How Long Does It Take To Become An LPN?

Want to be a licensed practical nurse? If so, Im sure youve asked, how long does it take to become an LPN? I know I did when I looked into new careers.

It does not matter what degree or certification you are trying to get: Time is an issue when going to nursing school.

Well provide ideas about the time required to become an LPN and look at salary, job descriptions, and sample courses.

How long will it take to finish an LPN program?

A licensed practical or vocational nurse program takes about 1 year to complete at a community college or technical school.

However, you may find that programs will have pre-req requirements that need to be completed first depending on the type of licensed vocational nurse (LVN is another name for LPN) program you are enrolled in.

These prerequisites can take between one to two semesters to complete.

The pre-requisite courses may include nursing fundamentals, English, a math courses, psychology, and health science credits.

Because each school is different, its important for you to find colleges near you and check their requirements.

But you will want to graduate from an accredited program, which provides a standardized education in the vocation.

The best way to find a school is to contact your states board of nursing who will have a list of programs that are approved.

After you graduate, you will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for practical nurses which is also known as the NCLEX-PN.

This exam is required to get your license so you can work as an licensed practical vocational nurse in the U.S. You will need to check your state for any specific requirements they might have, as well.

Remember: How long it take to get your LPN will vary between schools and states but you should be able to have everything completed in 12-14 months.

You may also consider becoming a CNA first so that way you can start working in nursing right away.

Sample admissions criteria for an vocational nursing program

Although each school varies, you may find admissions officers asking for the following:

  • Official transcripts from high school and colleges attended
  • Health care provider CPR certification.
  • Physical exam
  • Tuberculosis test.
  • Immunizations for measles, mumps, rubella (MMR); chicken pox; hepatitis B and C; influenza; tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap).
  • Interview with the program director
  • Application form(s)

Sample classes in a vocational nursing certification track

Because accredited schools have a curriculum that is standardized, you will find that the course material will be the same at approved schools. However, the class names will be different.

Heres a sample listing of courses

  • Fundamentals of Nursing
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Growth and Development
  • Nutrition
  • Pharmacology
  • Gerontology
  • Mental Health/Psychiatric Nursing
  • Medical Surgical Nursing
  • Maternity Nursing
  • Pediatrics Nursing
  • Leadership and Supervision

What can I do after I become an LPN?

The duties of licensed practical nurse vary depending on your work setting and state.

After you take the time to become an LPN and find a job, your duties may including the following: monitor your patients blood pressure, complete basic nursing care which may include inserting catheters; comfort patients; report any status changes of the patient to RNs or physicians; keep a record of the patients health.

Keep in mind: The medical profession is regulated and you will find that in one state your scope of practice might be different than another.

Job outlook

After you become a licensed practical nurse, you will find that this position can be a stepping stone to a registered nurse position.

Often, schools will have programs that allow students to go from an LPN degree track to an RN track.

This means that nursing is not a dead-end career. You have many options for advancement and a need for these skilled healthcare workers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that until 2020 the U.S. will need 22 percent more vocational nurses.

In terms of numbers, that means 168,500 more licensed practical nurses.

Also consider that you could finish an RN program and have even more diversity in your career.

LVN salary

A licensed practical nurses median annual salary was $42,400 or $20.39 per hour in 2012 according to BLS data.

This is double or more than double the minimum wage for taking the time to complete 1 year of college courses and pass the NCLEX-PN.

Your pay will vary though based on the city and state you live in. States that have higher concentrations of licensed vocational nurses typically earn less money each year.

Example: Louisiana has the highest percentage of LPNs compared to jobs in the state and the average median salary is $37,820.

But if you live on the west coast you may see considerably higher wages than the national average. In California, the average salary is $51,170; in Oregon, $47,360; and in Washington, $47,140.

I hope this has helped you learn about licensed practical nursing salaries, job duties, and has answered how long does it take to become an LPN.

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