Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Delaware
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are one of the many groups of healthcare professionals who help patients stay healthy. They typically assist patients with medication, wound care, dressing, bathing and other tasks. They also help doctors and Registered Nurses throughout the day by keeping detailed medical records and completing other work. While many LPNs work in all areas of healthcare, some choose to specialize in hospice, psychiatry or another area.
Getting Your License
To become an LPN, you should first have a high school diploma or GED. Then you may enroll in an accredited LPN certificate program. After graduation, prospective LPNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and submit an application for a license. This application includes a criminal background check and fingerprinting.
Licensed Practical Nurses who have received their license in one of 24 other states may practice in Delaware with little to no additional paperwork. Those with licenses granted outside of this consortium must submit an application that includes proof of an active license, official transcripts, proof of passing the NCLEX, a copy of identification and a criminal background check.
Delware’s licenses expire every two years on February 28th of that year. To renew their licenses, LPNs must show that they have worked 1,000 hours in the past five years, worked 400 hours in the last two years or completed continuing education requirements.
Continuing Education Certifications
While additional certification is not required to begin working, many LPNs choose to take courses to sharpen their skills and develop new ones. Popular certifications include IV medicine, long-term care, pharmacology and hospice. Licensed Practical Nurses who have extra certifications may find it easier to get a job or continue their education to become Registered Nurses.
Training Programs in Delaware
Most LPN training programs can be completed in one year or less. Some require students to pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills, or TEAS, as part of the application process, while others accept the ACT instead. The following schools provide courses for students in Delaware:
- Delaware Tech. Students at Delaware Tech learn nursing theory and clinical skills in the school’s training program. This course is offered at two of Delaware Tech’s campuses: Dover, and Georgetown.
- Delaware Skills Center. The Delaware Skills Center provides students with both classroom and clinical training. Its curriculum includes nursing science and theory, decision making, medical technology and employability skills.
Salary and Career Outlook
Jobs for Licensed Practical Nurses in Delaware are increasing, with the Projections Managing Partnership estimating growth of 10.1 percent in the 10 years from 2016 to 2026. The average annual salary of an LPN in the state is $52,290.
Working as a Licensed Practical Nurse
After receiving your license, you may be able to work in a hospital, clinic, school, nursing home or other healthcare facility. Licensed Practical Nurses typically have excellent communication skills, are detail-oriented and can easily empathize with patients and their families. Jobs will be most readily available in larger cities, such as Wilmington and Camden. Theses roles generally come with higher salaries to match the higher cost of living in cities than in more rural or suburban areas.