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How to Renew an LPN License

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Licenses for LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses) permit them to perform a number of direct-care patient duties, including administering medication, bathing patients, assisting patients with movement and recording vital signs. To provide patients with the best possible care, most state boards of nursing require LPN licenses to be renewed every two to four years.

Contact your state's board of nursing and and determine the exact requirements for LPN license renewal, including time frames, fees, continuing education credits and/or contact hours.

Submit proof you have completed the pre-specified educational requirements. Most states require LPN renewal applicants to have earned continuing education credits or contact hours during their active licensing period. For example, the Rhode Island Board of Nursing requires LPNs to complete 10 contact hours every two years; the Ohio Board of Nursing requires applicants to complete 24 contact hours every two years.

Verify your state's board of nursing subject requirements for continuing education and contact hours. For example, at least one contact hour submitted from LPN license renewal applicants in the state of Ohio must be related to Chapters 4723, 1-23 of the Ohio Nurse Practice Code and Rules. The New York State Board of Nursing requires LPN renewal applicants to complete three contact hours every four years in the subject of infection control.

Verify and fulfill your state's requirements for active practice. Some state boards of nursing require LPNs to have been actively practicing in their field before being permitted to renew their license, and will allow proof of active practice to substitute for the continuing education requirement. Time lines vary; North Carolina requires applicants to have 640 hours in active practice within the two years prior to renewal, while Wyoming requires 1,600 hours of nursing practice within the past five years.

Fulfill your state's criminal background check requirements. Although all states require LPN applicants to submit fingerprints and pass a criminal background check before receiving their initial licensure, some boards of nursing require renewal applicants to repeat the process each time they re-apply.

Pay the appropriate renewal fee. State fees vary; according to NurseGroups, most state boards of nursing mail renewal candidates a renewal form, including fee information and other requirements, between 45 and 60 days before the renewal date, to ensure applicants submit their paperwork in a timely fashion.