Interested in nursing but not ready to enroll in a four-year college program? Consider becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN). These nurses work under the direction of doctors and RNs in order to provide basic care and comfort to patients. It is a great way to get into the workforce sooner and gain experience on the job. You can even start earning college credits that will help you if you go back to school to become an RN in the future. Here are the steps you need to take in order to become an LPN.
Graduate From High School or Get Your GED
While it doesn’t necessarily require a college degree, an LPN is a postsecondary position. You will need to have completed high school or its equivalent in order to begin studying to be a licensed practical nurse. Doing well in science courses will only help you as you begin your LPN studies. Find out about any prerequisites for your intended program as soon as possible so you can get these done and out of the way. Prerequisites could include anything from a certain grade point average to a background check, depending on the school and program.
Choose an Education Path
It takes between one and two years to complete an LPN education course. Some programs are designed purely for getting an LPN certificate, while others also get you an associate’s degree and college credit. There are benefits to both paths. A single-year program gets you working faster, while getting a two-year degree can be helpful if you plan to return to college in the future. If that is the case, find a school where your credits can carry over to a four-year degree should you choose to pursue one. Whichever path you take, make sure your school is board-certified so you can legally practice nursing in your state once you finish. You don’t want to go through all the trouble of passing LPN classes and then not be able to get licensed.
Complete Your LPN Program
Once you have chosen your school, applied, and been accepted, the only thing left to do is study. This is easier said than done, of course, as nursing school is notorious for taking a lot of hard work. LPN courses include both classroom and clinical studies. Memorizing medical jargon from lectures is important, and so is getting real, hands-on experience in your placement. Clinical placements give you an opportunity to see which area of nursing you would like to work in.
Pass the LPN Exam
In order to become a licensed practical nurse, you have to pass the NCLEX-PN. This test is given after graduation. Many states allow you to apply for your nursing license before taking the test, although you won’t officially become certified until you pass. The exam tests your knowledge on meeting patient’s needs through situation-based multiple choice questions. There are also other types of questions, including fill in the blank and examining charts.
Find a Job
Once you are certified, the only thing left to do is find a job as an LPN. This could be anywhere from a nursing home to a private practice to a hospital. CynaMed can help with finding an LPN job that you’ll love. They connect healthcare workers with top hospitals and other medical facilities in the greater Pittsburgh area. Call (412) 325-3420 to apply for an open position today.