A Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN, is an integral part of the health care industry. People who are at least 18 years old, drugs-free, have a high school diploma and a clean criminal record meet the basic requirements for entering a training program for a career as an LPN. After successfully completing the training, you can get an LPN license and find employment at nursing homes, hospitals and doctor’s offices. Because the required training time is relatively short and the opportunities for employment are plentiful, an increasing number of people are considering a career as an LPN.
LPN Requirements in a Nutshell
Individuals wishing to work as an LPN must:
- Be 18 years of age
- Hold a high school diploma or a GED
- Be able to pass a drug test
- Pass a criminal background check
- Complete a training program
- Obtain a license
Additionally, individuals who have strong interpersonal skills tend to excel in this field. People who are detail oriented also tend to succeed as LPNs. It is helpful for LPNs to be in good physical condition, possess patience and be able to communicate clearly.
Since the first two in the list above are self-explanatory, let’s understand what the rest of them are:
Passing a Drug Test
You’ll be required to pass a drug test by the institute before it could accept you in the LPN training program. If you do not pass it, you’ll not be accepted in the program. If you pass it, and after you successfully complete your training and earn a certificate, you are most likely to pass drug test(s) again by your employer before they could give you a job. It should be noted here that some employers also require LPNs to take the test multiple times, unannounced during their tenures with them.
Passing a Criminal Background Check
Just like passing a drug test, passing a criminal background check is also required both by LPN training institutes and LPN employers. The only difference here is that LPN employers are not likely to require you to pass criminal background check again after they give you the job.
LPN Educational Programs
Most LPN programs are provided by vocational schools or community colleges. Programs generally require one year of full time study to complete. Usually, students will spend time in the classroom learning basic nursing concepts as well as subjects like anatomy and physiology. They are also likely to encounter coursework that relates to pharmacology, first aid and nutrition. Many programs allow students to complete these classes online, making it convenient for students to balance work, school and family obligations.
LPN programs also require students to complete supervised clinical practice as part of their training. This training may be offered in a hospital, but it is alternatively sometimes available through a nursing home or other care facility. This training is particularly valuable to the student, as it gives them hands-on experience that will be vital to their future role as a practicing LPN. Successful completion of both the classroom and clinical practice portions of the program result in the student earning a certificate for practical nursing.
The Licensing Exam
With the completion of a certificate program, the graduate is ready to obtain licensure. Every state requires that LPNs be licensed, so passing the licensing examination is an important requirement. The National Council Licensure Examination for LPNs is administered via computer in all parts of the country. Individuals who can provide proof of meeting all requirements will be allowed to sit for the test. Upon successfully passing the test, the graduate is free to seek employment.
To sum it up, people who are at least 18 years old, drugs-free, have a high school diploma and a clean criminal record meet the basic requirements for entering a training program for a career as an LPN. With a certificate and license, all of the requirements for working as an LPN have been met.
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