How To Become An LPN

How To Become An LPN

Are you interested in pursuing a career as an LPN? Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice, providing you with opportunities to make a significant impact on the lives of others. However, knowing the right steps to take and the necessary qualifications can be overwhelming.

The field of nursing is in high demand, and LPNs play a crucial role in providing direct patient care in various healthcare settings. LPNs work under the supervision of registered nurses and doctors, providing basic medical care and assisting with patient needs. With the right knowledge and training, you can embark on a successful journey toward becoming an LPN.

Obtaining the necessary education and licensure to become an LPN requires careful planning and preparation. This article will guide you through the essential steps and provide valuable insights on how to become an LPN. Whether you are starting from scratch or looking to advance your nursing career, this guide will help you navigate the path toward achieving your goal.

What Is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)?

Nurses who hold a Licensed Practical Nurse license provide basic medical care under the supervision of registered nurses and doctors. Licensed practical nurses monitor patients’ vital signs, administer medications, dress wounds, assist with personal hygiene, and perform basic diagnostic tests. 

They also assist in providing emotional and psychological support to patients and their families. LPNs work in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and home healthcare. They play a crucial role in the healthcare team and are highly valued for their practical nursing skills and compassionate care.

How To Become An LPN

How To Start A Licensed Practical Nurse Career

1. Research The Requirements:

Obtaining a high school diploma is the initial milestone on your journey to becoming a registered nurse (RN). To embark on this fulfilling career path, it’s crucial to collect comprehensive information regarding the specific requirements set forth by your state. Every state maintains its distinct regulations and licensing board for aspiring RNs, making it essential to grasp the precise steps needed to achieve your dream of becoming a registered nurse in your area.

2. Complete An Approved LPN Program:

Practical nursing students can pursue the practical nursing program at community colleges or vocational schools, which typically requires one year for completion. This accreditation ensures that the training and education these students receive meet the standards required for becoming licensed vocational nurses.

3. Apply For Admission:

To enroll in a practical nursing program and become an LPN you must meet the education requirements. Once you have selected a program that suits your needs, you’ll need to apply for admission. This process typically involves submitting an application form along with your transcripts and any other necessary documents. Certain programs might also mandate an entrance exam or an interview as part of the application process.

4. Attend Classes And Complete Clinical Rotations:

LPN programs consist of both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience. You will learn about topics such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and nursing skills. Clinical rotations will allow you to work in healthcare facilities and apply what you have learned in real-world situations.

5. Pass The NCLEX-PN exam:

After completing your LPN program, you will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) for Practical Nurses. This exam is administered by the state licensing board and tests your knowledge and competency as an LPN. It is important to study and prepare for the exam to increase your chances of passing.

6. Apply For Licensure:

Once you have passed the NCLEX-PN exam, you can apply for licensure as an LPN. This usually involves submitting an application, paying a fee, and providing any required documentation, such as your passing exam score.

7. Start Your Career As An LPN:

Once you have obtained your LPN license, you can start applying for jobs as an LPN. LPNs work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics. Consider networking, updating your resume, and preparing for interviews to increase your chances of landing a job.

Becoming a licensed practical nurse requires dedication, hard work, and a passion for helping others. By following these steps and staying focused on your goal, you can start your journey toward a rewarding career as an LPN.

How To Become An LPN

What Skills Does An LNP Need?

1. Strong Communication Skills

In a healthcare facility, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) play a vital role, utilizing their strong communication skills to interact with patients, their families, and other medical professionals. As LPNs, they must listen attentively to patients, comprehending their needs and concerns, while also conveying crucial information to doctors and the rest of the healthcare team. Effective communication is paramount in ensuring quality care and collaboration among medical professionals in the facility.

2. Clinical Skills

Since LNPs provide basic patient care, they must possess a strong set of clinical skills. This includes basic nursing skills such as taking vital signs, administering medications, dressing wounds, and providing basic medical treatments. LNPs need to be skilled in performing various medical procedures and must stay up-to-date with the latest medical advancements and techniques.

3. Critical Thinking And Problem-Solving Skills

In healthcare, situations can arise that require quick thinking and problem-solving. LNPs must be able to think critically and make sound decisions in high-pressure situations. They need to be able to assess a patient’s condition and determine the best course of action. LNPs should also be able to identify potential problems or complications and take appropriate steps to prevent or address them.

4. Compassion And Empathy

As healthcare professionals, LNPs must have a strong sense of compassion and empathy. They need to be able to connect with patients on a personal level and provide emotional support. LNPs should be able to understand and empathize with the difficulties and challenges that patients and their families may be facing.

5. Organizational Skills

LNPs often have a wide range of responsibilities and tasks to manage. They need to be highly organized to keep track of patient information, medications, treatments, and appointments. LNPs should be able to prioritize their tasks and manage their time effectively.

6. Ability To Work In A Team

Healthcare is a collaborative field, and LNPs need to be able to work effectively as part of a team. They should be able to communicate and collaborate with other healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and technicians. LNPs should be able to contribute their expertise and work together to provide the best possible care for patients.

7. Adaptability And Flexibility

Healthcare settings can be fast-paced and ever-changing. LNPs need to be able to adapt to new situations and be flexible in their roles. They should be able to handle unexpected challenges and be willing to learn and grow in their profession.

How To Become An LPN

What Is LPN Salary?

LPN Salary refers to the average or median annual salary of a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). According to current data, the median annual salary for an LPN is $48,070. However, it is important to note that LPN salaries can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and employer. In some areas, LPNs can earn over $50,000 annually, while in others, the earnings may be lower.

It is also worth mentioning that the lowest 10 percent of LPNs earn less than $37,150, while the highest 10 percent earn more than $63,790. These figures provide a general overview of the earning potential for LPNs but should be taken into consideration alongside other factors such as benefits and career growth opportunities.

Highest Paying States for LPNs

  • California offers the highest hourly wage for LPNs at $31.32 or an annual salary of $65,140.
  • Alaska is the second highest-paying state for LPNs, with an hourly wage of $30.60 or an annual salary of $63,650.
  • LPNs in Washington earn an hourly wage of $30.41 or an annual salary of $63,250, making it one of the highest-paying states.
  • Massachusetts is another top-paying state for LPNs, with an hourly wage of $29.72 or an annual salary of $61,820. Nevada also offers a high wage for LPNs, at $29.08 per hour or an annual salary of $60,490

Career Outlook Of LPN

Promising Career Outlook For LPNs:

  • Attractive profession with projected double-digit growth in the coming years (up to 25%).
  • High demand for LPNs leads to higher salary opportunities in healthcare facilities.
  • The aging population contributes to the increased need for medical attention and care.

Practical Career Option:

  • LPN role provides a fulfilling career without extensive schooling requirements.
  • Quick completion of an LPN degree enables early entry into the workforce and earning potential.

Flexibility And Advancement:

  • LPNs can choose to further their education and take on more responsibilities for career progression.
  • Access to additional professional opportunities and increased earnings.

Fulfilling Patient Interaction:

  • LPNs can interact with patients and families, offering crucial care during vulnerable and stressful times.
  • Provides comfort and support, making the job more fulfilling for some individuals.

Top Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Schools

Here is a list of top nursing schools:

 Santa Barbara Community College

Offers a comprehensive vocational nursing program that leads to licensure in California, the highest-paying state for practical or vocational nurses. The program spans three semesters, and new students are accepted into cohorts every 18 months. Graduates have the option to transition into an associate of science in vocational nursing. Notably, SBCC charges a uniform tuition rate for all students, regardless of their state of origin.

Edmonds College

It takes 21 months (equivalent to seven quarters) to complete the practical nursing program. Students partake in theory courses online and gain practical experience in person. The program requires applicants to have a minimum high school GPA of 2.75 and to pass Edmonds College’s Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS).

Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County 

 Scranton, Pennsylvania houses the practical nursing program offered by the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County. The 52-week course extends over 15 months, with 50% of the time dedicated to classroom learning and the remaining 50% to clinical experience. CTCLC facilitates practical nursing students in connecting with clinical opportunities in the region, allowing graduates to become licensed in Pennsylvania and seek employment in major nearby cities.

Northland Community & Technical College 

 Primarily based in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, with additional locations in Thief River Falls and online, Northland Community & Technical College provides practical nursing students with various options. The program can be completed entirely on-campus or in a hybrid format, combining online courses with on-site learning. Graduates enjoy a consistently higher than average 86% NCLEX-PN pass rate from 2015-2019.

How To Become An LPN

Helena College 

An exceptional practical nursing program, with a 100% success rate for recent graduates. The certificate program spans three semesters, with students taking a similar number of courses each semester. Additionally, graduates can choose to pursue Helena College’s LPN-RN program to obtain an RN license.

Florida Gateway College

Lake City-based Florida Gateway College offers a range of nursing programs, including a 12-month practical nursing certificate. The program commences each spring, and graduates consistently achieve NCLEX-PN pass rates well above state and national averages. Florida’s LPNs benefit from the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact, allowing them to transfer their license to 33 other states. Moreover, in-state students can take advantage of affordable tuition rates.

Copper Mountain College

 Copper Mountain College is located near Joshua Tree, California, and offers high-quality yet affordable vocational nursing programs. The three-semester course requires full-time study, with some courses conducted on weekends or in the evening. While prerequisite courses may be necessary for some students, the program offers a rewarding educational experience.

River Valley Community College 

 A regional education leader serving New Hampshire cities, River Valley Community College’s practical nursing program combines classroom learning with simulations and hands-on clinical experience. The program spans three semesters, earning students 36 credits. Graduates consistently outperform the national average in the NCLEX-PN pass rate, with a 100% employment rate within six months of completing the program.

Alvin Community College 

One of Texas’s top two-year institutions, Alvin Community College offers a one-year, 44-credit LVN certificate program. Students gain clinical experience in the nearby area and become eligible to take the NCLEX-PN and work as LVNs in Texas. ACC also provides a transition RN program for those interested in earning an RN license.

Reynolds Community College 

Richmond, Virginia-based Reynolds Community College hosts a three-semester practical nursing program, ideal for local students who can benefit from the in-state tuition rate. The program has achieved impressive NCLEX-PN pass rates in recent years, and the college assists students in finding their first LPN position after graduation.

Benefits Of (LPN)

1. Job Opportunities: 

Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) opens up a wide range of job opportunities in various healthcare settings. LPNs can work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, home health care agencies, and more. With the aging population and increased demand for healthcare services, there is a growing need for LPNs, ensuring job security and stability.

2. Shorter Training Period:

 Compared to other nursing programs, LPN training programs are shorter in duration, typically taking around 12-18 months to complete. This allows individuals who are passionate about healthcare to quickly enter the field and start making a difference in patients’ lives.

3. Hands-On Patient Care:

 LPNs play a crucial role in providing direct patient care. They assist with activities of daily living, administer medications, monitor vital signs, dress wounds, and provide emotional support to patients and their families. This hands-on experience allows LPNs to develop strong clinical skills and make a positive impact on patient’s well-being.

4. Career Advancement Opportunities:

 While LPNs are essential members of the healthcare team, many LPNs choose to further their education and become Registered Nurses (RNs) or pursue specialized certifications. LPNs can often bridge into RN programs and continue their education while working, opening up even more career opportunities and increased earning potential.

5. Flexibility: 

Working as an LPN offers flexibility in terms of work schedules. Many healthcare facilities require round-the-clock care, allowing LPNs to choose from various shifts, including day, night, or weekend shifts. This flexibility is especially beneficial for individuals who have other commitments or prefer non-traditional working hours.

6. Competitive Salary: 

LPNs earn a competitive salary for their work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for LPNs was $47,480 in May 2020. Additionally, LPNs may also receive benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off, further adding to their overall compensation package.

7. Job Satisfaction: 

LPNs often experience a high level of job satisfaction due to the meaningful work they do. They have the opportunity to make a difference in patients’ lives by providing compassionate care and promoting their overall well-being. LPNs often develop strong relationships with their patients, which can be incredibly rewarding on a personal and professional level.

How To Advance Your LPN Career

1. Obtain Additional Education And Certifications

One way to advance your LPN career is to pursue additional education and certifications. This could include enrolling in a bridge program to become a Registered Nurse (RN) or pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. These advanced degrees and certifications can open up new career opportunities and higher-paying positions.

2. Gain Experience In Specialized Areas

Another way to advance your LPN career is to gain experience in specialized areas of nursing. This could include working in a hospital’s intensive care unit, operating room, or labor and delivery department. Specializing in a specific area can make you more marketable and can lead to higher-paying positions.

3. Network With Other Healthcare Professionals

Networking with other healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and administrators, can be beneficial for advancing your LPN career. Attend conferences, join professional organizations, and participate in continuing education opportunities. Building relationships with others in the field can lead to job opportunities and career advancements.

4. Seek Leadership Roles

Seeking leadership roles within your current workplace or organization can also help advance your LPN career. This could include taking on a charge nurse position, becoming a team leader, or pursuing a management role. Leadership positions often come with increased responsibility and can lead to higher salaries and better job prospects.

5. Stay Up-To-Date With Industry Developments

To advance your LPN career, it’s important to stay up-to-date with industry developments and advancements in healthcare. This can include reading industry publications, attending conferences and workshops, and participating in continuing education courses. Staying current with the latest trends and technologies can make you a valuable asset to employers and can open up new career opportunities.

6. Develop Excellent Communication And Interpersonal Skills

Developing excellent communication and interpersonal skills is vital for advancing your LPN career. Strong communication skills can help you effectively communicate with patients, families, and other healthcare professionals. Interpersonal skills, such as empathy and active listening, can make a difference in patient care and can contribute to your overall success as an LPN.

7. Consider Advanced Practice Nursing

If you’re looking to take your LPN career to the next level, you may want to consider becoming an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN). APNs have additional education and training, allowing them to take on more responsibilities and have more autonomy in their practice. APN specialties include Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse Midwife, and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Becoming an APN can lead to higher salaries and increased job opportunities.

Key Takeaway

Becoming an LPN can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice with numerous opportunities to make a positive impact on patients’ lives. The field of nursing is in high demand, and LPNs play a crucial role in providing direct patient care in various healthcare settings.

By carefully researching the requirements and choosing the right LPN program, you can embark on a successful journey toward becoming an LPN. The skills required for an LPN, such as strong communication, clinical expertise, critical thinking, compassion, and adaptability, make LPNs indispensable members of the healthcare team.

As you start your LPN career, it’s essential to consider the various factors that can contribute to your success and advancement. Obtaining additional education and certifications, gaining experience in specialized areas, networking, seeking leadership roles, staying updated with industry developments, and developing excellent communication and interpersonal skills are all valuable steps to further your LPN career.

With dedication, passion, and a commitment to continuous learning, you can build a fulfilling and prosperous career as an LPN, contributing to the well-being of countless patients and making a difference in the world of healthcare. Remember that the journey to becoming an LPN may have its challenges, but the rewards of this noble profession are well worth the effort. So take the first step, and let your journey toward becoming an LPN begin!

Nursing Articles