Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Arizona
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are instrumental to patient care and hospital support. They help patients take medication, care for wounds, dress, bathe and complete other daily tasks. LPNs also keep detailed records for Registered Nurses and doctors, among other tasks. As an LPN, you may choose to work in a specialized area, such as hospice or psychiatry, or receive additional certifications, such as patient counseling.
Prospective LPNs must have a high school diploma or GED prior to beginning their training. They must also complete an accredited nursing degree program. In addition to this education, LPNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and submit an application, which includes a criminal background check with fingerprinting.
Licensed Practical Nurses who received their licenses in a different state must have obtained their degree within the last five years, practiced nursing for more than 960 hours within the same time period and have obtained an advanced nursing degree within the last five years in order to transfer their license to Arizona without additional examination.
In Arizona, Licensed Practical Nurses must renew their license every four years. They are not required to show evidence of continued education to receive the renewal.
Many LPNs choose to continue their education through various certification programs after receiving their licenses, though these certificates are not required to practice. These certifications include intravenous (IV) therapy, long-term care, pharmacology and hospice, among others. Licensed Practical Nurses with additional certifications may find it easier to secure a job and continue their education to become a Registered Nurse, if they so desire.
Arizona Schools for Licensed Practical Nurses
Students must complete an accredited educational program prior to applying for their LPN license. The majority of these programs take just one year to complete. Some programs require students to pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills, or TEAS, as part of the application process. The following schools provide courses for students in Arizona:
- East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT). The LPN program at EVIT is a one-year program that combines theory and clinical practice for a comprehensive course. Students will receive instruction both in the classroom and in a clinical setting.
- Estrella Mountain Community College. Estrella Mountain offers an affordable option for students in the Phoenix area. Training includes classroom instruction, skills-based labs and interaction with patients.
Salary and Career Expectations
Licensed Practical Nurses in Arizona can expect to receive an average salary of $52,660 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The field is rapidly growing in Arizona, with the Projections Managing Partnership expecting growth of 32.2 percent in the 10 years from 2016 to 2026.
Working as a Licensed Practical Nurse
Licensed Practical Nurses work in a variety of settings, from hospitals and clinics to schools and hospice care facilities. They provide patients and medical staff with essential support. This job provides nurses with the opportunity to interact with patients and their families on a daily basis, and successful LPNs will therefore be skilled in communication, empathy and attention to detail. Jobs will be most plentiful in large, metropolitan areas, such as Phoenix. Jobs in these areas will also provide the highest salaries to match the higher cost of living there.