If you want to enter the medical field without investing years of work and studies, becoming a licensed vocational nurse or licensed practical nurse might to your best option.
For you to choose to go this route, it’s likely that you’ll be able to complete your studies within 2 years and once it’s done, you may start working full time.
This field is best for expanding your options, work opportunities, and further education in health care. If you are interested enough to become a licensed vocational nurse, here is a short guide to help you along the way.
LPN or LVN
Although Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) sound like two different names, they actually perform the same tasks. In many states they use LPN instead of LVN, in Texas and California, these professionals are referred as Licensed Vocational Nurse.
If you are interested in becoming a licensed vocational nurse, you must examine the earning potential in this field before you even enroll into the training program.
The salary of vocational nurses in the United States usually ranges anywhere for $42,383 to $61,294 depending on your educational background and work experience.
How To Get Into LPN Program
Decide if you want to get a degree, diploma, or a certificate
The first step is to decide if you want to earn a degree, diploma, or a certificate. Obviously, the more time you spend on your training, the more you will learn and get a better job.
However, if you feel that the work experience would count more than the educational training, the fastest option for you is to get a certificate or an accelerated diploma. This will help you to get a job in a matter of a few months.
Completing an approved training program
Once you’ve decided the type of program you’ll be doing, the next step is to find the one which is approved by the state.
In the United States, each state has its own standards and approved institutions for becoming a licensed vocational nurse. There are many hospitals, junior colleges, technical and community colleges that provide all the necessary training and clinical experience all year long.
Passing National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN)
Once you’ve completed your licensed vocational nurse diploma, you are required to enroll for NCLEX-PN exam. Every state in the United States considers this as a mandatory exam in order to become a part of LPN program. This is a computerized test and it consists of 85-205 test questions, which you must complete within 5 hours.
If for some reason, you don’t pass this test in your first attempt, there’s not much to worry about. Practice harder and retake the test after waiting 45-90 days.
Seeking Professional Certification
If you are willing to qualify for specialized clinical tasks, you are required to complete additional training and professional development courses. These certifications are usually based on the following subjects
- Neonatal education
- Hospice and palliative care
- IV therapy
- Long term care
Entering the workforce
After you have successfully completed all the steps mentioned above, your next step is to find a job. The good news for all LPN program candidates is that the jobs for licensed vocational nurse grow much faster than the national average and therefore it results in high numbers of opportunities.
Considering Additional Training
Once you have landed a job, you need to look for other ways to expand your knowledge. If you are a certificate or a diploma holder, you might want to consider doing associates or bachelor degrees to increase your knowledge in this field.