Become an LPN

Being a licensed practical nurse can open a number of exciting career opportunities for anyone interested in the medical field. In less than two years, you could have all the training you need to become an LPN and start working in the best hospitals in the country. You need a formal education to find employment like this, but that is not hard to come by. You simply have to take advantage of the opportunities that lie before you. Here is a guide showing how to become an LPN so you can get to work in the near future.

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Research the Career

Before you jump into this process, you need to make sure you have what it takes to become an LPN. It takes a special kind of person to succeed in this career, so think things over before making a commitment. A good LPN will be…

  • Hard working
  • Thoughtful
  • Considerate
  • Nurturing
  • Organized
  • Mature
  • Helpful
  • Efficient
  • Communicative
  • …and more!

If you are not the type of person that can handle pressure and extensive job duties well, this may not be the career path for you. Not only do you have to be able to care for multiple patients at the same time, but you have to handle difficult situations, like comforting someone after the loss of a loved one. If you cannot maintain your professionalism and composure under these circumstances, this may not be the right job for you. If you can though, keep on reading.

Get an Education

Once you can fully commit yourself to being an LPN, you will need to get an education. You can either do this online or at a local career school, depending on what you want to do. Many students are now moving their studies to the internet because that allows them to maintain a job and go to school at the same time. Plus, this may be the only option in your area, if there are no LPN programs nearby.

No matter where you choose to go to school, you will need to get one of these degrees:

  • Diploma in Nursing (DN)
  • Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

A diploma or associate’s degree will be sufficient for working as an LPN, but you could continue your education if you wanted to do something more. BSN degrees are designed mainly for registered nurses, and MSN degrees are designed for nurse practitioners. If you want to progress through your profession, these programs will be necessities.

Most students take 18 to 24 months to complete their basic training courses for practical nursing. Those who want to pursue a BSN will spend four years in school, and those who want an MSN will spend six years or more. Nevertheless, you can find a job as an LPN within the first two years of school, as long as you complete the additional steps in this guide.

Obtain a License

It would be hard to work as a “licensed” practical nurse without a license, right? That means that you have to take an exam to verify that you know what you’re doing. Different states have different kinds of exams for you to take, so you will have to research what is required in your area. You may actually be able to obtain your certification directly through the school you attend, depending on how your degree program is set up. As long as you pay attention in your classes, you should be able to get all the authorization you need to find a job.

Find a Job

With your license in place, all you have to do is start looking for a place that will hire you. Some parts of the country have a higher demand for nurses than others, but the job growth for this position is high overall. You could find work in any of the following locations, with no more than two years of education behind you:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Nursing homes
  • Doctor offices
  • Emergency rooms

You can essentially work anywhere there are registered nurses or medical assistants present. If you want to continue going through school while working, you may want to switch to an online degree (assuming you do not have one already). That way, you can take your classes whenever your schedule allows.

The average LPN salary varies by employer and by location, but most people make more than $20,000 a year from the start. If you choose to earn a BSN or higher, you may be able to make significantly more than that. Here is a chart that highlights the average LPN salary based on experience so you can see how your income may change:

  • 1-4 years: $23,673 – $48,483
  • 5-9 years: $24,691 – $51,947
  • 10-19 years: $26,717 – $59,138
  • 20+ years: $26,711 – $56,084

Follow the steps above, and you’ll be a licensed practical nurse in no time. Then all you have to do is figure out if you want to do even more in the future.

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