How to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse / Licensed Vocational Nurse

Become a Practical Nurse

Additional Nursing Resources…

Thinking about becoming an LPN or LVN (Texas and California)? The following steps may help you. They’re designed to be a guide, whether you’re a high school student or already have your diploma in hand.

  1. Get a solid foundation in high school. LPN schools often include entry tests to make sure that applicants have the basic skills (reading, writing, and math) that they will need for college success. Applicants may also be asked to take additional tests on skills like dosage calculations.

  2. Also take some vocational and health career exploration classes. If you know early that you are interested in the health professions, you may be able to get into a magnet or vocational school that has a health science focus.

  3. Spend some time in a medical facility, learning about job duties. Job shadowing and volunteering are good bets. You may also want to attend nursing camp. You can learn more about the field and get some practical skills there. You may even earn your CPR certification during nursing camp.

  4. Pursue certification in basic life support and CPR. Also consider CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) certification. Some vocational students are able to get their CNA credential while still in high school. The certification can be great preparation for a nursing career — and some LPN/LVN programs even require it.

  5. Research LPN programs. Make sure they’re accredited and board approved. If the program is not accredited or approved you may risk your eligibility for the NCLEX-PN exam. Find a program that seems like a good fit. Complete the prerequisites, maintaining good grades. A 2.0 is generally the minimum score for admission, and some schools will ask for a higher average in science courses. The higher your GPA, the better your chances of being accepted to a program. (Some schools use a point system when there are too many applicants, so it’s good to go above the minimum.)

  6. You may want to join a professional organization like the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses. Some states have their own association or federation.

  7. Take the NCLEX-PN licensing exam. Fulfill other licensing requirements, including the background check. Some states have very specific licensure requirements.

  8. Now it’s time to find your first nursing job, and you have a lot of resources to help you. Most states have a workforce site. You may be able to post a resume online and search jobs through their database. Networking also helps.

Personality Traits of LPNs and LVNs:

Nurses who stay in the field and succeed have certain traits in common. They have stress tolerance and compassion and can balance professional obligations and personal needs.