LPN / LVN Programs

Pursuing a career as an LPN presents a rewarding opportunity to provide essential nursing care, with a quicker pathway to entering the healthcare profession and ample job opportunities across various medical settings.

Education & Training

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How Long Does it Take?

Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Total  time depends on your experience, education, and where you live.

In most states, you need to complete an accredited training program that can be completed in less than 1 year.

How Much Does it Cost?

Costs for program vary from $2,000 to $15,000.

The cost of an LPN program will depend on the type of program you choose and whether it is offered in-state or out-of-state.

Many states have a shortage of LPNs and offer financial aid to residents who wish to pursue their education in this field.

In addition to tuition costs, you’ll have to pay for books, uniforms, and other equipment required by your school.

Fortunately, some states offer state financial aid as well as grants and scholarships that may reduce your overall tuition costs.

What Do You Study in LPN Programs?

Licensed Practical Nurse programs typically last about two years and require classroom learning and hands-on experience in a clinical setting.

There are a variety of courses that you may take, including:

  • Medical terminology
  • Pharmacology
  • Career development skills
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Nutrition and disease prevention
  • Patient assessment methods
  • Medical ethics
  • CPR certification
  • Physical examination techniques

After completing an approved training program, you’ll take exams to become licensed by your state’s Board of Nursing.

Educational Requirements

You’ll need to have at least a high school diploma or GED and be 18 years old or older. You also must pass a criminal background check and drug test before being admitted into any program.

Some programs allow students to complete their studies on weekends or evenings, which makes it easier for someone with a full-time job or family commitments to attend school.

Salary

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is $48,000 or $23.11 per hour.

That’s a good amount of money, and certainly, enough to support a family. However, it’s worth noting that the range is wide and that many factors affect earnings.

The following factors can impact your salary as an LPN:

  1. Type of facility you work in: Those who work in hospitals earn more than those who work in nursing homes or other facilities because hospitals have higher budgets and more resources available to them. They can offer better salaries and provide more benefits to attract workers.
  2. Your location: Depending on where you live, your salary may be higher or lower than expected; this is because certain regions have higher living costs than others, which affects everyone’s ability to earn enough money to live comfortably every month.

Below are some average salaries and hourly wages for LPNs by state.

State Hourly Annual
Alabama $23.23 $48,320.00
Alaska $35.70 $74,260.00
Arizona $32.08 $66,720.00
Arkansas $23.73 $49,360.00
California $36.82 $76,580.00
Colorado $31.11 $64,710.00
Connecticut $32.76 $68,150.00
Delaware $30.52 $63,490.00
District of Columbia $32.75 $68,120.00
Florida $27.47 $57,140.00
Georgia $26.49 $55,090.00
Guam $20.06 $41,720.00
Hawaii $29.82 $62,020.00
Idaho $26.25 $54,600.00
Illinois $31.07 $64,630.00
Indiana $28.59 $59,460.00
Iowa $26.86 $55,870.00
Kansas $26.74 $55,610.00
Kentucky $26.49 $55,100.00
Louisiana $24.85 $51,700.00
Maine $34.34 $71,430.00
Maryland $31.95 $66,460.00
Massachusetts $35.29 $73,400.00
Michigan $29.77 $61,910.00
Minnesota $28.30 $58,870.00
Mississippi $23.58 $49,050.00
Missouri $26.55 $55,220.00
Montana $26.66 $55,450.00
Nebraska $26.98 $56,120.00
Nevada $32.01 $66,580.00
New Hampshire $34.51 $71,770.00
New Jersey $32.03 $66,620.00
New Mexico $26.99 $56,130.00
New York $30.30 $63,020.00
North Carolina $27.77 $57,760.00
North Dakota $27.66 $57,530.00
Ohio $27.72 $57,660.00
Oklahoma $24.94 $51,880.00
Oregon $34.22 $71,180.00
Pennsylvania $28.27 $58,800.00
Puerto Rico $13.19 $27,430.00
Rhode Island $36.28 $75,470.00
South Carolina $27.13 $56,430.00
South Dakota $23.84 $49,580.00
Tennessee $24.25 $50,430.00
Texas $27.16 $56,490.00
Utah $27.61 $57,430.00
Vermont $31.33 $65,170.00
Virgin Islands $24.18 $50,280.00
Virginia $27.79 $57,810.00
Washington $36.26 $75,410.00
West Virginia $24.08 $50,090.00
Wisconsin $27.50 $57,190.00
Wyoming $27.90 $58,030.00

Occupation: Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses(SOC Code292061)
source: data.bls.gov

Career Overview

What Do They Do?


Licensed practical nurses, or LPNs, are health care professionals who provide basic medical care to patients.

Licensed practical nurses are trained to perform many of the same duties as registered nurses but do not have the same level of education or training. For example, an LPN does not provide patient care after surgery or in intensive care units.

However, an LPN or LVN is licensed to provide basic medical care under the supervision of a doctor, physician assistant (PA), nurse practitioner (NP), or registered nurse (RN).

They work in hospitals and nursing homes, but they can also work in clinics and doctors’ offices.

Job Duties

  • Routine patient care
  • Taking vital signs
  • Feeding patients
  • Changing bandages
  • Helping with basic hygiene
  • Provide emotional support and comfort to patients
  • Moving patients

Who Do They Work With?

Licensed practical nurses generally work under the direction of registered nurses (RNs) or physicians.

They may assist physicians during examinations, treatments, and procedures, but they aren’t allowed to give shots or start intravenous lines independently.

In some cases, LPNs may also perform some administrative tasks, such as charting patient data.

How Do You Become an LPN?

To become a Licensed Practical Nurse LPN / LVN, you’ll need at least an associate’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning.

The most common pathway for becoming an LPN is through a community college or technical school program that prepares students for licensure by the state’s Board of Nursing. These programs usually require applicants to have a high school diploma or equivalent and pass a criminal background check.

The training to become an LPN varies by state, but it typically lasts about two years. In addition to classroom study, students spend time in clinical settings where they practice their skills under the supervision of an instructor.

Some schools also require applicants to have taken certain high school mathematics and science classes and may offer preparatory courses at their own campuses.

What You Need To Know About State Licensing

Licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses must pass a state examination before they can practice in any state.

In most states, LPNs must complete an accredited training program that includes a minimum number of classroom hours and clinical experience.

Some states allow LPNs to take their licensing exam after completing a training program solely consisting of classroom instruction.

Other states require practical nurses to complete an internship or pass a competency exam before they are allowed to sit for their license exam.

After completing an accredited practical nurse program, you may need to spend some time working under the supervision of an experienced nurse before being allowed to take your licensing exam.

This is often referred to as clinical placement or pre-licensure clinical experience and varies from state to state.

Licensing & Certification Exams

All states require that LPNs pass an exam before they can practice legally in their state. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) oversees the national licensing examination for LPNs called the NCLEX-PN test.

Once you sit for the NCLEX-PN exam, you can apply for state licensure. This can take anywhere from three weeks up to six months, depending on how long it takes for your application to be processed by the state board of nursing where you live.

Once everything has been processed and approved by your state board of nursing, they will issue you your new license. Congratulations! You’re now officially licensed as an LPN or LVN.

Places LPNs Can Work

Licensed Practical Nurses / Licensed Vocational Nurses are in high demand, and the field is growing. This is a great time to be an LPN.

There are many places you can work as an LPN, including:

  • Hospital setting: working with patients recovering from surgery or who have undergone anesthesia during surgery
  • Home health setting: providing care for patients who are homebound due to illness or injury
  • School setting: working with children who need specialized care at school
  • Long-term care facility: working with elderly clients who may require assistance with daily living skills

Career Outlook

If you’re looking for a career that has a promising future, then becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) might be your ticket.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment opportunities for LPNs will grow by 6 percent between 2021 and 2031, which is faster than average for all occupations. In fact, the BLS predicts that there will be more than 58,800 job openings in this field each year over the next decade.

As baby boomers age into retirement, many will need assistance with basic daily tasks like bathing and dressing. In addition, many hospitals are downsizing their staff due to budget constraints, which creates more job opportunities for licensed practical nurses who want to stay in their field but take on less demanding roles.

Is Becoming an LPN the Right Decision for Me?

Becoming an LPN is a great decision for many people. It’s a good way to get your foot in the door in the healthcare field, and it can lead to better-paying jobs and more responsibility down the road.

But before you make that commitment, there are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

The most important factor is your motivation. Are you looking for a career that will allow you to make an impact on the lives of others? If so, then becoming an LPN may be the right choice for you.

As a Licensed Practical Nurse, you will have the opportunity to care for sick and injured people in their homes or places where they feel most comfortable. It can be rewarding to know that you have made a difference in someone’s life by helping them through one of their most difficult times.

Related

Becoming an LPN in CA
Becoming an LPN in FL
Becoming an LPN in GA
Becoming an LPN in NJ
Becoming an LPN in PA
Becoming an LPN in  TX