Licensed practical nurses, or LPNs, are critical to the medical field. Responsible for patient care, these skilled workers are essential team members in clinics, hospitals and medical centers, doctors' offices and long-term care facilities. As medical generalists, LPNs use diverse abilities to offer and assist with patient care in these and other settings.
LPN Schools and LPN Programs
Licensed practical nurse training is available in such settings as technical, vocational and community colleges, as well as some universities. The following 5 LPN schools offer training programs that educate students in the skills necessary for passing the certification exam, called the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX-PN Exam.
- Cleveland Community College: Located in Shelby, North Carolina, this community college offers a practical nursing program which lasts one academic year and makes sure students are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-PN Exam.
- New Mexico State University: The Carlsbad campus of New Mexico State University offers an associate of nursing and a certificate in practical nursing.
- Northland Community & Technical College: This college is based in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, but some courses in the practical nursing program can be completed online.
- Rasmussen College: Offering an online practical nursing diploma, this school teaches real-world skills to help students pass their certification requirements.
- York County School of Technology: This tech school in Pennsylvania's practical nursing program can take 11 months to complete and prepares students to sit for the NCLEX-PN Exam.
Licensed Practical Nurse Education Requirements
Becoming a licensed practical nurse is often just a first step in a long career in nursing. In general, licensed practical nurse education requirements include:
- Completing an accredited nursing training program
- Passing the NCLEX-PN Exam
In most cases, LPN education requirements can be completed in as a little as one year. Most states also typically include both classroom study and clinical work. Classroom courses include anatomy and physiology; medical and surgical nursing; an overview of nursing specialties, such as pediatrics and obstetrics; pharmacology; nutrition; and first-aid. Clinical training usually takes place in a hospital, but can include other areas of supervised patient care.
A major component of LPN training is ensuring students can pass the NCLEX-PN exam to obtain licensure. Developed and proctored by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the computer-based exam is divided into four major parts:
- Safe and effective care environment
- Health promotion and maintenance
- Psychosocial integrity
- Physiological integrity
Testing and licensure requirements can vary by state, so before you apply to take the NCLEX-PN, be sure you have completed the appropriate LPN education requirements where you plan to practice.
There are also a number of NCLEX-PN test preparation programs available online and on campuses. NCLEX-PN prep courses aren't required, but can offer additional opportunities to review material to better prepare you for the test.
Resources for Licensed Practical Nurses
- National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Licensed Practical Nurse
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Licensed Practical Nurse, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/licensed-practical-and-licensed-vocational-nurses.htm
- Cleveland Community College, http://www.clevelandcc.edu/index.php?page=practical-nursing
- New Mexico State University, https://carlsbad.nmsu.edu/departments/academics/programs-of-study/nursing/
- Northland Community & Technical College:, http://www.northlandcollege.edu/programs/nursing/program_detail.php?program_code=467
- Rasmussen College, http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/nursing/practical-nursing/
- York County School of Technology, http://www.ytech.edu/nursing/practical_nursing_program