Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Arkansas
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) provide essential services to both patients and medical staff. They can take vital signs, administer certain medications, care for wounds and help patients complete everyday activities like bathing and dressing. LPNs are also responsible for keeping detailed patient records for Registered Nurses and doctors. As an LPN, you may choose to work as a generalist or within a specific area of medicine.
A high school diploma or GED is required before enrolling in an accredited LPN program. After graduating, students must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and submit an application to the state Board. They must also pass a criminal background check and submit their fingerprints.
To receive a reciprocal license in Arkansas, LPNs who are registered in a different state must show proof of having passed the NCLEX, of holding licensure in another state and employment in another state.
Licenses in Arkansas expire every two years on the holder’s birthday and must be renewed before that date.
In addition to the required educational training, many LPNs choose to specialize in particular areas by receiving extra certifications. While these are not required to become an LPN, they may help prospective nurses secure better-paying jobs or continue courses to become Registered Nurses. Available certifications include intravenous (IV) training, long-term care, pharmacology and hospice.
Arkansas Schools for Licensed Practical Nurses
The majority of LPN programs take just one year to complete. Many require applicants to pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills, or TEAS, as part of the application process. The following schools provide courses for practical nursing students in Arkansas:
- University of Arkansas — Pulaski Technical College. This school offers two programs, one of which can be completed in one year and a second that can be completed in two years to accommodate for students’ schedules. Training includes classroom and clinic experience.
- Baptist Health College. Students in this program may be able to take a portion of their courses online. Rather than the TEAS exam, LPN students must submit ACT scores instead.
Salary and Career Expectations for LPNs
In Arkansas, Licensed Practical Nurses make an average annual salary of $38,180, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are growing steadily in the state, with expected growth of 13.6 percent in the 10 years from 2016 to 2026, according to the Projections Managing Partnership.
Working as a Licensed Practical Nurse in Arkansas
Licensed practical nurses can work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, schools and more. No matter their setting, LPNs will get the chance to work in a fast-paced environment and interact with patients each day. As a result, successful LPNs will have excellent communication skills, empathy and attention to detail. They are most likely to find jobs in larger cities, such as Little Rock and Jasper. These jobs typically have higher salaries to compensate for the higher cost of living in those areas.