How to Become a Licenced Practical Nurse in Louisiana
As a licensed practical nurse, or LPN, you are invaluable to the effective performance of health care teams. Your work will be directed by a Registered Nurse (RN) or doctor, and may include patient care tasks like administering approved medications, changing bandages, inserting catheters and IVs and serving as a surgical assistant. The tasks will vary according where you’re working: hospitals, care homes and doctors’ offices all need LPNs as part of their staff, as well as other medical settings.
What You Need to Become an LPN in Louisiana
The Louisiana State Board of Nursing has set specific admission requirements for prospective LPN students, and each school has its own program admission requirements. You will need to have your high school diploma or equivalent, obtain CPR certification and pass a criminal record check, as well as meet the general school admission requirements.
Educational Programs for LPNs
Many Louisiana colleges offer licensed practical nursing programs at multiple campuses, so they are readily accessible to students across the state. Those colleges include:
- Delta College. Delta College has four campuses, in Baton Rouge, Covington, Slidell and Lafayette. Their Practical Nursing program is offered as day courses or evening courses. The day program takes 16 months to complete, while the night program takes 24 months. For both programs, the cost is currently $28,500.00 including tuition, books, supplies and uniforms.
- South Louisiana Community College. This Practical Nursing program is offered at six of the school’s campuses. It takes one year to complete, and students can begin during the fall or spring quarter. Prospective applicants need to contact the school for current tuition rates and other program costs.
- Northshore Technical Community College. Northshore’s LPN program is held at three campuses. This limited enrollment program is intended to be completed in 17 months. You can contact the school for program-specific tuition and fees.
Certification Required by the State
You can apply for your Louisiana Practical Nursing license in two ways. The first is open to graduates of Louisiana LPN programs and requires proof of graduation, CPR certification, passing the national NCLEX-PN exam and submitting a license application.
Graduates of out-of-state programs can apply for licensing by endorsement, which is a process that acknowledges the quality of the training program you have completed. Full information on the endorsement process can be found here.
LPN licenses currently expire every January 31st, so Practical Nurses need to renew every year before this date. There is no continuing education required by the state.
Job Outlook for Practical Nurses in Louisiana
The median wage for Louisiana LPNs is $37,890 annually, as of 2017, or $18.22 per hour. The upper 10 percent of Practical Nurses make at least $23.68 hourly. Although the Practical Nursing profession is growing slowly in this state, at a projected rate of 3 percent between 2016 and 2026, this rate suggests that there will be roughly 1,560 job openings annually. These are likely to be in the cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Positions can also be found in other cities across the state, including Lafayette, Shreveport, Covington and Lake Charles.
Working as a Licenced Practical Nurse in Louisiana
As an LPN, you need to be passionate about your work. You will be the one to listen to your patients’ worries and reassure them. You may also be the one to educate patients and their families about treatment plans, and you will be essential in the line of communication between patients and other medical staff. In order to do this, you will need compassion for people and have sensitivity to their needs. If you have a courageous, compassionate heart and want to care for people, Licenced Practical Nursing may be the right career for you.