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How to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Online

Dec 10, 2019

Nurses are the frontline workers in patient health care, applying prescribed medical treatments, preparing patients for examination, and providing personal care. Read on for information on becoming an LPN online.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Career Overview

LPNs generally work in medical offices, hospitals and clinics, care facilities, private homes, and health centers, helping patients to deal with and, if possible, overcome illness and injury. Health treatments performed by LPNs include administering medication, blood work, taking temperature, and bathing and dressing patients. LPNs train in state-approved programs and have to obtain a state license in order to practice their profession.

Required Skills Compassion, attention to detail, dexterity, interpersonal skills, patience, physical stamina, speaking skills
Job Growth* 11% for 2018-2028 (for licensed practical and vocational nurses)
Median Salary (2018)* $46,240 per year (for licensed practical and vocational nurses)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Online

Nurses work directly with patients, which explains why online LPN training is generally offered in the form of hybrid programs rather than completely online. Whereas much of the technical and theoretical coursework can be studied online, students have to attend school for practical components at least some of the time. Completion of LPN training is followed by a licensure exam that is proctored at test centers. Further certification and education is available online if you seek to advance your career.

Step 1. Obtain Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Training Online

Most LPN programs can be completed in a year and typically lead to a diploma. The training prepares LPNs in the procedures involved in monitoring the condition of patients, reporting changes, identifying adverse reactions to treatment, and reacting quickly to emergency situations. Courses may cover topics in psychology, adult health, illnesses that occur over the course of a lifespan, and the technical aspects of working as an LPN in a clinical setting. Hybrid programs allow students to take some of the coursework online, combining that theoretical knowledge with practical training that requires attendance in person.

Step 2. Get State Licensure

To practice professional nursing, licensed practical nurses require a state license in addition to the 12-month training as outlined in Step 1. After completing your training, contact your state's nursing regulatory body to obtain an authorization to participate in the National Council Licensure Examination. You can apply for testing and set up your exam date online, but the exam is proctored at domestic test centers. You will be tested on a range of topics from your training, grouped into the following 'client needs' categories: safe care, health promotion and psychosocial and physiological integrity.

Step 3. Get Certified

Certifications help LPNs advance into more specific fields and higher-level positions. Certifications for licensed practical nurses are available in pharmacology, long-term care, and intravenous therapy. NAPNES, the National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service, offers both the certifications and online courses to prepare LPNs for the exams.

Step 4. Continue with Further Education Online

Besides certification, LPNs can become registered through a registered nurse (RN) education program, such as an Associate of Science in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which can be taken through online hybrid programs and enables further career advancements. Graduate certificate programs are also available online.

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