United States     Canada

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

 Search jobs for "Licensed Practical Nurse"
QUICK FACTS
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
2010 Median Pay $40,380 per year
$19.42 per hour
Entry-Level Education Postsecondary non-degree award
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2010 752,300
Job Outlook, 2010-20 22% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2010-20 168,500

What Licensed Practical Nurses Do

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (known as LPNs or LVNs, depending on the state in which they work) provide basic nursing care. They work under the direction of registered nurses and doctors.

Work Environment

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses work in many settings, including nursing homes and extended care facilities, hospitals, physicians' offices, and private homes. Most work full time.

How to Become a Licensed Practical Nurses

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses must complete a state-approved educational program, which usually takes 1 year. They also must pass an exam and get a license before they can work.

Pay

The median annual wage of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses was $40,380 in May 2010.

Job Outlook

Employment of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses is expected to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.


What Licensed Practical Nurses Do

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (known as LPNs or LVNs, depending on the state in which they work) provide basic medical care. They work under the direction of registered nurses and doctors.

Duties

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses typically do the following:

Duties of LPNs and LVNs vary, depending on their work setting, For example, they may teach family members how to care for a relative; help to deliver, care for, and feed infants; collect samples for testing and do routine laboratory tests; or feed patients who need help eating.

Because medical care is regulated, LPNs and LVNs may be limited to doing certain tasks, depending on their state. In some states, for example, LPNs with proper training can give medication or start intravenous (IV) drips, while in other states they cannot. State regulations govern the extent to which LPNs and LVNs must be directly supervised; for example, an LPN may provide certain forms of care only with instructions from a registered nurse.

Experienced licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses oversee and direct other LPNs or LVNs and unlicensed medical staff.


Work Environment

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses held about 752,300 jobs in 2010

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses work in settings such as nursing homes and extended care facilities, hospitals, physicians' offices, and private homes. LPNs and LVNs often wear scrubs, a type of medical clothing that usually consists of a V-neck shirt and drawstring pants.

Nurses must often be on their feet for much of the day and may have to help lift patients who have trouble moving in bed, standing, or walking. These duties can be stressful, as can dealing with ill and injured people.

Work Schedules

Three-fourths of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses worked full time in 2010. The rest worked part time or on variable schedules. Many LPNs and LVNs work nights, weekends, and holidays because medical care takes place at all hours. They may be required to work shifts of longer than 8 hours.


How to Become a Licensed Practical or Licensed Vocational Nurse

Becoming a licensed practical or licensed vocational nurse requires completing an approved educational program. LPNs and LVNs must also have a license.

Education

LPNs and LVNs must complete an accredited program, which takes about 1 year. These programs are commonly in technical schools and community colleges. They may occasionally be in high schools and hospitals as well. Practical nursing programs combine classroom learning in subjects such as nursing, biology, and pharmacology, with supervised clinical experience. These programs give certificates in practical nursing. Contact your state's board of nursing for a list of approved programs.

Licenses

After getting a certificate, prospective LPNs or LVNs can take the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-PN. They must pass the exam to get a license and work as an LPN or LVN in all states.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses must be empathetic and caring toward the people they serve.

Detail oriented. LPNs and LVNs need to be responsible and detail-oriented because they must make sure that patients get the correct treatment at the right time.

Interpersonal skills. Interacting with patients and healthcare specialists is a big part of their jobs, so LPNs and LVNs need good interpersonal skills.

Patience. Dealing with sick and injured people is often stressful. LPNs and LVNs should be patient so they can cope with stress that can come from providing healthcare to these patients.

Speaking skills. It is important that LPNs and LVNs be able to communicate effectively. For example, they might need to relay a patient's current condition to a registered nurse.

Stamina. LPNs and LVNs should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as bending over patients for a long time.

Advancement

With experience, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses can advance to supervisory positions. Some LPNs and LVNs advance to other medical occupations, such as registered nurses, by getting more education through LPN to RN (registered nurse) education programs. For more information, see the profile on registered nurses.


Pay

The median annual wage of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses was $40,380 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,680, and the top 10 percent earned more than $56,010.

Three-fourths of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses worked full time in 2010. The rest worked part time or on variable schedules. Many LPNs and LVNs work nights, weekends, and holidays because medical care takes place at all hours. They may be required to work shifts of longer than 8 hours.


Job Outlook

Employment of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses is expected to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. As the U.S. population ages, the overall need for healthcare is expected to increase. This trend will lead to increased employment of LPNs and LVNs in hospitals, physicians' offices, and other healthcare settings. LPNs and LVNs also will be needed in residential care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted-living centers. Many procedures that once could be done only in hospitals are now being done outside of hospitals, creating demand in other settings, such as outpatient care centers.

Projected Employment by 2020

920,800 (22% growth from 2010)

 Search jobs for "Licensed Practical Nurse"


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition

Popular Searches

The most popular searches by users for the past 24 hours
lpn nurse doctors office office admin will train for medical assistant medical receptionist nursing lpn nurse doctors office licensced practical nurse nursing assistant medical assistant receptionist cna allegheny health network medical offices registered nurse

Health Careers

Salary, education, and training info for various careers in healthcare