LPN License Requirements

Licensed Practical Nurses, or LPNs, are in great demand in the medical field today. As the population of our country increases and gets older, the need for quality medical care will only increase. Licensed practical nursing is a very rewarding career also, as you help people and win hearts, and get a good pay for doing that.

Education Requirements

The first step when obtaining licensure as an LPN is to get an education in the medical field. Most LPNs receive their training at a vocational school or community college. These schools typically offer two-year programs, but a sufficiently motivated student can get the required training completed in a year.

There are certain qualities that prospective LPN students should look for in a program. A program should:

  • Be offered by an educational institute that is well-regarded
  • Be recognized by that state’s Nursing Board as adequately preparing students for the licensure exam
  • Offer training in the subjects necessary to properly perform the job

Subjects that make up the Licensed Practical Nurse curriculum should include medical subjects such as anatomy, obstetrics and pediatrics as well as science-related subjects like biology and chemistry. Courses will also be offered in emergency first aid and nutrition.

Licensure Examination

Successfully completing the LPN training program does not certify a person as a nurse. In order to be hired as an LPN, the candidate must also pass an examination that will test his or her ability to perform the job. Historically, each state conducted its own exam programs to license nurses. In an effort to streamline the process, many states have contracted with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to provide a common licensure process. A candidate who successfully completes this examination can obtain licensure in any of the states that take part in the program. States that do not participate continue to use their own examination and licensure procedures, and license reciprocity between these states and others is not guaranteed.

The exam used by NCSBN is called the NCLEX, and is a computer-assisted exam. The time limit for the test is five hours; with time added for breaks and the exam tutorial, the test takes six hours to complete. Biometric information such as fingerprints are taken to verify identity. Results of the exam are provided within a month of the exam date, although unofficial results can be provided after 48 hours if the candidate’s state participates in the Quick Results Service.

Working as a Licensed Practical Nurse is a rewarding job, both financially and personally. By obtaining the appropriate education and successfully completing the examination requirements, you will be on your way to making nursing your fulfilling career.

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