How to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Indiana
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) care for patients under the supervision and instruction of RNs and doctors. These healthcare professionals work in nursing homes, in in-home care settings, doctors’ offices and hospital settings. LPNs check the status of patients’ vitals, clean and bathe patients, and communicate with them about their course of care. LPNs only need to complete one year of school, but many Practical Nurses further their career as RNs or other types of nurses with more study and experience.
Steps to Becoming an LPN
You must first graduate from high school or earn your GED before beginning your Practical Nursing career. Then, all prospective LPNs must complete a Practical Nursing program accredited by the Indiana Board of Nursing Professional Licensing Agency (PLA). Most LPN courses can be completed in about one year.
Practical Nursing education will prepare you to take the NCLEX-PN exam, the next step in the process of becoming licensed. This exam is administered by The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Indiana also requires LPN applicants to pass a criminal background check.
Your Practical Nursing Education
There are numerous PLA-accredited Practical Nursing schools sprinkled across the state. Here are a few popular Indiana schools that offer LPN programs:
- Ivy Tech Community College. With locations across Indiana, this community college offers a Technical Certificate in Practical Nursing (PN). Applicants must submit to a background check, drug test and physical exam. The PN certificate requires 45 credit hours, and the program lasts about three semesters.
- Indiana Wesleyan University — Merrillville Education Center. Indiana Wesleyan is a Christian University with a Nursing campus in Merrillville offering LPN training. This school ensures that all graduates are prepared for the NCLEX-PN exam and ready to enter the workforce. Classes are available in alternative format, including online and night classes, for students with busy schedules.
How to Obtain a Practical Nursing License
There are two paths to an Indiana Practical Nursing License: endorsement and examination. If you have never practiced as an LPN before, you must pass the NCLEX-PN exam (the examination route) to receive your license.
For those who hold Practical Nursing licensure from another state, the endorsement licensing method requires their nursing school to provide proof of academic completion to the Indiana PLA. These nurses must also have their NCLEX scores officially forwarded to the state by the NCSBN.
Details About LPNs in Indiana
In 2016, there were 16,250 LPNs employed in Indiana. That number is projected to increase 12.3 percent by 2026, right on track with the predicted job growth for LPNs nationwide. An average of 1,410 LPN jobs open each year in the state, which shows that even those who are just entering the field should have good luck finding their first jobs. In 2017, the mean income for Licensed Practical Nurses in Indiana was $20.40 per hour or $42,440 annually.
Where to Start Your Practical Nursing Career
All of the evidence shows that Indiana is a positive place to start a career as an LPN. Though Practical Nurses are in demand across the entire state, the highest number of LPNs were employed in Indianapolis in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That same year, other areas with high Practical Nurse employment levels included the Central Indiana and Southern Indiana nonmetropolitan areas, Fort Wayne and Gary.
No matter where you live in Indiana, the field of Practical Nursing is a viable and smart career choice. For those who want to get started nursing with just one year of education, a Practical Nursing license may be the way to get your foot in the door.