Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Oklahoma
Licensed Practical Nurses, or LPNs, are in demand all across the country, and Oklahoma is no exception. LPNs are trained and authorized to work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing homes and long-term care centers. The number of options available for people who become a Licensed Practical Nurse is one of the many reasons this career path is becoming more popular.
While the duties of an LPN can change according to what type of environment they work in, there are some tasks that are typically performed by them regardless of where they work. These tasks include things like taking vital signs, making patient beds, prepping examination rooms and administering medications. In order to become an LPN in Oklahoma, there are specific steps that must be followed.
Obtaining Your License
Prior to starting an LPN program at an accredited college you must have received your high school diploma or GED equivalent, turned 18 years old and have a clear criminal record. Once you meet those qualifications, you can start to focus on entering a Practical Nursing program from an accredited college.
PN programs in Oklahoma take 10-18 months to complete. Colleges offer a variety of options that include full-time, part-time and online classes. Once you have completed the program, you will need to apply for the NCLEX-PN exam. An official transcript, photo and criminal background check will need to be submitted with your application form and fee. If you pass the exam, you will be issued a license to start practicing.
LPN Education Programs in Oklahoma
Technical, community and vocational colleges offer LPN programs in Oklahoma. Some of the programs available are:
- Mid-America Technology Center. This Practical Nursing program consists of intensive classroom and clinical experiences. The program takes 10 months to complete. Before someone can be accepted into the program a medical terminology and CPR course must be taken. The Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) must also be passed. Mid-America has a 100 percent NCLEX–PN pass rate.
- Autry Technology Center. The self-paced program at Autry combines classroom and clinical experiences. It can take up to 18 months to complete and requires a minimum of 24 credit hours per week. They offer specialty classes such as medical-surgical nursing and pediatrics nursing for students who know precisely what kind of work environment they want to pursue after becoming licensed.
- Central Technology Center. The PN program at Central is divided into three levels. The first level teaches students basic science and patient care. The second level prepares them to perform medication administration. The final level focuses on disease processes and obstetrical nursing. This school uses a state-of-the-art SimMan mannequin that simulates breathing, urination and even having a baby.
Obtaining a Practical Nursing degree can cost anywhere from $5,000 for in-state students to $28,000 for people coming from a different state.
Salary and Career Expectations
LPNs in Oklahoma make an average of $47,000 a year. Practical Nurses working in long-term care facilities make an average of $30,000, while LPNs in a primary care office make around $43,000 annually. If you work in a specialty area such as a psychiatric hospital or in renal dialysis, you can expect to make an average of $50,000 a year.
According to data collected by the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), 12,600 LPNs were working in Oklahoma in 2016. PMP predicts that by 2026 that number will rise to 13,080.
Finding Work as a Licensed Practical Nurse
The field of nursing is one that has had a consistent need for new skilled workers and is one of the few fields that seem to be recession-proof. Not only does this mean there is job stability to be found in this field, but it encourages many hospitals and nursing homes to offer great incentives to attract potential employees.
The highest paying cities for LPNs to seek work in the state of Oklahoma are Oklahoma City, Edmond, Broken Arrow and Norman.