At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
The education necessary for someone to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) usually takes about one year, though there are several options that can be pursued. A fairly standard program typically provides a student with classes necessary to work in the nursing profession. There are also curricula created to educate students for their profession and to get them ready for the certification exam that they will need to pass to become licensed as a nurse. Other LPN degree programs are established as a stepping-stone curriculum that prepares students for continued education to become a Registered Nurse (RN).
Some of the most basic LPN degree programs take about one year, though some schools can offer a curriculum that prepares students to work as a nurse in even less time. Colleges and technical schools typically offer these programs and classes are primarily practical in nature, focusing on the skills nurses need in the industry. These types of LPN degree programs are not necessarily designed to issue a degree to students upon completion, but are sufficient for working as a nurse. Many schools offer classes that students can attend on campus, though online courses have become increasingly popular and are more widely available than ever.
There are also LPN degree programs designed to ensure students are ready for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses® (NCLEX-PN®). This test must be passed in order for a nurse to become professionally licensed, which is required for professional work in the healthcare industry. While shorter LPN degree programs may prepare students for the practical concerns they will have while working, longer curricula that provide additional training and preparation for the NCLEX-PN® are quite beneficial. These courses may still be completed in about a year, but often include an additional class that is specifically designed for test preparation.
Other LPN degree programs are designed to help students get ready for the NCLEX-PN® and provide them with the knowledge they need, while also better preparing them for future education. Certification and licensure is often the most important consideration for an LPN, but additional education is typically required for someone interested in becoming a Registered Nurse or RN. Some LPN degree programs are designed to allow a student to begin working after only one year, while also enabling them to continue taking classes for another year to become qualified to work as an RN. This typically culminates in an associate's degree in nursing, which allows someone to start working as an RN and to consider further education for future promotions.