Courses and Requirements for LPN

Training programs for LPNs usually take a year to complete. There are a few programs in the nation where high schools, in conjunction with a community college, provide licensing for LPNs upon high school graduation. However, these programs are hard to find, and the vast majority of LPNs obtain their license through a formal training program at the post-secondary level. An LPN license can be just the first step in your nursing career. There are some LPN programs developed to be a bridge to registered nursing programs. By and large, most programs occur at vocational schools or community colleges across the nation. Programs that take about a year tend to have a specific set of nursing courses. Programs which act as a bridge to registered nursing programs take a little longer to complete and have a broader set of course requirements. Employers tend to like broad sets of skills and prefer LVNs who are on their way to becoming RNs.

Types of Programs and Courses

Whatever type of program a person chooses, there are certain courses an LPN needs to take. There will be classes on medical terminology since the health field has a language all its own. Basic clinical nursing skills and concepts such as dressing wounds, delivering injections, and taking vital signs will be learned in practicum. Human anatomy, physiology, and psychology courses are often required to support the nursing skills. Pharmacology, the study of drugs, is an essential piece of knowledge, as is knowing how to administer medication. Interspersed in programs are classes about specific types of healthcare such as emergency, pediatric, gerontology, and obstetric nursing. A program must cover both the state standards and national exam directives.

State Nursing Boards

Each state has a government agency that oversees the implementation of the Nurse Practice Act. This entity provides the nursing license after a person has met the state requirements. These boards often approve education programs, investigate complaints, and administer disciplinary actions. In order to insure you enter an approved nursing program, review the nursing license requirements in your state before enrolling. If you are planning to move out of state after graduation, you will also want to view the nursing board requirements for the state you're moving to.

Second Career Students

Students with prior college or vocational courses may or may not be able to use those courses as credit towards a nursing degree. Nursing degrees and programs have specific standards that have to be met. You will want to check with an advisor or counselor about transferring credits. It is possible different programs will allow different parts of your prior courses to transfer to a new program.

Community Colleges and Nursing - Keeping America Healthy and Safe (PDF)

LPN Job Program Outlook

Washington State LPN Supply and Deman Projects 2007-2026

Last Updated: 05/22/2014

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