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Making the Career Change from Paramedic to LPN

written by: S Wood•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 3/1/2011

Are you opting for a paramedic to LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) career switch? The higher stress and the limited advancement opportunities, among others, might have made you think of a new career. Whatever the reason, the LPN career scores higher on the job outlook and salary points.

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    How to Make the Paramedic to LPN Career Change?

    s A trait of the paramedic to LPN career change is that it leverages your paramedic training and experience, paving the way for a smoother transition. It means, as a paramedic, you already have a strong foundation to make your LPN career dreams come true. A great advantage of your LPN career is that it serves as a stepping stone to become a Registered Nurse (RN).

    A LPN works under the direct supervision of doctors and nurses and supports them in the implementation of the treatment plans. The work of a LPN ranges from conducting preliminary diagnostic tests to checking the blood pressure, pulse and other key signs; administering medication to giving injections.

    A LPN may also perform such duties as applying bandage to wounds, assisting in bathing and monitoring patients’ conditions.

    As an educator, a LPN might teach patients on how to maintain good health and counsel the caretakers on the systematic way of caring for their dear ones.

    Here’s how you make the paramedic to LPN career switch:

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    Training for the Paramedic to LPN Career Change

    As the first step, you’ve got to complete a practical nursing training program. Its duration ranges from nine to eighteen months. Make sure the program you attend has the approval of your State Board of Nursing. A high school diploma, or its equivalent, is essential to enroll in the practical nurse training program.

    Where are the state-approved training centers? These are at the community colleges, vocational schools, high schools, hospitals and others. Visit the website of the Board of Nursing in your state, to get a list of the PN training schools. If your work schedule doesn’t allow you to attend the training full-time, consider an online nursing school.

    What does the training cover? It covers theory and practice. Some of the core courses of the PN training program are Nursing Fundamentals, Nutrition and Diet Therapy and Psychiatric Training. The supervised practical training will be generally at a hospital.

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    What are the LPN Specialization Options?

    A number of areas are available for you, to earn credentials in and climb the career ladder. These fields include obstetrics, pediatrics, gerontology, surgery and psychiatry.

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    LPN Licensure

    To become a LPN, you need a license. It’s granted by your State Nursing Board after you pass the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination – Practical Nurses). The NCSBN (National Council of State Boards of Nursing) develops and administers the NCLEX-PN.

    NCPLEX-PN is a computer-based adaptive test. Get more info about it from NCSBN. At this site, you can also download the 2011 Candidate Bulletin – Full.

    Before you take the NCPLEX-PN, you’ve to apply for the license with the State Board of Nursing of your state. Next, fulfill all of its requirements to take the exam.

    After you qualify to take the exam, register with Pearson Vue, a test service, to take the NCLEX-PN. The test service will issue you the Authorization to Test (ATT) letter. With it, you can schedule the exam with the test service within the validity period given in the letter.

    Download and review the Online Tutorial for NCLEX from the Pearson Vue website.

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    Where are the Jobs for LPNs?

    Hospitals are the main employers of LPNs. Nursing homes and home healthcare services are also a big slice of the LPN employment pie. Physician's offices may also have ample LPN positions.

    Services that cater to the health needs of senior citizens are yet another job avenue for LPNs. The other job landscape for LPNs includes community care centers, outpatient care centers, and government agencies at the state and federal level.

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    How much do LPNs make?

    It’s perhaps a main question you have in your mind, to decide if the paramedic to LPN change is for you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the median annual wages of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses were $39,030 in May 2008.” gives the median salary for LPNs as $41,237.

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    LPN Career Outlook

    The LPN career plateau is bright. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the job prospects are “Very good.” It further estimates that the “Employment of LPNs is projected to grow much faster than average.”

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    NCSBN -

    NCSBN Computerized Adaptive Testing -

    Bureau of Labor Statistics -

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