A student who wishes to work as an LPN must earn a high school diploma or GED and graduate from an accredited LPN program. LPN programs usually include one year of training at a hospital, vocational technical school or community college. LPNs are licensed by each state, so requirements vary by location.

How to Get an LPN

Students interested in obtaining their LPN degree can do so through community colleges, high schools, hospitals or vocational technical schools and through online courses. The latter option is a good solution for students who are attending high school or who are working, as online courses can provide flexible hours. Students study the same courses as those who attend campus options, but online students may need to coordinate with local hospitals or medical facilities to obtain practical training required by the LPN degree. Before you take any online course, however, be sure to check the school’s accreditation by your state’s Board of Nursing and make inquiries about clinical and practical experience options. Coursework in all LPN programs usually covers biology, chemistry, anatomy, psychology, emergency medical technology, first aid, physical education, foods and nutrition, child growth and development, in addition to supervised clinical practice in patient care.

Finally, to earn an LPN license, students must pass a state administered nursing examination, called the NCLEX-PN. To qualify to sit for the NCLEX-PN exam, students first must complete an LPN/LVN education program that is approved by a given state’s Board of Nursing.

Careers Available After Obtaining an LPN

LPNs work in various health care facilities including hospitals, nursing homes, mental health institutions, private homes, community health clinics, and public health departments. Many hospitals and medical institutions offer nurses a variety of schedules, from part-time work to daytime, evening, or weekend hours in order to fill their needs. This flexible scheduling can be a benefit to LPNs with other commitments such as family or continuing education courses. This degree is a stepping stone to becoming an RN through further education.

A nurse with an LPN degree can provide basic bedside care for the sick, injured and convalescent patient under the direction of physicians and registered nurses. LPNs and LVNs observe patients and report adverse reactions to treatments or medications. Some LPNs help to deliver, to care for, and to feed infants. Experienced LPNs may supervise nursing assistants and aides. LPNs work directly with patients and are responsible for a wide range of duties that include performing injections, vital signs, basic diagnostic tests, wound dressing and the administration of medications. Specializations such as pediatrics, surgery, obstetrics, and psychiatry also are available for LPNs.