Steps to Becoming an LPN – Selecting a Training Program

Steps-to-Becoming-an-LPN-–-Selecting-a-Training-Program

Are you interested in becoming a licensed practical nurse, also referred to as an LPN, but aren’t sure where you should start? This is a common issue many aspiring LPNs face as this is a confusing and often misunderstood sector of the nursing industry. If you’re interested in starting a dynamic career as an LPN, the foundation of this career is placed within your training. Because of the sensitive and intense nature of this career, in order to truly succeed, you must enroll in an effective and accredited training program. Throughout this article we’ll discuss the various elements that go into selecting an LPN training program.

Selecting an LPN Training ProgramSelecting an LPN Training Program

The foundation of your career as an LPN is based in the training program you choose to enroll in. As with many professional careers, there are several options available to you. Unlike becoming a Registered Nurse, there aren’t strict educational guidelines when it comes to the training you choose. While with an RN you must have at least an associate’s degree – and in most states, a bachelor’s degree – you can begin working as an LPN by completing a certificate program. Keep in mind, there are several elements you must look for and be considerate of.

The first of these is ensuring that the school/training institution is accredited by your state board of nursing. Failure to enroll in an accredited school may mean you aren’t eligible to sit for the licensing examination, which would ultimately mean you wasted your time and money. Avoid this disastrous situation by contacting your state board of nursing and asking for a list of all accredited training institutions. Along with being accredited by your state board of nursing, you should also ensure that the school/nursing department is accredited by an outside accrediting agency, such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. This ensures your training is of the highest quality, which is important when it comes time to taking the licensing examination as well as when it comes to actually performing your job.

Once you’ve located a few schools you may be interested in, you should then determine what their entrance requirements are. While these can dramatically vary based upon the level of degree you wish to receive, the majority require all applicants to hold a high school diploma or GED. You may also be required to have completed certain college-level coursework.

The majority of LPN training programs are found at community colleges, vocational schools or at traditional four-year universities.

How to Acquire CEUs for an LPN

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As with any other licensed profession, in order to maintain your LPN designation you must complete a set number of continuing education units each year. This is required because the medical industry is constantly evolving and learning every aspect of caring for patients is impossible during a standard LPN training program. Regardless of where you live, your state will likely have a set requirement when it comes to completing CEUs.

While there are many online resources regarding CEUs for LPNs, you should always start your search by contacting your state board of nursing. This is imperative as some states require you to take specific coursework in specific topics while others allow you to choose any topic within the medical field. If you’re interested in determining how to find accredited CEUs, continue reading this informative article.

Where to Find Continuing Education Unit Coursework

Perhaps the most convenient place to locate CEU courses is online. Of course, as mentioned above, you should always check with your state board of nursing to obtain a list of approved coursework providers. There are cases where some CEU courses are free while others require a fee to take the class. There really isn’t any advantage of taking a paid course over a free course – it really boils down to what you wish to learn.

There are many online classes that provide you with LPN CEU subscriptions. Once you sign-up, you can complete an unlimited number of courses that are all approved by your state board of nursing. Typically, this annual subscription fee can range from $30 to $100 per year. This is an excellent option for those who wish to take continuing education unit coursework in a wide variety of topics.

Of course, obtaining the required CEU hours doesn’t have to be completed online. There are many in-person classes and seminars available to LPNs. If you’re employed by a hospital, then your options are easy and almost limitless. Hospitals typically provide you with in-house training seminars to satisfy your state’s CEU requirement. The best part? These are typically free-of-charge. Of course, if you don’t work in a hospital you still have many options open to you. The best places to locate classroom CEU courses is at your local community college, vocational school or local university.

Regardless of where you complete your required CEUs, upon completion you’ll receive a Certificate of Completion, which you should store digitally. Take a photograph of you holding your Certificate of Completion and scan the certificate to be stored online.

LPN Certificate Program Information

LPN-Certificate-Program-Information

If you’re interested in becoming an LPN, then you should be aware that there are several educational pathways you may choose to satisfy your state’s educational requirement. Of course, regardless of the route you choose to take, you must sit for and pass the NCLEX licensing examination. Unlike other professional careers, which require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in order to take the licensing examination, you may successfully become an LPN by only taking a certificate program. However, there are several major considerations you must make before you jump into this unique, challenging and time-sensitive educational pathway.

LPN Certificate Training Programs

LPN Certificate Training ProgramsUnlike other professional careers, which require an advanced-level degree, you can qualify to take the licensing examination to become an LPN with only a certificate-level of training. LPN certificate training programs are available at most community colleges, vocational schools or via distance education programs. When compared to other, more traditional forms of education, earning a certificate is significantly shorter. In fact, the majority of students can graduate within 12 months, which breaks down to two to three full-time enrollment semesters. Throughout your training program, you’ll gain real world nursing experience through a combination of classroom theoretical courses and hands-on clinical work. The most important element to look for when selecting a certificate training program is to ensure the program is accredited/approved by your state board of nursing. Failure to do so may result in you not being eligible to sit for the NCLEX LPN licensure examination.

Educational Prerequisites for an LPN Certificate Program

If you’re interested in enrolling in an LPN certificate program, you must be aware that you’ll have to meet certain eligibility requirements. Generally, all you need to enroll in these programs is a high school diploma or a GED. Your college may also require you to pass a basic aptitude test, which will determine your overall understanding of math and English skills. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for a school to need you to complete several introductory courses before enrolling in this certificate program. These courses generally include biology and/or similar classes.

LPN Certificate Program Coursework

Of course, the amount of coursework within a certificate program isn’t as thorough as the coursework you’d receive when seeking a degree. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t receive an adequate education. While enrolled in an LPN certificate program, you’ll typically be required to complete courses in: nutrition, human behavior, pharmacology, anatomy, patient care, and critical thinking. Of course, this may not be what’s required in your certificate program.

Real World Advantages of Being an LPN

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So you’ve taken the plunge and have decided to become an LPN. First off, congratulations. This career choice, while demanding and challenging, is one filled with great joy as your daily work will actually make a difference within the lives of your patients. While you may be confident in your choice, there comes a time when you should take a moment to truly explore what the real world advantages of being an LPN may mean. If you’re interested in exploring more about this dynamic career choice, take a few minutes to continue reading.

Advantage #1 – Time Saving Choice

When compared to the amount of time it takes to become an RN, becoming an LPN is significantly more time-saving. In the most generalized sense, in order to become an RN, you must spend roughly four years in an intensive training program. However, to become an LPN you typically only have to go through 12 to 24 months of training, which can be done at your local community college. Choosing to become an LPN not only saves you time, but also money. When compared to a traditional BSN, which can cost in upwards of $60,000, the cost to become an LPN is a fraction of this – typically under $20,000.

Excellent Job Outlook NursingAdvantage #2 – Excellent Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for LPNs is expected to grow by roughly 22 percent between now and the year 2022. In fact, the LPN industry is considered one of the fastest growing fields as the need for dynamic and well-trained nurses will continue to rise as the average age of Americans rises. In addition to an extreme uptick in the number of jobs, roughly 80 percent of new job postings for LPNs asks for candidates who have less than four years of experience. This means that you’re likely to find an excellent job immediately upon graduating from an LPN training program and passing the NCLEX licensing examination.

Advantage #3 – Career Growth

Even while you’re working as an LPN, you can be studying to become an RN. This is an excellent advantage for those who wish to ultimately become an RN, but don’t have the means to undergo this vast amount of schooling within a single shot. Because you can work while you learn, you’re able to make an excellent income while taking courses to graduate with a Bachelor’s of Nursing degree, or a BSN.