Becoming an LPN is one of the fastest ways to break into the nursing field, with training taking an average of one year to complete.
You don’t have to break the bank to become an LPN. In fact, becoming an LPN is one of the most affordable routes to entering the healthcare workforce.
Demand for LPNs is high across the country, so not only will you find lots of employment opportunities, but when you’re hired, your job will also be secure.
In 2021 so far, the median pay for LPNs is $50,147 per year. LPNs also enjoy great benefits, including paid vacations, health-dental-vision insurance, and more.
As an LPN, you will make a profound and direct difference in patients' lives every day that you are on the clock. As a result, you’ll find your work is incredibly rewarding.
After breaking into the nursing field as an LPN, the sky is the limit in terms of advancement opportunities. Many LPNs opt to become higher-paying RNs.
Follow these steps to begin your journey towards becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse:
Find an LPN program. They are typically offered by community colleges and vocational schools. You can complete some of your training online if you choose a hybrid program.
Complete your LPN training. It will include a mix of classroom lectures, assignments, lab work, quizzes, and tests. Clinical training at local healthcare facilities is also required.
Take the NCLEX-PN. Your training program should have adequately prepared you for this crucial licensing exam, which includes a multiple-choice section and a practical skills section.
Receive your LPN license upon passing the NCLEX-PN exam. Update your resume to include information about your license, and start applying for LPN jobs in your state.
Select the state where you would like to complete your training to see examples of great LPN programs in those areas:
Have questions about anything related to practical nursing? Here are some commonly asked questions and their answers!
Because LPN training and the licensing exam cost time and money, it makes sense to ensure in advance that you know what kind of money you will be making as an LPN. The good news is thousands of LPNs around the country support themselves and their families through this line of work.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, reports that LPNs earned a median salary of $48,820 per year in 2020. This translates into $22.47 per hour, which is over two times the federal minimum wage. Compensation varies by location and by industry or setting. For example, LPNs who worked in doctor's offices in 2020 earned around $44,830 per year; those who worked in government facilities earned $51,700 per year; while those who worked in assisted living and nursing centers earned $50,100. Remember that benefits like health insurance are compensation too, and some jobs offer better benefits than others.
After going through all of that training, passing the NCLEX-PN, and getting your LPN license, the last thing that you want is to be left searching desperately for a job. Fortunately, that shouldn't be an issue, as LPN jobs are plentiful across virtually all markets.
In fact, according to the BLS, there were approximately 721,700 jobs for Licensed Practical Nurses in the U.S. in 2020. The agency projects that a total of 787,400 LPN jobs will be added between 2019 and 2029, representing an increase of 9 percent. Now is therefore an excellent time to get in, as you should be able to find gainful, full-time employment regardless of where you are located. This is another reason why so many start out their nursing careers as LPNs.
Like many aspiring LPNs, you might have a plan to eventually move into registered nursing. In either case, becoming an LPN serves as a stepping-stone on the journey to the highly rewarding career of an RN. Within the field of licensed practical nursing itself, there are many areas of specialization to explore. You are likely to find yourself gravitating to some more than others as you gain more experience.
If you opt to become an RN, you might want to complete a bridge program to get there more quickly. You can complete an LPN-to-ADN bridge program to earn your associate degree in nursing, or ADN, in as little as 18 months. For even more opportunities in the future, you should complete an LPN-to-BSN bridge program to earn your bachelor of science in nursing in as little as two to three years. With a BSN in hand, many new doors will open for you, and it will be easier to move into even more advanced roles in the future.
If you are thinking about becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse, the right training program will get you where you need to be. With that being said, naturally possessing certain traits will make the training easier and the work more enjoyable in general. In particular, it helps to have a genuine desire to assist others in need. Compassion is a must, as you will be dealing with people who aren't feeling well much of the time.
In addition to enjoying working with patients, you should be a detail-oriented person to ensure that you stay on top of your daily duties. It helps enormously to be a capable communicator, as you will be interacting not only with patients, but also with other healthcare professionals throughout the day. Stamina and endurance are also essential, as you will be on your feet for hours on end throughout a typical shift. To succeed in a career as an LPN or in nursing in general, it's also vital to be a driven, focused person who doesn't leave things unfinished.
Like many people, you might be under the impression that LPN jobs are mostly limited to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. While the majority of LPNs do indeed work in such settings, these professionals find employment at many other facilities and places too. In fact, LPNs in some settings tend to earn more than LPNs in others, so if you are primarily concerned about making a good living as an LPN, it pays to explore the possibilities.
According to the latest available figures, 38 percent of LPNs work in nursing and residential care facilities. The second most popular setting for LPNs to work is hospitals, which account for 15 percent of all LPN positions these days. These include private, public and state hospitals. Thirteen percent of LPNs work in doctors’ offices, so jobs are readily available in such settings. Finally, 13 percent of LPNs work with home healthcare services - which means that they visit patients in their homes rather than working in an actual facility. This segment is growing rapidly as more aging baby boomers enter their golden years but aren't quite ready for full-time nursing care.
Looking for an LPN training program can be a tall order. A lot is on the line, as the quality of the training that you receive will directly impact your ability to pass the licensing exam and obtain your license. First and foremost, it is crucial to select a program that is approved by your state. For your school, look for an accreditation by either ACEN or CCNE at the bare minimum.
Choose an LPN program that is convenient for you. If you will attend on campus, select a location that is easy to get to. If you will mostly complete your studies online, make sure that the program that you choose offers convenient clinical training options, or you will have a hard time completing that requirement. Naturally, it is important to choose an LPN school that suits your budget. Many programs offer scholarships and other financial aid, so be sure to check into such opportunities.
Although online LPN programs are readily available, it is important to understand that they can't be completed entirely online. This is due to the clinical training requirement. All LPN training programs include in-person, hands-on clinical training. Typically, this training is conducted at local healthcare facilities. Naturally, there is no practical way to complete this portion over the internet, so even online LPN training programs have offline components.
When looking for online LPN training, seek programs that are conducted asynchronously. This means that students work independently to complete assignments by a certain deadline, which gives them the flexibility that they need to attend to their other responsibilities. Find out exactly how the clinical training portion is handled as well. Some schools automatically assign students to clinical training assignments, while others expect them to line up these opportunities themselves. Make sure that you can easily fulfill the clinical training requirements of the program that you choose. Without passing this portion, you will not successfully complete your LPN training and won't be able to sit for the NCLEX-PN.
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Becoming an LPN is easier than you probably think! Get the ball rolling by enrolling in a state-approved LPN program today.