Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Maryland
When people start to consider nursing as a career choice, they are often met with three options: Registered Nurse, Certified Nurse’s Assistant or Licensed Practical Nurse. Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN, is one of the more popular choices in Maryland for people who have decided that being an RN might not be for them, but who also want more opportunities than what CNA positions usually offer. The primary difference between the three is that RNs generally have more schooling than an LPN, and CNAs typically have less.
So, what does an LPN do? LPNs observe patients for symptoms to help diagnose problems, examine patients, administer medications and consult with RNs on how patients should be cared for. They are typically under the watch of RNs and doctors and help supervise CNAs.
Obtaining Your License
In order to become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Maryland, you must have a high school diploma or GED to start with. After that, it takes one year of courses and clinicals to learn everything you need to know to pass the NCLEX-PN exam. Once that exam is passed, you will have officially earned your license. To keep your license up-to-date, you will have to renew your license every two years.
LPN Education Programs in Maryland
All LPN programs in Maryland take one year to complete if you are attending full-time. LPN programs in Maryland are offered by technical, community and vocational colleges. Some of the programs available in Maryland are:
- Anne Arundel Community College. This LPN course takes place in the evenings and weekends over one academic year. Students will earn 41 credits and get hands-on experience in obstetrical, medical-surgical and pediatric units as well as in extended care and rehabilitation facilities.
- Hagerstown Community College. The Practical Nursing certificate at Hagerstown takes one year to complete. A minimum grade of C is required to pass in all courses and obtain your certificate. The NCLEX-PN pass rate at Hagerstown is 100 percent.
- Wor-Wic Community College. Wor-Wic is one of the most popular nursing schools in Maryland. They offer two ways to get accepted into their Practical Nursing programs, either through ACT scores or GPA. Both programs are completed in one year by 79 percent of students.
Salary and Career as an LPN
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), LPNs in Maryland make an average of $51,140 per year. This is about $6,000 higher than the national average. Obtaining an LPN certificate can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $15,000. The BLS also reports that LPN positions are expected to grow by almost 12 percent over the next seven years.
Finding Work as a Licensed Practical Nurse
LPNs receive training in many different areas, which means there are many different career paths that they can choose from. The main areas of employment are:
- Nursing Homes. It is predicted that in the next three years the need for LPNs in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and retirement homes will grow up to 29 percent. An LPN in a nursing home can expect to assist residents with physical therapy, monitor symptoms, help with hygiene tasks and provide companionship.
- Doctors’ Offices. Working as a Licensed Practical Nurse in a doctor’s office is a common goal for many LPNs. An LPN who chooses this career path should expect to assist with administering medications, doing pre-examinations and helping with administrative tasks.
- Hospitals. The demand for LPNs in hospitals has not seen the growth that other areas have. It is expected that the need for LPNs in hospitals will grow by about 4 percent by 2022. The typical duties of an LPN in a hospital will include supervising CNAs, monitoring patients having surgery and administering medication.