Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are an essential part of healthcare delivery and patient care. If you’re interested in entering the nursing field, discover the top online LPN programs and how you can choose the best accredited and affordable program for you.
Popular Online Healthcare Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Online LPN Programs Rankings Summary
The Top Online LPN Programs and Schools in 2024
We use datasets from sources like the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools.
#1 Best Online LPN Programs for Aspiring Practical Nurses of 2024
- 2 years
- Online + Campus
Blinn College's vocational nursing certificate (LVN) is a one-year program approved by the Texas Board of Nursing. Students take online courses in basic nursing skills, gerontology, and medical-surgical nursing. They complete lab work, clinical hours, tests, and quizzes in person.
The program prepares graduates to get their LVN license in Texas or any nursing license compact state and boasts an NCLEX-PN pass rate six percentage points higher than Texas’s pass rate. Students may not qualify for licensure in every state because the program is not accredited.
- Cost per Credit: $63
- Program Length: One year
- Total Credits Required to Graduate: 39
- On-Campus Requirement: Yes
- School Status: Public
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.33%
- Program Accreditation: Approved by the Texas Board of Nursing
- School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#2 Best Online LPN Programs for Aspiring Practical Nurses of 2024
Montana State University Billings
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
The City College at MSU Billings offers an online certificate of applied science in practical nursing. The program is approved by the Montana Board of Nursing. Students take gerontology, pharmacology, and basic nursing skills courses after earning a C or better in all prerequisites in the first term. Graduates can become practical nurses after passing the NCLEX-PN.
Applicants provide an application, unofficial transcripts, one reference, and documentation for applicable work experience.
- Cost per Credit: $298-$368 (in-state), $542-$835 (out-of-state)
- Program Length: One year
- Total Credits Required to Graduate: 40
- On-Campus Requirement: Yes
- School Status: Public
- NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.44%
- Program Accreditation: Approved by the Montana Board of Nursing
- School Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
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Accredited Schools Online uses a custom ranking system to evaluate schools on their quality, affordability, and reputation.
We rank schools using factors like graduation rate, admission rate, tuition costs, financial aid, and program offerings. All our ranked schools hold institutional accreditation.
Learn more about how we create school rankings on our methodology page.
Why Accreditation Matters for Online LPN Programs
Always look for online LPN programs accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Graduating from an online LPN program accredited by ACEN allows you to sit for the NCLEX-PN and qualify for LPN licensure.
Accredited online LPN programs meet high standards for academic quality and follow the best practices for training LPNs. Attending an accredited online program can qualify you for federal financial aid, licensure, and practical nursing jobs.
You can verify a program's accreditation status using the U.S. Department of Education's online database.
How Much Do LPN Online Programs Cost?
Online LPN programs can cost anywhere from $9,000 to $20,000. An important factor that may affect the cost includes whether the school you choose is a public institution or a private non-profit school. In-state community colleges generally offer the most affordable tuition rates.
Keep in mind the additional costs of your education, including textbooks, computers, distance learning fees, high-speed internet, scrubs and other supplies for your in-person clinical experiences.
Some online schools offer benefits like free laptops and other tech-related discounts that can take some of the financial bite out of successfully completing your LPN training, and you may find certain resources helpful for making school more affordable.
*The median annual cost of LPN programs includes tuition, fees, supplies, and books students need for their LPN program. The sample size was too small to compare cost data for private, non-profit LPN programs.
Explore state-based LPN online schools and programs.
How Much Money Can You Make as an LPN?
How to Become an LPN Online
Becoming an LPN involves first taking prerequisite classes and the TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills). Once you’re accepted into an LPN program, you can finish within 12-24 months, take the NCLEX-PN exam, and find your first job.
1 | Research Accredited Online LPN Programs
Comparing online LPN programs can help you make an informed decision.
All top LPN online programs are ACEN accredited. You can search for accredited online LPN programs in the ACEN's directory.
2 | Complete Your LPN Program
An LPN certificate takes about one year to complete. In contrast, an associate degree takes two years due to the addition of general education coursework.
With an associate degree in practical nursing, you may qualify for a higher salary or career advancement sooner than those with only a certificate or diploma.
3 | Pass the NCLEX-PN
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing administers the NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN. Once you complete your LPN certificate or degree program, you must pass the NCLEX-PN.
The NCLEX-PN uses a computer-adaptive format and covers critical content areas such as health promotion, coordinated care, and risk reduction. The time limit for the test is five hours.
When you take the NCLEX-PN, you’ll answer 70-135 questions. The number of questions does not determine if you’ve passed or not. You’ll receive a passing score as long as you demonstrate overall competency as an LPN in all major areas covered by the exam.
U.S. test-takers must pay $200 to register for the NCLEX-PN. Additional fees vary depending on the state where you live.
4 | Apply for Licensure
The final step to becoming an LPN is to get licensed. Your LPN license allows you to legally work as an LPN in your state.
LPN licensure requirements vary by state. To qualify for licensure, you must typically:
- Complete an accredited practical nursing program.
- Pass a background check.
- Submit a license application and application fee.
- Pass the NCLEX-PN and a state-administered licensure exam if your state requires one.
5 | Get Additional Certifications if Desired
New LPNs may need certifications to stand out in a competitive job market. Certifications can qualify you for promotions and other professional benefits.
You'll usually need to take additional classes and pass an exam to get certified. Some LPN certifications, like certified hemodialysis nurse, require you to gain experience in that nursing specialty before you apply.
Explore popular certifications you can get in practical nursing.
Popular Practical Nursing Certifications
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support
- Basic Life Support
- Certified Hemodialysis Nurse
- Developmental Disabilities
- IV Therapy
- Long-Term Care
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support
- Transplant Coordinator
- Wound Care
Q&A With a Real Licensed Practical Nurse
Nicole Hart worked as a licensed practical nurse for five years. She decided to pursue a career in nursing as a single mom of twins. After the birth of her youngest child in 2019, she transitioned to working from home. She has since found her passion as an online fitness and nutrition coach, helping fellow moms prioritize themselves and their health.
Nicole has helped dozens of women lose weight, gain confidence, and remember something that many moms tend to forget: They are more than just moms.
Why did you decide to become an LPN?
I decided to become an LPN while working in a nursing home as a CNA. I learned that I really enjoyed hands-on patient care and desired to take my education and skills further.
How did you research or compare LPN programs before committing to one?
The nursing home that I worked at actually had a program that paid for me to attend nursing school at an accelerated pace while also working. This was ideal for me as a single mom needing to make ends meet. I was also willing and able to learn at an accelerated pace.
What is something that surprised you about practical nursing?
It surprised me how nerve-racking it was to do clinicals. It's one thing to study and test for things, but it's a whole other feeling when you're applying what you've learned with real patients (even while under supervision).
What is your biggest piece of advice to students considering becoming LPNs?
Being a nurse is one of the hardest yet most rewarding things I've done. I absolutely loved hands-on patient care. I loved knowing I was making a difference in people's lives. I also learned how calm I can be under pressure, how mentally and emotionally strong I can be when needed. Know that the journey is tough, the days are long and often difficult, but it's so fulfilling. It takes a special person to be a nurse.
Frequently Asked Questions About Online LPN Programs
What is the shortest time to become an LPN?
The shortest time to become an LPN is 12 months, but LPN programs can take up to 24 months if you choose an associate degree. Diploma or certificate LPN programs generally take 12 months to complete.
Can you live comfortably as an LPN?
You can live comfortably as an LPN depending on the relative cost of living in your city or town. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that LPNs earn a median annual salary of $54,620. The average American household spends $61,334 per year, so understanding the regional cost of living is key to knowing how you can live most comfortably on the salary of an LPN.
What are the pros and cons of being a LPN?
Some of the pros of becoming an LPN are that it is a fairly quick pathway into the nursing profession and offers many specialty certifications that can increase your earning power. There are also many LPN to BSN bridge programs that can help you elevate your career if you decide to become an RN.
One con of being an LPN is the difference between a median annual salary of $54,620 compared to an RN's median annual salary of $81,220.
Is the LPN test hard?
The NCLEX-PN tests areas of knowledge and practice that should be thoroughly covered during your LPN education. If you're committed to your studies, do well on school exams, and learn strategies for NCLEX success, you should be able to pass and become a licensed LPN.
What score do you need to pass LPN NCLEX?
When you take the NCLEX-PN, the minimum number of questions you'll answer is 70, and the maximum is 135. The number of questions you respond to won't determine if you've passed or not.
The computer adaptive test adapts to your skill level, the more questions you answer correctly, the harder the questions become. You'll receive a passing score if you demonstrate overall competency in the main areas being evaluated.
Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by Accredited Schools Online. Page last reviewed on December 27, 2023.