LPN Certification Requirements

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) help doctors and registered nurses care for sick or injured patients. This job requires completion of a formal training program, usually at the certificate level. LPNs require licensure, and candidates need to pass a national exam to work in the field. Read more about the requirements for LPNs here, and check advancement opportunities in the nursing field. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Certifications Are Available for LPNs?

If you're interested in becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a licensed vocational nurse (LVN), you must complete a practical nursing training program that is approved by the state you wish to practice in. Each state has different requirements for licensure, so be sure to check before you begin any program. You can find many technical schools or community colleges offering such programs. In addition, you must pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN), which is offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. The exam covers four areas, including safe and effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance, physiological integrity and psychosocial integrity.

Certification BoardNational Council of State Boards of Nursing
Course TopicsAnatomy and physiology, pharmacology, medical terminology, family nursing
Continuing EducationLPN-to-RN programs available
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

How Do I Fill the Education Requirements?

LPN training programs are widely available at many institutions, and they usually take about one year to complete. You may enroll in a certificate program that specifically prepares you for the NCLEX-PN exam. These certificate programs focus on teaching you the fundamentals of nursing. You can expect to take classes like practical and family nursing, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and medical terminology. Along with formal classroom education, you'll be exposed to hands-on clinical experience working with patients. At this time, online programs are difficult to find due to the high level of practical experience required.

How Can I Advance My Career?

LPNs may advance in their careers by becoming supervisors, or they may continue their education and become registered nurses (RNs). Associate's degree programs are available for LPNs interested in becoming RNs. Your coursework builds upon your previous education and includes classes covering psychology, microbiology, nursing transition, surgical nursing and nursing care for mental health. Online programs are also available for the LPN-to-RN transition, where you may complete a portion of your class work online and work in an approved clinic to fulfill your practical requirements. Completion of this associate's degree program prepares you to take the NCLEX-RN examination.

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