What does an LPN do? Typically, if you’re a licensed practical nurse, your day to day will include:

  • Monitoring the patient’s health with tasks such as taking temperature and blood pressure.
  • Changing bandages and catheters and tending to wounds.
  • Bathing and dressing your patient.
  • Keeping detailed records on patient care and progress.

Job duties do vary per 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 Do I Become a Licensed Practical Nurse?

It only takes about a year through an accredited educational program and a community college or trade school to become an licensed practical nurse. If you attend the associate’s degree program full time, it should only take two years, a certificate or diploma path doesn’t usually take longer than one year from start to finish.

  • 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).

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.

How Much Do LPNs Earn Annually?

“The median annual wage for licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses was $45,030 in May 2017… The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,970, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $61,030.”

Between now and 2026, the job outlook for LPNs is expected to grow 12 percent, which is a bit faster than all other occupations. The strongest need for licensed practical nurses will be in residential facilities and in-home care, due to the aging of the baby boomer population.

Summary – Are you 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. Find out more about becoming a licensed practical nurse!


edited: 10/23/18