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A licensed practical nurse, also known as an LPN, works in a healthcare setting. Their responsibilities range from providing routine care to taking note of patients' health. The LPN is super-important to each patient's visit.

LPNs also serve a critical role in helping doctors and registered nurses when needed. Sometimes, as an LPN, you'll have to explain a lot, including medication, home-based care, and preventative lifestyle changes

While, you'll probably work a full-time schedule, it may look a little wonky. Some days you might work a shift that's longer than 8 hours or you might have to take a weekend or night shift. The schooling it takes to become an LPN isn't that long, in fact, most LPN programs take a year to complete.

What Does a Licensed Practical Nurse Do

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) provide basic medical care. They work under the direction of registered nurses and doctors.

Learn more about what a Licensed Practical Nurse does

How To Become a Licensed Practical Nurse

Becoming a licensed practical or licensed vocational nurse (LPN or LVN) requires completing an approved educational program. LPNs and LVNs also must have a license.

Education

LPNs and LVNs must complete an approved educational program. These programs award a certificate or diploma and typically take about 1 year to complete, but may take longer. They are commonly found in technical schools and community colleges, although some programs may be available in high schools or hospitals.

Practical nursing programs combine classroom learning in subjects such as nursing, biology, and pharmacology. All programs also include supervised clinical experience.

Contact state boards of nursing for lists of approved programs.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

After completing a state-approved educational program, prospective LPNs and LVNs can take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). In all states, they must pass the exam to get a license and work as an LPN or LVN. For more information on the NCLEX-PN examination and a list of state boards of nursing, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

LPNs and LVNs may choose to become certified through professional associations in areas such as gerontology and IV therapy. Certifications show that an LPN or LVN has an advanced level of knowledge about a specific subject.

In addition, employers may prefer to hire candidates who are trained to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Important Qualities

Compassion. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses must be empathetic and caring toward the people they serve.

Detail oriented. LPNs and LVNs need to be responsible and detail oriented, because they must make sure that patients get the correct care at the right time.

Interpersonal skills. Interacting with patients and other healthcare providers is a big part of their jobs, so LPNs and LVNs need good interpersonal skills.

Patience. Dealing with sick and injured people may be stressful. LPNs and LVNs should be patient, so they can cope with any stress that stems from providing care to these patients.

Physical stamina. LPNs and LVNs should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as bending over patients for a long time.

Speaking skills. It is important that LPNs and LVNs be able to communicate effectively. For example, they may need to relay information about a patient’s current condition to a registered nurse.

Advancement

With experience, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses may advance to supervisory positions. Some LPNs and LVNs advance to other healthcare occupations. For example, an LPN may complete a LPN to RN education program to become a registered nurse.

Licensed Practical Nurse Career Paths

Average Salary for a Licensed Practical Nurse

Licensed Practical Nurses in America make an average salary of $48,757 per year or $23 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $65,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $36,000 per year.
Average Licensed Practical Nurse Salary
$48,757 Yearly
$23.44 hourly
$36,000
10 %
$48,000
Median
$65,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Licensed Practical Nurse Education

Licensed Practical Nurse Majors

72.7 %

Licensed Practical Nurse Degrees

Associate

33.0 %

Diploma

31.2 %

Bachelors

15.2 %

Top Colleges for Licensed Practical Nurses

1. Emory University

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,306
Enrollment
6,975

2. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,306
Enrollment
9,394

3. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

4. Maria College of Albany

Albany, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,140
Enrollment
876

5. Clarkson College

Omaha, NE • Private

In-State Tuition
$13,392
Enrollment
646

6. Inter American University of Puerto Rico Ponce

Mercedita, PR • Private

In-State Tuition
$5,914
Enrollment
4,155

7. SUNY at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,099
Enrollment
21,404

8. Inter American University of Puerto Rico Arecibo

Arecibo, PR • Private

In-State Tuition
$5,872
Enrollment
3,553

9. Inter American University of Puerto Rico Bayamon

Bayamon, PR • Private

In-State Tuition
$5,940
Enrollment
4,169

10. Vermont Technical College

Randolph, VT • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,108
Enrollment
1,350

Top Skills For a Licensed Practical Nurse

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 21.9% of licensed practical nurses listed lpn on their resume, but soft skills such as interpersonal skills and speaking skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Licensed Practical Nurse Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Licensed Practical Nurse templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Licensed Practical Nurse resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Licensed Practical Nurse Resume
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Licensed Practical Nurse Demographics

Licensed Practical Nurse Gender Distribution

Female
Female
89%
Male
Male
11%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among licensed practical nurses, 88.7% of them are women, while 11.3% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among licensed practical nurses is White, which makes up 62.7% of all licensed practical nurses.

  • The most common foreign language among licensed practical nurses is Spanish at 72.5%.

Online Courses For Licensed Practical Nurse That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Vohra Wound Care Certification for Facility-Based Nurses
edX (Global)

The Vohra Wound Care Certification program was developed by Vohra Wound Physicians. Vohra is the largest group of wound physicians in the United States, with more than 20 years of clinical experience providing wound care services to more than 3000 skilled nursing facilities in 30 states, with thousands of patients treated every month. We believe every patient, family, nurse, and caregiver can be empowered through education. Hundreds of thousands of people have already benefited from this course...

Vohra Wound Care Certification for Facility-Based Nurses
edX (Global)

Vohra’s expert physicians developed this advanced wound care program to help you deliver excellent healthcare: Understand the latest, most innovative wound care techniques and treatment options Identify the different types of wounds and recommended treatment plan for non-healing wounds Review the primary wound dressing options and wound care products Treat wound patients confidently, leading to improved medical outcomes Benefit from an enhanced knowledge share from Vohra´s healthcare...

Health After Cancer: Cancer Survivorship for Primary Care
coursera

This course presents basic principles of cancer survivorship to primary-care physicians. Developed by a team of experts in caring for cancer survivors, and narrated by a primary-care physician, this course provides practical tips and tools that can be easily integrated into medical practice. You will learn about the complex physical and psychosocial needs and concerns of the growing number of cancer survivors, along with the key role that primary care physicians have in guiding these patients ba...

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Best States For a Licensed Practical Nurse

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a licensed practical nurse. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, Oregon, California, and Alaska. Licensed practical nurses make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $57,364. Whereas in Oregon and California, they would average $55,159 and $54,107, respectively. While licensed practical nurses would only make an average of $53,577 in Alaska, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Alaska

Total Licensed Practical Nurse Jobs:
662
Highest 10% Earn:
$76,000
Location Quotient:
1.11 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Pennsylvania

Total Licensed Practical Nurse Jobs:
10,428
Highest 10% Earn:
$69,000
Location Quotient:
1.26 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. West Virginia

Total Licensed Practical Nurse Jobs:
1,401
Highest 10% Earn:
$64,000
Location Quotient:
1.29 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Licensed Practical Nurses

How Do Licensed Practical Nurse Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

2.0

LpnSeptember 2019

2.0

Zippia Official LogoLpnSeptember 2019

What do you like the most about working as Licensed Practical Nurse?

Not much little freedom and talk to degraded by RNs on a regular basis. They have to sign off on all your work. Management does little about this because they have to keep Rn over Lpn. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Above says it all cant wait to be rn Show More

Zippia Official Logo

4.0

PediatricMarch 2019

4.0

Zippia Official LogoPediatricMarch 2019

What do you like the most about working as Licensed Practical Nurse?

Working with children and families most state regulations that inhibit the best care for patients from getting the least prohibitive care necessary for the best outcomes of treatment

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Top Licensed Practical Nurse Employers

Most Common Employers For Licensed Practical Nurse

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1VITAS Healthcare$70,133$33.72461
2Maxim Integrated$67,462$32.43979
3Signature Healthcare$55,386$26.63457
4Epic Health Services$55,275$26.57839
5Corizon Health$54,095$26.01740
6Genesis HealthCare$53,548$25.74892
7HCR ManorCare$52,115$25.061,133
8Maxim Healthcare Group$52,025$25.014,547
9Medical Staffing Network$51,265$24.65812
10Nursefinders$51,154$24.59626

Licensed Practical Nurse Videos

Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse FAQs

How long does it take to become a licensed practical nurse?

It takes between 1 and 2 years to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). Many universities and colleges offer certificate programs or associate degree programs for aspiring LPNs.

To become an LPN, you must complete a diploma in practical nursing through an approved educational program. These programs typically only take one year to complete and help prospective nurses learn basic nursing skills through a combination of coursework and clinical experiences.

Is an LPN really a nurse?

Yes, an LPN is a nurse. LPNs are integral members of the healthcare team that work closely with registered nurses (RNs) and physicians to provide patients with basic nursing care. The term nurse is an umbrella term that covers a whole range of different types of nurses, from registered nurses to LPNs to even caretakers.

What does a licensed practical nurse do?

A licensed practical nurse works closely with registered nurses and physicians to provide patients with basic nursing care.

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) duties can vary slightly depending on the healthcare setting and the state in which they work. For example, some states do not permit LPNs to administer medication or start IV drips. In other states, experienced LPNs can supervise and manage less-experienced nurses or nursing aides, according to the BLS.

What education is needed to become a licensed practical nurse?

To become a licensed practical nurse, you must complete an associate's degree nursing program and pass a state exam (NCLEX-PN).

Earning your diploma in practical nursing (PN) is the fastest way to jumpstart your nursing career as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). Most associate degree LPN nursing programs are two years long and cover coursework and clinical rounds.

What is the difference between an LPN and an RN?

The difference between an LPN and an RN has to do with the educational credentials needed for each role and the scope of their ability to care for patients.

A licensed practical nurse (LPN) assists a registered nurse (RN) and doctors in carrying out patient care instructions. Since working as an RN is a more hands-on role, it requires more extensive education and training than an LPN.

What is the fastest way to become an LPN?

The fastest way to become an LPN is through an accelerated LPN program. Some schools, for example, offer fast-track licensed practical nurse (LPN) programs that you can complete in as little as six months. The average time to become an LPN is between 1 and 2 years, depending on the program.

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