Typically, if you’re a licensed practical nurse, your day to day will include monitoring your patient’s health with tasks such as taking temperature and blood pressure.

LPN Job Description

Besides taking temperatures and reading blood pressures, you may also be tasked with:

  • Changing bandages and catheters and tending to wounds.
  • Bathing and dressing your patient.
  • Keeping detailed records on patient care and progress.

And remember, your job duties can vary per your State’s state regulations.

As an LPN, you may also reinforce the instructions of the registered nurse by showing the family how to take care of the patient at home. You may also help to deliver and care for infants, collect body fluid samples from patients, and feed patients who are unable to feed themselves. In some states, you are going to be allowed to start IVs and administer medications.

How to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse

It only takes about a year of training through an accredited LPN or LVN program to become an licensed practical nurse.

  • Get your high school diploma or GED.
  • Decide if you want a certificate, diploma, or degree and choose your program that way.
  • If you think you’re going to want to pursue more degrees, then you should pick an associate degree.
  • Once you’ve finished school, you’ll need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).

A certificate or diploma program doesn’t usually take longer than one year from start to finish. And if you attend an associate’s degree program full time, it should only take two years to complete.

You may want to consider other forms of professional certifications like:

  • Gerontology
  • Pharmacology
  • Hospice and palliative care
  • IV therapy
  • Neonatal
  • Dialysis

LPN programs are a blend of classroom and clinical instruction. Classroom courses will include subjects such as biology, pharmacology, and nursing. Your clinical practice will have you working real-life situations, maybe in a participating doctor’s office or a hospital.

For many, becoming an LPN is a stepping stone used toward career advancement of becoming a registered nurse and beyond. If you have any interest in becoming an LPN, there are certain soft skills and qualities you should possess—you’re going to be working with people who are sick and often scared as such. You’ll need a lot of patience, mixed with a huge helping of compassion. You should also be detail oriented and have strong interpersonal and speaking skills.

LPN & LVN Salary Information

In 2023, the mean yearly salary for an LPN or LVN was $60,790. This salary information was updated in April 2024.

Here’s a table from the BLS LPN/LVN page that shows the percentiles:

Percentile 10% 25% 50%
75% 90%
Hourly Wage $ 21.96 $ 24.35 $ 28.72 $ 32.28 $ 37.44
Annual Wage $ 45,670 $ 50,640 $ 59,730 $ 67,140 $ 77,870

So to sum it up, if you’re wanting to get into a healthcare profession relatively quickly, becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) is a great medical career choice. You can think of it as a stepping stone to move up the nursing ranks, or you can stay in this highly satisfying job for a lifetime. Once you have your degree and your license, a world of opportunity opens up to you. Use the program search application to find out more about becoming a licensed practical nurse!