Washington, WA | LPN Nursing Program Information
There is a shortage of Licensed Practical Nurses in the state of Washington. Under the supervision of Registered Nurses and doctors, their tasks usually include essential bedside care such as monitoring vital signs, giving injections and administering other prescribed medicines, dressing wounds and so on. They are also responsible for other types of bedside care such as feeding, bathing, collecting samples and maintaining medical equipment.
Becoming an LPN is perhaps the fastest way to become a full-fledged nurse in Washington. They typically work in hospitals, but also in other health care settings such as clinics, retirement homes, and even private dwellings. The average salary for a Licensed Practical Nurse in Washington is well above the national median at $44,000 per year (according to BLS.gov). In addition, benefits such as health care and 401ks can amount to close to $20,000 per year. As reported by the US Department of Labor , rapid growth is expected for LPN’s, making becoming an LPN in Washington a promising pursuit.
A typical work week for a Licensed Practical Nurse includes about 40 hours of work, but it’s not your typical nine to five job. The need for around the clock patient care can mean that many LPNs are in nights, weekends and holidays. While not ideal for everyone, this can be beneficial for those needing flexible schedules due to other commitments such as family, school and so on—especially considering the competitive salaries earned by LPNs. In addition, it opens up part time opportunities for LPNs with other responsibilities such as school and family outside of normal work hours.
In order to become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Washington one must take a state approved LPN program, which usually lasts around a year. While LPN courses are available statewide in colleges, universities and beyond, entry requirements differ because of the acceptance guidelines of various schools. However, high school graduation or equivalent is necessary because applying to an LPN program almost always requires prerequisites from general studies undergraduate courses. Typically, about ten pre-nursing courses over 30 credit hours are required for application into an LPN program. General studies courses cover both scientific topics such as human anatomy and microbiology, as well as arts classes such as psychology and interpersonal communication and, between acceptance into general studies and completion of an LPN, a one-and-a-half to two-year time frame is to be expected.
Before applying for an LPN program, prerequisites must be completed with good enough grades, which can be as low as a C average or a 2.5 GPA. It is important to note that minimum requirements for entry will not always guarantee acceptance—with a lot of applicants for nursing programs in Washington, a ranking system is established at most schools of nursing that gives preference to those applicants with higher scores in prerequisite courses and pre-admission tests such as the TEAS, or “Test of Essential Academic Skills”.
Each school will have their specific admission procedures but, once admitted, LPN programs typically take around 60 credit hours of study to complete, or one year. While some programs stand alone as LPN-specific, it is also possible to take the National Counsel Licensing Examination-Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) after the first year of an Associate Degree, Nursing. The Washington Board of Nursing charges a $90 application fee before taking to NCLEX-PN.
Once a student has passed the NCLEX-PN, they are eligible to begin working as a Licensed Practical Nurse in Washington. Once employed, an LPN license must be renewed every two years at a cost of $70 after completing 30 hours of continuing education.
Becoming a NCLEX-PN can be a rewarding career by itself, but it can also be the first step along a path to becoming a Registered Nurse, receiving a Bachelor of Science, Nursing, and beyond.