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One of the most popular options for becoming a LPN in recent years is through a fast track LPN program. This type of program allows students to complete their required LPN training in a shorter amount of time than traditional LPN programs.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to consider before enrolling in a fast track LPN program. Here we will take a look at some of the pros and cons of these programs so that you can make an informed decision about whether this type of training is right for you.
How Fast Track LPN Programs Work
Fast track LPN programs are typically designed to be completed in 12 months or less. This is a shorter timeframe than the average traditional LPN program, which can take 12 – 24 months.
In order to accommodate the shorter timeline, fast track LPN programs often have students attending class for longer hours each day and/or taking more credits each semester. In some cases, students may also be required to take additional classes during the summer months.
Depending on the state, classes may be provided in an online setting instead of in-person. Some programs may also offer a hybrid option, which combines online and in-person coursework. This allows students to complete required class hours on weekends or in the evening while being able to meet clinical hour requirements on weekdays.
Advantages of Fast Track LPN Programs
The biggest advantage of fast track LPN programs is that they allow students to complete their required training in a shorter amount of time. If you are looking to enter the workforce as quickly as possible, then a fast track program may be the right choice for you. These programs may be completed in as little as 6 months and up to 12 months, whereas traditional LPN programs can take up to two years to finish.
Another advantage of fast track LPN programs is that they often offer more flexibility than traditional programs. Because many track programs have an online component, it gives students the ability to complete their coursework around their other commitments. This can be a great option for working adults who want to return to school to earn their LPN, but cannot afford to be out of the workforce for long periods of time.
Disadvantages of Fast Track LPN Programs
One of the main disadvantages of fast track LPN programs is that they can be very intense. Because these programs are designed to be completed in a shorter amount of time, many students find the coursework to be very demanding. Students often have to dedicate their weekends to taking classes, or spending their weekdays working or studying for at least 12 hours per day.
Programs will require their students to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or a grade point average of C or higher in order to move onto the next area of coursework. If you fall behind in your studies, it can be difficult to catch up. As a result, fast track LPN programs may not be the best choice for students who do not have strong time management and study skills.
Even though the LPN program is completed in a shorter amount of time, you should expect to pay a similar amount in tuition for a fast-track program. The required credit hours are the same for fast-track and traditional programs, so the only difference in cost is the length of time it takes to complete the program. If you are concerned about the cost of your education, be sure to compare the tuition rates of different fast track LPN programs before enrolling.
Another disadvantage of fast track LPN programs is that you may not get the same level of instruction or experience during clinical hours. Because these programs are shorter, students may not have time to build as strong relationships with their instructors or get as much hands-on experience during their clinical rotations.
If you are considering a fast track LPN program, it is important to do your research to make sure that the program is accredited and offers the coursework and clinical hours that you need to be successful. You should also speak with current and former students of the program to get their opinion on the quality of instruction and level of support that they received.
Choosing Between Traditional and Fast Track LPN Programs
When deciding whether a fast track or traditional LPN program is right for you, there are a few key factors to consider. One of the most important things to think about is your learning style. If you are a visual learner or need more one-on-one time with your instructors, a traditional program may be a better fit for you. On the other hand, if you are an independent learner who is comfortable working at your own pace, a fast track program may be a better option.
Another factor to consider is your schedule. If you have a full-time job or other commitments that make attending classes difficult, an online fast track program may be a good choice for you. On the other hand, if you are able to attend classes on a traditional college schedule, a traditional program may be a better option.
Finally, you will need to consider your budget. Fast track programs can be more expensive than traditional programs, so be sure to compare the tuition rates of different schools before enrolling. If you are concerned about the cost of your education, there are many financial aid options available to help you pay for your fast track LPN program.
How to Find Fast Track LPN Programs
If you are interested in enrolling in a fast track LPN program, there are a few things you can do to find the right program for you. Start by searching online for fast track LPN programs in your area. You can also check with your state’s Board of Nursing to see if they have recommended providers listed on their website. Not all nursing boards provide lists of accredited programs in your state, and not many distinguish schools that provide fast-track programs, but it doesn’t hurt to check.
Another great way to find fast track LPN programs is to contact your local hospital or nursing home – particularly one that you want to work for one day. Many of these facilities offer training programs for new nurses, or they may have strong connections with schools and may be able to point you in the right direction.
Is a Fast Track LPN Program Right for You?
A fast track LPN program is a shorter, more condensed version of a traditional LPN program. The advantages of these programs are that they can be completed quickly, and many are offered online so that they can be accessed from anywhere. The disadvantages of these programs are that they may not offer the same level of instruction or clinical experience as traditional programs.
Deciding between a traditional and fast track LPN program can be difficult, but there are a few things to consider. One important factor to think about is your learning style – if you need more one-on-one time with your instructors or learn better through visual aids, a traditional program may be a better fit for you. Another thing to consider is your schedule – if you cannot attend classes on a traditional college schedule, an online fast track program may be a good option for you. Finally, you will need to consider your budget and the type of financial aid that can be applied to the program.
So, is a fast track LPN program right for you? If you are an independent learner who is comfortable working at your own pace and have the financial resources to afford it, then a fast track LPN program may be the right choice for you.