LPN Accreditation is important to you. It is important because if you do not study for your Licensed Practical Nurse qualification through a college or university that is accredited you will not be able to register and chances are you will not find work. Even if you do manage to find work without licensure it will definitely be for less money and not at a reputable organization. Accreditation is also of the utmost importance to you later on in your nursing career; should you decide to study further in order to obtain your Baccalaureate degree, become a Registered Nurse or even go further and obtain your Master’s you will not be able to do so unless you have qualified through an accredited institution.
The nursing profession is one in which you can really go right to the top, becoming a matron, a medical supervisor or an educator. There is also plenty of scope for branching out into specialties such as neurology, pediatrics, gerontology, long-term care and many other disciplines, and they all begin with proper LPN Accreditation.
What Is LPN Accreditation?
LPN Accreditation institutes are non-governmental organizations that are recognized by the United States Secretary of Education as the official accreditation agencies for nursing education programs. The U.S. currently only has two of these accreditation institutions, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or CCNE and the National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission or NLNAC. Of the two, only the NLNAC, which accredits education programs for baccalaureate, clinical doctorate, associate, masters, diploma and practical nursing, also accredits LPN/LVN programs. The CCNE only accredits graduate and baccalaureate programs.
The National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission promotes voluntary and self-regulatory evaluation processes while ensuring higher educational standards. All accrediting processes, including those for online LPN degrees, are conducted strictly through peer reviews. Organizations may also request that qualitative assessments be done over and above the regular accreditation processes. NLNAC also supports workshops that prepare students to pass the state licensure examinations necessary for them to become licensed practical nurse professionals.
LPN Accreditation is not automatic. Accreditation is essentially voluntary and self-regulatory, which means that the institutions must actively pursue accreditation by proactively demonstrating that their programs meet or exceed the standards and criteria for quality education as determined by the accrediting organization. It must be said though, that whilst accreditation is voluntary, there is pressure for accreditation as an institute cannot collect Medicaid bills unless it is accredited.
LPN Accreditation means that a nationally recognized accrediting body has evaluated and judged and approved the nursing education program institution as being a quality institution that complies with or exceeds the standards required of it by the accrediting body. Most accreditation programs do not just guarantee safety but also testify to the achievements of the institute.
How Does A School Get Accredited?
In order to get accredited an institution will put in a request to the accrediting agency for their written standards.
- Upon receipt of these standards, the school’s governing body will review them and make recommendations regarding changes which may need to be made to the school’s curriculum or organizational structure.
- It will then empower the head of the school to initiate any improvements needed in order to bring the school into compliance with the accreditation standards. Once all is done the institution will then conduct a self-evaluation to ensure that all criteria have been met.
- Once the school is sure that they are in compliance with all the rules and regulations required by the accrediting body they will invite members of the accrediting body to visit the school. The accreditation committee will conduct spot-checks on training facilities, curricula, and record-keeping. They will also observe some classes in progress to gauge the quality and interview a few school commission members.
- Once the school has met all requirements it will receive accreditation status. In order to ensure that the set standards are maintained, accreditation must be renewed at set intervals, such as every 5 to 10 years. Accreditation standards constantly change, so the school must ensure that it remains up to date with current requirements.
Is LPN Accreditation National?
No, although there is essentially only one body that accredits LPN Programs, the accreditation is not national in the sense that each state has its own and different policies for the licensure governing the nursing profession, with distinct rules governing the Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse profession.
It is for this reason that it is extremely important that you check the specific requirements for LPN Accreditation in the state or states in which you intend to practice as an LPN. In order to practice as an LPN you will need to graduate from an LPN program that is approved by your State Board of Nursing and pass the NCLEX-PN licensure examination. It is also important that the nursing school through which you study also complies with all of the requirements as laid down by your state and is duly accredited. If you obtain your qualification from a program that is not recognized by the state it could cost you extra time and effort to get a license to practice.
Another reason to ensure that the program has LPN Accreditation status is that if you later want to follow a nursing master’s education, you will not be admitted to most programs if you graduated from a program that is unaccredited even if it was licensed by the state.
The Benefits Of Attending An Accredited School
Accreditation organizations are in constant contact with and generally pay close attention to health departments and state governments. This means that they are always on top of the latest regulations required to practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse in each state. This effectively means that no matter how much the state laws change, attending a school that has LPN Accreditation will generally ensure that you meet the basal criteria to practice as a licensed practical nurse.
Attending an institution that has LPN Accreditation vastly increases your chances of employment as a Licensed Practical Nurse and will improve your occupational mobility, which means that if you have to move states you will have a far easier time acquiring a new license in your new state.
An accredited LPN program or school will also adequately prepare you to take the NCLEX-PN exam so that you can begin your career as a Licensed Practical Nurse. It will ensure that you have received sufficient academic and hands-on clinical training so that when you go out into the real world and start work in a clinic, hospital or nursing home you will know exactly what is expected of you and have the skills to perform your tasks with alacrity. Being well-trained in the duties of an LPN will bode well for you when it comes to your occupational mobility.
Graduating from a nursing school that has LPN Accreditation will also allow you to continue studying in order to move further up the ladder. Once you have some experience as an LPN you may decide that you would like to do more and can then do one of many programs to get an Associate, Bachelors or other degree – you can follow this route all the way up to your Doctorate and Master’s Degrees – if you graduated from an accredited institution. Most degree programs will not accept you unless you have studied at an accredited institution, which means that you may have to do further studies to gain credits instead of doing a bridge program and getting licensure as an RN quicker.
How To Find Accredited LPN Programs
Although there are many LPN programs that are offered, in classroom scenarios as well as distance learning programs that one can do in one’s own time and from home whilst still working, not all of them have LPN Accreditation. It is important for your future career path that you study through an accredited program. Employers definitely give more credence to those who qualified through programs that have received LPN Accreditation when sourcing new staff.
It is not difficult to find schools that are accredited and only takes a few minutes of research on the Internet. Most reputable colleges and vocational schools will advertise their accreditation status on their websites together with the statistics of pass-marks and how many graduates find employment after graduating from their courses. If you are not sure whether a school is accredited or not than you can always ask.
If you are really struggling to find a school near you or in the area in which you intend to practice, then the easiest way to do so would be to contact the State Board of Nursing in the state in which you are going to work; they will be able to give you a full list of reputable institutions that are accredited and a list of programs that have received LPN Accreditation according to their strict rules and regulations regarding LPN training.
Online LPN schools must be accredited by the Distance Education Training Council in order to offer certified programs. LPN Accreditation for online courses can also be obtained from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Many reputable online schools have heeded the call to become accredited as they have realized that many applicants prefer to study online so that they can continue with their lives whilst obtaining their qualification. Online schools are also very necessary due to the shortage of qualified lecturers and classroom space in conventional colleges.