Licensed practical nurses and licensed vocation nurses must have a state license to practice their profession in the medical field. Before obtaining a license, LPNs and LVNs must complete a state board of nursing approved education program. These programs can be completed through a number of local and community colleges, vocational schools, and hospitals.
Upon completion of the above mentioned education program, LPNs will receive a LPN certificate or an associate’s degree. Some education programs will issue both. LPN certificate programs are most often offered by two year community colleges and trade schools. Certificate programs for licensed practical nurses offer the same courses of study as other LPN programs and combine classroom study with hands-on clinical practice. Check with your state board of nursing to determine if a LPN certificate is required in your state.
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LPN certificates can be earned within two to three semesters of full-time enrollment as a nursing student, usually less than a year. In order to qualify for a LPN certificate program, potential students must have a high school diploma or GED, although a high school diploma is preferred and even required by specific educational institutions. Some programs mays also require applicants to pass a basic aptitude test or complete introductory courses in biology and anatomy prior to enrolling.
Students will gain the educational preparation and experience necessary for taking the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) through LPN certificate programs. Passing the NCLEX-PN is required in all state to practice as a LPN or LVN and must be done before a practical nurse or vocation nurse license is issued.
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Continuing education for practical nurse certificate holders is optional. LPN certificate holders can go on to earn an associate’s degree in nursing, a bachelor’s degree in nursing, or both. Depending on the educational program completed, LPNs may at this point be eligible to take the NCLEX for registered nurses.
Certificates do not need to be renewed.