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What Classes Are Required to Become an LPN?

Common coursework required for aspiring LPNs includes anatomy and physiology, nursing skills, mental health nursing and patient assessment. Read on to learn more about LPN classes as well as licensure in the field.

Education Requirements

LPN programs focus on the basics of nursing and patient care. You can typically find and enroll in an LPN program at your local community college or vocational school. You may expect this type of program to require one year of full-time study. Study topics could include patient assessment, anatomy, medical terminology, nutrition, patient education, and lifespan patient care.

Important Facts About This Field of Study

Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent; CPR coursework may be required for admission
Degree/Certificate Levels Undergraduate certificates, diplomas, and associate's degrees available
Online Availability Partially available online; some schools offer online coursework with on-site labs and clinicals
Continuing Education Ongoing education is required to maintain licensure
Median Salary (2018) $46,240 (for all licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses)
Job Growth (2016-2026) 12% (for all licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Common Coursework

LPN programs consist of classroom lectures, skill-building laboratories, and hands-on clinical practice. Clinical practice activities are usually conducted in a hospital setting under the direct supervision of licensed medical professionals. Required coursework typically includes:

  • Medical surgical nursing
  • Geriatric nursing practice
  • Maternal and child nursing
  • Pharmacology
  • Mental health nursing

Licensing

After graduating from a practical nursing program, you'll be prepared to take the National Council Licensing Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN), which tests your knowledge and skills in practical nursing practices. Eligibility requirements for the exam may vary by state but usually include completion of an accredited practical nursing program with clinical experiences.

The exam covers topics in the categories of health promotion and maintenance, safe and effective care environment, physiological integrity, and psychosocial integrity. You'll take the exam on a computer, and the format will include multiple-choice, ordered-response, and fill-in-the-blank calculation questions.