LPN Nursing School Programs and Prerequisites

Certificate programs for licensed practical nurses are offered by community colleges, as well as allied health and vocational schools. The curriculum is designed to prepare students to pass the national licensing exam, the NCLEX-PN.

Essential Information

Licensed practical nursing certificate programs typically require one year of full-time education and combine classroom study with clinical experience. An LPN provides basic patient care and performs routine tests and other basic tasks under the supervision of a doctor or registered nurse. The prerequisites for a LPN certificate program are a high school diploma and CPR certification.

Certificate in Licensed Practical Nursing

In addition to the prerequisites, most programs require that coursework in anatomy, physiology and biology be completed before students begin the LPN official program curriculum.

Students learn the fundamental of medicine, anatomy and physiology, bedside manner and other related subjects required to pass the NCLEX-PN exam. Course topics might include the following:

  • Pediatric nursing
  • Mental health nursing
  • Adult nursing
  • Pharmacology
  • Legal aspects of nursing

Some programs may offer students the option to specialize in certain areas like those listed above, such as adult nursing, pharmacology and pediatric nursing.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

As the long-term care needs of the elderly population increase, along with a general increase for health care services, the demand for LPNs should continue to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted employment of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses to grow by 16% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). Median annual wages for these nurses were reported at $43,170 in May 2015 by the BLS.

Licensing and Continuing Education

Students must pass the NCLEX-PN in order to become licensed practical nurses. According to the NCSBN, the test covers four main categories: health promotion and maintenance, care environments, psychosocial integrity and physiological integrity. Some LPNs go on to become licensed Registered Nurses (RNs). Many schools offer bridge programs for LPNs where they can apply earned credits toward an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing.

Certificate programs cover the basics required to successfully work as a licensed practical nurse. The certificate is an ideal foundation for learning material on the NCLEX-PN, a test LPNs must pass prior to working.

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