Your Guide to Top LPN Programs in Jacksonville, FL

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) fill a vital role delivering hands-on patient care in diverse healthcare settings. As baby boomers age and America’s senior population swells, demand for qualified LPNs continues rising steadily. With ample job opportunities, strong earning potential, and intrinsics rewards of this meaningful work, a career as an LPN offers tremendous benefits.

Jacksonville, Florida is well positioned to capitalize on growth trends in the licnesed practical nursing field. A sprawling urban center and business hub of Northeast Florida, Jacksonville serves a large population across its five-county metro region. Major health systems headquartered in Jacksonville including Baptist Health and Ascension St. Vincent’s operate hospitals and clinics across the city. With new faciliites and service lines added regularly, these providers lead robust hiring of skilled licensed nurses.

To prepare the growing pool of nurse talent needed, Jacksonville offers numerous accredited LPN training programs fitting different budgets and scheduling needs. In this comprehensive guide, we survey the top LPN programs in Jacksonville, discuss factors to weigh when selecting a program, provide tips to excel once enrolled, and outline the licensure process — equipping you with insights to embark on this meaningful career.

The Vital Role of LPNs in Today‘s Healthcare System

Before exploring specific training programs, it helps to learn exactly what an LPN career entails and growth projections for the field. This context will clarify why proper education and board certification are so important to securing employment and advancement opportunities.

Responsibilities and Work Settings

A licensed practical nurse has a scope of practice that involves:

  • Monitoring patient health indicators and vital signs
  • Administering treatments and medications
  • Documenting symptom changes and care delivered
  • Assisting physicians and registered nurses with examinations
  • Coordinating care plan delivery and transitions

LPNs gain initial experience in skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, and community health clinics. With further training specializing in a field like pediatrics, oncology, or surgery, experienced LPNs can transition into hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, schools, and even correctional facilities.

The ability to work in diverse care settings is a major perk of this adaptable nursing career.

Job Growth Trends and Projections

National employment of licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses (LPNs & LVNs) is projected to grow 10 percent from 2020 to 2030, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics models. This will translate into roughly 104,800 new LPN/LVN job openings across the country. Given retirement trends among the large Baby Boomer demographic, projections are likely conservative estimates.

Zooming into Florida‘s First Coast region, market indicators look even brighter. A recent analysis by Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity highlighted licensed practical nursing among the most high-demand, high-skill occupations in Northeast Florida. Fueled by population growth, an aging demographic profile, and expanding delivery of healthcare services, the region expects robust job growth specifically for qualified LPNs trained through accredited certificate programs.

Department of Economic Opportunity job growth projections

With ample demand forecasted, investing in proper LPN training helps ensure graduates secure full-time roles quickly at attractive pay rates. Which brings us to earning potential…

Salary and Compensation Outlook

Given their vital bedside roles, licensed practical nurses earn competitive salaries that also allow for salary growth through pay raises and climbing the clinical ladder. As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average national salary for LPNs is $48,070 currently.

For context, average annual wages for LPNs practicing in the state of Florida land at $44,040. In the Jacksonville metropolitan area specifically, average LPN compensation is even stronger averaging $45,000 according to recent labor market data.

With overtime pay opportunities factored in plus differentials for shift work, total compensation packages can exceed $50,000+ particularly when pairing an LPN certificate with a bit of prior healthcare or medical assistant experience.

Across settings from hospitals to clinics and rehab centers, demand for trained licensed practical nurses continues rising making this career pathway a secure bet for job stability. Now let‘s explore top LPN programs in Jacksonville preparing graduates to fill these abundant positions.

Top LPN Training Programs in Jacksonville, FL

In response to strong market demand, students aiming to gain Licensed Practical Nurse credentials have quality in-state programs to choose between:

St Johns River State College

St Johns River State College (SJR State) offers an accredited 1-year certificate program to prepare students for licensed nursing roles. This public community college delivers an affordable and accessible track covering core nursing fundamentals. Students take general prerequisites first before applying to enter the limited-seat nursing cohort.

Program Highlights:

  • Seasoned faculty with 5+ years experience apiece
  • Dedicated simulation lab to run scenarios
  • Blended online and in-person courses
  • Total cost under $7,500 as Florida resident

The LPN program sees strong interest annually with acceptance hovering around 50% of applicants. Structured career guidance helps graduates confidently sit for their board licensure exam and secure initial nursing jobs.

Jacksonville University

Through its highly-ranked School of Nursing, Jacksonville University features an accelerated 17-month LPN-to-BSN bridge program. This fast-track curriculum allows working nurses to pursue bachelor’s level training with credits transferring in both directions.

Program Highlights:

  • Pair LPN license with BSN in efficient hybrid format
  • 1:6 faculty to student ratio
  • 94% first-time NCLEX-PN exam pass rate

Leveraging its prime university locale and Division I amenities, the program attracts working nurse professionals seeking career mobility. Hands-on clinical rotations facilitate networking with five different regional healthcare partners.

Fortis College

The Fortis College School of Nursing offers a concentrated 10-month track to certify nursing assistants as LPNs. Blended online and in-person courses train students using classroom lectures and simulation lab practice.

Program Details:

  • Coursework can be completed in 36 weeks
  • 550+ hours of supervised clinical rotations
  • Support services like tutoring and mentoring
  • 82-90% passage rate on NCLEX-PN board exam

Fortis structures curricula to help working students balance existing commitments while gaining new skills. Course schedules offer needed flexibility paired with consistent instructor access and career guidance upon completion.

Key Factors in Selecting an LPN Program

Once you’ve explored the primary LPN program providers in Jacksonville, how should prospective students evaluate options to choose the best fit?

Here are several factors we recommend ranking in order of importance personally:

  • Total Cost Investment — Tallies tuition, textbook fees, uniforms, equipment, and related program expenses
    • Community college programs can provide the most budget-friendly path
    • Leverage FAFSA aid, scholarships and payment plans when possible
  • Program Length & Schedule Flexibility — Programs spanning 10-14 months allow for quicker entry into workforce
    • Accelerated and part-time tracks aid learners balancing family/work
    • Ensure schedule allows completion of all clinical rotation hours
  • Hands-On Training Focus — Clinical hours expose students to protocols and develop real nursing judgment
    • Programs averaging 500+ clinical hours sufficiently prepare graduates
    • Simulation lab practicing is vital for skill proficiency
  • Licensure Exam Pass Rates — First-time NCLEX-PN pass rates indicate program quality
    • Look for consistent 80-90%+ passing rates
    • High rates signal strong preparation to pass licensure test
  • Career Guidance & Job Placement Support — Preparation for securing first nursing jobs after graduation
    • Review career center resources and hospital system pipelines
    • Understanding local employer partners and hiring trends offers leg up

Weighing individual priorities around these factors steers students towards programs matching their circumstances, learning style, and career aspirations.

Setting Yourself Up for Success Once Enrolled

Upon admitting into a top choice Jacksonville LPN training program, use these tips to maximize the experience and retention:

  • Develop Close Connections — Form study groups with peers and meet with faculty often
  • Practice Repeatedly — Hone clinical skills during simulation and lab sessions
  • Think Critically — Prepare for challenging exam questions that push clinical reasoning
  • Care For Yourself — Don‘t underestimate good nutrition, sleep habits and mental health
  • Strive For Excellence — Maintain highest standards so patients receive great care one day

Committing early to these positive habits cements knowledge plus demonstrates drive to become outstanding nurse.

Earning a Florida LPN License & Getting Hired

Upon completing an approved Jacksonville LPN program, nursing graduates follow a standardized process governed by the Florida Board of Nursing to secure licensed credentials:

  1. Submit license application form with all required documentation
  2. Undergo fingerprinting and criminal background check
  3. Register and successfully pass the NCLEX-PN licensure exam

The board licensing process ensures graduates meet ethical, education, and competency standards protecting Florida patient safety.

With an approved LPN license secured, focus shifts to the job search and interview process. Lead nurses and recruiters at Jacksonville healthcare employers offer these tips for landing first nursing roles:

  • Highlight clinical rotation experience gained locally
  • Convey passion and competency for nursing fundamentals
  • Prepare elevator pitch answering "Why nursing? Why here?"
  • Exhibit the caretaking nature and calm demeanor needed on the floor

Internal transfers and recommendations also allow current techs/aides pursuing their LPN to transition newly supported roles. Hiring managers embrace candidates demonstrating the perfect mix of knowledge, skills and cultural fit.

Accelerating Your Nursing Career in Jacksonville

Once establishing your foundation as a licensed nurse through an LPN program, Jacksonville offers options to continue advancing your scope of practice and pay through further education.

Many nurses pursue LPN-to-RN bridge programs building directly on their experience and credit hours. Local options include accelerated tracks at Jacksonville University and Rasmussen University campuses. Dual enrollment during LPN training can enable completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree within several years of initial licensure.

For the highest allowable nursing scope treating patients autonomously, Nurse Practitioners represent an advanced role blending clinical care and diagnostic with prescription ordering. This requires a 2-year Master of Nursing graduate level that also widens specialization options considerably. Based on interest areas from pediatrics, to cardiology, orthopedics or dermatology, nurse practitioners fill high-demand niche medical jobs.

The nursing ladder allows for salary growth and career fluidity over long time horizons. Whether you see the LPN level as a launching point or destination earning sustainable wages with defined hours, Jacksonville hospitals and training programs empower that vision.

Next Steps to Get Started

For those excited to embark on this meaningful career caring for patients as an LPN, here are next steps to get the wheels in motion:

  • Take HESI, NET or TEAS entrance exams for application
  • Complete FAFSA form and explore funding/scholarships
  • Prepare transcripts and collect application materials
  • Make appointments to visit top choice campuses
  • Apply to 1-3 of Jacksonville’s reputable LPN programs

With an affordable path to licensing and abundant openings locally, becoming an LPN in Jacksonville, FL proves a rewarding bet. We wish you great success pursuing this essential healthcare profession!

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