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Prepare for an entry-level nursing career with the skills needed to become a Licenced Practical or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN/LPN).1

At a Glance

  • Practical Nursing and Vocational Nursing certificates can be completed in as few as 12 months

  • Vocational Nursing degree can be completed in as few as 17 months

  • Offered at four locations in Idaho, New Mexico, and California

  • Prepare for the NCLEX-PN and an entry-level career as either an LPN or LVN

  • Affordable tuition varies by location, learn more now

About the Program

Vocational Nursing vs Practical Nursing

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) are different titles for the same job. They are both entry-level positions providing basic medical care under the direction of registered nurses and doctors. Practical Nursing (PN) and Vocational Nursing (VN) programs prepare graduates to take the NCLEX-PN. Passing the NCLEX-PN is required for licensure of both LPNs and LVNs.

The biggest difference between a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) and a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is actually the name. The term LVN is used in California and Texas, while LPN is used throughout the rest of the United States. So the difference in the title really just depends on where you are.

At Carrington College, the PN program at the Albuquerque and Boise campuses offers a certificate of achievement in as little as one year. The VN certificate program is offered at the Sacramento and San Jose campuses and an associate of science degree can be completed in as few as 17-27 months based on the program version.

Student Life at Carrington College

We know college is a big step. But education can be the first step in building a better future. Your instructors, administrators and fellow students are there to help if you ever hit a bump in the road along the way. Carrington College offers a lot of great student support services designed to help you succeed.

Student Finance

From scholarships and grants to loans, we will help you understand how to search and apply for financial aid.2

Tutoring and Study Groups

For help with schoolwork, your instructors and Student Success Center staff are often available for tutoring or you can join in an open student study group.

Externships, Clinical Rotations and Fieldwork

Most programs include an opportunity to learn in the real world before you even graduate! You’ll earn impressive experience that looks great on your resume.

Career Services

After graduation, we’ll help you with your career search with everything from resume writing help to job search support to interview tips.

Program Outcomes

If you’re looking for a career that allows you to help physicians and care for patients, then practical nursing or vocational nursing is a great choice. Carrington College’s Practical Nursing/Vocational Nursing program is designed to provide you the classroom instruction and hands-on training you need to pursue a career as a licensed practical nurse or licensed vocational nurse. You’ll get real-world experience in a clinical setting, helping you feel comfortable and confident in a professional setting before you even graduate. 

Upon completion of either the Practical Nursing or Vocational Nursing program, graduates will be able to:  

  • Implement the nursing process in providing care for patients in a variety of clinical settings
  • Demonstrate academic preparedness to take the NCLEX-PN examination for licensure as a practical nurse
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply critical thinking.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively, communicate clearly and act professionally.


Vocational Nursing programs are available at two California locations. 


San Jose

The Practical Nursing program is available in Idaho and New Mexico. 



Career Opportunities

You have a big heart, and want to use that compassion and caring to help people feel better. The Practical Nursing and Vocational Nursing programs at Carrington College are intended to provide you with the skills to help you succeed. 

There is a large need for health care workers in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are expected to be 751,900 jobs for Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses between 2020 and 2030. That’s a job growth of 9%, which is as fast as the national average for all occupations.3.

Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses can work in a variety of professional settings including:

  • Hospitals
  • Physicians’ Offices
  • Home Health Care Services
  • Nursing Facilities

Program Specific Disclosures

Licensure Exam Pass Rates

This program prepares graduates for an occupation in which passage of a California licensing examination is required.  The link below shows exam passage rates for the most recent available year. If you have questions regarding the calculation of these rates please contact the agency listed.

Board of Vocational Nursing & Psychiatric Technicians

The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) requires that the following student achievement outcome data be made publicly available.

  • Graduates’ success on the licensure and/or certification examination
  • Students’ completion of the nursing program
  • Graduates obtaining a job

To view this information for Carrington College’s ACEN – accredited nursing programs, click here

Cost & Financial Aid

Education is a major investment, but it’s an investment in your future. Every student comes to Carrington with unique financial needs. Carrington College is committed to helping you achieve your education goals. We participate in most financial assistance programs, both federal and state, as well as private financing. Each program has different requirements and application instructions. Student loans, grants and scholarships are available to those who qualify.

For complete information on current tuition costs please see the Academic Catalog

The best way for us to understand your financial needs is to meet in person. Call (602) 492-1086 to set an appointment with our Student Finance Department so we can help you develop your personalized financial plan to achieve your educational goals.

Accreditation and Approvals

Carrington College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC/WASC), 331 J Street, Suite 200, Sacramento, CA 95814; 415- 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Additional information about accreditation, including the filing of complaints against member institutions, can be found at

The Practical Nursing program at the Boise campus is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), 3390 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 1400 Atlanta, GA 30326, 404 975 5000,

Carrington College holds full approval for its Practical Nursing program and its associate degree professional nursing education program. The Idaho Board of Nursing issued a certificate of approval. Board offices: 280 North 8th Street, Suite 210, P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720 – 0061, 208 334 3110,

The New Mexico Board of Nursing certifies that Carrington College is granted initial approval to offer Practical Nursing in the State of New Mexico, 6301 Indian School NE, Suite 710, Albuquerque, NM, 87110 505 841 8340,

The Vocational Nursing program located at the Sacramento and San Jose campus are approved by the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians, 2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 205, Sacramento, CA 95833, 916-263-7800,

Read Our Guide On A Career In Nursing

Are you interested in helping people? Learn more about different levels of nursing, nursing school and how to become a nurse.

Learn about our partnership with The DAISY Foundation, which honors the hard work and dedication of our nursing students and faculty.

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  1. Carrington College prepares students to take appropriate certification and licensure exams related to their individual majors. The College does not guarantee students will successfully pass these exams or be certified or licensed as a result of completing the program.
  2. Student loans, grants and scholarships are available to those who qualify.
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses, on the Internet at (visited October 05, 2021).  Data reflects a national projected percentage change in employment from 2020-2030 and may not reflect local economic conditions.