When considering any career path, the time it takes to enter the field and start earning money is always one of the most important factors. After all, the world doesn’t stop while you go to school, receive a license, and look for a job. LPN candidates, may want to know how long it takes to become an LPN so they can plan financially and set realistic goals.
Becoming an LPN is an attractive option for many looking to enter the nursing field. Along with a relatively short period of training, being an LPN can offer good compensation and job availability.
The following guide will help you understand what an LPN is, how long it typically takes, and a few of the most common pathways toward entering this type of nursing.
What is an LPN?
The term LPN stands for licensed practical nurse. LPNs are health care workers responsible for various patient care tasks and are often the front-line provider in many situations. Typical duties include monitoring patient health, collecting vital signs, administering treatment and medications, and delivering wound care. LPNs also often assist with diagnostic testing, maintaining patient records, and communicating with other providers.
As frontline workers, LPNs often work under the supervision of other health care professionals, such as physicians and registered nurses (RNs). An LPN can work in many facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, home health and long-term care facilities. It is also common for LPNs to work in other settings, including schools, institutions, and home health.
How Long It Usually Takes to Become an LPN
Depending on state and individual educational program requirements, combined with previous education and experience, it can typically take anywhere from 12 to 24 months to become an LPN. Potential LPNs must be accepted into a state-approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).
LPN education and training programs are usually offered in vocational schools, community colleges, and universities, offering a range of pathways. Programs will consist of a combination of classroom and laboratory instruction and hands-on clinical experience in healthcare settings. Many programs will have flexible schedules, including evening or weekend classes, to meet the needs of different students.
3 Ways to Become an LPN
LPNs take different paths to becoming a nurse. LPNs enter the field at nearly any age range, from any background, and from various careers. Here are three of the most common general pathways that LPNs often take:
1. As a Full-Time Student
Attending an LPN program full time offers most students the quickest route to completing school and becoming an LPN. However, the downside is that this leaves less time for working, family, and other parts of life. As a result, many full-time LPN students must either save in preparation for LPN school or take out loans to cover tuition and living expenses until they can start working as an LPN.
2. As a Part-Time Student
Part-time students can work while they attend an LPN program at night or during weekends. The trade-off is that this can take longer compared to full-time programs, and students may not be able to focus as fully on classwork and studying due to other demands.
3. Transitioning from a CNA
People already in entry-level health care positions, such as certified nursing assistants (CNAs), often enter into CNA to LPN bridge programs. This allows these workers to complete an expedited program that gives credit for completed work and experience. It is important to know the requirements and ensure that any CNA bridge program is accredited in the state you will be working as an LPN.
Taking the NCLEX-PN
After finishing an LPN program, prospective licensed practical nurses must pass the NCLEX-PN. This test allows nurses to obtain a license and practice as an LPN. The NCLEX-PN is designed for students to demonstrate that they have the skills and knowledge needed to give patient care that is effective and safe.
The test will usually take under five hours to complete. Quick results are available for a fee within two business days, and official results are usually available after six weeks of taking the examination. Like RNs, LPNs are required by state boards to complete a certain number of continuing education hours each year to renew their nursing license.
Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care in Florida
Our home health care nurses work one-on-one with clients in the comfort of their own home. We are always looking for loving and competent nurses to provide customized care for families — from a few hours a day to around-the-clock supervision. We value our nurses’ health and well-being and understand your vital role in caring for our clients. PPE is provided in each home – including masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. We follow CDC guidelines to ensure you, your client, and your family stay healthy.
Applying for a position with Care Options for Kids is quick and simple. Our online application process is straightforward and effortless and eliminates the need to come into a local office. Our approach is virtual and can be completed at your convenience. Until you are ready to meet with our Director of Nursing, your application, resumé, license, CPR card, and other credentials can all be quickly uploaded online. Care Options for Kids provides services in all counties throughout the state of Florida, and we make it as easy as possible to join our team. Call today at (888) 592-5855 or visit us online at careoptionsforkids.com.