How to Become a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)

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What is a licensed vocational nurse or LVN? They are also known as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). Becoming an LVN is one of the quickest ways to become a nurse, as there is not as an extensive amount of education required for most other types of nurses such as registered nurses (RN) or advanced practice nurses.


People in this role must be very compassionate and patient, and be excellent caregivers. LVNs and LPNs perform a variety of patient care tasks including feeding and bathing, giving injections, collecting samples for lab tests, monitoring patients and medical equipment, and dressing wounds.

They also gather information from patients and record it, such as vital signs and any symptoms described by the patient.

Educational Requirements

To become an LVN, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent such as a GED.

After completing your high school education, one must complete a one-year training and education program that may be offered by a community college or vocational school. The program includes classroom instruction and some hands-on training working with patients.

Upon successful completion of the LPN/LVN training program, one must become licensed by passing the licensure exam for LPNs, the NCLEX-PN, which is given by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

According to the Nurse Journal, the exam covers four areas: safe and effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity. Requirements for licensure and acceptance into a training program vary by state, so check with your state's local nursing board for more specifics.


According to the BLS, the median (mid-point) annual income for LVN/LPN is $46,240 as of 2018.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for LPNs/LVNs is excellent. According to the BLS, there will be 11 percent growth in this field with the addition of over 78,100 new jobs during the 10 year period from 2018 to 2028. Therefore, LPN/LVN is an in-demand career.

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