Nursing: LPN, Certificate


Nursing Handbook (PDF)

Student Achievement Data (PDF)

TEAS® Test Information (PDF)



The Practical Nursing (PN) certificate program prepares graduates for entry into the nursing profession as a practical nurse. Practical nurses work under the direction of a licensed registered nurse, licensed physician or dentist. The program includes 27 credits of nursing courses and 16 credits of general education courses and can be completed in one calendar year. It is offered at the Monroe and Bethlehem campus locations.

Graduates who successfully complete the program are eligible to apply to a State Board of Nursing for licensure as a licensed practical nurse and to take the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN®). This examination is used by the State Board of Nursing to assess the entry-level nursing competence of candidates for licensure as licensed practical nurses. When the candidate successfully completes the NCLEX-PN® exam, a license is issued. Information about the NCLEX-PN® exam is available at www.ncsbn.org/nclex.htm.

Students are admitted to the program once a year, in the fall semester.  The curriculum focuses on the art and science of nursing, and is taught in classroom, college skills laboratory, and clinical practice settings. Students attend class, skills laboratory and clinical simulation experiences on campus. Additionally, students participate in clinical learning experiences in various healthcare settings under the guidance of nursing faculty. Clinical learning experiences provide students with the opportunity to apply nursing theory in client care situations. Clinical settings include acute and long term care, in-patient and outpatient facilities.

Class, lab and simulation experiences are scheduled during the day. Most clinical experiences are scheduled during the day between the hours of 6:30 am and 5:00 pm. The college reserves the right to schedule clinical experiences during the evening and/or on weekends if necessary.

General Education courses in the nursing curriculum are offered in traditional and online format during the day and evening. Students may elect to complete general education courses prior to entering the program. All students are encouraged to consult an academic advisor.


Career Potential

Graduates of the program find jobs in a variety of health care settings including long-term care facilities, home health care agencies, state and federal health-related facilities, private duty nursing, clinics, and office settings.

Accreditation Information

The Practical Nursing program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc., 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA 30326, 404.975.5000, http://www.acenursing.org and has provisional approval by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Responses to frequently asked questions about the PN Certificate program are available here (PDF).

For More Information Contact:

Nursing Department, Penn Hall 120E, Northampton Community College, 3835 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18020. Telephone: 610.861.5376.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Practical Nursing certificate program is selective. Applicants must have coursework completed equal to a standard high school course with a minimum of 16 units including 4 units of English, 3 units of Social Sciences, 2 units of Mathematics (one of which is Algebra), and 2 units of Science with a related laboratory or the equivalent.

The minimum admission requirements to the program include:

  • Completion of high school biology* with a grade of C or better. *An acceptable substitute for high school biology is NCC BIOS115 with a grade of C or better. 
  • One year of high school Algebra** with a C or better **an acceptable substitute for Algebra, it is NCC MATH022 with a grade of C or better. 
  • Courses used as admission criteria cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements.
  • TEAS® results submitted prior to the application  deadline
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Please note: Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the Nursing program. Primary consideration is given to those who have received a grade of B or better in the program sciences on the first attempt and have a TEAS® academic preparedness level of BASIC.  Additional information on TEAS® testing is available here.

If available spaces in the program are not filled by students who have met the aforementioned standards, the College reserves the right to accept students who have, in the judgment of the College, the potential to complete the Practical Nursing program.



The graduate of the Practical Nursing Program will:

  1. Demonstrate completion of the curriculum objectives and associated competencies:
    1. Assist in the application of the nursing process to provide nursing care to individuals across the lifespan through efficient and effective use of resources in structured health care settings.
    2. Communicate effectively with patients, their support systems, and the health care team through the use of interpersonal skills and technology.
    3. Assess the health status and health care needs of patients through the collection of data within established protocols and guidelines.
    4. Employ basic clinical decision making based on critical thinking skills to deliver safe effective nursing care under the supervision of an experienced registered nurse, physician, or dentist.
    5. Demonstrate caring interventions based on accepted standards of care and the physiologic and psychosocial needs of the patient.
    6. Collaborate with patients, support persons, members of the health care team and community agencies to provide patient-centered quality care.
    7. Utilize the teaching-learning processes to promote, maintain, and restore health to individuals within their communities.
    8. Demonstrate professional accountability and commitment to standards of professional practice while practicing nursing within legal, ethical and regulatory frameworks.
  2. Students will be prepared to successfully complete the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN®).
  3. Students will be satisfied with their nursing education.
  4. Students will be prepared for and gain employment in a variety of settings.


First Semester

BIOS160Human Biology

4 credits

ENGL101English I

3 credits

NURS101Introduction to Nursing

8 credits

PSYC103Introduction to Psychology

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:18

Second Semester

NURS151Medical-Surgical Nursing for the Practical Nurse

8 credits

PSYC258Developmental Psychology

3 credits

SOCA103Principles of Sociology

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:14

Third Semester (Summer)

NURS205Geriatric Nursing for the Practical Nurse

4 credits

NURS206Maternal Nursing for the Practical Nurse

4 credits

NURS207Mental Health Nursing for the Practical Nurse

3 credits

Total Credit Hours:11

Total Credit Hours: 43

* Please note: A student is not permitted to progress to the next semester in the program without successful completion of general studies courses in that current semester.;