Programs specifically designed to train medical assistants to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are not generally available, but interested students can enroll in a nursing program in order to earn an LPN certificate. Supervised clinical experience is a major part of the certificate program. Some schools may offer part time schedules, others may require full time attendance. Completion time can vary based on the student's schedule, but most programs take approximately 15 months to complete. Many programs transfer credits to a registered nursing (RN) associate degree or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program for continuing education.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, and some schools also require them to have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification. In addition, they may have to pass an entrance exam.
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Licensed Practical Nurse Certification
The curriculum focuses on science-related coursework and nursing topics required for licensure as an LPN. English composition and psychology courses are also a portion of the program. Some classes include:
- Practical nursing fundamentals
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Developmental lifespan psychology
- Pediatric nursing
In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that LPNs and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) had a median annual wage of $43,170 (www.bls.gov). The BLS stated that employment was expected to grow by 16% for LPNs and LVNs from 2014 to 2024. The BLS also notes that LPNs could advance to charge nurses in some settings or achieve credentials in specialties, such as long-term care, pharmacology, gerontology or IV therapy.
Licensure and Continuing Education Information
Graduates of LPN programs are prepared to take the National Council Licensure Examination for LPNs (NCLEX-PN), which is required for licensing in all states. LPNs must pass the NCLEX-PN exam and become licensed to practice; however, state requirements for licensure vary based on the state's board of nursing standards.
RN and BSN degree programs are available, as are Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and doctoral degrees in nursing. These advanced degrees can prepare graduates for advanced nursing careers or specialty training in a nursing area.
For medical assistants who want to become LPNs, certificate programs provide the necessary nursing training.