How to Become an LPN

What Does an LPN Do?

lpn with patient

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) is a vital member of a high performance healthcare team. Any time patients enter a healthcare facility, LPNs may assist the registered nurse or other healthcare provider by measuring and recording blood pressure, weight, height, pulse, temperature and rate of respiration of the patient. Without this initial documentation of a patient’s vital signs, healthcare providers would lack the context they need to make the most accurate diagnoses and recommendations.

The tasks that LPNs are authorized to perform vary considerably by both state and employer, and in some states, LPNs are known as LVNs (licensed vocational nurses). These professionals assess patients, monitor vital signs, and assist with personal care and procedures such as catheterization and wound care. Some states permit LPNs to give prescription medication, operate devices such as ventilators, initiate and maintain intravenous therapy and conduct basic laboratory tests. Doctors, registered nurses and advanced practice nurses supervise the direct care provided by LPNs, relying on them to help deliver appropriate, timely and compassionate care.

Workplace Details

Extended-care or long-term nursing facilities (such as skilled rehabilitation hospitals and nursing homes) are the most common employment settings for LPNs. They also work in general care hospitals, medical offices, community health centers, and in patients’ homes. Nursing services are often provided around the clock, so LPNs will have a variable work schedule that often includes nights, holidays and weekends.

LPN Salary and Job Outlook

State
Average Wage
Texas
$46110
California
$52670
New York
$47170
Florida
$42960
Ohio
$41320

Hover over any state to explore local income and job growth data.

Created with Raphaël 2.1.0 AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY

ALABAMA
Median Salary: 
$36,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $26,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $47,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 640

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Birmingham$31,390$37,550$48,200
Huntsville$23,860$36,300$48,450

ALASKA
Median Salary: 
$55,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $41,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $68,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 14%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Anchorage$41,310$54,390$67,800
Fairbanks$48,060$54,960$62,030

ARIZONA
Median Salary: 
$49,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $39,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $61,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 370

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Phoenix$40,650$51,070$62,210
Tuscon$37,320$48,380$60,230

ARKANSAS
Median Salary: 
$36,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $27,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $46,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 470

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Little Rock$30,300$38,020$47,870
Fort Smith$27,290$35,150$44,650

CALIFORNIA
Median Salary: 
$52,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $35,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $70,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 3,240

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Los Angeles$34,220$49,400$69,330
San Francisco Bay$43,940$59,270$79,340
San Diego$40,710$53,920$70,360
Sacramento$49,710$57,720$73,030

COLORADO
Median Salary: 
$46,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $36,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $60,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 31%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 320

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Denver$39,880$48,780$61,410
Colorado Springs$36,070$45,030$58,730

CONNECTICUT
Median Salary: 
$55,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $42,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $70,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 330

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Hartford$42,830$56,250$70,860
Bridgeport$41,820$56,370$72,150
New Haven$45,150$56,370$69,110

DELAWARE
Median Salary: 
$49,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $36,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $62,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 80

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Wilmington$41,390$53,750$63,510
Dover$33,660$44,750$55,950

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Median Salary: 
$52,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $41,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $66,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 80

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Washington DC$39,510$49,160$62,350

FLORIDA
Median Salary: 
$41,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $32,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $55,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 22%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 2,190

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Miami$33,280$43,440$58,140
Orlando$30,720$39,140$50,250
Tampa$33,360$43,660$57,830
Jacksonville$33,200$42,220$54,900

GEORGIA
Median Salary: 
$38,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $28,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,090

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Atlanta$29,470$40,970$51,390
Augusta$29,640$39,150$50,040

HAWAII
Median Salary: 
$46,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $37,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $59,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 50

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Honolulu$40,440$47,800$60,630

IDAHO
Median Salary: 
$39,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $31,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $48,900

Job Growth Data Not Available

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Boise$32,020$40,030$49,290
Idaho Falls$28,660$36,410$46,700

ILLINOIS
Median Salary: 
$45,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $32,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $61,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 760

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Chicago$34,860$49,280$67,370
Rockford$34,760$46,760$62,350

INDIANA
Median Salary: 
$40,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $32,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 770

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Indianapolis$33,020$41,820$49,870
South Bend$32,760$41,440$49,240
Fort Wayne$32,680$38,820$55,180

IOWA
Median Salary: 
$39,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $31,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 290

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Des Moines$32,800$42,570$49,890
Cedar Rapids$32,260$40,410$48,790

KANSAS
Median Salary: 
$39,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $32,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 220

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Wichita$33,110$40,950$48,820
Kansas City$32,150$40,810$49,710

KENTUCKY
Median Salary: 
$38,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $30,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 27%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 390

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Louisville$32,770$40,630$49,650
Lexington$32,300$40,750$50,220

LOUISIANA
Median Salary: 
$37,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $28,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $48,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 780

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
New Orleans$31,150$40,910$49,300
Baton Rouge$32,130$38,400$48,750
Lafayette$26,220$34,680$45,700

MAINE
Median Salary: 
$42,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $33,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $50,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 5%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Portland$35,440$44,820$56,160
Lewiston$34,000$42,970$49,360

MARYLAND
Median Salary: 
$50,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $40,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $63,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 35%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 740

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Baltimore$40,650$50,950$65,080
Frederick$40,730$52,450$63,410

MASSACHUSETTS
Median Salary: 
$54,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $41,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $68,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 6%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 560

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Boston$42,830$55,320$69,270
Worcester$42,470$54,120$67,400
Springfield$35,290$49,290$62,450

MICHIGAN
Median Salary: 
$45,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $34,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $58,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 6%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 510

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Detroit$39,150$49,550$60,930
Grand Rapids$35,160$44,570$51,000

MINNESOTA
Median Salary: 
$42,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $33,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $52,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 720

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Minneapolis - St. Paul$35,830$44,680$53,900
Rochester$34,480$45,670$58,720

MISSISSIPPI
Median Salary: 
$36,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $28,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $47,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 340

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Jackson$30,060$37,900$47,850
Gulfport$31,370$38,430$46,970

MISSOURI
Median Salary: 
$37,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $29,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $48,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 660

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
St. Louis$32,950$42,380$51,090
Kansas City$32,150$40,810$49,710

MONTANA
Median Salary: 
$39,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $30,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 100

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Billings$29,630$40,250$48,650
Missoula$28,080$38,260$50,050

NEBRASKA
Median Salary: 
$39,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $31,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 270

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Omaha$32,930$41,050$50,620
Lincoln$31,890$38,440$48,210

NEVADA
Median Salary: 
$52,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $41,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $63,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 110

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Las Vegas$41,500$52,390$66,350
Reno$40,640$50,440$60,460

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Median Salary: 
$47,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $35,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $60,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 100

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Manchester$41,220$50,090$63,070
Nashua$36,240$49,450$60,660

NEW JERSEY
Median Salary: 
$54,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $41,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $63,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 700

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Newark$42,030$55,490$65,310
Trenton$39,510$54,630$63,630

NEW MEXICO
Median Salary: 
$46,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $32,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $61,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 6%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 80

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Albuquerque$36,260$47,720$61,430
Las Cruces$29,960$44,400$62,250

NEW YORK
Median Salary: 
$46,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $33,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $61,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 18%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 2,400

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
New York City$40,400$53,690$64,240
Buffalo$32,310$39,800$52,480
Rochester$32,180$39,780$49,100
Albany$32,270$41,110$50,980

NORTH CAROLINA
Median Salary: 
$42,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $32,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $51,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 18%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 730

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Charlotte$31,880$41,900$52,820
Raleigh$34,580$43,490$51,850
Greensboro$33,130$41,970$50,110
Winston - Salem$33,200$42,980$50,050

NORTH DAKOTA
Median Salary: 
$41,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $32,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 130

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Fargo$31,100$38,960$48,820
Bismarck$34,620$43,860$51,070

OHIO
Median Salary: 
$40,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $32,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $50,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 20%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,930

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Cleveland$34,230$44,080$53,540
Columbus$32,980$41,350$50,250
Cincinnati$32,930$43,410$53,460
Dayton$33,250$42,990$55,320

OKLAHOMA
Median Salary: 
$38,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $29,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 7%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 480

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Oklahoma City$29,860$39,200$50,370
Tulsa$31,610$39,100$49,170

OREGON
Median Salary: 
$48,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $40,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $60,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 120

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Portland$41,450$50,990$61,060
Salem$39,730$46,220$57,760

PENNSYLVANIA
Median Salary: 
$44,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $32,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $59,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,440

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Philadelphia$37,890$51,590$63,660
Pittsburgh$32,550$42,870$50,520
Harrisburg$35,020$45,450$59,060
Allentown$36,390$45,690$58,670

RHODE ISLAND
Median Salary: 
$55,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $42,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $68,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 7%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Providence$40,940$53,780$64,680

SOUTH CAROLINA
Median Salary: 
$39,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $29,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 390

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Greenville$27,670$36,580$47,990
Columbia$30,240$41,850$50,120
Charleston$32,320$42,320$49,670

SOUTH DAKOTA
Median Salary: 
$36,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $28,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $46,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 1%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 60

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Sioux Falls$27,860$35,750$45,730
Rapid City$31,090$37,220$46,290

TENNESSEE
Median Salary: 
$36,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $27,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $48,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 28%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,210

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Nashville$31,710$38,710$49,920
Memphis$32,490$42,050$49,940
Knoxville$29,350$36,580$47,930
Chattanooga$23,220$35,970$47,620

TEXAS
Median Salary: 
$44,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $33,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $60,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 27%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 3,810

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Dallas - Ft. Worth$34,160$46,130$62,390
Houston$36,380$47,220$71,160
San Antonio$33,040$43,330$55,500
Austin$35,450$45,430$59,640

UTAH
Median Salary: 
$42,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $32,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $56,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 90

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Salt Lake City$37,770$46,370$60,970
Ogden$32,570$41,640$58,560

VERMONT
Median Salary: 
$45,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $34,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $59,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 4%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 50

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Burlington$38,160$48,410$60,820

VIRGINIA
Median Salary: 
$40,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $31,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $53,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,070

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Virginia Beach$32,250$39,250$49,980
Richmond$31,910$38,750$51,530

WASHINGTON
Median Salary: 
$48,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $38,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $62,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 310

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Seattle$40,960$51,850$64,620
Spokane$38,980$46,460$59,940

WEST VIRGINIA
Median Salary: 
$34,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $26,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $47,100

Job Growth Data Not Available

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Huntington$26,410$34,490$45,690
Charleston$28,380$35,750$44,880

WISCONSIN
Median Salary: 
$43,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $33,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $54,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 5%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 290

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Milwaukee$35,830$45,840$58,690
Madison$34,780$45,720$58,570

WYOMING
Median Salary: 
$44,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $34,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $55,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Cheyenne$32,810$42,640$49,490
Casper$32,310$44,790$55,260

The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that LPN wages range from $15.40/hour ($32,040/year) to $28.61/hour ($59,510/year), with a median salary of $20.76/hour ($43,170/year). LPN compensation is higher in more populated regions of the U.S. where there are many large healthcare facilities. Those employed by home care agencies and assisted living communities generally earn a higher salary than LPNs who work in hospitals.

Most LPNs work with elderly people, and since the U.S. population is aging quickly, the demand for these nurses will grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, LPNs will see their job opportunities expand by about 16 percent (a significantly above-average rate) through 2024. Fewer hospitals are hiring LPNs; these jobs are expected to be primarily in residential care and home healthcare environments caring for older patients.

Compare Salaries by City

New York City NY Median Pay

$53690 Per Year

$25.81 Per Hour

Los Angeles CA Median Pay

$49400 Per Year

$23.75 Per Hour

Steps to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse

1

Complete your high school education or GED, and consider your career goals.

Aspiring LPNs need a high school diploma or GED in order to enroll in a practical nursing higher education program.

2

Earn a diploma, certificate or associate degree.

Typically students enroll in a 12-month program found in technical and vocational schools and community colleges. These programs award diplomas or certificates rather than degrees. The most reputable programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). This accreditation signifies that:

  • A program’s curriculum properly prepares students to be LPNs
  • Its faculty members are well qualified to teach
  • Most students pass the subsequent NCLEX-PN licensing exam

    Show Me Schools »

3

Pass the NCLEX-PN exam to become licensed.

LPNs are licensed by the state in which they practice. To obtain a LPN license, the state may require background checks and proof of education. Every state administers the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCLEX-PN) exam, which candidates have to pass in order to obtain their license. The test lasts up to 5 hours, with students answering 117 questions on average – the pivotal phrase being “on average”, because answering questions incorrectly will increase your number of questions to answer (up to a limit of 205 questions). If a candidate does not pass the exam, he or she will have the opportunity to re-take the test in 45-90 days.

Now you’re ready to get your first job as a licensed practical nurse! Your LPN program might be able to help you find good local job opportunities, and the good news is that LPNs are expected to be in high demand over the course of the next ten years.

4

Keep current.

For practical nurses, licenses must be renewed periodically and usually require written proof of active nursing practice or continuing education. Your state’s Board of Nursing should send you mail when the time for renewal is approaching.

5

Consider seeking advancement or specialized roles.

Your options are abundant! Some LPNs discover their ultimate professional fulfillment by working in specific clinical specialties such as long-term care or dialysis. Others who want a higher salary and more responsibility typically make a move from patient care to an administrative role, especially in long-term care facilities. When it comes to advancing their clinical career, most LPNs opt to become registered nurses (RNs).

Making this leap to RN requires more education. So-called “bridge” programs have become popular to meet this need. An LPN’s pathway to becoming an RN often takes the form of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (LPN to BSN/RN). Bridge programs sometimes permit the substitution of work experience for class credit. With fewer acute care facilities hiring LPNs, many nurses are continuing their education to advance to the role of RN.

Explore the Academic Path

DIPLOMA OR CERTIFICATE

1-2 years

LPN programs are often structured in a hybrid format with classes taught both online and in traditional classrooms. Clinical rotations in several nursing practice specialties and simulation and/or practice laboratory experiences are included along with courses such as:

Role of practical nurse

A thorough and wide-ranging exploration of nursing broadly and the role of a practical nurse specifically, including its history and future in health care.

Anatomy and physiology

Study the anatomical systems and structures of the human body as well as their functions.

General psychology

A course that introduces students to important concepts like memory and consciousness. It helps students understand the field of study of human behavior and the underpinnings of behavior, like emotion and sensation.

Human development

A course that teaches students about the phases of physical, cognitive and emotional development of a person from birth until death.

It’s not absolutely necessary to choose an ACEN-accredited certificate program if you know that you won’t want to transition into a different nursing role with greater experience in the future. However, if you think there’s a chance that you may want to become a registered nurse or advanced practice nurse in the future, finding an accredited program should be your goal.

Show Me Schools »

Keys to Success as an LPN

Necessary Skills and Qualities

Successful LPNs ideally possess the following traits:

  • Physical strength, flexibility and endurance in order to meet the challenge of administering sometimes strenuous patient care for long periods of time
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Solid communication skills, both verbally and in writing
  • Reliability (employers seek out LPNs who are responsible, dependable and able to prioritize and manage the care of multiple patients)
  • Empathy, patience and good interpersonal skills (important when dealing with patients and their families)

More Certification Options

LPNs have several specialty options available to them, such as those arranged below by certifying body. While requirements vary for each certification, they typically include a combination of work experience as a practical nurse and passing an exam to demonstrate specialized expertise.

The National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses (NFLPN) awards certification in the following:

  • Intravenous therapy (IV)
  • Gerontology (GC)

The National Association Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care (NADONA/LTC) offers the following:

  • Geriatric Diabetic Certified Nurse (GDCN)
  • Certified Assisted Living Nurse (CALN)
  • Long Term Care (CLTC)

The National Association of Practical Nurse Education and Services (NAPNES) awards the following certifications:

  • NCP (NAPNES Certified in Pharmacology)
  • CLTC (NAPNES Certified in Long-Term Care)
  • IVT (NAPNES Certified in I.V. Therapy)

From the Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing Technology (BONENT):

  • Hemodialysis Nurse (CHN)
  • Peritoneal Dialysis Nurse (CPDN)

Available from Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association – DDNA:

  • Developmental Disabilities Nurse (CDDN)

The Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission – NNCC offers:

  • Dialysis (CD-LPN)

From the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center – HPCC:

  • Hospice and Palliative Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse (CHPLN)

American Board of Managed Care Nursing – ABMCN offers the following certification:

  • Managed Care Nurse (CMCN)
Holli Sowerby, EdD, RN

Holli Sowerby is an assistant professor of nursing at Weber State University. Her research interests include the perceptions of graduates regarding laboratory simulation experiences and the effectiveness of simulation.

x