Vocational Nursing (LVN) Program

Theressa J. Borden, MSN, RN
Program Chair, Vocational Nursing
Gainesville Campus room 2411
(940) 668-7731 ext 4330

The Vocational Nursing program is fully approved by the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) and is a certificate program. This program is designed to prepare entry-level practitioners to provide direct care to patients of all age groups under the supervision of a registered nurse or licensed physician. Emphasis is placed upon the ability to make sound judgments based on the knowledge of scientific principles and the ability to utilize technical skills in a variety of settings.

Classes are admitted in the fall semester on the Gainesville, Corinth, Bowie, and Graham campuses and in the spring semester on Gainesville Campus and Online. The program is 12 months in length. Upon successful completion of the program, the student will be awarded a certificate of completion and is eligible to submit an application to write the National Council Licensing Examination - Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN).

Students admitted to the online e-campus are enrolled in the spring semester. The online curriculum is identical to the one taken by students in the traditional classroom; however, e-campus students will have clinical experiences assigned on weekends. The students accepted to the e-campus will complete the curriculum in 12 months, will be awarded a certificate of completion, and will be eligible to submit an application to write the NCLEX-PN.

Classroom and online instruction are correlated with clinical practice where students apply the theory and skills of nursing in giving direct care to patients. Active, student-centered learning is the goal. Students will participate in a combination of classroom, hybrid, and online learning during the course of the program. Clinical experiences are offered in a variety of settings such as hospitals, long-term care, physician's offices, home health facilities, and community venues. Graduates successfully completing the program demonstrate the following program learning outcomes:

  • Provider of Patient-Centered Care
    • Assist in determining health status/needs,
    • Assist in formulating goals/outcomes,
    • Implement plan of care within legal and ethical parameters,
    • Implement a teaching plan for the client and family with common health problems,
    • Assist in the evaluation of client's responses and outcomes,
    • Provide safe, compassionate basic nursing care to assigned multiple clients, and
    • Use a problem-solving approach for decision-making in practice.
  • Member of a Healthcare Team
    • Participate as an advocate in activities to promote and improve healthcare to patients and families
    • Communicate patient data using appropriate, available technology,
    • Communicate and collaborate in a timely manner with clients and health care team members in all aspects of patient care delivery,
    • Participate in the identification of client needs for community resources that facilitate continuity of care and maintain confidentiality,
    • Participate in support of structured health care setting, and
    • Supervise nursing care provided by others for whom the nurse is responsible.
  • Member of a Profession
    • Demonstrate accountability for own nursing practice, 
    • Participate as an advocate for improving the health care team, 
    • Demonstrate behaviors that promote vocational nursing, and
    • Function within the nurse's legal scope of practice and in accordance with policies and procedures of the employing healthcare institution.
  • Patient Safety Advocate
    • Demonstrate knowledge of the Texas Nursing Practice Act and the Texas Board of Nursing Rules that emphasize safety, as well as state, federal, and local regulations for accreditation of employment agency,
    • Implement measures to promote quality and a safe environment for all,
    • Assist in formulating goals and outcomes to reduce patient risks,
    • Obtain instruction and supervision as needed when implementing direct patient care,
    • Comply with mandatory reporting requirements of the Texas Nursing Practice Act, and
    • Accept and make assignments that take into consideration patient safety and organization policies.

Career Opportunities

Vocational nurses practice under the direct supervision of registered nursing staff and physicians. They may perform basic nursing duties independently or may assist registered nurses or physicians in more complex nursing situations. The average entry-level salary for vocational nurses ranges from $40,000 to $49,000. Employment may occur in hospitals, extended care facilities, doctor's offices, home health organizations, and a variety of other health care settings.

Eligibility for Licensure

It is important to understand the licensing process of the Texas Board of Nursing (BON) in order to minimize potential problems nursing graduates might experience in obtaining a nursing license. Schools of nursing do not have the authority to grant licensure for LVN’s or RN’s. The nursing program is granted permission from the BON to educate and train individuals to apply to take the licensing exams. Individual graduates must apply to the Texas Board of Nursing to take the licensing exam.

Nursing students enrolled or planning to enroll in a nursing program who have reason to believe that they might be ineligible for licensure must provide the BON with information and they will determine eligibility for licensure. The BON will ask candidates the following.

Answers to issues related to eligibility are available on the Board of Nursing website under FAQs for new students.

Board of Nursing FAQ

Specific question related to licensure of individuals with Criminal History is Rule 213.28.

Common eligibility issues that may need to be addressed by the BON include answering yes to any criminal offense, including those pending appeal. The BON will ask the following questions.

Have you:

  • Been convicted of a misdemeanor?
  • Been convicted of a felony?
  • Pled no contender, no contest, or guilty?
  • Received deferred adjudication?
  • Been placed on community supervision or court-ordered probation, whether or not adjudicated guilty?
  • Been sentenced to serve jail or prison time or court-ordered confinement?
  • Been granted pre-trial diversion?
  • Been arrested or have any pending criminal charges?
  • Been cited or charged with any violation of the law?
  • Been subject of a court-martial; Article 15 violation; or received any form of military judgment, punishment, or action? 
  • Results of the DPS/FBI Background check and fingerprint scan may prohibit final admission to the program until the Declaratory Order is received by the student from the BON. The student must inform the Division Chair of the outcome of the petition for Declaratory Order by providing a copy of the clearance letter received from the BON, the Declaratory Order with or without conditions received from the BON, or the letter of denial received by the BON. 


Students seeking admission to the Vocational Nursing program must first apply for and be accepted for admission to North Central Texas College. The faculty will advise students of special admission requirements for the Vocational Nursing program. The admissions process requires that a student attend an information session, complete an application for admission to NCTC, and an application to the Vocational Nursing program. In addition, the student must submit an official high school transcript, notarized home school academic record, or documented proof of GED certification. For more information regarding the LVN program contact the Vocational Nursing office at (940) 668-4291.

Being granted admission to the College does not guarantee admission to the Vocational Nursing program. Before admission to the program will be considered on a space-available basis-applicants must attend an information session, take an entrance exam, and achieve satisfactory scores. The information sessions are conducted on selected dates during the school year. To view these dates and additional information on how to gain admission to the College and enroll in the program, an applicant can contact the Vocational Nursing office at (940) 668-4291 or may access the information on the NCTC web site.

Admission criteria have been established and enrollment is limited. Acceptance is based upon the applicant's performance on pre-admission testing. All students completing the admissions process for the LVN program are notified of their status via email from the office of Vocational Nursing. Students accepted into the program will then complete a criminal background check prior to acceptance. All International students must meet with the International Advisor in the Admissions and Registrar's Office.  A urine drug screen is required at the start of the initial semester and is repeated during Level 3 of the program.

Progression Criteria

Students must make a "C" or better in all classroom and clinical courses to progress within the Vocational Nursing program. Students not meeting this standard will be unable to continue in the program; however, they may be readmitted one time, if qualified, on a space-available basis.


Any student who has an interruption in the normal progression of his/her nursing studies, whether by failure or withdrawal, may apply for readmission to the Vocational Nursing Department Director. In order for an application for readmission to be considered, it must be reviewed by the Vocational Nursing program faculty; therefore, it should be submitted 2-3 months prior to the desired starting date.

A completed application for readmission must include: (1) a new application, (2) a current transcript, and (3) a written request identifying the reason(s) the program was interrupted, and (4) actions taken to ensure success if readmission is granted. Readmission may include certain stipulations as prescribed by the Program Chair.  Faculty may also require that applicants for readmission follow and complete the admission process in effect for first-time applicants.

Grading Policy

Grades in classroom work are based on numerical averages, with corresponding letter grades assigned, providing all required assignments have been satisfactorily completed. Students must make at least a "C" in each theory course, including Anatomy and Physiology courses, and in each clinical practicum in order to progress within the program. The point system used within the Vocational Nursing Program is:

A = 90-100%  B = 80-89%  C = 77-79%  D = 66-76%  F = 0-65%

Program Cost

Basic tuition and fees for nursing students are figured just as they are for all other students; however, due to the special nature of the program, students will have some additional costs that they should be aware of:

  • Laboratory fees will be charged for all courses requiring a lab (in addition to the classroom lecture). For VN students, a lab fee will be charged for each course designed as a "clinical" and for the "skills" course.
  • Fees in addition to lab fees will be due at the time of course registration for such things as supplies, standardized tests, malpractice insurance. These fees may vary from year to year but specific information can be obtained from the Vocational Nursing Office.
  • Nursing textbooks are highly specialized medical books and can be expensive.
    For students not yet officially admitted to the VN program and who may be taking general education courses, textbook costs will vary according to which particular courses are taken, but, on average, plan to spend about $300 per semester hour for books. The approximate cost of the Vocational Nursing Program is $6,800 to $9,500. The cost of the textbooks is included in the tuition and fees charged at registration for the first semester. Students receive a package of books that can be picked up in the campus bookstore after proof of payment from the Business Office.

Supplies and Incidentals

Once admitted to the Program, VN students will need to buy school clinical uniforms (plus patches), a lab jacket, shoes, and a stethoscope. A good wristwatch with a second hand is also needed. Also, the student will need normal school supplies, the LVN Student skills kit, and other costs will include such items as state board fees. Some of these expenses will not be incurred until the latter part of the program.

Health Insurance

Students will need to show proof of Major Medical Insurance or Accidental Injury Medical Insurance before going to clinical agencies.


Students accepted into the LVN program must show proof of the following immunizations, as listed below.

  • One dose of tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (TDAP) toxoid in the last 10 years
  • Two doses of measles vaccine, administered since 1968
  • Two doses of rubella vaccine
  • Two doses of mumps vaccine
  • Complete Hepatitis B vaccine--this series takes 6 months to complete
  • Two doses of varicella (chickenpox)--these must be administered at least 8 weeks apart
  • A statement from parents or physician that you had chickenpox is NOT sufficient proof
  • One influenza vaccine (given seasonally for the flu)
  • Serologic (blood test) proof of immunity or serologic evidence of infection, is acceptable in lieu of the vaccinations.
  • All students must have negative results of two Mantoux TB tests or a negative chest x-ray report prior to admission

Essential Physical Competencies for Nursing

In response to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a national survey of administrators of health care facilities, which employ nurses, validated a list of essential competencies a nurse must possess in order to function safely and effectively in a variety of clinical settings.

Results indicate that relatively high numbers of activities were identified in each essential competency category by the health care agencies as being necessary for nursing practice.

These competencies include:

  • extended walking and standing daily,
  • ability to grasp, push, and/or pull,
  • ability to bend and stoop,
  • moving quickly in response to an emergency using upper body movements,
  • ability to reach,
  • carrying and moving equipment, and
  • reaching and/or lifting.

Other essential competencies identified for nursing care include:

  • vision acuity to allow detecting physical changes such as cyanosis and the ability to discriminate small print,
  • hearing that allows responding to physical and verbal cues,
  • a sense of touch that allows for assessment and palpation,
  • manual dexterity that allows for skill performance,
  • communicate effectively and efficiently in English in both oral and written forms,
  • cognitive ability to exercise good judgment, and
  • attention to detail and ability to complete tasks within required time limits.

Adaptations most frequently reported as being used by nursing staff were hearing aids, adaptive phones, and calculators.

The ADN Program has accepted these competencies as expectations for success in the program. Applicants may be asked to complete a Functional Abilities Performance upon conditional acceptance into the program.