Become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

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What is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)?

A licensed practical nurse cares for patients under the supervision of registered nurses and doctors. While LPNs may be found in all medical facilities, some are specialized and work in places like nursing homes or in home health care.

What does a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) do?

A few of the typical duties of a licensed practical nurse (LPN) include:

  • Providing bedside care
  • Taking and recording vital signs
  • Preparing and administering injections
  • Preparing and administering enemas
  • Dressing wounds
  • Assisting with patient bathing
  • Assisting patients with standing, walking and moving in bed
  • Collecting test samples from patients
  • Helping to deliver babies
  • Helping to care for infants

What is the difference between a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and a Registered Nurse (RN)?

A registered nurse is required to have more education/training than a licensed practical nurse and works in a supervisory position over licensed practical nurses. It is possible to move from being a licensed practical nurse to being a registered nurse, with appropriate education and licensing.

What education and training is necessary to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)?

A typical LPN program takes about a year to complete. Additionally, an exam must be passed and licensing must be obtained. There are programs available to help finance nursing education via grants and loans. The financial aid officer of the school of interest will have that information. Additionally, the FAQs section of lists links to information regarding how to get federal aid applications and the Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program (NSLFP).

Other sources such as and offer resources and information for those wishing to pursue an education in nursing but need help with financing it. There may be some sources of financial assistance for the cost of the exam and licensing, as well.

What are the licensing requirements for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)?

There are licensing requirements, but the specifics vary by state. Contact information for individual state nursing boards may be found at a State-by-State listing page on the website.

What are the potential earnings and job outlook for a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)?

According to, the median hourly rate in the United States for an LPN ranges from $12.76 to $22.07, based upon years of experience. The job outlook for licensed practical nurses is “very good” according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (2010-11), but also depends upon “the industry”.


Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition. United States Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hourly Rate Survery Report for Job: Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Updated January 26, 2010. FAQs. Nursing Scholarships.

Boards of Nursing – State by State.

This post is part of the series: Careers in Nursing

The demand for qualified nurses is ongoing. The various nursing career opportunities such as CNA, LPN and RN are covered in this series, including training, education, exams, licensing, and average salary for each.

  1. How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
  2. How to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
  3. How to Become a Registered Nurse (RN)