LPN Programs

LPN programs provide foundational nursing education for those aspiring to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. They offer essential clinical and theoretical training, typically lasting about 12 to 15 months.
LPN Programs

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LPN programs provide the hands-on training, professional support, and clinical experience aspiring nurses need to pursue successful careers as licensed practical nurses. The program is designed to help nursing students become career-ready and pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN), a required test to earn LPN certification.

What Are LPN Programs?

Licensed practical nurses provide basic bedside care and support to people who are injured, sick, convalescent, or disabled. They measure and record vital signs, tend to wounds and minor injuries, and assist with activities of daily living, including eating, bathing, dressing, and personal hygiene. Some LPNs also give injections, administer medication, perform placement of catheters, and manage intravenous drips and other complex medical equipment.

LPN programs prepare students with theoretical, clinical, and practical nursing knowledge to perform basic nursing tasks as licensed practical nurses. LPN programs generally include introductory courses in anatomy and physiology, nutrition, pharmacology, medical terminology, patient care, nursing process, and patient assessment. They are offered by community colleges or vocational-technical schools and are typically one year in length, culminating in a practical nursing diploma or certificate.

What to Expect From LPN Programs

In addition to classroom learning, practical nursing programs also require students to complete many clinical hours in hospitals or other healthcare facilities. This allows students to apply their theoretical knowledge in a real-world setting and gain hands-on experience working directly with patients. As part of their training, students can expect to learn about:
  • Basic nursing care, including wound care and infection control
  • Assisting patients with activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, using the toilet, and eating
  • How to measure and monitor a patient’s vital signs, including heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature
  • How to collect samples for testing, record intake and output, and perform routine laboratory tests
  • Administering medication, starting intravenous fluids, and performing catheterizations
  • Safe injection practices, correct dosage calculations, and the side effects of medications
  • Critical thinking skills and the nursing process, including assessment, diagnosis, planning, intervention, evaluation, and other professional behaviors
  • How to communicate effectively with patients, families, and members of the healthcare team
  • How to provide compassionate and ethical care to patients in a variety of health care settings

LPN Program Requirements

Each state and nursing program may have different requirements for admission, but the general guidelines are as follows:
  • Applicants must be at least 18 years old at the time of application.
  • Applicants must have a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate.
  • Applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency that will meet the demands of classroom instruction, written assignments, and discussions.
  • If English is not the applicant’s first/primary language, they must have a minimum TOEFL score determined by their state.
  • Applicants must pass a criminal background check and a health and physical examination.
  • Applicants must complete all required immunizations before entering the nursing program.
In some cases, schools may impose additional requirements such as a minimum grade point average and satisfactory completion of prerequisite courses in science such as biology, chemistry, anatomy, and math. It is also common for a program to require basic testing or assessment before admission (such as a skills checklist or written exam). The Test of Essential Academic Skills, or TEAS, is the most frequently used standardized exam for this requirement.

What Nurses Say About LPN Programs

Becoming an LPN has significantly improved my life. It’s a fantastic entry point into healthcare and offers a decent income. I’m looking forward to starting my LPN to RN program next year. As an LPN, I’ve worked in primary care, ER at a level 1 facility, and at a rehab facility. These experiences have been incredibly beneficial and have taught me so much. I completed my program in 18 months at a vocational school.
LPN Programs

Irene S.

Licensed Practical Nurse

I’ve just received my LPN license, and I’m feeling great about my training! I attended a state college and spent most of the 12-month program in a hospital setting. My GPA when I started was 2.85, but I didn’t want to wait any longer to enter an RN program. I’m 28 years old now, and I hope to bridge to an RN program next year.

LPN Programs

Kim C.

LPN, Future RN 🙂

I attended a vocational school to become an LPN, and I’ve gained valuable experience in my 7 years working in this role. The salary is decent, and I’m planning to pursue my RN soon. There are many LPN to RN programs available, so I’m currently researching my options. Personally, I don’t regret starting as an LPN before becoming an RN. It was a quick entry into the healthcare field, and I could earn a decent salary. The decision really depends on your individual circumstances and what suits you best.
LPN Programs

Natalie H.

Licensed Practical Nurse

Online LPN Programs

Student enrollment in online classes has increased exponentially over the past ten years as technology has improved and the popularity of distance learning has grown. Online LPN programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional classroom-based instruction and allow working adults to complete their education while working and meeting other obligations.

Many accredited nursing programs offer courses in blended or hybrid formats that combine virtual or simulated classroom instruction with traditional, face-to-face clinical training. This approach is ideal for students seeking LPN certification, as it allows them to complete most of their academic coursework online while still gaining the hands-on clinical experience required to sit for the NCLEX PN exam.

LPN Program Curriculum

Practical nursing programs feature a robust curriculum delivered in an intense and fast-paced format. The goal is to provide students with a targeted nursing education that addresses the various anatomical systems, medical conditions, and patient care needs they will encounter in their professional nursing careers.

The curriculum of a practical nursing program will include content in the following focus areas:

Human Anatomy and Physiology

A significant portion of a practical nursing program is dedicated to studying human anatomy and physiology. Students will learn about the main systems of the human body that work together to produce and maintain life. They will also explore the structure and function of body systems, tissues, cells, and organs. This information is essential for understanding how the human body responds to illness and injury.


Pathophysiology is the study of how disease causes biological and physical abnormalities in the body. In many ways, the pathophysiology is considered the foundation of practice for nurses. It helps explain the scientific basis behind patients’ symptoms and helps outline a nurse’s primary responsibilities.

A practical nursing program will teach students how to recognize physiological changes that occur due to common disorders and assist in the treatment of acute and chronic illnesses. They also learn how to communicate with physicians and other healthcare professionals regarding how the patient’s condition is evolving.

Nursing Assessment

Nursing assessment involves collecting and evaluating information about a patient’s current and future care needs and the documentation and communication of the information collected to significant others and healthcare team members.

In a practical nursing program, LPN students will learn how to incorporate evidence-based practice and apply critical thinking skills during the nursing process to develop and guide a plan of care. This approach to patient care helps a licensed practical nurse (LPN) tailor interventions and care to each patient’s unique needs.

Infection Control

Infection control and prevention is one of the first topics covered in a nursing program as it is essential to the safety of both patients and workers in all health professions. Nurses who provide bedside care can positively impact patient outcomes and infection control with basic strategies and best practices that halt the spread of viruses, bacteria, and infectious diseases.

LPN students will learn about standard precautions for nursing care, including proper hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, proper handling of equipment, disinfection and sterilization guidelines, and response protocols after exposure to infectious material.

Nursing Theory

Nursing theory helps define and guide nursing care and provides a foundation for decision-making in clinical settings. Health care practitioners and researchers use it to explain the purpose of the nursing profession, categorize the role of nurses, and provide frameworks for nursing interventions. LPN classes help nurses better understand the reasoning behind their actions, the effects of their interventions on patients, and how to apply nursing theories to improve patient outcomes.

Nutrition and Food Safety

Proper nutrition and food hygiene play a significant role in disease prevention and the ongoing good health of vulnerable patients at increased risk for developing health problems. Poor nutrition can weaken the immune system, making patients more susceptible to infection and chronic disease.

A licensed practical nurse must understand the importance of nutrition basics and be able to pass their knowledge about healthy food choices to their patients. This is especially important for patients with chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Patients in nursing homes, acute care, or long term care settings may require special attention to their dietary needs.

LPN to RN Bridge Programs

LPN to RN programs are designed for LPNs who want to transition to a higher level of nursing practice by earning an RN degree. As the name suggests, a “bridge” program allows students to transfer college credits between two post-secondary programs that require different amounts of education and training to complete. This enables LPNs to build on their existing knowledge and experience without repeating courses or starting from scratch.

For example, an LPN to RN program may award transfer credits for prior general education courses such as English, math, anatomy, biology, and physiology. Similarly, advanced standing credit may be given for LPN-level coursework in medical terminology, pharmacology, and other topics related to nursing care. This can significantly reduce the time and money required to complete an RN program.

LPN to ADN Bridge Programs

LPN to ADN bridge programs can be completed in as little as 15 months of full-time study, rather than the usual two years needed to earn an ADN degree. Graduates of this program earn an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing and are qualified to take the NCLEX-RN exam, leading to licensure as a registered nurse.

LPN to BSN Bridge Programs

LPN to BSN programs are designed to broaden your clinical judgment and ability to deliver quality care. Graduates of this program earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing and can take the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses, leading to licensure as an RN.

Many bridge programs allow students to test out of specific courses if they already know the material by taking exams that measure their knowledge in particular areas. For example, some clinical practicum requirements are often waived for students with nursing experience that is equivalent to the specific course. LPN to BSN programs often utilize this method to give students a faster, more efficient way to earn a bachelor’s degree.

LPN Programs Near Me

LPN programs are offered by various occupational education providers at the vocational-technical and community college level. See our list of state pages below to find additional information about programs near you. We provide contact information for each school, including website links, so that you can request more information about admissions, tuition, and program requirements.

Additional Resources

LPN Programs FAQ

What is the fastest way to become an LPN?

The fastest way to become a licensed practical nurse is to complete an accelerated or “fast-track” LPN program. Most classes in an accelerated program are self-paced and completed online, while clinical training is experienced in person at an approved nursing facility. Full-time students enrolled in this type of program can significantly reduce the time it takes to meet the NCLEX PN examination requirements and earn certification.

How long is an LPN to RN program?

The total time to complete an LPN to RN program depends on the degree you pursue. If you pursue an associate’s degree, the program can take 15 to 24 months. An LPN to BSN program can take anywhere from 36 to 48 months, depending on the program’s format.

How much do LPNs make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) employed in the United States earns an average annual salary of $ 51,850. While this number may seem low compared to registered nurses and other professionals in the healthcare industry, the pay is still significant for a job with relatively few requirements for education and training.

As the population ages, the demand for healthcare services will continue to grow. This, combined with the fact that many current LPNs are nearing retirement age, means that there will be an increasing need for practical nurses in the coming years.

Is an LPN program difficult?

LPN programs can be challenging depending on the aptitude and educational background of the student enrolled in the course. The most important thing to remember is that all careers in healthcare require a strong work ethic and dedication, so the keys to your success are up to you.

What is the difference between an LPN and a registered nurse?

The scope of practice for LPNs is more limited than that of a registered nurse. LPNs work under the supervision of physicians and RNs, who play a more active role in conceptualizing treatment plans and performing more complex interventions. LPNs can oversee certified nursing assistants (CNAs), but most of their work is more task-driven and focused on patient care rather than management.

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