing (http://www.michigancenterfornursing.org/scholarships).
Federal aid in the form of Pell Grants and Stafford Loans is widely available to students who demonstrate financial need.

Resources

LPN License Requirements in Michigan

Career Overview: How to Become an LPN in Michigan

Michigan Board of Nursing

Michigan Licensed Practical Nurses Association

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