If you want to start your career in nursing but are not sure how – then LPN or Practical Nursing could be your safest route. With basic patient care activities, you will be familiar with the role, and the fast-paced, demanding world of nursing.

To make sure you (LPNs) do well, the experienced RNs and Doctors supervise you thereby guiding you in your every footstep. This makes the role easier, knowing you have mentors all around. Isn’t it fascinating?

So, we have compiled all the information regarding Practical Nursing. In this article, we will guide you through the course overview, the roles and responsibilities, the skills required to succeed in this role, the salary data, career advancement opportunities, and much more.

Let’s explore –  

What is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)?

What Is Practical Nursing

An LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse, is an entry-level nursing professional with a certificate in the LPN program and has passed the national exam – NCLEX-PN, thereby earning a license to practice.

As an LPN, you will be working under the supervision of the RNs and the Physicians, providing basic and specialized medical care to patients in a variety of healthcare settings. Post-experience, you will be the same guiding light to the CNAs, and certified nurse assistants.

You may also like:

-> How to Become an LPN?

-> How to Become a CNA?

-> How to Become an LVN?

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Course Overview

Course Credits 44
Course Duration 1-2 Years
Course Cost $4,000 or $15,000
License National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN)
Job Forecast Grow by 9 % from 2019 to 2029 *BLS

Course Curricula

Not two courses might be similar but overall, you will be learning similar topics like –

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology  
  • Nutrition  
  • Early childhood development
  • Medical terminology
  • Clinical laboratory methods
  • Patient care
  • Infection control protocols
  • Nursing care
  • Clinical hours

Is LPN and LVN the same?

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

Yes. The LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) and the LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) are different titles for the same job with a difference, if any, lying in their name.

In fact, most states use the title LPN for practical nurses, though some states use LVN more frequently. California and Texas are the only two states which utilize the LVN title and the remaining 48 United States use LPN for practical nurses.


-> What is Nursing?

-> Is Nursing a Good Career?

-> How Long Is Nursing School?

Roles and Responsibilities

As an LPN, you will work under the supervision of the RNs and the Doctors. Your daily tasks include various responsibilities like –

  • Monitoring patients’ health by regularly checking their blood pressure and other vital signs.
  • Administer basic medical care by changing bandages and inserting catheters.
  • Provide basic comfort care by helping patients go to the washroom, change them, organize them, feed them, deliver medications, etc.
  • You must keep detailed records of every patient’s health.
  • You are responsible for reporting a patient’s health status to doctors and other providers.
  • You must listen to the patient’s concerns and discuss the care you are providing with the patient’s family.

Skills Of a Licensed Practical Nurse

As an LPN you need some basic skills to conduct your job efficiently. The skills are –

Effective Communication Skills

You need effective communication skills to interact with the patients, understand their worries, and then revert to the doctors on their behalf. You need skills to calm down the tense family member or attendant of the patient. Overall, effective communication skills will decide if you are a good nurse or not.  

Strong Organizational Skills

Nursing is a fast-paced role and you will be needing to have strong organizational skills in this demanding role. Your multitasking and information management skills will decide the health and welfare of the patient.

Patience, Tolerance, and Empathy

Not everyone can deal with challenges like accompanying the patient, helping them go to the washroom, changing them, organizing them, delivering medications, etc. This job is set to test your patience. You need to be compassionate toward the patient even if they are rude. Your ability to tolerate and make the job done will assure the health and well-being of a patient.   

Learn More:

-> Nursing Degree Levels

-> Nursing Degree Online

Work Environment

Master’s Degree in Nursing – What is an MSN

As an LPN you might land a job in any healthcare setting, like –

  • Hospitals
  • Physicians’ offices
  • Nursing homes
  • Extended care facilities
  • Private homes (home health care)

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Average Salary of a Practical Nurse – LPN

According to BLS, the annual average salary for an LPN is $57,254. However, the salary data might vary in some states, where you might earn more or less than the average salary. Below is the list of states and salary data where you may earn more than the average salary –


Annual Average Salary: $62,056


Annual Average Salary: $61,550

New York

Annual Average Salary: $61,272


Annual Average Salary: $60,765


Annual Average Salary: $58,883


Annual Average Salary: $58,600


Annual Average Salary: $58,032


Annual Average Salary: $57,878

Career Advancement Opportunity

As an LPN you also have many opportunities to advance your career by enrolling in certification programs. The programs are –

  • Patient counseling certification
  • Intravenous (IV) therapy certification
  • Advanced life support certification
  • Long-term and hospice care certification
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training

Also, you can go after other traditional degree options like –

  • LPN to ASN  
  • LPN to BSN Bridge option

Degree Options:

-> Associate Degree in Nursing

-> Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

-> Master’s Degree in Nursing

Pros and Cons of Being an LPN

The Challenges of Nursing Career

Like any degree or certificate program course, there are some pros and cons of an LPN program as well. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of being a Practical Nursing –

Pros Cons
Shorter Training Period Than RNs Not much earning potential
Easier to start a job Less authority – Needs to work under RNs.
More affordable than an ADN degree Fewer specializations
Continued demand Hectic routine, need to take up orders, might lead to burnout
Useful Career Experience No work-life balance, work is more or at par with RNs
Career advancement Opportunity Burnout, Stress – Emotional and physical demands


How Long Does It Take to Become An LPN?

Most LPN programs take 1 to 2 years to complete but it is your pace that decides the time of completion.

What Is the Starting Salary of a Licensed Practical Nurse?

The starting salary could vary from – $48,070 to $57,254, later is the average salary for LPNs.

Will the LPN vs. LVN title impact my job search and employment eligibility?

No, the HRs understand the issue very well that the titles depend on the state providing you licensure. You don’t have to worry about that. 


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About the Author
Grant founded OnlineDegree.com with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.