Getting an LPN Degree

Nursing schools award graduates with an LPN degree or diploma for completing the necessary coursework in a licensed practical nurse (LPN) program. Being an LPN can be the start of a full-time career or the first step towards becoming a registered nurse (RN).

An LPN associate degree program takes less time and money than many other nursing programs. There are also far fewer educational requirements than RN degree programs. Find out how becoming an LPN can start your health care career faster.

Benefits of Getting an LPN Degree

Getting an LPN degree online and in person is a great way to test out the healthcare industry without investing too much time and resources. Interested parties can become licensed practical nurses through:

  • An LP associate degree program, which takes about 18 to 24 months to complete. Students may finish programs sooner if they have college credits from previous studies. Similarly, LPN degree graduates can later use their credits towards an RN degree.  

  • An LP diploma program, which takes 12 to 15 months to fulfill coursework. Although program costs will vary by educational institute, the diploma track is generally the cheaper option. 

  • LPN associate degree and diploma programs are relatively inexpensive and quick to obtain. Graduates can start earning an income just within a year or two, and new LPNs can expect an annual salary of $40,000 to $46,000 depending on the state and organization where they work.

The majority of LPNs work in long-term care facilities, which have fewer demanding responsibilities than hospitals and emergency care units. This type of atmosphere is quite beneficial for LPN degree graduates working while pursuing a more advanced degree. Many LPN students work while waiting to get into an RN program.

Using an LP Associate Degree as a Springboard

Workers who plan to later obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or another advanced degree can use an LPN degree to step onto the first rung of the career ladder. By committing to less than two years of school, nursing students can begin working in the field while still pursuing higher education. Working while in school is helpful for adult students with financial responsibilities like living and childcare expenses. 

In addition to being practical, students may have employer-sponsored benefits like tuition assistance. Since nurses are in demand, employers may incentive LPN degree students to become RNs with financial help, which reduces the students’ overall costs. 

What You Can Do With an LPN Degree

Which tasks professionals with an LPN degree can legal do vary by state but typically include basic patient care, such as feeding and grooming. While LPN degree holders often have more administrative tasks than RNs, they often have the following duties:

  • Administer medication

  • Take patients’ vitals

  • Collect samples

  • Report patients’ status to an RN

Workers with an LPN degree may perform other duties specific to where they work, such as feeding infants in a maternity ward. Students may choose an LPN associate degree program that specializes in a particular area, for instance, pharmacology or long-term care. With experience, LPNs may oversee nursing assistants. 

How to Get an LPN Degree 

Getting an LPN degree online is a very convenient option and it significantly reduces educational costs. However, while students may be able to do the majority of their coursework for an LPN nursing degree online, a portion of campus instruction is typical.

Before enrolling, it is important to verify that the program is approved by the state. Junior and community colleges, as well as teaching hospitals, are institutes that often have state-approved nursing programs. Many accredited schools require prospective students to pass an entrance exam or provide transcripts for previously completed education such as proof of completing high school.

Depending on whether the program is for an LPN degree or diploma, students will need to complete coursework on the following studies:

  • Medical terminology

  • Anatomy and physiology

  • Foods and nutrition

  • Growth and development

  • General psychology

LPN degree students who choose a specialty, such as IV therapy or hospice care will have additional education requirements. Associate degree students will have more in-debt studies as well as general subjects like English composition and biology.

After completing LPN degree coursework and supervised clinical practice, students will need to pass the NCLEX exam to obtain a license. The multiple-choice exam takes up to five hours to complete.