The Community College of Rhode Island is a public, two-year college with its main campus based in Warwick. The college is home to more than 18,000 students and offers 90 degrees and certificates. Among these are a diploma in licensed practical nursing and an Associate of Science degree in nursing, designed for registered nurses. The programs build off one another, requiring students to begin in the LPN program to progress into the RN program.
To qualify for admission into the nursing program at CCRI, candidates must meet specific requirements. A high school diploma or GED is mandatory, and candidates must submit proof of having earned a secondary credential, such as a transcript. Candidates must also take an admission test in arithmetic and academic skills. Admission to the program is competitive; students are judged based on their high school grades and their scores on the GED test. In addition, students must typically complete a sequence of prerequisite courses prior to admission.
Seven courses are required for admission to the nursing program at CCRI. All students must take three courses through the biology department: human anatomy, human physiology and an introduction to microbiology. In addition, applicants must complete an introductory course in health sciences and a course in calculating dosage for administering medication. A course in English composition is required. Students must also take three credits of coursework in humanities, such as art, music, theater, philosophy, sociology or foreign languages. All applicants must have a minimum grade point average of 2.70 in these prerequisite courses to gain admission to the nursing program.
Upon entering the nursing program at CCRI, students begin in the practical nursing diploma program, which takes approximately three semesters to complete. Two courses offered through the psychology department are required: general psychology and developmental psychology. Students must then take two courses in nursing, which include both classroom coursework and clinical placements in local hospitals and nursing homes. Students who do not intend to continue on to the degree program must then take a third nursing course with a classroom and a clinical component.
After completing the four required courses for the LPN diploma, students who wish to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing at CCRI spend one additional year at the college. Each semester, they take one nursing course, which involves both classroom coursework and clinical training. Licensed practical nurses who have experience working in the field can take a challenge test to enter the degree program directly. CRRI recommends that LPNs have five years of experience to pursue this option. Those who pass the exam receive credit for the prerequisite courses and the classes for the LPN program, allowing them to earn their degrees in just one year.