Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in North Carolina

As of 2015, there were over 16,000 LPNs employed in North Carolina. If you have thought about joining the medical field and enjoy helping people, then you might want to consider enrolling in a Licensed Practical Nursing program. The number of open positions in this field is expected to grow by 16 percent over the next five years.

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 help supervise CNAs.

Obtaining Your License

In order to become a Licensed Practical Nurse in North Carolina, a person must have a high school diploma or GED to start with. After that, it takes an average of three semesters to complete an LPN program at an accredited college in North Carolina. Once the program has been completed, students must pass the NCLEX-PN, which costs $200. In order to take the test, a Live Scan criminal background check must be passed. In North Carolina, exams are given in Asheville, Greenville, Raleigh, Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Wilmington.

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LPN Education Programs in North Carolina

All LPN programs in North Carolina take three semesters to complete if you are attending full-time. These programs are offered by technical, community and vocational colleges. Some of the programs available in North Carolina are:

  • Cape Fear Community College. The PN program at Cape Fear is 12 months long and approved by the North Carolina Board of Nursing. They prepare students to work under the supervision of physicians, dentists and RNs. They have an NCLEX-PN pass rate of 100 percent.
  • Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. Rowan-Cabarrus offers a three-semester Practical Nursing program that focuses on individualized nursing care. They prepare students to work in hospitals, physician’s’ offices and long-term healthcare facilities. They have an NCLEX-PN pass rate of 100 percent.
  • Brunswick Community College. This college has been around since 1979 and is considered one of the top LPN schools in the state. The program lasts one year and offers a traditional full-time schedule as well as night and weekend classes. To be accepted into the program, you have to pass the National League for Nursing PAX test with a score of 105 or higher.

Salary and Career as an LPN

LPNs in North Carolina make an average of $41,940 per year. While this is slightly lower than the national average for LPNs, some places in North Carolina pay more than the state average. Practical Nurses in Charlotte make the most at $45,035 a year. Obtaining an LPN certificate can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $17,000.

The number of LPN positions in North Carolina is 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 career paths that they can choose from. The main areas of employment are:

  • Nursing Homes. With 20 percent of the population being over the age of 65 by 2030, the need for LPNs in nursing homes is expected to increase in demand. An LPN in a nursing home assists residents with physical therapy, monitors symptoms, helps with hygiene tasks and provides companionship.
  • Doctor’s Office. 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 is the slowest growing field so far. The typical duties of an LPN in a hospital will include supervising CNAs, monitoring patients having surgery and administering medications.

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How much do licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earn in the state of North Carolina?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses in the state of North Carolina made an average of $45,880 per year in 2019. Entry-level licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earned around $35,630 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $58,000.

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