Nursing and Health Science Programs FAQs

Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs) about PTCC's nursing programs

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Q: I want to be an LPN. What program do I enter?


A: LPN stands for Licensed Practical Nurse. Students wishing to enter the workforce with this title will need to enroll in the Practical Nursing Program. Upon successful completion (will be awarded a Diploma) the student is eligible to take the National Council Licensing Exam for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN or also called PN Board exam). After successfully passing this national exam the student is licensed by the state board of nursing they have applied to) as a Licensed Practical Nurse.


Q: I want to be an RN. What program do I enter?


A: If you are already an LPN then you may apply for the Associate Degree Nursing Mobility Program. This program will prepare you for the National Council Licensing Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN or also called RN Board exam). If you are not a LPN (or currently finishing a practical nursing program) then you are not eligible for this program. Please see an advisor to plan the best route for you to reach your goal. Pine Technical and Community College currently does not have an entry level (generic) ADN program.


Q: What does Mobility mean?


A: The Associate Degree Mobility Program is an Associate Degree Nursing program that accepts only Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) for entry into the program. It is one year of practical nursing courses (after completing all required general education requirements) that will prepare the student to take the National Council License Exam for Registered Nurses (NLCEX-RN or RN boards). After successfully passing this national exam the student will be licensed by the state board of nursing they have applied to) as a Registered Nurse (RN).


Q: I have applied to PTCC and been accepted. Can I register for nursing courses?


A: Not yet….. The Practical and Associate Degree Nursing Mobility programs have internal applications. Once all the prerequisite courses have been completed or have been transferred into the college the student is eligible for the application process. Students may apply during the semester in which the final pre-requisite courses are completed. Please attend a (mandatory) information session to ensure you are ready to begin the application process. It is recommended you make an appointment with an advisor if you have questions about the process or how to proceed.


Q: What is the TEAS?


A: The TEAS test is an admission exam used for entrance into the nursing programs. TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) is administered through Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI). The TEAS test measures preparedness for the nursing programs in the areas of reading, mathematics, science and English and Language usage. The necessary score to meet entrance criteria for the PN program is 50 and for the AD Mobility program is 68. More information is available at the (mandatory) information sessions or online at https://www.atitesting.com/Home.aspx.


Q: What is the Healthcare Pre-professional Certificate (HPPC) and why is everyone advising me to enroll in that program?


A: The Healthcare Pre-professional certificate is a foundational certificate for students wishing to explore health careers, undecided on Nursing vs. Medical Assistant, or those wishing to build a foundation prior to sitting for the entrance exams. This certificate provides two points of employment upon completion, Nursing Assistant (with successful completion of the state test) or Trained Medication Aide. This program also provides courses which help students gain general knowledge for the TEAS test. There are courses in this certificate which are also prerequisites to the Practical Nursing program and the Medical Assistant program. For more information or if this is a good fit for you, please contact an advisor. Students wishing to take this certificate will need to add this to their majors.


Q: Why are sciences good for only 10 years?


A: Science courses are the foundation to nursing curriculum. Information not used on a regular basis is not as current and students may struggle in the nursing course work. By having a time limit of 10 years, the students’ knowledge base has prepared them for the best chance of success in the nursing programs. If a student has been working as an LPN the age expiration dates may be waived for admission to the AD Mobility Nursing program. Please fill out an academic petition and submit to the Dean of Nursing requesting the program specific exception.


Q: When is the application window?


A: The PN program starts a group of students each Fall and Spring. The application window opens up the first week of the semester and closes the first Friday in October and the first Friday in March. Students applying need to see the website for the application window dates specific for that semester or call or email an advisor to receive this information session dates and times. The AD Mobility Nursing program starts each fall. The application window opens the first week of spring semester and closes the first Friday of March. Please see the application for exact closing dates as they vary from semester to semester. There are no applications accepted in the Fall for the AD Mobility Nursing program.


Q: My Grade Point Average (GPA) is at 2.79 will I be accepted?


A: The minimum GPA for the PN program is 2.8. The minimum GPA for the Mobility program is 3.0. There are no exceptions to this requirement. GPA is calculated according to the application. Please reference the application for more information.


Q: I didn’t have to take Biology to take Anatomy and Physiology I or II at my other school. Do I have to take it before I enter the Mobility program?


A: Each student has a very unique educational journey, therefore each case is looked at to see how best to advise the student. Please see the transfer specialist in Student Affairs or your academic advisor to answer this question. In many cases course substitutions can occur, but this decision needs to be made with the academic advisor and a petition must be completed for all substitutions.


Q: Is there a wait list for the programs?


A: The PN program does not usually have a wait list. If they do students only have to wait one semester until there is a spot available. The AD Mobility Nursing program may have a wait list of up to 10 seats until the semester starts. After this point the waitlist is done and students must reapply for entrance the following year. Each application window is treated as a fresh start. For more information on this process, please attend an information session during the application windows.


Q: What is the alternate list?


A: Students may ask to be placed on an alternate list if they do not meet all application criteria. The alternate list will be determined by point ranking per current acceptance criteria for students who fall into one of the following situations and ask to be placed on the list:
  • Students who apply late
  • Students whose application is missing required information/documentation
  • Students whose GPA is below program requirements (applies to fall start only) so they can take summer courses to raise GPA
  • Students who have courses (more than BIOL 1270) that must be taken during summer session to complete all prerequisites (applies to summer session only).


Q: I have a felony in my past. Can I still enter the program?


A: Minnesota (MN) and Wisconsin (WI) State laws require that any person who has direct contact with patients and residents at health care facilities licensed by the State Department of Health must have a state criminal background check completed. Results of the study are to be on file in the department of nursing before students begin their clinical/practicum experiences. Any student who does not pass the criminal background check and been cleared to provide direct patient care will not be permitted to participate in clinical/practicum experiences, thereby rendering the individual ineligible to progress in the nursing program.


Q: How many days per week is the program?


A: The PN program runs 5 days per week. It is 14-16 credits each semester and a full load. The nursing department recommends students consider this when planning their work and personal schedule. The AD Mobility Nursing program is 4-5 days per week depending on the semester and clinical practicum schedule. The program is 14 credits each semester and is also a full load.


Q: Is the nursing programs accredited?


A: The Practical and Associate Degree Nursing Mobility programs are approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing. Both nursing programs are currently in the process of collecting data towards becoming nationally accredited through the National League for Nursing (NLN) Commission of Nursing Education Association (CNEA). The nursing faculty anticipate becoming candidates for accreditation by January 1st of 2018 with a visit within three years of becoming candidates. Pine Technical and Community College is nationally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Students graduating from our program are able to find valuable employment in our communities. Employment or further education may be hindered by our not having the accreditation. Please check with the school you are transferring to (for Associate degrees or Bachelor’s degrees) to ensure they will accept your credits. We have partnerships for Bachelor’s programs (degree completion programs) with Bethel University, Concordia St. Paul, Southwest Minnesota State University and Moorhead State University which are not affected by our accreditation status. We also have an articulation agreement with all MnSCU Universities offering a Bachelor’s degree in nursing.