How Do I Become an LPN?

With healthcare jobs being in demand and a virtually recession-proof career choice, you may be wondering, “How do I become an LPN?” These healthcare workers are becoming even more in demand, given the current shortage of trained nurses and low enrollment in nursing school programs.

A Licensed Practical Nurse provides patient care under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or a doctor. They are responsible for noting a patient’s vital signs and recording the information on a chart, applying dressings, ice packs and hot water bottles. The LPN also treats bedsores, sets up treatment rooms and helps to prepare patients for medical tests and procedures.

Prerequisites for an LPN Program

Before choosing an education program to become an LPN, you will want to find out about the prerequisites required for acceptance. The basic one is that all students must have a high school diploma or GED.

Some schools require applicants to have completed a high school computer course and/or English, chemistry and algebra courses. An applicant may be required to take the American College Test (ACT) and submit the results as part of the application materials. A minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher may also be required for admission to an LPN program.

Education Required to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse

A number of community colleges and vocational schools offer LPN programs. Certificate programs can be completed in one or two years, depending on the school. A student who chooses the two-year option may be able to take additional credits to obtain an Associate of Applied Science degree after completing the LPN program.

Even though a two-year program may be a full-time commitment, some schools may offer classes evening and weekend classes, with a lab one afternoon per week. This type of schedule may make it easier for students to work part-time while keeping up with their classwork.

Students enrolled in an LPN program will take courses similar to the following:

• Basic Pharmacology
• Body Structure and Function
• College Composition
• Elementary Algebra
• Fundamentals of Medical/Surgical Nursing
• Human Growth and Development
• Intravenous Therapy
• Introduction to Chemistry
• Introduction to Medications
• Introduction to Psychology
• Introduction to Sociology
• Maternity Nursing
• Management in Geriatrics
• Medical Surgical Nursing
• Mental Health Nursing
• Pediatric Nursing
• Therapeutic Nutrition

LPN License

LPNs are licensed by the state where they will be working. All graduates of an accredited education program write the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) to become fully qualified to work in this field.

Candidates are required to apply to their state Board of Nursing for an authorization to write the test. Test plans are available to help candidates prepare for writing the exam. A registration fee of $200 (spring of 2012) must be paid. Once the candidate has been given permission to take the test, he or she will need to schedule a time to write it at an authorized testing center. This is the last step in the process to answer the question, “How do I become an LPN?”

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