How to Become an LPN in Florida
With the current nursing shortage in the United States, a career as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is a good choice in all states, but especially Florida. Growth in this field for the state is currently higher than the national growth rate. LPNs often administer care to people who have chronic illnesses in a nursing home or home health setting. They may also work under the direction of a doctor or registered nurse in a clinic or hospital setting.
What duties an LPN can do are regulated by each state’s Board of Nursing. The amount of training a person has can also determine what they can and can’t do. Typically, LPNs will perform many of the following duties:
- Give medication, both orally and intravenously
- Collect samples
- Feed patients and insert and change feeding tubes
- Perform CPR
- Check vitals and keep records
- General patient care
Licensure and Other Requirements in Florida
If you are looking for a way to quickly become a nurse in Florida, becoming a practical nurse is probably it. You will need to complete one year of educational and clinical training, which can usually be done at a community or technical college. Once you have completed a program, you can apply for licensure through the Florida Board of Nursing.
To apply through the Board, the program you have completed must be Board approved or accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). They will also accept graduation from a military nursing program or international or non-jurisdiction program. You must also be fingerprinted and pass a background check. An application fee will apply. Before becoming licensed you also will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). There is an additional fee for this exam. NCLEX testing centers in Florida can be found in Altamonte Springs, Lakeland, Orlando, Port Charlotte and Tampa.
If you already hold a valid practical nursing license in another state, you may apply for a license by endorsement. You will not need to retake the NCLEX if you have passed it previously. Nursing licenses must be renewed every two years. You will have to pay a fee and complete 24 continued education credits plus complete credit hours in the following areas: domestic violence, HIV/AIDS and human trafficking. If the program you completed is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies or the Accreditation Board for Specialty nursing Certification, then you don’t have to show proof of continued education.
Florida Nursing Programs
You must complete an educational program to become an LPN in Florida. Here are some of your options in the state:
- Atlantic Technical College. The Ft. Lauderdale campus of Atlantic Technical College offers a one-year certificate program in practical nursing. This a full time, five semester program. Graduates will receive a certificate and be prepared to take the NCLEX. This program is approved by the Florida Board of Nursing and is accredited by the ACEN.
- Eastern Florida State College. Eastern Florida State College’s Melbourne campus also offers a one-year certificate program. This is a limited admission program. Students will get a certificate for completing the program and can take the NCLEX and apply for licensure.
- Gulf Coast State College. The nursing program at Gulf Coast State is offered at the Port St. Joe campus. This program consists of 1,350 study hours, or one year of study. Graduates will be ready to take the NCLEX and apply for a state license.
LPN Career Outlook and Salary Expectations in Florida
In 2016, the state of Florida employed 45,760 LPNs. According to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), that number is predicted to rise by 19 percent to 54,500 by 2026. Florida LPNs make decent money as well. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, they were earning $20.90 an hour, or $43,480 yearly, in 2017. The top 10 percent of LPNs in the state can potentially make $55,450 yearly.
Working as an LPN in Florida
LPNs may find work in long-term care establishments, physicians offices, hospitals or home health organizations. You may stop at LPN or continue your education to earn an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in nursing and become registered nurse or an advanced practical nurse.
Florida ranks third in the United States for the employment of LPNs. The top-paying cities in the state are Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Tampa. Other cities that have high employment rates in the state include: Ft. Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Melbourne, Miami, Naples, Ocala, Orlando, Palm Bay and Sarasota. With a high growth rate and plenty of educational and career opportunities, now is the time to consider working as an LPN in Florida.