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How to Test Out of a LPN Certification

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, the employment opportunities for licensed practical nurses/licensed vocational nurses (LPN/LVN) is projected to increase 21 percent between 2008 and 2018 in response to the need for health-care providers in the United States. "Testing out" or challenging the NCLEX-PN or state licensing examination can occur when the individual has had some previous education or training that would allow him to successfully complete the state nursing exam. Although each state has different requirements, there are some steps that can help to prepare for testing out of the LPN certification. Remember to check with your state licensing board to obtain the information that is relevant to you.

Contact your state nursing board. Obtain your state's requirements for an individual to test out or challenge the NCLEX-PN. Most states require that the individual have a background in some form of nursing. such as a certified nursing assistant, a military corpsmen, a student in RN program, etc. Some states will require that CNAs have years of experience in a variety of medical departments before challenging the LPN test.

Secure a copy of the NCLEX-PN preparation textbook. Review the material and take the prep-test to ascertain whether you have the knowledge base to pass the NCLEX-PN. Most CNAs have hands-on care experience but most will not have had any pharmacology training. They may also have difficulty with the medical terminology and with anatomy/physiology. Reviewing the pre-test will help you decide whether you are in a good position to challenge the LPN certification exam.

Request school transcripts, work records, and references if required by your state as part of the application process. Create a log to record when you requested these items so that you can track them to avoid any delays.

Complete your state application and include any documentation as requested. Include the exam fee, which can be anywhere from $25 to $250, by personal check or cashier's check. Most exam fees are not refundable.

Prepare for the exam by reviewing the pre-test material. You will be notified by the state board of nursing if your application to take the exam is accepted.


You will need two forms of identification on the day of the exam.

You will be fingerprinted at the time of the exam.

Wear layered clothing as the testing centers can be really cold, even during the summer.


Although most state nursing boards utilize the NCLEX testing system, a few do not. This is why it is important to contact your state nursing board for directives.