Nursing Degree & Career – LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)
Those looking to get into nursing on the entry level should consider pursuing a degree as a LPN. LPNs, sometimes also known as LVNs, provide basic medical care for patients and work with other medical professionals. This can mean simple things like taking a patient’s temperature or blood pressure, monitoring vital signs, collecting samples for testing and monitoring nursing aides. LPNs are needed in a wide range of fields and medical facilities so day-to-day activities may vary widely depending on the career path a particular LPN chooses.
Because LPNs are entering the nursing career at the ground floor, salaries may be lower than those of nurses with additional certifications and degrees. Surveys show that LPN nurses can earn anywhere from $24,000 on the low end to $46,000 on the high end. Average salaries, however, fall somewhere between $28,000 and $40,000. What nurses can expect to earn will depend on where they choose to work and how much experience they have on the job.
To become an LPN, nurses must complete an approved nursing program through a college or vocation program to earn their Associate‘s degree. This can take one to two years to complete depending on the program and will prepare students to take the licensing exam. This certification is essential, as it will allow them to legally work as a nurse in their state.
The demand for nurses around the country is far outpacing the number of available nurses out there, so those entering the nursing field should be able to find a large number of jobs that suit their particular skills and interests as an LPN. Some nurses will find that they can gain additional career advancement as a nurse by completing a BSN program. This can be done while working as an LPN and many colleges have programs geared especially for RNs looking to gain additional education. LPNs can find work in home care, hospitals, long-term care facilities and a variety of other health care facilities making it comparatively easy to find well-compensated employment in the field. Those willing to gain additional certifications may find that they can work in more specialized fields like pediatrics and oncology and get a salary boost as well.