Online Nursing Programs in Louisiana
Students seeking online nursing programs in Louisiana have multiple options. University of Louisiana - Monroe offers online nursing programs and has a 96.67% pass rate for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). On the other hand, Nicholls State University offers the lowest tuition costs in the state at $8,991 annually. In Louisiana, full-time nurses work at least 1,600 hours a year and must complete five hours of continuing education credits each year to renew their license. Part-time nurses, who work at least 160 hours annually, must have 10 hours of continuing education, and those who work less than that must complete 15 hours.
Comprehensive List of Online Nursing Schools in Louisiana
|School||Annual Tuition||NCLEX Pass Rate||Locations|
|Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University||$14,145||100.0%||Baton Rouge|
|Louisiana State University-Alexandria||$14,024||92.06%||Alexandria|
|Loyola University New Orleans||$40,842||Not Reported||New Orleans|
|McNeese State University||$16,140||98.28%||Lake Charles|
|Nicholls State University||$8,991||92.17%||Thibodaux|
|Northwestern State University of Louisiana||$19,556||95.15%||Natchitoches|
|Southeastern Louisiana University||$20,807||96.12%||Hammond|
|Southern University and A & M College||$16,491||82.93%||Baton Rouge|
|University of Louisiana-Lafayette||$24,110||98.55%||Lafayette|
|University of Louisiana-Monroe||$21,074||96.94%||Monroe|
|University of Phoenix||$9,552||90.0%||Nationwide|
Becoming a Nurse in Louisiana
Individuals aspiring to pursue a nursing career in Louisiana can choose from numerous online associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees that have been approved by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing (LSBN). These programs include nursing courses in physiology, psychology, and anatomy — to name a few subject areas — while also encouraging students to foster essential healthcare skills in communication, critical thinking, and teamwork.
Completion times, admission requirements, tuition costs, and coursework vary across types of nursing degree programs. For instance, students need a high school diploma or equivalent to enroll in an Associate of Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. But, while an ASN takes two years to complete, a BSN requires 120 credit hours and usually takes about four years of full-time study. Individuals with a bachelor's degree in a health-related field can continue their education for an additional two years pursuing a master's in nursing (MSN), which allows for greater specialization. Students should note that nursing programs at all educational levels require individuals to complete 500-700 supervised clinical hours before graduating.
Graduates of nursing programs at any level must have national certification and state licensure to become practicing nurses.
Like in other states, an associate degree from an accredited school is the minimum educational requirement for entry-level nursing positions in Louisiana, though some employers — particularly in the private sector — may expect applicants to have the breadth of knowledge gained through a BSN program. Those interested in increasing their earning potential or taking a healthcare administration position in the future will likely need an MSN.
Regardless of their educational qualifications, graduates of nursing programs at any level must have national certification and state licensure to become practicing nurses. Continue reading to learn more about the licensing process for various nursing certifications in Louisiana:
How to Get Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Certification in Louisiana
To become a CNA in Louisiana, individuals must complete an approved Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation, which includes 80 hours of training and an exam. They must also register with the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), which tracks any findings of abuse or neglect by nurse aids. Additionally, CNAs from other states with a clean license may transfer their certifications to practice in Louisiana.
To maintain certification, CNAs must work for at least eight hours with an approved healthcare provider for each 2-year certification period. Then, CNAs must submit their work history to the LDH on the provider's official letterhead in order to renew their license. An administrator or appropriate designee should sign the documentation, and it must include the CNA's personal information as well as details of duties performed.
How to Get a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) License in Louisiana
Louisiana nursing licenses for LPNs are regulated by the Louisiana State Board of Practical Nurse Examiners. To obtain certification, applicants must have completed a nursing program at an accredited school, met additional training requirements, and passed the NCLEX-PN test. No continuing education hours are required to maintain this license, but LPNs must renew their license annually by January 31.
How to Get a Registered Nurse (RN) License in Louisiana
RN applicants must complete a nursing program approved by the LSBN. To be eligible, they must be Louisiana residents without any pending criminal or civil charges, or if they're a renewal candidate, they shouldn't have any restrictions on their license. Additionally, prospective RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN examination in the first four attempts and within four years of graduating from an accredited program.
Applicants must submit transcripts and a $100 application fee with their RN license application, along with a $39.25 criminal background fee. All Louisiana RN licenses must be renewed every year between October 1 and January 31.
How to Get an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) License in Louisiana
To qualify for a Louisiana APRN license, an applicant must hold an active RN license and have completed a master's or doctoral degree in their chosen specialty within the last two years. Also, prospective license holders must not have pending disciplinary actions against their license or a criminal background in the U.S. or abroad.
A Louisiana APRN license application costs $100 plus an additional $39.25 to perform a criminal background check. License holders must renew their license every two years before January 31. APRNs who are permitted to prescribe medication must also take ongoing pharmacology education courses in order to renew their license.
Nursing Careers in Louisiana
Decades of staffing shortages made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic have created a high demand for nurses in Louisiana. Indeed, the nursing workforce has been steadily aging out of the state's healthcare system for years. For instance, a 2020 LSBN report disclosed that over half of RNs and 31% of APRNs were over the age of 50. These issues are compounded by a high turnover rate — 17% of RNs in 2020 — and a lack of nurse faculty, who are vital in educating prospective and newly-licensed LPNs and RNs.
Given the current labor market for nurses in Louisiana, positions are available in many settings, including hospitals, community health clinics, and nursing schools. Our list below describes potential career paths for licensed nurses in the state, along with national salary and job outlook data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Louisiana Nursing Resources
Students interested in pursuing a nursing career in Louisiana may consider exploring the following organizations for more information on education options, licensing, and employment trends.