Practical Nursing

Available: Shoals Campus and Phil Campbell Campus

A. Baker (6298)                                                                                                                                                                                           P. Ford (5306)
B. Humphres (6207)
C. Tidwell (5305)
M. Hester (6237)
D. Jaynes (6221)
M. Simpson (5435)
R. Stewart (6256)
N. Thompson (6249)
S. Thomas (6252)
C. Tice (6293)

This certificate is designed for training capable individuals who desire to become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN). The Practical Nursing program enables the student to obtain the skills and knowledge leading to employment in the health care field. Topics related to safe, knowledgeable, and efficient nursing care are included. The certificate is approved by the Alabama Board of Nursing. Graduates are eligible to apply to take the state licensing examination (NCLEX-PN) for licensure as Practical Nurses. Graduation from the program however, does not guarantee Board of Nursing approval to take the NCLEX-PN licensing examination. See Standards of Conduct in the Registered Nursing section of the catalog.

The Practical Nursing Program is three semesters in length and is also taught as the Practical Nursing portion of the 1+1 curriculum.

The Practical Nursing Program is developed as a combined sequence of nursing and general education courses, and students may take all required general education courses once admitted to nursing. The general education courses are offered on both the Shoals and Phil Campbell campuses at NWSCC. If you have major responsibilities such as family or work, or if you have been away from school for several years, or if you do not have a strong academic background, you are encouraged to complete as many general education courses as possible before attempting to enter the nursing program. Completion of certain courses prior to application results in a higher ranking score and improves the chances of being admitted. Therefore, students typically enter the nursing program with a minimum of two semesters of general education classes already completed. Otherwise, the general education courses must be taken no later than the semester specified in the curriculum. Prior credit for general education courses does not shorten the length of the curriculum due to the required sequence of nursing courses. Clinical, laboratory, simulation, theory, orientation, and testing may occur outside of the published class time/day.


The Practical Nursing Program is state approved by the Alabama Board of Nursing.

Alabama Board of Nursing
RSA Plaza, Ste. 250
770 Washington Ave.
Montgomery, Alabama 36104
phone: 334.242.4060, Fax: 334.242.4360

The practical nursing program at Northwest Shoals Community College at the Phil Campbell Campus, located in Phil Campbell, Alabama, and the Shoals Campus, located in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, is accredited by the:
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
3390 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 1400
Atlanta, GA  30326
(404) 975-5000

The most recent accreditation decision made by the ACEN Board of Commissioners for the practical nursing program is Initial Accreditation.  View the public information disclosed by the ACEN regarding this program at

All agencies utilized for students’ clinical experiences are accredited or licensed by their governing body.


Minimum admission standards for Practical Nursing include:

  • Unconditional admission to the college and be in good standing with College.
  • Receipt of completed application for the Practical Nursing Program by December 15th for the summer admission annually.
  • Have a minimum of 2.50 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale based on a required academic core courses for nursing and on clear academic status AND
    • Current or previous NWSCC students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA or higher at NWSCC
    • Transfer students must enter NWSCC on clear academic status (cumulative 2.0 GPA)
    • Students without prior college courses must have a minimum 2.50 cumulative high school GPA on all high school work attempted (including 12th grade)
  • Eligibility for English 101 and MTH 100 (Intermediate College Algebra) or higher as determined by college policy.
  • Minimum of 18 ACT Composite score (writing component not required), national or residual, is required, and results must be submitted to the Admissions office. There is no expiration date on ACT for the nursing application. The nursing program does not accept the ACT Superscore.
  • Meeting the Eligibility Criteria required for nursing.

Admission to the PN program is competitive. Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance.

The College reserves the right to adjust requirements or use additional criteria to determine admission. The admission criteria is currently under review and is subject to change.

NOTICE: Your ability to comply with the ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA listed may be evaluated by the nursing faculty at anytime that your ability to do so is in question.


The ACCS endorses the Americans' with Disabilities Act (ADA). In accordance with College policy, when requested, reasonable accommodations may be provided for individuals with disabilities.  Physical, cognitive, psychomotor, affective and social abilities are required in unique combinations to provide safe and effective care. The applicant/student must be able to meet the eligibility criteria with or without reasonable accommodations throughout the program of learning. Admission, progression and graduation are contingent upon one's ability to demonstrate the eligibility criteria delineated for the program with or without reasonable accommodations. The program and/or affiliated clinical agencies may identify additional eligibility criteria. The program reserves the right to amend the eligibility criteria as deemed necessary. In order to be admitted and to progress in the program one must possess a functional level of ability to perform the duties required of a nurse. Admission or progression may be denied if a student is unable to demonstrate the eligibility criteria with or without reasonable accommodations. The eligibility criteria delineated are those deemed necessary the ACCS health studies programs. No representation regarding industrial standards is implied. Similarly, any reasonable accommodations made will be determined and applied to the nursing program and may vary from reasonable accommodations made by healthcare employers.  The eligibility criteria delineated below are necessary for program admission, progression and graduation and for the provision of safe and effective care. The eligibility criteria include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Sensory Perception
    • Visual
      • Observe and discern subtle changes in physical conditions and the environment
      • Visualize different color spectrums and color changes
      • Read fine print in varying levels of light
      • Read for prolonged periods of time
      • Read cursive writing
      • Read at varying distances
      • Read data/information displayed on monitors/equipment
    • Auditory
      • Interpret monitoring devices
      • Distinguish muffled sounds heard through a stethoscope
      • Hear and discriminate high and low frequency sounds produced by the body and the environment
      • Effectively hear to communicate with others
    • Tactile
      • Discern tremors, vibrations, pulses, textures, temperature, shapes, size, location and other physical characteristics
    • Olfactory
      • Detect body odors and odors in the environment
  • Communication/ Interpersonal Relationships
    • Verbally and in writing, engage in a two-way communication and interact effectively with others, from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds
    • Work effectively in groups
    • Work effectively independently
    • Discern and interpret nonverbal communication
    • Express one's ideas and feelings clearly
    • Communicate with others accurately in a timely manner
    • Obtain communications from a computer
  • Cognitive/Critical Thinking
    • Effectively read, write and comprehend the English language
    • Consistently and dependably engage in the process of critical thinking in order to formulate and implement safe and ethical decisions in a variety of health care settings
    • Demonstrate satisfactory performance on written examinations including mathematical computations without a calculator
    • Satisfactorily achieve the program objectives
  • Motor Function
    • Handle small delicate equipment/objects without extraneous movement, contamination or destruction
    • Move, position, turn, transfer, assist with lifting or lift and carry clients without injury to clients, self or others
    • Maintain balance from any position
    • Stand on both legs
    • Coordinate hand/eye movements
    • Push/pull heavy objects without injury to client, self or others
    • Stand, bend, walk and/or sit for 6-12 hours in a clinical setting performing physical activities requiring energy without jeopardizing the safety of the client, self or others
    • Walk without a cane, walker or crutches
    • Function with hands free for care and transporting items
    • Transport self and client without the use of electrical devices
    • Flex, abduct and rotate all joints freely
    • Respond rapidly to emergency situations
    • Maneuver in small areas
    • Perform daily care functions for the client
    • Coordinate fine and gross motor hand movements to provide safe effective care
    • Calibrate/use equipment
    • Execute Movement required to provide care in all health care settings
    • Perform CPR and physical assessment
    • Operate a computer
  • Professional Behavior
    • Convey caring, respect, sensitivity, tact, compassion, empathy, tolerance and a healthy attitude toward others
    • Demonstrate a mentally healthy attitude that is age appropriate in relationship to the client
    • Handle multiple tasks concurrently
    • Perform safe, effective care for clients in a caring context
    • Understand and follow the policies and procedures of the College and clinical agencies
    • Understand the consequences of violating the student code of conduct
    • Understand that posing a direct threat to others is unacceptable and subjects one to discipline
    • Meet qualifications for licensure/certification by examination as stipulated by the respective program
    • Not to pose a threat to self or others
    • Function effectively in situations of uncertainty and stress inherent in providing care
    • Adapt to changing environments and situations
    • Remain free of chemical dependency
    • Report promptly to clinicals and remain for 6-12 hours on the clinical unit
    • Provide care in an appropriate time frame
    • Accept responsibility, accountability, and ownership of one's actions
    • Seek supervision/consultation in a timely manner
    • Examine and modify one's own behavior when it interferes with care or learning

Upon admission, an individual who discloses a disability can request reasonable accommodations. Individuals will be asked to provide documentation of the disability in order to assist with the provision of appropriate reasonable accommodations.  The respective College will provide reasonable accommodations but is not required to substantially alter the requirements or nature of the program or provide accommodations that inflict an undue burden on the respective College.  In order to be admitted, one must be able to perform all of the eligibility criteria with or without reasonable accommodations.   If an individual's health changes during the program of learning, so that the eligibility criteria cannot be met with or without reasonable accommodations, the student will be withdrawn from the program. The faculty reserves the right at any time to require an additional medical examination at the student's expense in order to assist with the evaluation of the student's ability to perform the eligibility criteria.

Requests for reasonable accommodations should be directed to the ADA Coordinator's Office at 256.331.5262


After acceptance each student must:

  • Submit completed medical examination forms (at student expense) that provide evidence the student is free of communicable disease and chemical dependency, and is physically and psychologically able to participate fully in both classroom and clinical aspects of the program. The nursing faculty reserves the right to require at any time (at student expense) an additional medical examination in order to evaluate the student’s state of physical, mental, and/or emotional health such as during pregnancy, infectious diseases, interference with mobility, emotional instability, chemical dependence, etc. When an examination or treatment is required, written proof must be provided by the physician attesting to the student’s ability to carry out both classroom and clinical requirements of the program.
  • Meet the eligibility criteria with or without reasonable accommodations. These standards relate to physical, mental, and emotional capabilities of prospective students and are available in writing from the Nursing Department. Additional health criteria may be required by clinical agencies. Students are required to meet all health requirements of all clinical facilities used by the program.  Therefore, should a clinical facility change policies to require proof of another health-related requirement, all students must comply to progress in the program.
  • Purchase regulation uniforms and specified accessories.
  • Participate in and pay for certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the health care provider level (BLS) by the American Heart Association.
  • Receive certain immunizations at the student’s expense.
  • Purchase professional liability insurance through the College.
  • Participate in and pay for periodic standardized testing.
  • Participate in and pay for drug testing as directed by Health Studies Division.
  • Participate in and pay for background checks as directed by Health Studies Division.

NOTE: Northwest Shoals Community College reserves the right to remove from the program any student who is refused use of facilities by any clinical agency.

NOTICE: The Alabama Community College System Standardized Curriculum is continuing to be reviewed and analyzed. Modifications will be made as needed.


The transfer policy applies only to students desiring to transfer between Alabama Community College System institutions. It does not apply to students wishing to transfer from other institutions. Criteria for transfer:

  • Must meet minimum admission standards for the Nursing program.
  • Must possess a grade of C or better in all Nursing Program required courses taken at another institution and possess a minimum of a 2.0 cumulative GPA at the time of transfer.
  • Dean/Director of previous nursing program must provide a letter of eligibility for progression in previous nursing program.
  • Must comply with all program policies and requirements at accepting institution (including, but not limited to the program progression policy, nursing progression policy and reinstatement policy).
  • Complete at least 25% of the Nursing Program required courses for degree/certificate at the accepting institution.
  • Must meet acceptability criteria for placement at all clinical agencies for clinical experiences.
  • Acceptance of transfer students into Nursing Programs is limited by the number of faculty and clinical facilities available. Meeting minimal standards does not guarantee acceptance.
  • ACCS Nursing Curriculum courses will be transferred without review of the course syllabus. The last nursing course in which the student was enrolled cannot be more than 12 months old.
  • Submit an application requesting transfer to the Nursing Program by the following deadlines:
    • Fall Semester: May 15th
    • Spring Semester: October 15th
    • Summer Semester: February 15th

The following are specific policies for the PN Program for students wishing to transfer from another ACCS PN program:

  • You will receive no credit for any nursing education that was acquired more than one (1) year prior to the transfer.
  • You must complete two semesters of the program at NWSCC.
  • ACCS Nursing Curriculum courses will be transferred without review of course syllabus.


In order to continue in the nursing program, the student must:

  • Complete all required general education courses according to The Alabama Community College System Nursing curriculum.
  • Maintain a grade of “C” or better in all required general education and nursing courses and maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA at NWSCC.
    • Please note: The Grading Scale for all Nursing Courses in the Nursing Program is:
      • A = 90-100
      • B = 80-89
      • C = 75-79
      • D = 60-74
      • F = 59 and below.
  • Be accepted by all clinical agencies for clinical experiences. If a student is dismissed from any clinical agency, he or she will be dismissed from the program. Depending on the issue, the student may be withdrawn or receive a failing clinical grade.
  • Earn a satisfactory clinical evaluation in all nursing courses with a clinical component.
  • Maintain ability to meet eligibility criteria for nursing with or without reasonable accommodations.
  • Maintain current CPR at the health care provider level by American Heart Association.
  • Maintain an adequate level of health, including but not limited to, annual physical examination, PPD, vaccinations, and freedom from chemical dependency and/or mental disorder.

A student who has an unsuccessful attempt in a nursing course (W, D, or F) cannot progress in the nursing course sequence until the course is repeated successfully. Course repetition will be based on instructor availability and program resources.


In order to progress in the nursing program, the following policy should be followed:

  • A total of two unsuccessful attempts in two separate semesters (D, F, or W) in the nursing program will result in dismissal from the program.
  • A student may be reinstated to the nursing program only one time. The reinstatement is not guaranteed due to limitations in clinical spaces. All nursing program admission standards must be met.
  • A student must have a 2.0 cumulative GPA at the current institution for reinstatement.
  • If a student has a documented extenuating circumstance that should be considered related to a withdrawal or failure, then this student may request a hearing before the Admission Committee or other appropriate college committee for a decision on repeating a course or readmission to the program.


Definition of reinstatement: Students who have a withdrawal or failure in a nursing course and are eligible to return to that course will be considered for reinstatement to the program.

  1. Students who desire to be reinstated following non-progression must schedule an appointment with a nursing faculty advisor to discuss reinstatement.
  2. A student must request reinstatement within one year from the term of non-progression to be eligible for reinstatement.
  3. In order to be eligible for reinstatement, the student must,
    • Apply for readmission to the college if not currently enrolled.
    • Receive unconditional admission status from the College;
    • Demonstrate a 2.0 GPA in Nursing Program .
    • Have no more than one non-progression since program admission;
    • Submit application requesting reinstatement to the nursing program by the following deadlines:
      • Fall Semester - May 15
      • Spring Semester - October 15
      • Summer Semester - February 15
    • Demonstrate the ability to meet essential functions for nursing with or without reasonable accommodations;
    • Demonstrate competency in previous nursing courses by those students who have been out of progression for greater than one semester; (This may be evaluated by testing and/or skills validation.)
    • Be accepted by all clinical agencies for clinical experiences;
    • Demonstrate current American Heart Association CPR certification at the Health Care Provider level
  4. Students dismissed from the NWSCC Nursing program for disciplinary reasons and/or unsafe patient care in the clinical area will not be allowed reinstatement to the nursing program. The student may reapply as a new student into the NWSCC Nursing program after the period of two years have lapsed unless the unsafe action resulted in actual harm or injury to self or others. In such cases, and in cases of dismissal due to criminal background or substance abuse, students may not reapply nor reinstate to the nursing program.
  5. Reinstatement to the nursing program is not guaranteed and will only be allowed one time
  6. Reinstatement will be denied due to, but not limited to, any of the following circumstances:
    • Grade point average is less than 2.0 from courses completed at the current institution;
    • Refusal by any clinical agency to accept the student for clinical experiences;
    • space unavailability;
    • more than twelve(12) months have lapsed since the student has enrolled in a nursing course;
    • being previously dismissed from the program for disciplinary reasons and/or unsafe client care in the clinical area.

A total of two unsuccessful attempts (D, F, or withdrawal) in nursing courses will result in dismissal from the nursing program. Withdrawal and/or a D or F in one or more courses in a term will be considered one attempt.


Students who are ineligible for reinstatement due to two unsuccessful attempts in any nursing program may apply for admission as a new student to any nursing program within the Alabama Community College System, provided:

  • the student meets current entry requirements, and
  • the student was not dismissed from the previous program for unsafe/unsatisfactory patient care in the clinical area that resulted in actual harm or injury to self or others or for disciplinary reasons.
  • the student is accepted by all clinical agencies for clinical experiences


The nursing student shall comply with the standards, which determines acceptable behavior of the nurse in accordance with the Northwest Shoals Community College Student Handbook and the Alabama Board of Nursing Administrative Code. FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH ANY OF THESE STANDARDS WHILE IN THE NURSING PROGRAM CONSTITUTES GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL FROM THE PROGRAM.

The following examples of behavior may be grounds for dismissal from the nursing program or for licensure application review by the Alabama Board of Nursing. Any individual who:

  • Is guilty of fraud or deceit in procuring or attempting to procure a license.
  • Is guilty of a crime involving moral turpitude or of gross immorality that would tend to bring reproach upon the nursing profession.
  • Is unfit or incompetent due to the use of alcohol, or is addicted to the use of habit-forming drugs to such an extent as to render the licensee unsafe or unreliable.
  • Is mentally incompetent.
  • Is guilty of unprofessional conduct of a character likely to deceive, defraud, or injure the public in matters pertaining to health.
  • Has willfully or repeatedly violated any of the provisions of this act.
  • Has been convicted of a felony.
  • Has been convicted of any violation of a Federal or State law relating to controlled substances.
  • Has any other reasons authorized by law.
  • Has been placed on a State and/or Federal abuse registry.
  • Has been court martialed or disciplined or administratively discharged by the military.

Students who have demonstrated any of the behaviors prior to or during attendance of the nursing program will have to provide appropriate explanatory documentation with their state board license application. Any concerns related to the above should be discussed with the Nursing Program Director.

Regulatory questions aid the Board in determining the applicant’s “good moral character”, as required by law. The regulatory questions ask about your past history in the following areas: Criminal History, Substance Use, Physical or Mental Health, Discipline or Investigations of Other Licenses or Professions, and Military Discharge. Applicants are expected to read the questions carefully and answer honestly. All arrests, charges and convictions should be reported. This includes cases which were ultimately dismissed. It includes cases which were resolved by a guilty plea, nolo contendre plea, a trial, or by some type of deferred prosecution or pre-trial agreement. Felonies and misdemeanors should be reported. Minor traffic violations do not need to be reported. DUI is not a minor traffic violation. Affirmative responses do not preclude an individual from reinstatement of licensure, but may prompt further investigation.

Students are encouraged to visit the Alabama Board of Nursing’s website for more information regarding answering Regulatory Questions.


The tuition rate is the same as that for other NWSCC students, but nursing program students will incur other expenses, which are listed below. Note that the amounts listed are approximations and that they are subject to change without notice.

Textbooks and course outlines: $1,000.00
Professional liability insurance: $20.00
Drug Screening: $40.00
Laboratory kit: $70.00
Uniforms(s) and necessary equipment: $345.00
(stethoscope, watch with second hand, pen light, etc.)
Physical examination: $1,000.00
(Immunizations, if needed)
Standardized Exams: $250.00
Background Check: $60.00
Clinical ID Badge: $5.00 
Laptop and Webcam: $400.00 (No Chromebooks)

  • Windows-based laptop with a minimum of 64-bit versions of Windows 10 or Windows 11 or a MAC laptop (Catalina, Big Sur, or Monterey) 64-bit operating system with a genuine version of the Mac Operating system.
    • 4 GB RAM, 4GB or higher of available space on the hard drive
    • Fully chargeable battery for testing

Computer Software: $400.00
Parking Decal: $20.00

Additional expenses anticipated during the final semester of the PN program are approximate. These are as follows:

ABN application: $88.50
NCLEX application: $200.00
Temporary permit (optional) ABN Only: $50.00
Nursing Pin (optional): $45.00
NCLEX review course (optional): $250.00

NOTICE: In addition to the expenses listed above, you are responsible for transportation, meals, health care expenses, any liability incurred during and while traveling to and/or from educational experiences.


NWSCC PN students are those who have been admitted to or reinstated into the PN program on the Muscle Shoals campus. After completion of the PN certificate, NWSCC PN students may apply for transfer into the last two semesters of the ADN program (to complete the 1+1 curriculum) without a LPN license based on the following conditions:

  • Meet all the ADN program progression requirements.
  • Apply to transfer into the ADN program within 7 days of the day grades are posted for the semester of the completion of the NWSCC PN program with PN certificate.
  • No more than one semester has lapsed since completion of the PN certificate at NWSCC.

If a student is a reinstated student in the PN Program, the reinstatement status continues in the ADN Program. Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance.

Practical Nursing Career Certificate

* All non-nursing courses must be completed with a grade of "C" or higher before or during semesters noted below. 

Semester I

* The math courses which satisfy the nursing math requirement are those which are MTH 100 or higher (Examples: MTH 100, MTH 110, MTH 112, MTH 265).  MTH 116 will not satisfy the requirement for nursing.  Your selected MTH course and BIO 201 must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher before or during the semester noted above. All other general education courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher in order to graduate.

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Semester II

* ENG 101, BIO 201, PSY 210 must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher before or during the semester noted above. All other general education courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher in order to graduate.

**Keyboarding skills are essential for the successful completion of English 101.

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Semester III

* SPH must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher before or during the semester noted above. All other general education courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher in order to graduate.

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Total credits:




Career Certificate