Choosing an LPN Program in New Hampshire
Your first step, if you are considering a New Hampshire practical nursing program, is to make sure your program is state approved. Currently, the Board lists four approved in-state programs. They are offered by a variety of institutions, from community college to vocational school. For some, location may be the determining factor.
Accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) is not necessarily an expectation at the LPN level, but is an additional validation that the program meets high standards. You can search for accredited programs on the ACEN site (http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm).
NCLEX Statistics in New Hampshire
The NCLEX-PN examination is a licensing requirement. The New Hampshire Board makes pass rates public. Currently the years 2004 to 2013 are posted (http://www.nh.gov/nursing/educational/documents/nclex2004-2013.pdf).
Although NCLEX-PN does reflect program quality, it should not be the sole criteria. It also reflects admission standards.
You may also want to consider your school’s gainful employment data. The NCLEX isn’t the only obstacle along the way. A significant percentage of students who begin practical nursing programs don’t complete them.
Some who make it through the program and become LPNs struggle to find employment in the months after graduation. Your work ethic and the connections you make will go a long way toward ensuring your success, but the posted numbers will give you some indication of the level of support (academic and career) that your school provides. It may also reflect the local economy at that point in time.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists $22.19 as the average wage for a New Hampshire practical nurse (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292061.htm).
Costs are highly variable. Tuition at either of the two community colleges will run under $9,000 for the entire program (current as of 2013 to 2014); total costs may be in the $10,000 to $12,000 range.
In many cases, you will not be responsible for the full cost. Filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a standard part of the college application process. You may be eligible for need-based grants like the Pell Grant. The FAFSA determines eligibility for other programs like federal work study.
Displaced workers may have additional sources of financial support. Some practical nursing programs are approved for funding through the Workforce Initiative Act. This, however, does not guarantee that you will receive funding even if you meet basic eligibility requirements.
The Admission Process
Selection goes two ways. Unfortunately, New Hampshire nursing programs face budget limitations. Clinical placement sites can also limit admissions. This leads to schools sometimes having to deny admission to students who may have the potential for success. Some programs describe themselves as highly competitive (http://www.nhti.edu/academics/programs-study/health-and-science-programs/nursing/practical-nursing-diploma).
Although it is not necessarily the norm in New Hampshire, some nursing programs do maintain waitlists. (St. Joseph’s School of Nursing, no longer accepting LPN applications, cited a waitlist.)
An examination is often required; this may be the TEAS or the HESI. Programs may consider references. Just getting the application in by the priority deadline may help.
Nationwide, students sometimes turn to career colleges when public institutions are short on seats.
You may opt to go to school full-time or part-time. Some schools have unique scheduling options. You may, for example, have the option of attending a few evenings a week and a couple weekends a month.
Your experience will depend in part on the qualities of the parent institution. Some community colleges give students the option of living on campus.
For more information nursing programs hold information sessions for prospective students.
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