After working so hard to earn your Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN, license, you're going to want to make sure that it remains valid so that you can keep legally working as an LPN. Like all nursing licenses LPN licenses don't last forever. To ensure that LPNs maintain their skills and stay on top of the latest developments, states require them to renew their licenses usually after two years. Don't wait until you're down to the wire. Learn everything that you need to know about LPN license renewal by reading on below.
About LPN License Renewal
LPN licenses are valid for two years in most states. Exact renewal dates vary by state, so you will have to check with yours to find out for sure. In some states, new LPN licenses must be renewed after the first year and then less frequently thereafter. Most of the time, the renewal process is pretty much instant. However, check beforehand to avoid accidentally allowing your license to lapse.
Steps for Renewing Your LPN License
Keep these points in mind to renew your LPN license as quickly and easily as possible:
- Familiarize Yourself with Your State's Rules - First, check with your state board of nursing for information about LPN licenses and when they expire. They should be able to explain the renewal process to you so that you know what to expect when the time comes. Oftentimes, you can apply for renewal well before your license expires, and doing so may save you some stress and aggravation. If possible, set a reminder on your calendar to ensure that you renew your license in time.
- Check the Status of Your LPN License - Before going through the steps to renew your LPN license, visit your state board of nursing's website or other portal to check the current status of your license. That way, you can confirm that it is indeed about to expire. You can also make sure that there aren't any infractions listed on your record that you may be unaware of. Most importantly of all, by checking the status of your LPN license, you can confirm that it is active and valid in the first place.
- Complete Continuing Education Requirements - In some instances, additional continuing education credits may be required for you to renew your LPN license. If so, you will have to provide proof that you have met this requirement before your license is renewed. Many times, you must simply provide documentation for the total number of contact hours that you've had over a period of time. Other times, your professional activities may qualify. In rare instances, you may have to complete additional training or even undergo training all over again. The latter only happens if you have either allowed your license to lapse or if it has been suspended for some reason.
- Provide Information - Find out what you will need to provide to successfully renew your LPN license to ensure that you have everything. That way, you can be proactive when the time comes and avoid letting your license lapse or otherwise become invalid. The process varies from one state to the next, but you can expect to be asked for your social security number, date of birth, and current mailing address. You may also have to provide information about your current LPN license, but they usually have that information on hand.
- Pay Renewal Fee - Not surprisingly, you can't renew your LPN license for free. Unfortunately, every time that it is up for renewal, you will be responsible for paying a renewal fee. Again, the fee varies from state to state, so check with your board of nursing to find out how much it will cost. In most states, however, it costs around $50 to renew a currently valid LPN license. Please note that if you let the license expire or lapse or if you have negative marks on your record, you may face additional renewal fees, and the process may be a bit more expensive.
- Deal with a Lapsed License - If you lose track of when your license expires and accidentally allow it to lapse, don't worry. It happens to plenty of LPNs, and you are not out of luck. The process for dealing with a lapsed LPN license varies from state to state, but it usually means having to complete additional continuing education credits. If enough time has passed since expiration, you may even have to undergo LPN training again. Needless to say, no one wants to start over again, so be diligent about maintaining a valid LPN license.
- Get Your Renewed LPN License - In most states, LPNs can renew their licenses online. It generally just takes a few quick minutes to get through the process, and you should receive a confirmation when you are done. Most of the time, the renewal takes effect immediately. However, it may take a few weeks for your new license to arrive in the mail. Until then, just ask prospective employers to check your LPN license status to confirm that it is valid. Remember to update your resume and other information, if applicable, to reflect the new expiration date and any other changes that may have been made to your record. With your renewed license in hand, you will be able to keep working as an LPN for another two to four years.
When you first get your LPN license, it can feel like it will be eons before it expires. However, time tends to fly by when you're a busy LPN, and your license could very well expire before you know it. By being aware of your expiration date and knowing how to renew your LPN license, you will enjoy smooth sailing now and in the future.