People become licensed practical nurses, or LPNs, for all kinds of reasons. For many, however, the promise of competitive pay tops the list. As an LPN, you can indeed command respectable pay. Before that can happen, however, you must complete an accredited LPN training program. Unfortunately, such programs aren't free. By knowing what to expect in terms of costs, you'll have an easier time completing the requirements to become an LPN.
Typical Costs of an LPN Training Program
When investigating any LPN training program, it is important to have a firm grasp about how much it will cost to complete it. When estimating total cost, it is crucial to look at more than just tuition. While tuition is sure to make up the bulk of the costs that you must cover, there are often many additional expenses. They are often overlooked, and they can cause headaches later. Ensure that you have the full picture by keeping all of the typical costs of an LPN training program in mind, including these:
- Tuition - Without question, the largest expense that is associated with completing LPN training is tuition. Across the country, the cost to complete an LPN training program is anywhere from around $2,000 to up to around $18,000 for tuition alone. More affordable programs are typically offered by community colleges and vocational schools, while pricier programs tend to be offered by four-year colleges and universities. Whatever your budget may be, you should be able to find a program that works.
- Books - New LPN trainees are often shocked by how much they have to spend on books for their training programs. LPN programs have to cover a lot of ground, and the material tends to be very technical. As a result, you can expect to be given a fairly extensive list of required books. Students spend anywhere from $300 to much more than $1,000 on the books they need. You may be able to cut costs here by purchasing used books. Digital books are sometimes available and tend to be cheaper. Depending on your program and the books that are required, you may be able to rent some of what you need as well.
- Supplies - Your LPN training won't just be conducted in classrooms and labs. A major part of this program is the completion of clinical training at local healthcare facilities. Indeed, even as an LPN in training you will work directly with real patients in real medical settings. As a result, you will be given a list of supplies that you will need, including a uniform as well as tools like stethoscopes. The cost of such supplies varies wildly, but you can expect to pay another $100 to $200 for everything.
- Miscellaneous Fees - As with anything else, it is important to always read the fine print when assessing the costs of an LPN program. In addition to the expenses that are highlighted above, such programs usually also charge various miscellaneous fees, and it pays to be prepared for them. For example, you may have to pay to park your car on campus, or you may be assessed a "technology fee" for using the computer lab or any of the program's online resources. If you are required to undergo a criminal background check or drug screening, you'll most likely be responsible for those costs as well.
LPN Training Cost By Program Type
It's normal to be concerned about being able to pay for your LPN training. If you are particularly concerned about cost and need to find the most affordable option possible, it helps to know that some types of programs cost less than others.
- Vocational Schools - Programs that are on the more affordable end of the spectrum are almost always offered by vocational schools, community colleges, and, in some cases, local healthcare facilities. At such locations, LPN training tends to cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 for tuition, which is within reach for most people.
- Colleges and Universities - Although it's a lot less common, some LPN programs are offered by four-year colleges and universities. This usually involves many additional years of school, and students usually come away with more than just a certification. Either way, since the training takes a lot longer and is more involved, it tends to cost a lot more. Training that is offered by four-year institutions costs as much as $15,000 to more than $30,000. It is often worth it, however, as it tends to serve as a convenient stepping stone to earning a BSN.
- Online - Like most training programs, LPN training may also be completed at least partially online. Such programs may cost a little less because less of the work is done on-site. You may be able to save money on expenses like gas and parking too because you won't have to commute anywhere to complete your training. Please note that even with online LPN programs, on-site clinical training is still required. You will have to complete a certain number of credit hours of clinical training to pass the program. This is part of the reason why opting for online training may not save you quite as much as you’d expect.
The money that you spend to earn your LPN license will be money well spent, as you will have excellent earning potential right away. As you progress in your career, consider continually investing in your education to keep advancing into newer and more challenging and rewarding roles.