The educational requirements to become a licensed practical nurse are less stringent than those required of registered nurses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the typical LPN certificate or diploma program takes about a year to complete. Most students take these courses at technical schools and community colleges, the BLS says, though some programs are also available in high schools and at hospitals.
To become an LPN you must earn a state license. Each state nursing board maintains a list of approved educational programs. During your accredited LPN program, you complete classes in various subjects, including several science courses. Additionally, you must complete a supervised clinical training where you gain hands-on experience in an actual medical setting. After your education, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for practical nurses.
Training and Skills
You can elect to specialize in a field like gerontology by gaining additional professional certifications. Specialization allows you to work with specific types of patients in distinct medical settings. During education and training, you need to develop several critical nursing skills. Compassion and communication are key interpersonal skills that help you build rapport with patients. Attention to detail helps you ensure proper care and protect against mistakes. Physical stamina is important since much of the day is spent on your feet, and you may have to move or transport patients regularly.
2016 Salary Information for Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earned a median annual salary of $44,090 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earned a 25th percentile salary of $37,040, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $51,220, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 724,500 people were employed in the U.S. as licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses.