Continuing Education for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)
Licensed practical nurses typically need to complete continuing education classes to meet licensure requirements. Read on to find out more about how you can meet your continuing education needs and advance in this career.
What Continuing Education Options Are Available?
You can find universities and community colleges that offer individual courses for LPNs to take towards their continuing education requirements. These courses may be refreshers or focus on a certain specialty, such as emergency medicine, palliative care, IVs, trauma or gerontology. Some courses may also be applied towards gaining a certificate in a nursing specialty area.
Some courses may be offered online, though in general, many courses will have to be completed in a classroom or lab. The amount of credits necessary to retain licensure will depend on the state in which you are practicing.
|Course Options||Continuing education offered at universities and community colleges; refreshers, individual courses and specialty certificates in nursing available; some online options|
|Career Requirements and Duties||Provide basic medical care in health facilities; training program and other requirements needed for state licensure|
|Career Advancement||LPN to RN and LPN to BSN bridge programs available; requirements include minimum GPA, SAT or ACT scores, valid LPN license|
|Median Salary (2018)||$46,240 (for all licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||12% growth (for all licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Is a Licensed Practical Nurse?
A licensed practical nurse (LPN) provides basic medical care, including checking vital signs, collecting test samples, monitoring patients and preparing injections. As a LPN, you may work in a general medical setting or a more specialized area, such as a nursing home or in-home care.
You must complete an approved training program and meet any other requirements your state may require, which generally includes passing the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN). Many states require you to take continuing education credits over a certain time period to retain your licensure.
What Can I Do to Advance My Career?
Many schools also offer LPN to RN programs that will allow you to take what you have learned as an LPN to earn a higher degree and pursue licensure as a registered nurse (RN). Depending on the school and program, you will either earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing and be eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN).
In general, degree programs that award bachelor's degrees will be known as LPN to BSN programs, while those that award associate's degrees tend to be called LPN to RN bridge programs. Some schools will require you to complete general education courses before beginning the program, as well as hold a valid LPN license. Other requirements for these degree programs, such as GPA, SAT or ACT scores, depend on the school.