Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) are indispensable members of healthcare teams in hospitals, medical centers, long-term care facilities, surgical centers, and other facilities across the country. From gathering health history, performing crucial medical tasks, and working with a larger health team to produce positive patient outcomes, these individuals' skills are lifesaving—literally. And the job outlook for LVNs is good; the field is expected to grow by nine percent between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS.
Are you interested in becoming an LVN? Here's what you'll need to do:
Graduate from a vocational nursing program.
The first step is to sign up for a vocational nursing diploma or degree program. Diploma programs are typically shorter in length (a year, in many cases) and focus solely on the medical knowledge you'll need to have to perform your duties as a vocational nurse. Degree programs are longer and include more general healthcare and education curriculum, but they tend to be a better foundation for more advanced degrees in the future, such as bachelor's or master's degrees in nursing. Whichever path you choose, you'll need proof of graduation to take the next step: passing the licensure exam.
Obtain state licensure.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing has developed exams to test the competence of aspiring nurses before they're able to work in medical facilities. LVNs will need to sign up for, take, and pass the NCLEX-PN exam in their state in order to be licensed. You'll need to fill out and submit your application to take the exam and pay the licensure fee, then sit for the exam and pass it before you're able to be licensed by your state board. Once you've passed and been approved by the board, you're a Licensed Vocational Nurse!
Complete ongoing license renewal.
Note that LVNs, like other nurses, need to renew their license on an ongoing basis in order to stay certified. The exact requirements vary by state; in California, for example, you'll need to renew your license every two years. Renewal involves completing a number of continuing education hours, and you'll probably have to certify that you have a clean criminal record since your last renewal.