Nursing Schools

Once you’ve decided whether you want to become a certified nurse assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or registered nurse (RN), you’ll need to decide where to go to nursing school. When it comes to the CNA and LPN training, you’ll have fewer choices than if you pursue an RN career. You may be able to go to a nursing school that offers programs that lead to certification, or you could receive training from a hospital or other healthcare facility. When weighing your options, you should look at a number of factors:

  1. Reputation: Ask doctors and other nurses if the school and/or training are well respected.
  2. Percentage of students that complete the program and become certified: this is a good indication of the quality of their program.
  3. Percentage of students that become employed: this is also a good quality indicator, and if the school has a placement or employment assistance program, it can tell you how effective it is.
  4. Class size and cost: Will you get the attention you need from instructors, and at a price you can afford?

When it comes to becoming a registered nurse, you’ll have extra options to think about. First, you’ll need to decide whether you want to earn an associate’s degree (a two-year program) or a bachelor’s degree (a four-year program). There are pros and cons to each. Some students choose an associate’s degree so that they can begin working, and then work toward a bachelor’s degree. The drawback to this option is that you will be working AND attending classes. Earning a bachelor’s degree usually gives you more job options and promotions in the future.

Nursing Schools

Just like LPN and CNA programs, the nursing school in which you’re interested should have a good reputation. However, don’t get sidetracked by national rankings. You’ll want to go to the best nursing school that fits your needs, and that may not be the same as the number one-ranked school. You should first have a good idea of what area of specialization interests you, what class sizes you prefer, and what locations will work best for your personal situation. Then, do some research and come up with a list of colleges that meet these three criteria. Once you’ve done that, you can prioritize them according to their rankings, if that’s important to you.

Next, you’ll need to visit the three or four top nursing schools on your list. While you’re there, talk with administrators, instructors, and other students. That will give you the best idea of what it is really like attending school there.

Choosing a nursing school is an important decision. Take the time to investigate your options so you find the best fit for you.

Last Updated: 05/19/2014

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