How do I Become an LPN?

N. Madison
N. Madison

To become a licensed practical nurse (LPN), which is a nurse who provides routine care under the supervision of a registered nurse, you will usually have to enroll in an LPN training program after high school or once you’ve earned a general educational development (GED) diploma. In most cases, you can find a program that provides the training you need to become an LPN at a community college or vocational school. Some hospitals provide these programs as well. Program length may vary, depending on where you are located, but most LPN training programs require about one year of commitment, during which you will take classes and learn through clinical practice.

LPNs provide routine care in different medical settings.
LPNs provide routine care in different medical settings.

As a licensed practical nurse, you will typically have the responsibility of providing routine care for patients under the supervision of a registered nurse. For example, you may take and record a patient’s vital signs, change bandages and bed pans, help with bathing, and perform other tasks required to keep a patient healthy and comfortable. In order to become an LPN and handle these sorts of jobs, you will first have to graduate from high school or earn a GED. After you have met this requirement, you will usually need to secure nurse training to become an LPN.

Licensed practical nurses can perform a variety of tasks related to patient care.
Licensed practical nurses can perform a variety of tasks related to patient care.

When you want to become an LPN, you may have the choice of enrolling in a training program at a community college, vocational school, or hospital. These programs usually last for about a year and include coursework in science subjects that are pertinent to a career in nursing, such as biology, chemistry, and nutrition. Your coursework may also include introductory material in such subjects as psychology and physical education as well as instruction in emergency medical technology and human growth and development. In most cases, the training you receive will also include labs in which you learn and practice nursing skills and clinical practice that gives you an opportunity to work with patients.

Most jurisdictions will also require you to gain licensing before you can work as an LPN. In such as case, you will usually have to pass a nursing exam designed for aspiring LPNs. Once you have passed it, you can typically seek a job in the nursing field. While LPNs perform important jobs in the medical field, many people use this job as a stepping stone in their nursing careers. You may one day choose to seek additional training and become a registered nurse; registered nurses usually have more responsibility and earn higher pay.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments

anon254628

About a year ago I graduated with a BA in psychology. I am now at the point in where I want to pursue graduate school and am very interested in nursing.

I was looking into accelerated BSN programs but was taken aback by all the math involved (not one of my strong points). I have been considering enrolling into an LPN program to ease myself into this field. Would this be a good idea or should I just head straight into an accelerated BSN program?

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