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23 Best LPN Programs 2020

By the GradReports team | Updated 4/1/2020

These are the 23 best LPN certificate programs in the country based on median incomes of students one year after graduation. LPN programs prepare students to become licensed practical nurses. Graduates of the top-ranked nursing certificate program at Mount Wachusett Community College made a median of $56,400. The program with the least debt is Greater Lowell Technical School; LPN students had a median of $5,500 in debt one year after completing the program.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education in November 2019. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

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Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 Gardner (MA) (and 1 other) Gardner (MA) (and 1 other) $10,680 $10,215 $56,400
#2 #2 Tucson (AZ) Tucson (AZ) $7,614 $9,500 $52,100
#3 #3 Tyngsboro (MA) Tyngsboro (MA) $7,350 $5,500 $51,700
#4 #4 Oak Brook (IL) Oak Brook (IL) $22,995 $11,600 $51,700
#5 #5 Dallas (TX) Dallas (TX) $27,300 $19,125 $51,400
#6 #6 Billerica (MA) Billerica (MA) $9,850 $9,500 $50,900
#7 #7 Willow Grove (PA) Willow Grove (PA) $12,000 $9,500 $50,400
#8 #8 Multiple Locations Multiple Locations $13,997 - $31,540 $16,699 $50,100
#9 #9 Danvers (MA) (and 1 other) Danvers (MA) (and 1 other) $10,920 $9,500 $50,000
#10 #10 Portland (OR) Portland (OR) $27,290 $16,500 $48,400
#11 #11 Fremont (CA) Fremont (CA) Not Provided $13,305 $48,300
#12 #12 Ramsey (NJ) (and 3 others) Ramsey (NJ) (and 3 others) $15,327 - $17,424 $20,399 $48,200
#13 #13 Fall River (MA) Fall River (MA) $13,275 $9,500 $47,900
#14 #14 Elmsford (NY) Elmsford (NY) $11,250 $9,500 $47,900
#15 #15 Falls Church (VA) Falls Church (VA) $18,045 $14,750 $47,900
#16 #16 Riverview (MI) (and 1 other) Riverview (MI) (and 1 other) $26,400 $13,583 $47,600
#17 #17 Hanover Park (IL) Hanover Park (IL) $25,400 $9,500 $47,100
#18 #18 Stockton (CA) Stockton (CA) $25,000 $16,360 $46,600
#19 #19 Salem (OR) Salem (OR) $17,575 Not Reported $46,500
#21 #21 Eau Claire (WI) (and 4 others) Eau Claire (WI) (and 4 others) $6,793 $12,805 $45,700
#22 #22 South Easton (MA) South Easton (MA) $8,476 $9,500 $45,600
#23 #23 Greenfield (MA) Greenfield (MA) $11,762 $8,485 $45,400

2020 Best Colleges Highlights

Learn more about the top colleges for a Certificate in Nursing degree. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.

Gardner (MA) (and 1 other)
Median Salary $56,400
Median Debt $10,215
Annual Tuition $10,680
Graduation Rate 21%

The Certificate in Practical Nursing from Mount Wachusett Community College is a competitive program comprised of seven required courses. Before applying, prospective students must pass the ATI Test of Essential Academic Skills. Once admitted, students can expect to take classes such as Introduction to Psychology, Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology, and Contemporary Nursing for the Practical Nurse as they prepare to enter the workforce as a licensed practical nurse. In addition, students will spend practical hours working in a hands-on environment at clinical facilities, under the supervision and guidance of licensed providers.

Following completion of the degree program, students take the National Council Licensure Examination in Practical Nursing in order to earn their license. With strong academics and a comprehensive curriculum, Mount Wachusett Community College had 96% of its Practical Nursing graduates pass the examination on their first try in 2017. Credits earned through this certificate program can also be applied to most nursing degree programs.

Visit Mount Wachusett Community College's website.

Tucson (AZ)
Median Salary $52,100
Median Debt $9,500
Annual Tuition $7,614
Graduation Rate 16%

For students seeking careers in practical nursing, Pima Community College offers a certificate program through the Center for Training and Development. Students will find that the program prepares them for employment in many healthcare settings, as well as an access point for PCC’s associate degree in nursing. Students enrolled in the certificate program will take classes such as Anatomy, Physiology, and Microbiology, Pediatric Nursing, and Transition to PN Practice, totaling 1,380 hours of credits. It is common for students to finish this certificate within 13 months or fewer.

The certificate program is approved by Arizona State Board of Nursing, and outlines specific learning objectives to guide students in their studies. These objectives include being able to provide safe nursing care, implement caring behaviors, identify and resolve patient care problems at the LPN scope of practice utilizing problem-solving and critical thinking, demonstrate appropriate communication techniques, and identify and utilize evidence-based practice at the LPN level. Students can expect rigorous, rewarding training through this program.

Visit Pima Community College's website.

Median Salary $51,700
Median Debt $5,500
Annual Tuition $7,350
Graduation Rate N/A
Student Reviews None (Add review)

Greater Lowell Technical School offers a post-secondary course in practical nursing that is a full-time learning endeavor. Students can expect to devote 1,097 hours of classroom time and 540 hours of clinical instruction time over the duration of their certificate program. The curriculum includes courses in both science and social sciences, and range from Microbiology to Mental Health Concepts. Additionally, students take classes focused on nursing practices such as Medical-Surgical Nursing, Maternity and Pediatric Nursing, Care of the Elderly Nursing, and Pharmacology.

As with many certificates in practical nursing, once the curriculum requirements are met, students are eligible to sit for the National Council of Licensing Examination for Practical Nursing. Additionally, Greater Lowell has an articulation agreement with Middlesex Community College for those students who are interested in continuing their education to pursue a registered nurse program. The certificate program emphasizes professionalism, quality patient-centered care, communication, and safety, and highlights these tenets throughout its curriculum.

Visit Greater Lowell Technical School's website.

Oak Brook (IL)
Median Salary $51,700
Median Debt $11,600
Annual Tuition $22,995
Graduation Rate N/A

The Practical Nursing program at Verve College (previously known as PCCTI IT and Healthcare) prepares students to successfully sit for the National Council of Licensing Examination for Practical Nursing, through strong academics and hands-on clinical experience. The program is designed to be completed within 12-14 months, and approximately 1,080 hours. Students learn through a blended learning methodology, meaning that their education is a blend of classroom and laboratory learning, online learning, and clinical opportunities in health care facilities. Classes offered through this program are broken up into modules that include learning about asepsis & infection control, nutrition and hygiene, lifespan development, pediatrics, older adult and palliative care, among many other specific units. This comprehensive curriculum paired with experience acquired through externships ensure that students who complete this program through Verve College are on their way to rewarding careers.

Dallas (TX)
Median Salary $51,400
Median Debt $19,125
Annual Tuition $27,300
Graduation Rate 102%
Student Reviews None (Add review)

The Dallas Nursing Institute offers a vocational nursing program that can be full-time or part-time, depending on the individual. In an effort to support students, the cost of the vocational nursing program includes the cost of materials needed, so that all textbooks, exam fees, and necessary medical equipment is provided. Students will take classes in biology, psychology, and sociology, and receive hands-on experience and individual guidance, ultimately preparing them to sit for the National Council of Licensing Examination for Practical Nursing.

The program provides comprehensive skill building and training to ensure that students graduate with expertise in proper patient care, medication administration, body systems, and nursing procedures. The institute emphasizes the importance of serving the community and making a positive impact on the world, and as such, students may find that their personal motivation to pursue vocational nursing is reflected in the education they receive at the Dallas Nursing Institute.

Visit Dallas Nursing Institute's website.