Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Colorado
People who want to work in healthcare without undertaking long, expensive training programs may be interested in becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN. These healthcare professionals help patients take medication, care for wounds, take vital signs, and assist with dressing and bathing. They also assist doctors and Registered Nurses by keeping detailed patient records. Licensed Practical Nurses can work in a particular area of medicine, such as hospice, or receive additional certifications to expand their skills.
Receiving Your License
To begin the process of becoming an LPN, you must have a high school diploma or GED. Then, you may enroll in an accredited nursing program. Successful completion of such a program qualifies you to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and submit an application for a license, which includes a criminal background check with fingerprinting.
Those who have received their license in one of 24 other states may practice in Colorado without additional licensure or paperwork. If you received your license in a state outside of these 24, you must apply for a Colorado license, provide proof of current licensure and submit a verification of licensure form.
Licensed Practical Nurses in Colorado must renew their licenses every two years, at which point they must show evidence of 20 hours of continued education.
In addition to the standard license, LPNs may choose to receive additional certifications. While these are not required, they may help in securing higher-paying jobs or working in specialized areas of medicine. Available certifications include intravenous medicine, long-term care, pharmacology and hospice.
LPN Education Programs
Licensed Practical Nurse training programs typically take one year to complete. Some require students to pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills, or TEAS, as part of the application process. The following schools provide courses for LPN students in Colorado:
- Pickens Technical College. Students at Pickens Technical College receive training in surgical, maternal, infant, pediatric and geriatric patient care. The program’s instructors are Registered Nurses who have decades of experience in the field.
- Emily Griffith Technical College. An onsite simulation lab gives students the opportunity to learn in a clinical setting without leaving campus. Students receive classroom training on the basics of nursing in addition to four hands-on clinicals.
Salary and Career Outlooks
In Colorado, an LPN can expect to make an average salary of $49,740 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs in the state are increasing rapidly, with the Projections Managing Partnership anticipating growth of 22.3 percent from 2016 to 2026.
Working as a Licensed Practical Nurse
After becoming a licensed practical nurse, you may find jobs in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, schools and more. The job gives you the ability to work in a fast-paced, patient-facing setting and requires strong communication skills, attention to detail and empathy. The highest concentration of jobs can be found in large cities, such as Boulder or Denver, Colorado. These jobs also offer higher salaries to compensate for the higher cost of living in an urban setting.