Choosing an LPN Program in Rhode Island

Looking to do your practical nursing education in Rhode Island? There is one state-funded college program, which is offered at more than one location within the state. The region is also starting to see some private school options.

Since Rhode Island is such a small state, some students may opt for nursing schools located on the other side of state lines. The following is a guide for weighing the options.

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Preparation for the NCLEX-PN in Rhode Island

The NCLEX-PN is a licensing requirement in Rhode Island and around the nation. NCLEX pass rates may reflect the school’s policies on admitting, retaining, and graduating students. Pass rates also indicate how well the school is doing at educating its students! Program pass rates are public information and are frequently used to compare programs.

Accreditation

Another consideration is national accreditation. It can be an advantage to attend a program that has been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing ( http://acenursing.org/). The essential, though, is to make sure the program is state-approved.

Articulation and Transfer of Credits

You may also consider how easy it will be to transfer credits to a degree program or continue on for a registered nursing (RN) credential. Rhode Island does not have a statewide articulation model, but schools are free to make their own agreements and partnerships. Some schools offer both LPN and RN programs and make it easy for well qualified candidates to continue their educations. The state’s one community college program articulates straight into the associate level RN program.

The Admission Process

You should expect some selectivity in the admission process. You may, for example, need to score at an acceptable level on the TEAS exam and on prerequisite courses like medical calculations.

The Cost of Nursing School in Rhode Island

The total cost of the program at Rhode Island’s publicly funded college is a little less than $14,000 (http://www.ccri.edu/acadaffairs/gainful-employment/hrs/nursing/practical-nurse.html). This is neither especially high nor especially low when you compare LPN programs nationwide. Private schools often cost more money.

There are many potential sources of financial aid, from merit-based scholarships to need-based financial aid. Students who think they may be eligible for need-based federal aid will want to make sure to file a FAFSA by the deadline (https://fafsa.ed.gov/).
Loans are sometimes necessary. It is often best to take out a subsidized government loan if you are eligible. Programs provide information about the average debt load of their students as part of their gainful employment report.

Scheduling Options

Even when the total amount of instruction is similar, the time line and number of semesters can vary. Some Rhode Island programs take as long as three years to complete. This is great for the student who has family and work obligations, but not so great for the one who can’t wait to have that nursing license in hand — one more reason to consider all the options.

Beyond Nursing School

You will, of course, want to make sure you are ready to enter the job market when the time comes. You may consider the school’s job placement services. You may also consider its track record in placing students.

Rhode Island’s LPNs averaged $24.58 an hour in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292061.htm). That’s $51, 120 a year. The competency levels of LPNs don’t vary as much as those of RNs; nor do salaries. Still, experience plays some role in determining earnings.

For Additional Information

Prospective students may want to attend information sessions and even take tours of nursing schools they are considering. It’s also a good idea to drop in on the financial aid office well in advance.

Resources

LPN License Requirements in Rhode Island

Career Overview: Becoming an LPN in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Department of Health

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