Licensed Practical Nursing Certificate Program Information

Certificate programs for aspiring licensed practical nurses (LPNs), offered through community colleges and vocational or technical schools, include classroom and lab work in addition to extensive hands-on experience in real healthcare facilities.

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Essential Information

In a licensed practical nursing certificate program, prospective LPNs will learn how to assess patients and accurately record notes and health histories. Students also learn practical nursing skills, like taking a patient's temperature, preparing a patient for a procedure, assisting patients with bathing or dressing and monitoring a catheter. Graduates of these one-year programs are prepared to take the national licensure exam in practical nursing.

Licensed Practical Nursing Certificate

A practical nursing certificate program includes lectures, clinical field experience and lab work. Coursework covers both basic and more advanced concepts of practical nursing. These classes help prospective LPNs master nursing tools and understand how to handle and communicate with patients. Sample courses include:

  • Practical nursing fundamentals
  • Adult and family nursing care
  • Human development and growth
  • Nursing psychology

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( anticipated a 16% growth in job opportunities for licensed practical nurses between 2014 and 2024. More demand for healthcare from the public, along with a steadily growing elderly community and many LPNs leaving the occupation, were expected to contribute to the increase in employment.

The median annual income for licensed practical and vocational nurses as of May 2015 was $43,170, according to the BLS. Some of the top-paid licensed practical nurses made over $59,510 per year, while the lowest-paid 10% earned under $32,040 annually, per BLS data.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of certificate programs must pass the NCLEX-PN licensing exam before they become licensed practical nurses. Developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the NCLEX-PN covers safety procedures, integrity and health maintenance. Individual states may have additional requirements for LPN licensure.

After obtaining a licensed practical nursing certificate, students can go on to become Registered Nurses by obtaining an associate's degree and the necessary licensure. Bachelor's degree and master's degree programs in nursing allow nurses to continue their education even further.

Licensed practical nursing certificate programs allow prospective LPNs to learn essential career skills within a nursing setting. Over the course of a year, students participate in lab work, gain clinical experience and attend lectures that cover a range of topics from family nursing to nursing psychology.

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