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Licensed Practical Nurse LPN

Career Overview: Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

These terms LPN and LVN are more or less interchangeable and they refer to people who car for the sick, injured, convalescent, or disabled while under the direction of registered nurses or physicians.

LVNs and LPNs work in hospitals, in long term care facilities for the aged and infirm. They handle many of the routine bedside chores, taking vital signs, providing scheduled medication and injections, bathing and dressing, replacing bandaging and helping with daily sanitation tasks. LPN/LVNs collect samples for testing, perform routine laboratory tests, and record food and fluid intake and output.

Training & Qualifications

All 50 states and the District of Columbia require candidates for this job to pass a licensing examination known as the NCLEX-PN. The educational program must be state approved. LVN and LPN educational programs generally take a year; they can be found at community colleges and online educational facilities. Entry for one of the training programs generally requires a high school education.


In 2007 there were nearly 750,000 LPN/LVN jobs in the United States. 26% worked in hospitals while another 26% were employed in nursing facilities. 12% worked in a physician's office and the remainder was in a variety of public and private care facilities.

Job Outlook

This job category is growing faster than overall employment growth because of the increase in nursing facilities and home health care services.

Salary Range

Earnings for lowest 10%: $13.16  $27,370
Median Earnings: $18.24 $37,940
Earnings for top 10%: $25.08 $52,160

Source: Department of Labor

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