How to Become an LPN in Pennsylvania
Becoming a licensed practical nurse is an excellent way to explore your passion for helping others and begin a promising career in the medical field.
LPN jobs in Pennsylvania might also be a perfect starting point for aspiring RNs and BSNs.
If you want to become an LPN in PA, you’ll need to complete an accredited training program and obtain certification from the state licensing board.
Education and Training
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
- Patient Care Technician
- Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
- Medical Assistant
- Radiology Technician
- Physical Therapy Assistant
- Respiratory Therapist
- Surgical Technician
However, whether you’re new to the healthcare field or have some experience, you’ll need to attend state-approved courses at a Pennsylvania trade school, university, or community college to develop well-rounded nursing skills and qualify for LPN jobs in Pennsylvania.
Classroom Instruction for LPNs
LPN classes feature a traditional class instruction or “theory” component, which teaches the fundamentals of nursing and patient care.
While each institution has its own unique curriculum, most LPN schools in PA teach classes on:
- Medical Terminology
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Human Growth and Development
- Foundations of Nursing
- Physical Examination Practices
- Biology and Microbiology
- Medication Administration and Pharmacology
- Medical Recordkeeping and Documentation
- Infection Control and Prevention
- Healthcare Ethics and Patient Privacy
Those hoping to work in a particular field of medicine might consider taking additional specialized classes that cover pediatric, surgical, perioperative, mental health, maternal, neonatal, or rehabilitation and restorative care nursing.
Hands-on LPN Training in Pennsylvania
Clinical experience is essential for aspiring LPNs in PA. During this part of their training program, students work in on-campus medical simulation labs, practicing on medical mannequins to perfect their nursing skills.
Later in the semester, students participate in externships where a licensed medical professional supervises them as they practice their nursing skills on real patients.
Your supervising nurse or physician must document your clinical hours to ensure you meet your LPN course requirements. Depending on availability and your chosen field of medicine, your program may allow you to complete externships at one of the following facilities:
- Outpatient Clinics
- Nursing Homes
- Psychiatric and Surgical Facilities
- Urgent Care Units
- Maternity Wards
Many LPN schools in Pennsylvania teach Basic Life Support (BLS) skills as part of their standard curriculum. During this module, students learn how to render life-saving aid in urgent situations that require the use of CPR, first aid, AED, the Heimlich maneuver, and emergency medication administration.
If your LPN program lacks this information, you can obtain a BLS certification on your own through the following agencies:
How Long is LPN School in PA?
Aspiring LPNs in PA can complete their training in about one year, though some certificate and diploma programs last as long as 18 months. Those hoping to specialize in a particular area of the medical field might consider enrolling in an associate degree program, which takes at least two years to finish.
LPN Program Costs in Pennsylvania
Tuition costs for LPN schools in PA differ depending on your program length and where you attend classes. For example, a typical certificate or diploma program might cost anywhere from $2,000 at a public trade school to $37,000 at a private university. Meanwhile, students might pay $7,000 to $53,000 to obtain an LPN associate’s degree.
Pennsylvania LPN Requirements
After graduating from your educational program, you’ll need to apply for state licensure before you can qualify for LPN jobs in Pennsylvania. To comply with Pennsylvania Department of State regulations, LPNs in PA must have the following qualifications:
- A high school diploma, GED, or equivalent
- Completion of an accredited LPN training course
- A passing score on one of the following competency examinations:
- The National Council of State Boards for Practical Nurses Exam (NCLEX-PN)
- The State Board Test Pool Exam (SBTPE)
- Three Board-approved continuing education hours in child abuse recognition and reporting
Applicants who meet these standards can pay the required $95 initial licensing fee to receive their official certification. Once you have your license, you can start applying for LPN jobs in Pennsylvania.
LPN Salaries in PA
Although the average LPN salary in Pennsylvania is about $51,090, you might make more or less, depending on where you live. Take a look at the list below to learn about regional salary information in different Pennsylvania cities:
- Erie $47,810
- Philadelphia $55,630
- Gettysburg $51,020
- Pittsburgh $49,330
- Allentown $51,820
- Scranton $47,630
LPNs in PA typically earn higher salaries if they have additional certifications, such as IV therapy, transplant coordination, correctional health, or neonatal life support credentials. You might also make more working in a research hospital or private clinic rather than a nursing home or rehabilitative care facility.
What Do They Do?
LPNs in PA work under the supervision of a registered nurse or physician while providing direct medical care. Whether they find jobs in hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, or medical research facilities, these professionals typically perform the following duties:
- Check and update patient medical charts
- Monitor patients’ vital signs
- Catheter care
- Relay patient concerns to the nurse or doctor
- Draw blood and collect specimens for testing
- Perform wound care and change bandages
- Help patients bathe and dress themselves
- Report changes in patient conditions to the doctor or nurse
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, LPNs in the United States are likely to see a six-percent increase in the demand for licensed practical nurses between 2021 and 2031. Having the proper skills and credentials can help LPNs in PA take advantage of this projected growth and find rewarding, well-paying LPN jobs in Pennsylvania.