For those interested in a career in nursing, learning how to become an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) is a great way to secure an entry-level position. The fastest way to get into licensed practical nursing is to enroll in an online LPN program. With online courses saving so much time and money, it is no wonder that a growing number of students are choosing to get their education online instead of through traditional LPN schools. Best of all, because nursing is one of the fastest-growing occupations in America, you can be confident after taking the four easy steps outlined below that you will be well on your way to earning a great salary.
How to Become an LPN in Four Easy Steps
No. 1 – Complete an Accredited LPN Program
The first step is to complete a practical nursing program at an accredited school (note that in order to become an LPN you do not need to already have a Bachelor’s degree). Learning how to become an LPN can be done online or in a traditional classroom setting through a vocational center, technical school, or community college. This training takes as little as one year to complete.
In typical LPN courses the student will learn different nursing principles such as Pediatrics, Adult Health, and Psychology. In order to qualify for admission to a nursing program you must have at least a high school diploma or your GED.
No. 2 – Test for Your License
Next up, you will need to get licensed. The licensing exam is called the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-PN). It is developed and administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN) which has boards located in 50 states as well as the District of Colombia and U.S. territories of America Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands.
Most of the questions on the exam are multiple choice and draw on topics such as health promotion and maintenance, using safety in a healthcare environment, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity. Helpful NCLEX-PN study resources are available at most testing centers.
No. 3 – Gain Work Experience
Third, you will want to sharpen your skills in nursing with work experience. While you are working on your resume and awaiting results of the exam, you may want to experience the mental and physical demands of being a nurse.
Nurses spend many hours on their feet as well as lifting patients and pushing gurneys from one place to another. Also, a nurse will be bombarded with physiological demands on a daily basis. In the same day you may be faced with a variety of diverse situations such as saving a life, death, and grouchy patients. It is very important to keep your cool and stay professional, and this is something that schools can’t really teach how as you learn how to become an LPN.
No. 4 – Start Your Career
After you have received the results of the NCLEX nursing exam and have mentally prepared yourself for the upcoming challenges associated with nursing careers, it will be time to start looking for a job. The good news is the nursing field is full of great opportunities.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for LPNs will increase by 14% by the year 2016. The only question is where you want to work.
The LPN job description can change dramatically from one health care facility to the next, so it is recommended that you focus on the area of health care that interests you.
Reasons to Learn How to Become an LPN
Becoming an LPN is an exciting and rewarding career. The current annual practical nursing salary is $36,000 to 43,000 a year. Just think, by following the four easy steps involved in learning how to become an LPN, you can have a rewarding career in nursing in two years or less.