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Choosing an LPN Program in Mississippi

Considering a practical nursing education in Mississippi? There are a lot of options. Geography will probably play a role in the decision, but many programs are housed in schools that offer room and board, making it easier to relocate. Here is a look at some of the criteria you may consider when making your decision.

Accreditation

The first essential is that the program is authorized to operate in Missouri. Mississippi LPN programs are regulated by the Mississippi Board for Community Colleges. The Board of Nursing does not handle the approval process. However, the Board does have a list of programs . Generally LPN programs are at community colleges or junior colleges. Some programs may be offered by independent schools yet still accredited by the Board.

Some Mississippi programs are also accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). This signals that the program has met a rigorous set of standards by a well-respected national organization. Prospective students can do a search on the ACEN site to see which ones have this status: http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm

The Admission Process for Mississippi LPN's

A prospective student will also want to consider the admission process: both the requirements and the timeline. Some requirements are set on a state level. All programs at Mississippi community colleges require ACT scores of at least 16. However, programs may set additional, or higher, standards.

Nursing programs at Mississippi community colleges may have waitlists. The waitlists don't necessarily stretch indefinitely. Schools sometimes admit some candidates and then place additional qualified ones on a waitlist. The waitlist may be limited by the school’s assessment of how many spots might be expected to open up that year.

Other Considerations

Part of the nursing school decision process is subjective. Part rests on individual considerations, like whether you want to begin class in the summer and complete the program in as quick a manner as possible or whether you need a slower pace.

There is also some "hard data" to consider. One consideration is pass rates on the NCLEX, the national board examination that is required for licensure. Students may also consider the completion rate: What percentage of students who began the program actually made it through in a reasonable length of time, and what percentage were unable to make it through for reasons related to program expectations? (This can give a clue as to how much academic support is available through the institution.)

A good deal of information can often be found in a program's gainful employment report. Schools may make available the percentage of students who were successfully placed after graduation. This is an indicator of program quality. However, nursing tends to follow the general economy, and an economic downturn can lead to lower rates almost across the board.

What do Mississipi LPNs make?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists a figure of $35,230 (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292061.htm). Experience is a factor, so it may take some time to earn this figure, even when the economy is on the rise.

The Cost of Practical Nursing School in MS

Practical nursing programs in Mississippi are less expensive than in some states. A semester's tuition at a community college may run about $1,000. There are fees in addition to base tuition; over the course of the program, they may run several thousand dollars. Independent schools are typically more expensive than public ones.

There are multiple sources of financial support. A student with financial need may receive some support in the form of grants; these do not need to be repaid. Prospective students may visit the site of Rise Up to see state financial aid programs. For additional information, prospective students can download "Nursing Education Opportunities in Mississippi". Some details, for example, tuition rates, may not be current.

Additional Resources for Mississippi Nursing Students

LPN License Requirements in Mississippi

Mississippi Board of Nursing

Becoming an LPN in Mississippi

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