How Long Does IT Take to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)?

Practical nursing programs may be completed in approximately one year of full-time enrollment and include classes and internships in hospitals or nursing homes. Your training will also prepare you to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.


If you enroll in a full-time licensed practical nurse (LPN) training program, you may be prepared and qualified to take your licensing exam in as little as 9-12 months. These programs are available from many community colleges, vocational schools, and universities, and they may range from 43-78 credit hours. Most programs are a combination of classroom and clinical work. Part-time enrollment is possible at some schools, though often discouraged, and it increases the amount of time it takes to complete a program.

Upon completion of a program, students are awarded a certificate in practical nursing and qualify to take state exams and the NCLEX-PN. Some states may have additional requirements for licensure, but all require passing the NCLEX-PN to become a licensed practical nurse.


Requirements for admission to an LPN training program vary by state and by school, but you typically must hold a high school diploma or have passed the General Educational Development (GED) exam. State requirements often include a drug test, up-to-date immunizations, and a tuberculosis (TB) screening. Additional requirements from individual schools may include:

  • Prerequisite courses in biology or chemistry
  • Health or liability insurance
  • Computer literacy
  • Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) licensure
  • Physical exam
  • Criminal background check
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification
  • Minimal score on placement tests

Coursework and Practical Rotations

Most LPN programs include general education classes, such as composition and psychology. You also usually take core classes in anatomy and physiology, which include lab components. Coursework may also cover maternal and child health, adult health, mental health, and the role of the LPN on the health care team.

You'll also spend a significant number of hours practicing in a hospital, clinic, nursing home, or health facility as part of the clinical rotation requirement. Programs usually require completion of at least one rotation in family health and community care, and you may also practice in hospital medical-surgical units and clinics.

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