How Long Does Licensed Practical Nursing School Take?

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) work under the supervision of registered nurses and doctors to provide basic medical care to patients. They perform such tasks as monitoring a patient’s vital signs, helping them with their grooming needs like bathing and bringing their concerns to their physicians. They are essential members of a hospital’s healthcare team.

If you’re planning to go into the healthcare profession but don’t want to have to spend a lot of time in school, licensed practical nursing is a highly recommended path. This is because you can complete an LPN program in one year or less if you enroll as a fulltime student. In some schools, you can get your certificate in as short as nine months.

You can expect to spend a longer time in school if you enroll as a part-time student. This is the best option if you are currently working to be able to support yourself. The amount of time you can expect to spend in school to complete an LPN program actually depends on the institution. In some community colleges, LPN students studying part-time can finish their program in five semesters or a little over two years. In others, it can be a bit shorter at 18 months. Classes for part-time schedules are typically held in the evenings and weekends.

Completing an LPN program won’t be enough to allow you to work as a licensed practical nurse. You have to factor in the preparation time you need to study for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Passing the NCLEX-PN test is a requirement in all states before LPNs can practice. If you don’t pass during your first try, it will obviously take you longer to earn your license and start working so you should review seriously for this exam.

If you want to advance in your healthcare career and increase your earning potential, you may want to take an LPN to RN bridge program to become a registered nurse. Once you already have work experience as an LPN, you can enroll in a bridge program that would grant you either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. Instead of the usual two years to earn an associate’s degree in nursing, it will only take a year to complete with a bridge program. If you prefer to get a bachelor’s degree instead, expect to spend two and a half to three years in school under a bridge program. This is shorter than the typical four-year bachelor of science in nursing degree. After completing an LPN to RN bridge program, you will also need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) so that you can work as a registered nurse.

If you wish to take your nursing degree further, you can continue to spend time in school and earn your master’s degree. This will enable you to work as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) as a nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist. These postgraduate studies can take a year or two to complete and opens doors to more lucrative APRN positions.

Career Spotlight: Licensed Practical Nurse

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