Your Future as an LPN in Iowa
If you’re looking for a health career with a short education time, Practical Nursing may be an ideal path for you. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) work under the supervision and direction of Registered Nurses (RNs) or doctors. LPNs take patients’ vital signs, report changes in symptoms to RNs and communicate with patients about health and issues that may arise.
In Iowa’s scope of Nurse Practice, one of the major differences between RNs and LPNs is that LPNs cannot perform initial assessments on patients. Only an RN can perform that task, and then the Practical Nurse may assist the RN with the RN-directed plan of care. LPNs may be given tasks such as the bathing, dressing and taking information from patients. These professionals are an important part of the whole healthcare team.
The Steps to Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse
You must hold a license issued by the Iowa Board of Nursing to practice as a Practical Nurse in Iowa. Before you can apply for a Practical Nursing License you must:
- Graduate from high school or earn your GED
- Complete a Practical Nursing Diploma or Certificate at an Iowa Board-approved school
- Pass the NCLEX-PN exam, issued by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)
- Pass a criminal background check
- Apply for your Iowa licensure
- Register your license with the NCSBN
Practical Nursing Programs Across the State
Practical Nursing students must graduate from a school approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing, such as these:
- Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC). The Boone campus of this school offers a Practical Nursing Certificate. Prerequisites for this program include proof of a high school diploma or HiSET(GED) equivalent, completion of prerequisite physiology and anatomy classes, and a cumulative GPA of at least 2.25 percent.
- Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC). As one of the top nursing colleges in Iowa, this school offers a 42-credit Diploma in Practical Nursing. Graduates from this State Board-approved school can take the NCLEX-PN exam and gain their Iowa Practical Nursing license.
The Iowa Board of Nursing is in charge of issuing Licensed Practical Nursing licenses in the state of Iowa. After receiving their first LPN renewal, licensees must continue participating in education throughout their careers by taking in state-approved practical courses. This ensures that LPNs remain trained on up-to-date procedures and stay in practice.
Furthermore, the NCSBN requires all LPNs to register within their network as nationwide requirements for LPNs and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs).
Career Statistics in Iowa
Practical Nursing is on the rise in Iowa, with the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) predicting an 8.4 percent increase in Iowa LPN employment rates by 2026. On average, there are 590 LPN job openings per year in Iowa, offering many opportunities to those entering the field.
What’s more, in 2017, Practical Nurses across Iowa made a mean income of $20.01 per hour, or $41,610 annually. That income is close in line with the national LPN income rates.
Your LPN Career’s Future
If you’re wondering where to work as a Licensed Practical Nurse in Iowa, just look at the statistics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the Southeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area employed the most LPNs in Iowa in 2016. The second highest employment level by city was in Des Moines. Pay rates for LPNs are steady across the state, ranging from an average of $19 to $20 per hour.
No matter where you choose to live and pursue a career in Practical Nursing, you should be able to find a State Board-approved educational program, and jobs will continue opening for entry-level LPNs all over the state. The future is looking great for new LPNs in Iowa.