LPN Courses and Career Education Programs to Become a LPN

Learn how to become a licensed practical nurse. Research the education and career requirements, licensure, and experience required for starting a career as a licensed practical nurse.

Should I Become A Licensed Practical Nurse?

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) works under the supervision of a doctor or registered nurse and provides basic medical care in a healthcare setting. Duties of an LPN include monitoring patients' health by checking blood pressure and vitals, applying dressings, assisting with bathing, collecting blood samples, and keeping records.

LPNs usually work full-time, although some part-time positions are available. Shifts may be longer than eight hours and could be scheduled during the day, night, or weekends. The job can be physically demanding because LPNs often help to lift, move, and assist patients. Nursing work can be very stressful as well as rewarding. There is a risk of exposure to infectious diseases while working with patients.

Career Requirements

Degree Level A certificate.
Degree Field Nursing.
Experience Experience in a clinical setting will be part of a training program.
Licensure and Certification License required in all states.
Key Skills Compassion toward patients, strong communication skills, detail-oriented, knowledge of basic medical procedures.
Salary $42,490 per year (Median salary for Licensed Practical Nurses)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (May, 2014)

Step 1: Enroll in an LPN Certificate Program

Students can complete an LPN certificate program in about a year. Before enrolling, students many need to complete a placement test. Once in an LPN program, students will be required to complete general science and nursing courses. General science courses include human biology, psychology, and gerontology. The nursing curriculum focuses on areas involving the fundamentals of nursing, nutrition of nursing, pharmacology, and clinical leadership.

Step 2: Participate in an Internship

A clinical internship will be a required part of an LPN program. This is an opportunity for students to begin applying what they've learned in the classroom and to begin working with patients. Students may have a chance to intern in various medical facilities, including hospitals and rehabilitation centers. An internship will help foster the student-to-nurse transition.

Step 3: Obtain Licensure

Graduating from an LPN program will qualify an individual for the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurse, offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. All states require that LPNs pass this exam in order to work in a medical setting. Passing this exam ensures that an LPN has the knowledge and skills to work in the field and care for patients.

Advance Your Career with Further Training

As an LPN, consider IV therapy training. This training program will qualify an LPN to to administer IV therapy to patients. Long-term, look into RN training. This is usually a bachelor's degree program that takes several years to complete. Having this degree will greatly increase your value as an employee.

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