How to Become an LPN: 5 Steps to Earning Your Scrubs
You’ve always known that you like to care for people. Whether it is for a child, an aging parent or a heartbroken friend, you seem to have extra reserves of compassion when someone needs your help. Many people consider the medical field for that very reason but don’t have the time to invest in years of schooling. If that sounds like you, keep reading!
There are plenty of healthcare career options for individuals spanning all education levels. One of the most attractive options is becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN). Jobs in this field are expected to increase by 16 percent through 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS). This is more than twice the average growth for all occupations.
LPN jobs are projected to increase by 16% through 2024.
But how long does it take to become an LPN? The exact timing for studying, applying and earning licensure is flexible and completely up to you, but you can get started in this position in as few as 18 months!
Do we have your attention yet? Before you get too far ahead of yourself, let’s take a look at how to become an LPN. Read on for a quick breakdown of what the next 18 months could look like on your path to a meaningful new career.*
Step 1: Choose a nursing school
It should come as no surprise that the first step is to research. There are thousands of nursing schools across the country. Before you commit to investing so much time and money into a program, it’s important to be confident that it will meet your needs.
It might be helpful to make a list of the factors that are most important to you before you dive headfirst into the sea of schools out there. It’s also important to have an end goal in mind. Are you aiming to work as an LPN for the long haul or is your objective to continue advancing your career? This is good to know upfront because many schools also offer LPN-to-RN programs and even RN-to-BSN programs, allowing you to seamlessly build on your education in future.
Tip: Keep a list of your favorite schools for easy access to apply once you finish your TEAS test.
Step 2: Sit for the TEAS test
The Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS Test) is the standardized test required to get into nursing school—think of it as the SAT or ACT for nurses. Whether you are a great test-taker or not, standardized tests are always a bit nerve-wracking. That is why it is best to sign up for a time slot (sooner rather than later) and treat it as your deadline.
Predict how much time you think you’ll need to prepare and schedule your test accordingly. Note that some schools participate in the Assessment Technologies Institute’s website for registration and payment for the test, while others don’t. Check the ATI website to see if your preferred school is included. If you don’t see your school in the database, contact the program directly for information about the test.
Tip: Check out this article for some expert tips on passing the TEAS test on your first try.
Step 3: Complete a 12-month program
That’s not a misprint! One calendar year is all it takes to complete a typical LPN program. This time may be spent in class, in clinicals or online, depending on the program you choose.
You’ll learn the ins and outs of providing direct patient care in a variety of healthcare settings. Many programs, such as Rasmussen College, have NCLEX preparation built right into the curriculum, making sure you’re ready to pass the exam as soon as you graduate.
Tip: Check out these expert tips for surviving nursing school stress.
Step 4: Sit for the NCLEX exam
Where passing the TEAS test gives you the green light to enroll in nursing school, passing the NCLEX exam qualifies you to start actually practicing as a nurse. It is basically a post-graduation final exam. Your year in school will be spent preparing you to pass this test, but you may want to take some extra time to study up once you graduate.
Taking the NCLEX exam may seem like a long time away at the moment, but knowing what lies ahead will help keep you focused while completing your nursing program. After all, all of that studying and training means nothing until you pass the exam.
Tip: Check out these little-known tips for passing the NCLEX exam.
Step 5: Find a job
This is the fun part; the step where all of your hard work pays off! With your LPN training and NCLEX in the rearview mirror, you can start seeking open positions and submitting your resumes. And if you remember how fast employment in this field is increasing, you should feel hopeful about your employment opportunities.
Tip: Check out this interactive map to find out exactly how significant the nursing shortage is near you!
Ready to get started?
So there you have it—how to become an LPN in five steps! Now that you have a game plan, are you ready to execute it? Taking the first step now could mean you’ll be stepping into your new scrubs in as few as 18 months!
Learn how the Rasmussen College LPN program can help you make your dream a reality!
*Time to complete is dependent on accepted transfer credits and courses completed each quarter.