How to Become an LVN in Texas
Many people pursuing nursing careers work as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) before earning their registered nurse (RN) credentials. Like any other healthcare professional, an LVN is responsible for performing various tasks to help ensure the comfort of their patients and promote positive outcomes in their treatment.
Difference Between an LVN and an LPN
Licensed vocational nurse and licensed practical nurse (LPN) are different names for the same occupation.
Vocational Nurse Versus Practical Nurse
Although the qualifications and duties for people with these titles are the same, employers, colleges, and trade schools in Texas and California call these professionals vocational nurses rather than practical nurses.
Training and Education
To become a licensed vocational nurse in Texas, you must complete an LVN program at an accredited school.
How Long Does it Take?
Both in-person and online LVN programs in Texas include traditional instruction and clinical practicum to give you hands-on experience in a medical setting. Texas requires a minimum of 1,398 clocked hours divided into 558 hours for classroom instruction and 840 hours for clinical practice.
Curriculum for LVN programs in Texas teaches students to provide nursing care for elderly individuals, children, maternity patients, and people with various physical and intellectual disabilities.
Usually, these courses take one full year to complete. Students must pass their nursing classes with at least a C and pass a background check before applying to take the LPN licensing exam.
Once you complete an accredited vocational nursing program, you can pay a non-refundable fee to register for the NCLEX-PN test.
Exam administrators will then notify the proper authorities to check your background screening and ensure you completed college or trade school courses that meet the LPN education requirements for Texas applicants.
State Licensure Requirements
After taking the exam, you can practice nursing as a graduate while you await your test results. Test-takers who pass the NCLEX-PN exam must then apply to obtain state licensure before receiving an official LPN credential.
LVN Requirements in Texas
There are several certifications you can obtain to fulfill the continuing education requirement and maintain your LVN license in Texas. For example, becoming a certified member of the National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service, Inc. (NAPNES) counts as continuing education.
If you plan to meet Texas’ continuing education requirement for vocational nurses through a membership or certification, make sure the organization you choose has proper accreditation through:
- The National Commission for Certifying Agencies
- The Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification
Basic Life Support Skills
Most LVN programs in Texas teach basic life support skills like CPR, first aid, AES, and the Heimlich maneuver.
Like all healthcare professionals, vocational nurses must update this credential every two years. LVNs can renew their BLS certification through the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross. Some employers provide these re-certification courses at their job sites as well.
How Much Do LVNs Make in Texas?
The average LVN salary in Texas varies based on where you choose to practice. Vocational nurses who get LVN jobs in hospitals and medical labs sometimes earn less than those working in private practice doctor’s offices.
Wages for Specialized Care
However, LPNs who work in a particular area of the healthcare field, like oncology, geriatrics, or neurology, might make even higher wages.
Your location also determines how much you could make as an LVN in Texas. Check the list below for average hourly wages and annual salaries for vocational nurses in different Texas cities:
- Houston: $25.46 per hour $52,961 per year
- San Antonio: $24.68 per hour. $51,335 per year
- Beaumont: $22.79 per hour $47,408 per year
- Corpus Christi: $23.10 per hour. $48,040 per year
- McAllen: $21.69 per hour $45,111 per year
What Do They Do?
The LVN scope of practice in Texas includes many of the same duties as an RN, such as monitoring patient vitals, administering some medications, collecting blood samples when phlebotomists are unavailable, and giving sponge baths to bed-ridden individuals.
While the state of Texas is broad in its regulation of nurses and their duties, some counties or cities throughout Texas have their own laws about how nurses can practice medicine. Vocational nurses are required to maintain a safe environment for patients but are unable to diagnose or prescribe treatments.
Some LVN jobs in Texas focus on a particular area, so qualified employees may perform more specific duties that cater to pediatric, emergency, gynecology, geriatric, or maternity ward patients.
Working in these specialized settings can narrow down a vocational nurse’s daily duties and might also reduce the number of patients they care for during their shifts.
Licensed vocational nurses often work as CNA supervisors or in research positions at large hospitals, nursing homes, and outpatient clinics. However, most LVNs in Texas perform general nurse duties in rehabilitation centers, free clinics, or detention centers.
Career projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show a six-percent increase in the demand for licensed vocational nurses in the United States over the next ten years. Between 2021 and 2031, aspiring LVNs in the U.S. can expect to see about 58,800 job openings become available per year during this decade.
Transition From LVN to Registered Nurse (RN)
Many people who become LVNs in Texas plan to eventually transition into a registered nursing career. Becoming a vocational nurse first allows you to complete the necessary schooling in less time.
Most employers also show their support by allowing LVNs to keep their jobs while in school so they can continue making money while pursuing their RN credentials.
Accelerated Course Tracks
Many schools that offer LVN programs in Texas also have accelerated course tracks for those looking to become registered nurses. Students can complete their LVN to RN program in about 16 months, taking classes once a week for the first nine weeks.
Associate’s Degree Option
From there, LVNs can obtain an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and take the NCLEX exam to receive their RN certification.
Making Career Changes
Shifting careers from licensed vocational nurse to registered nurse is a common practice for LVNs looking for raises and promotions in their workplaces. As more professionals make this transition, more LVN jobs in Texas hospitals, doctor’s offices, and long-term care facilities are likely to become available.