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Practical Nursing Certificate Program

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) care for the physically or mentally ill. Under the direction of registered nurses, physicians or dentists, they provide nursing care that requires considerable specialized knowledge. Job opportunities for LPNs are expected to be very good in the years ahead.

GRCC’s Nursing Programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN; 3390 Peachtree Rd. NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30326), as well as the Michigan Board of Nursing. Our programs offer a mixture of classroom instruction and clinical lab work that provides direct, hands-on healthcare experience.

Graduates of the Practical Nursing Program are qualified to sit for the state licensure exam NCLEX-PN. Individuals already working as licensed practical nurses may qualify for advanced standing in the department’s associate’s degree program, putting them on a faster track toward completing graduation requirements (LPNs wanting to apply for Advanced Standing in the Associate Degree Program must have completed 2000 hours of work experience as an LPN prior to applying).

GRCC Nursing graduates successfully complete licensure exams at rates above the national and state averages. A variety of clinical partnerships provide learning opportunities for nursing students while also connecting graduates with potential employers. Not surprisingly, our graduates leave here with excellent job prospects.  For more information about GRCC’s nursing programs, please visit our website at  You may also contact the nursing department at or call (616) 234-4238.

Program Admissions Requirements

If you have not yet applied to GRCC, you may apply for free online at and select Health and Exercise Sciences as your Academic Pathway.

Once admitted to GRCC, you may apply for the Practical Nursing program.

Upon successful completion of the PN Admission Requirements listed below, the student's name will be placed on the wait list:

  • High school graduate with a GPA of at least 2.0 (or GED equivalent) or a college GPA of at least 2.0 for students with 12 or more college credits.

  • All students must demonstrate competency in math within the last 5 years to be eligible.  Math competency can be demonstrated through the following ways:

    • SAT Math subsection score of 25 or Higher
    • ACT Math score of 18 or Higher
    • Completion of MA 98 or Higher with a grade of C or Higher
    • Math Placement Test (ALEKS) with a score of 30 or Higher
      • Students who do not meet the above criteria for math competency must complete MA 98  (or above) with a grade of C or Higher. Contact the Health Admissions Department for details at or 616 234-4348.


  • Students must have successfully tested out of or completed all Academic Foundational courses (These classes include CO 003 Computer Information Systems, IRW 097, IRS 098, and IRW 099 which are all foundational English classes needed for EN 101 and the nursing programs, and PY 100 psychology) information about these classes and testing.
  • Chemistry with Lab (1 year in high school with C or higher, or college equivalent) GRCC: CHM 110 or higher.

  • Biology (1 year in high school with C or higher, or college equivalent) GRCC: BI 101 or any BI class with lab.

  • Admissions Application HESI Exam (scored subtests: math, reading comprehension, vocabulary & general knowledge, grammar). There is a fee for this exam. Passing score on each subtest must be 75% or higher. For more info: GRCC HESI Exam information

  • Students must: Conduct their own ICHAT online

Print off the results from the ICHAT

and bring that evidence, along with the Preliminary Background Check form, to GRCC Police or Health Admissions or email both the results and completed form to

  •  OR bring the Preliminary Background Check Form, with $10, to GRCC Police.

  • Drug Screen: Must have a negative 7-panel urine drug screen. May be able to use a drug screen done within the past 12 months. Results should be submitted to the Health Admissions Office, 600 College Park Plaza or email to

  • Foundational Courses: Students must complete the following courses prior to formal acceptance into the Practical Nursing Certificate program: 

  • In order to be eligible for admission into the Practical Nursing program, students must have successfully completed any required courses with a grade of at least C and be in good academic standing. All nursing courses must be completed with a B- or higher.

  • Any student placed on Academic Suspension while on the waitlist or while enrolled in either nursing program will be withdrawn. Students wishing to pursue nursing after this may re-apply after following GRCC’s academic suspension policy and returning to good academic standing.

Practical Nursing Students must pass GH 125  or BI 117  with a grade of C or higher within 2 attempts total (this is not 2 attempts at each course).  In lieu of taking BI 117 or GH 125, Practical Nursing students may take BI 121  and BI 122 .  Students taking BI 121 and B1 122 for entry in to the Practical Nursing Program are permitted 2 attempts at each course to achieve a grade of C or higher. 

Students who are unsuccessful on a subsequent attempt in BI 117, or GH 125, will not be eligible for the Practical Nursing program (examples below).  Students will be considered eligible to re-apply for the Practical Nursing Program again in 3 years from the semester of the last unsuccessful biology course.

Note: A withdrawal from a course, in which the student receives a W, is considered an unsuccessful attempt at that course and is included in the total number of attempts permitted.  Equivalent courses taken at other institutions will also be included in the total course attempts. 

Examples scenarios that maintain a student's eligibility for the Nursing Programs (not inclusive of all scenarios):

Student A:
BI 117 first attempt – D
BI 117 second attempt – B
Student is eligible for PN program now

Student B:
GH 125 first attempt – W
GH 125 second attempt – B
Student is eligible for the PN program now

Example scenarios that will result in being ineligible for the Nursing Programs (not inclusive of all scenarios):

Student C:
BI 117 first attempt – C-
BI 117 second attempt – D+
Student is ineligible for the PN program and may reapply in 3 years from the semester of the most recent unsuccessful biology attempt. (regardless if they subsequently take and pass GH 125 or BI 117)

Student D:
GH 125 first attempt – D
GH 125 second attempt – W
Student is ineligible for the PN program and may reapply in 3 years from the semester of the most recent unsuccessful biology attempt.  (regardless if they subsequently take and pass GH 125 or BI 117)

NOTE: Life science courses (BI 117, BI 121, BI 122, and GH 125) must have been completed within eight years of graduation/completion of the Nursing Program at GRCC (This includes Life Science courses that are transferred in from other institutions regardless of the date in which they are transferred).

Questions about Biology requirements?

Students who have had an unsuccessful attempt at a Biology course or who have questions regarding the Biology requirements and next steps should contact the Nursing Department at (616) 234-4238 or via email at

General Education Courses

English Composition and Communications

Social Sciences

Natural Sciences and Mathematics




Program Courses


Credit for NUR 115 may be granted for students who hold current/valid certification as a Certified Medical Assistant (through AAMA) or as a Registered Medical Assistants (through AMT).

It is important that Medical Assistants seeking waivers for NUR 115 recognize that they are accountable for all skills taught in NUR 115 in all subsequent nursing courses.

Students who wish to waive NUR 115 must provide proof of current certification to the Nursing Office and sign an agreement that they are competent in all skills presented in NUR 115.  Please contact the Nursing Programs office at (616) 234-4238  or with additional questions.


Total Credit Hours


Practical Nursing Program Cost

Opportunities exist for the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) with a current, unencumbered license and 2000 hours of work experience as an LPN to enter the ADN program with advanced standing. Contact the Nursing Department or view the Nursing Programs Web site for additional information. 

Affirmative Action Statement

No student at Grand Rapids Community College is to be insulted, embarrassed, harassed, ridiculed, intimidated or in any way made to feel discriminated against because of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, religious preference, handicap or ethnic background. 

Equal Opportunity and Non-discrimination Statement 

Grand Rapids Community College is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, national origin, religion, height, weight, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam Era veteran, and/or any other legally protected class not heretofore mentioned, in any of its education programs and activities, including admissions and employment. The above measures, in conjunction with other related state laws and the College’s policies and procedures, will assure all individuals opportunity for consideration or redress of complaints of illegal discrimination. 

Affirmative Action, Equal Employment Opportunity, and American Disabilities Act information may be obtained from the: Human Resources Department Grand Rapids Community College 143 Bostwick Avenue NE Grand Rapids, MI 234-3972