LPN programs, or Practical Nursing programs, are a first step into a career in nursing. An LPN program is a 1- to 2-year diploma program that prepares you to take the necessary licensing exam to become a licensed practical nurse and enter the field of nursing. To LPN programs, you’ll need to find the right program for you, meet all admission requirements and study hard for your licensing exam. In this article, we’ll take a look at what LPN programs are, what you need to do to get accepted and whether they are the right first step to your career in nursing!
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LPN programs, or Licensed Practical Nurse programs, are a type of diploma in nursing. LPN programs are usually available at community colleges, vocational and technical schools and even some hospitals.
LPN programs are a first step into a career in nursing, and one of the fastest ways to get started in nursing. Applicants can apply directly after high school and get trained as an entry-level nurse. Enrolling in an LPN program has some advantages over getting another , such as an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in nursing. For one, LPN programs tend to be much more accessible since the cost of tuition is far lower, and they are much shorter than a 4-year degree.
Of course, becoming an LPN is often only the first step into a nursing career and can open up many more doors. LPNs provide daily care and assistance to patients, including administering medication, checking vital signs, drawing blood, keeping patient records and assisting with treatment under the supervision of a physician, registered nurse and other members of the care team. LPNs can also provide routine checkups, preventative care and assist with emergency care.
While LPNs do not have as many responsibilities and the same level of independence as RNs or nurse practitioners, they provide vital patient care and assistance in health care settings.
How long are LPN programs?
Of course, once you’ve graduated, you’ll need to study for and take the Nursing Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN), so this can add a few weeks or months to your nursing school timeline.
How hard are LPN programs?
Some of the coursework you’ll cover in an LPN program are:
- First aid
- Child growth and development
- Emergency medical technology
During your clinical training, you’ll receive instruction on performing basic nursing procedures, interact with patients and develop the interpersonal and clinical skills nurses need to succeed.
While studying to be a nurse is not easy, LPN programs are an introduction to the profession and work of a nurse. You can expect to work hard learning not only the medical terminology and science of nursing, but also the social and interpersonal aspect of providing patient care. Nursing is a dynamic field, and it requires both a strong understanding of sciences and health care but essential skills in working with patients and a team of health care professionals. Although LPN programs are not degree programs and may have different academic requirements, they are not a walk in the park!
How do you get into LPN programs? The admission requirements for nursing school can be extensive, but fortunately for LPN programs the admission criteria are a bit less strict. Since these are diploma programs, you can enroll in them with a high school diploma.
Some programs will also list a minimum GPA requirement to apply, and may ask for additional application materials such as standardized test scores and application essays. Not all programs will have the same requirements, so it’s important to check the program website for specific admission standards.
Here are the common requirements for LPN programs:
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Minimum GPA
- , or Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) scores
- or essay
and are extremely competitive, although the statistics usually reflect the overall averages of ALL nursing programs. Diploma programs in nursing do not have the same high admission standards as say, and advanced nursing degrees, but they are not the easiest to get into, either.
How to increase your chances of getting into LPN programs
To get into any nursing program, be it diploma or degree, it’s best to set yourself up for success. Here are our tips for standing out on your nursing school application.
As we’ve mentioned, LPN programs are the first step into a nursing career. Many nurses begin as LPNs and gain some healthcare experience before upgrading their education or licensure to become a registered nurse or nurse practitioner. Others might prefer to remain as LPNs. Still other nursing students might be hoping to make the jump .
While there are benefits to becoming an LPN and continuing to work with patients, you might want to take on more job responsibility, increase your potential pay or work in a more specialized area of nursing such as becoming a . To achieve these goals, a more advanced education in nursing is typically required.
Registered nurses and nurse practitioners have the ability to work in more supervisory roles, administrative roles or even nurse educator roles. For LPNs interested in taking on a new position in nursing, there is always a possibility of going back to school and upgrading. This is where bridge programs come in.
LPN Bridge Programs: How to Advance Your Nursing Career
Bridge programs are a great way to bridge the gaps between nursing degrees and take you to the next step of your career.
Bridge programs ensure you meet all the admission requirements for the degree program you want to enroll in. Many of these programs will accept your previous LPN coursework or experience towards completion of your bridge program, which allows you to cut months or even years off the time it takes to achieve your goals.
For example, there are LPN to RN bridge programs for licensed practical nurses who want to become a registered nurse. An LPN to RN bridge program allows you to shorten the time it takes to get an associate degree in nursing and get ready to take the NCLEX-RN.
There are also LPN to BSN bridge programs, which shortens the time it takes practical nurses to enroll in and complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from 4 years to around 2 years. As a BSN holder, you can become an RN with a more competitive edge in the job market, but you also become eligible to enroll in graduate nursing programs.
To go from LPN to a Master’s of Science in Nursing or other graduate nursing degree, the quickest way to complete the nursing school prerequisites is to finish a LPN to BSN bridge program.
So, is applying to LPN programs worth it? They absolutely can be worth it for applicants who are interested in starting their career in nursing. If you’re sure of , getting your diploma in nursing and becoming an LPN can be a fast and affordable first step.
LPN programs allow you to quickly become a licensed nurse and start gaining some experience in the profession. It gives you an opportunity to experience what it is to be a nurse and affirm whether it is the right path for you. If your aspirations in nursing are more ambitious, there are many paths you can take to get into the career and position you want within nursing.
1. What are LPN programs?
An LPN program is a diploma program often offered at community colleges and vocational colleges that prepares you to become a licensed practical nurse. LPN programs cover both foundational coursework in nursing and clinical, hands-on training. Once you’ve graduated, you can take the NCLEX-PN to become licensed and begin working as a nurse.
2. How long are LPN programs?
LPN programs are usually 12-18 months long in the US, and 2 years in Canada. There are shorter LPN programs, called accelerated programs, that last less than a year.
3. What are the requirements for an LPN program?
The requirements for LPN programs can change a little depending on the program, but in general you will need a high school diploma or equivalent, a minimum GPA or grade average, and a letter of recommendation. Some programs also ask you to submit a personal statement or personal essay, and submit standardized test scores, such as SAT, ACT or TEAS.
4. How much do LPNs make?
LPNs make around $50,000-55,0000 per year on average, although this number an fluctuate depending on the state of practice and what the LPN position is.
5. Are there any online LPN programs?
Yes, there are accredited online LPN programs, and many programs offer both online and in-person options to students. However, the clinical training aspect will still need to be completed in-person.
6. What does an LPN do?
An LPN provides daily basic care to patients under the supervision of a registered nurse or physician. An LPN can administer medication, take vital signs, dress wounds and carry out health care treatments under the direction of a supervising health care professional.
7. What’s the difference between LPN and RN?
LPNs are nursing professionals who operate under the supervision of RNs and physicians. They have a lower level of independence and responsibility than RNs, and a lower pay scale than registered nurses.
8. What is the shortest LPN program?
The shortest LPN programs are usually 6-7 months, and can be offered online or in-person.