How To Become An LPN(Licensed Practical Nurse): Salary & Career

If you seek challenging, rewarding, and exciting career opportunities in the healthcare field, then the LPN post might sound right for you. Choosing LPN as a career opportunity is one of the best and most affordable ways to start in the healthcare industry. Also, this nursing job comes with the responsibility of serving ill and injured people, which gives you a fortunate chance to help somebody. 

But as easy as the duties of an LPN sound, becoming an LPN is not such a piece of cake. One needs to follow a specific procedure and be skilled to get a job as an LPN. Keep reading to learn what an LPN exactly does and how to become one. 


What Is A Licensed Practical Nurse?

An LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) is a popular nursing post responsible for caring for patients. LPNs provide medical care to patients, which includes administering medication, dressing wounds, tracking a patient’s health status, and performing certain lab tests. Also, LPNs assist patients in tasks like drinking, eating, and dressing. 

Skills Required For Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse

A person willing to become an LPN should have a mix of technical and human skills. A few common and critical licensed practical nurse requirements that every LPN should have are:


You will deal with people in pain and stress during your working hours. So if you are empathetic, you will better understand their condition and meet their emotional and physical needs. 


Being cooperative with your team is essential for an LPN, as he is supposed to work with RNs, LPNs, and doctors. Thus, the quality of being a team player will benefit you in this profession.

Physical Strength

One should be physically fit if he is trying his luck in nursing, especially for LPNs. As LPNs need to work on their feet most of the day, they should have the physical strength to deal with it. As an LPN, you are supposed to shift patients, dress them, and do other activities that require physical stamina.

Strong Ethics

LPNs work with patients’ personal records and data. Also, this job includes patient care and physical hygiene that involve a sense of caution and ethical standards.

Medical Language

If you are choosing to become an LPN, you should have a good command of medical language and terminology. With knowledge of the medical language, you can easily communicate with nurses and doctors and also understand the patient’s care plan provided by doctors.

Attention To Particulars

Monitoring the patient’s condition and tracking their progress is part of the LPN’s job. And in these tasks, attention to detail is important. 

What Does A Licensed Practical Nurse Do?

LPNs (licensed practical nurses) work under the instructions of registered nurses and doctors. They provide basic medical care to the patients. Also, every state has a particular set of regulations that determine if an RN must supervise an LPN. Few LPNs can only perform medical activities under the supervision of an RN or a physician. 

Depending on the guidelines of the state, the medical duties of LPNs do vary. For example, in some states, giving IV medication and intravenous (IV) fluid drips is permitted for LPNs. While in other states, they may not perform these tasks. The common duties of a licensed practical nurse include:

  • Monitoring patients’ health states and checking their blood pressure
  • Changing bandages & inserting catheters.
  • Giving a hand to patients for dressing, bathing, and feeding.
  • Keeping detailed records of the patient’s health.
  • Reporting the health state of a patient to doctors and physicians.
  • Pay focus to patients’ concerns and inform their families about their health progress.

Where Do LPNs Work?

LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses) work in various healthcare and nursing facilities, which include hospitals, residential care setups, private practice, home health agencies, and government setups. 


According to the BLS, a good number of LPNs are hired in hospitals to assist with their regular work. There, you can work for different posts, including health nurses, nursing assistants, or medical assistants.

Private Facilities

Apart from nursing homes and hospitals, LPNs can also get jobs in private settings. If you get training or certificates in specialized fields like dermatology, gerontology, pediatrics, and others, you can easily get a job in private practice. LPNs who work for physicians perform both administrative and healthcare roles. 

Home Health Agencies

LPNs work for home health agencies to provide patients with basic care. They do plenty of medical duties like delivering supplies, administering medication, providing care, and changing the wounds of patients in their homes.

Government Setups

A small percentage of LPNs also work in federal, state, and local government facilities like state-owned and operated clinics and hospitals. LPNs in government facilities do similar jobs as they do at private clinics, hospitals, and agencies. If you get an LPN position in any government setting, you are very lucky because of the higher salary you will get.

Also Read:  How To Provide Emotional Support To Patients And Their Families?

How Can You Start a Career As A Licensed Practical Nurse?

To start your career as an LPN (licensed practical nurse), firstly, you need to get a GED or high school diploma. Also, you need to earn a passing certificate of ATI TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills). After that, there are a few more steps to follow, and you are on your way to becoming an LPN. Let’s dive into these steps one by one.

Complete Early Requirements And Pick A Nursing School

Firstly, one needs to complete early licensed practical nurse education to become an LPN, which has been mentioned above. After that, one must pick a nursing school or nursing program, considering a few factors. These factors include accreditation, offered programs, program structure, and more. Always look for a school or program with the approval of the state’s board of nursing. Also, you can enroll yourself in online and related part-time options. You may need to pass the TEAS to be eligible for practical nursing programs.

Choose Your Path Between Degree & Diploma

By completing a practical nursing program, you can earn your diploma, or you can get your degree by completing practical nursing programs. If you are willing to start as an LPN but hoping for expansion in your field in the future, you can consider getting a degree. Having a degree in your hand can help you become an RN ( Registered Nurse) in the future. While going for a diploma may help you get an early start on your career. 

Qualify The National Licensure Examination For Practical Nurses

Once you graduate or have completed your practical nursing program, the next step is to crack the NCLEX-PN exam ( national licensure exam for practical nurses). To be a part of this test, you need to apply for authorization to test through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing or your state board of nursing. 

Start Applying For Jobs  

Once you meet all required certification and educational needs, you are officially an LPN (licensed practical nurse). You can start searching and applying for job opportunities at healthcare facilities. Also, you can go for in-home care opportunities. While searching for related jobs, keep things in mind that are important to you. These include the kind of facility you want to work at and the specialties you have or want to learn. Considering such things will help you get the best for you in the nursing field. 

Earn Professional Certificates

Earning professional certificates might be an optional step in becoming an LPN, but it does play an important role in finding a job. If you have additional professional certificates showing specializations, it can make you a more attractive candidate at the time of hiring. Also, it can make your interview process much easier. So go for a few certification courses like pharmacology, long-term care, and IV therapy offered by NAPNES ( National Association of Practical Nurse Education and Service).

Salary Structure Of Licensed Practical Nurse

In 2021, the report of BLS (Basic Life Support) stated that the median annual salary package for a Licensed Practical Nurse is $48,070. Also, LPNs in specific areas can earn up to $50,000. The lowest salary estimate for an LPN is less than $37,150, and the highest salary is more than $63,790. Besides the actual salary package, one also gets additional benefits, including bonuses, overtime, holiday pay, and more. Let’s review the salary structure of different LPN job posts. 

Salary Structure Of LPN

LPN Post TitleYearly             Monthly         Weekly       Hourly
Staff Nurse$75,833          $6,319         $1,458        $36.46
LPN RN Nurse$75,776           $6,314          $1,457         $36.43
Licensed Practical Vocational Nurse$73,368           $6,114          $1,410          $35.27
LPN Quality Assurance$67,392           $5,616          $1,296        $32.40
LPN care manager$65,616         $5,468            $1,261         $31.55

How Long Does It Take To Become A LPN?

Depending on the type of job, part-time or full-time, standard practical nursing programs take around one to two years. Few schools offer accelerated practical nursing programs that one can complete in less than seven months. And an ADN (associate of science degree in nursing) takes two years if you choose to become an LPN that way. But it is not a common route to becoming an LPN. 

What Is The Difference Between LPN And RN? 

LPN (licensed practical nurse) and RN (registered nurse) are both in the nursing field but have different responsibilities. LPNs don’t have the full scope of practice that RNs do. They directly deal with patients and their families and provide patients with medical care. Also, they perform basic medical duties and ensure that the patient is comfortable. 

An RN (registered nurse) plays a management role, usually supervising LPNs. RN manage medication and perform medical duties in healthcare setups. They work closely with patients’ doctors. Also, they formulate plans and provide the required treatment. 

Apart from the duties, the education and training methods of LPNs and RN also differ. The RN (registered nurse) must earn a BSN (bachelor’s degree in nursing) and an ADN (associate’s degree in nursing).

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