LPNs, or licensed practical nurses, are medical professionals who perform various duties, mostly involving patient care. To be an LPN, one must usually complete an accredited nursing program. Though program lengths vary, there are some ways you can quickly become an LPN and still receive the same thorough education as other LPN students.
To become an LPN, it helps to have patient experience. Whether you have previously worked as a CNA, or certified nursing assistant, EMT, or emergency medical technician, MA, medical assistant, or even have volunteer experience working with the elderly or with sick children, any kind of patient experience is a bonus. Shadowing an LPN in a hospital or other health care facility may also get you into an LPN job more quickly, as you may make good connections during your visit. Some workplaces may hire you without a practical nurse license, though this is rare, so long as you have other relevant patient care work experience or if you're currently enrolled in an LPN program.
Some hospitals and other health care facilities, such as nursing homes or hospice care, offer LPN programs that include both classroom learning and hands-on experience. Very few people are selected for these programs, like the one offered at Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing in New York, as they are very competitive. Often they are paid programs that allow your classroom work to transfer as college credits. Your program may choose to hire you permanently after you complete the program and pass the NCLEX-PN exam. Hospital LPN programs are a quick way to get right into the field of nursing.
Community colleges and vocational schools may offer accredited programs of nine months to two years for students interested in becoming practical nurses. Usually, LPN associate degree programs are a year long, according to Myonlinenursingdegree.com. You need a high school diploma or general education degree before entering any program, which you may be able to start while you're still in high school. After completing the program, which is usually composed of biology, chemistry, anatomy, pharmacology, psychology, statistics, and patient care courses, you are able to sit for the NCLEX-PN exam. Depending on the school, you can take day or night classes, and even have the option to take some courses online from home.