According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a licensed practical nurse is a professional who attends to people who are injured, sick or disabled. LPNs, also called licensed vocational nurses, work under the supervision of physicians and registered nurses. Several types of optional certifications are available to LPNs. Practical nurses who wish to improve their effectiveness in their current job or want to work toward specializing in an area of their profession usually complete additional certifications.
The National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Services and the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses require candidates for LPN certifications to possess a valid practical nursing license through their state nursing board. To participate in the NAPNES certifications, LPNs must become a member of NAPNES. Individuals interested in obtaining a certification through NFLPN are not required to join the organization. Each NAPNES certification course counts for 45 continuing education hours; the NFLPN certification courses count for 20 continuing education hours.
NAPNES offers four certifications types of certifications for LPNs: long term care, pharmacology, allied long term and intravenous therapy. The certification in long-term care prepares LPNs to work with the elderly and the chronically ill that covers the lifespan of these individuals. Second, the certification in pharmacology includes pharmacological and medical administration principles and how they apply in the LPN practice and setting. Medication assessment, drug classifications, dosage calculations and procedures for medical administration are covered in the program. Third, the allied health professional long term care certification teaches LPNs how to create a safe and comfortable environment for the chronically ill and elderly patients. Fourth, the IV therapy certification improves the LPN’s skills in intravenous therapy. The NFLPN also offers an IV therapy certification, along with a gerontology certification.
The NAPNES and the NFLPN offer online and onsite certification options for LVNs and LPNs. According to the BLS, job opportunities for practical nurses and vocational nurses are expected to increase through 2018. Since people are living longer, the need for individuals with geriatric nursing experience is in high demand. Therefore, certification options for LPNs are in place to ensure the practice, the education and the regulations of the profession are maintained.
At the time of publication, the certification program through NAPNES costs $295. Applicants who are not a member of NAPNES must first pay a $100 application fee to take the certification courses and exams. Textbooks are included in the course's cost. At the time of publication, the NFLPN certificate test costs $150 for members and $250 for nonmembers. LPNs who are recertifying their expired certificate pay $125. Once the student completes the certification class, a certificate of completion is provided.
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.