How Much Schooling to be a LPN?
The length of schooling for becoming licensed practitioner of nursing (LPN) varies from 12 months to 18 in most cases. It depends on the kind of education you choose (certificate, diploma or degree), and depends on whether you enroll full time or you go for other options (evening classes, weekend classes, online classes, variable hour programs). LPN is a stepping stone into the career of nursing. As for any educational and career field, there are some basic preconditions to be fulfilled.
Prequalification and conditions for LPN schooling
Minimum qualification required is high school diploma. Other conditions for starting schooling to be a LPN will vary from state to state, and educational institution. Usually requiring;
- General health check-up
- Certificate of immunization against various infectious diseases
- Some schools require additional courses to be finished; like anatomy, physiology, microbiology etc.
- Background check-up for crime record, drugs abuse etc.
- Having finished CNA (certified nursing assistant) would be a big plus.
You have to get information about prequalification needed, from the institution you are planning to go. Education in these institutions don’t give you right to practice nursing, they just prepare you for licensing examination. Therefore it is important to choose a good educational institution. Also important is to keep in mind that whatever educational organization you choose must be accredited by either ACEN (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing) or CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Education and training options
There are two options of schooling for becoming a LPN each having its pros and cons.
- Certificate or Diploma: This is a faster way to launch your nursing career. In this option, your schooling will be of around 12 months, including practical in hospitals. But you won’t get credits for further education.
- Associate degree: This program may be longer than 12 months, and covers a wider range of subjects. Credits from this program can be used to pursue higher degrees (like bachelor’s degree in nursing). It is important if you aspire to become registered medical nurse.
After finishing the theoretical part of schooling for LPN, you have to undergo practical or internship in a hospital. It is usually few weeks long, intended to give you training for practical skill for nursing.
Getting your license
After completing your education you have to qualify National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN® exam). All States have their individual state boards, administering these exams. This license gives you legal right to practice nursing under the supervision of either registered nurse (RN) or a doctor. This exam can be given as many times as needed (until you pass), but you need to pay the fee each time to appear for this exam.
As per the website bls.gov LPN is expected to keep patients records, report patients status, provide basic care to the patient (like inserting catheters, changing bandages), monitor patients health (like checking blood pressure).
Furthering your education and career
If you have finished your schooling in nursing and qualified as LPN, and you are feeling that nursing is for you, and want to move further up in career. Then there are two paths for you to follow;
The first path is to do specialization (certificate courses in pharmacology, gerontology, nutrition, medical surgical nursing, maternity nursing, leadership, and supervision etc). This will help you to find your niche and land a more interesting and better-paid job.
The second path is to start preparing to be a registered nurse (RN). This requires that you complete further education (should have a degree in nursing) and prepare for National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN® exam). Most of the LPN works towards this goal.
Of course, you may pursue your career in other fields related to medicine, like hospital management, doctor, options are virtually endless.