Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is the fifth most populated state in the country. With almost 13 million people living there, the demand for nurses continues to grow. LPNs in Pennsylvania can find gainful employment in doctors’ offices, long-term care centers, nursing homes and hospitals.

The duties LPNs vary according to which type of environment they work in, but some tasks are typically performed regardless of where they work. These tasks include taking vital signs, making beds, prepping examination rooms and administering medications. In order to become an LPN in Pennsylvania, there are specific steps you’ll need to follow.

How to Obtain Your Practical Nursing License

Prior to starting an LPN program at an accredited college you will need to receive your high school diploma or GED, turn 18 years old and have a clear criminal record. Once you meet those requirements, you can start to focus on entering a Practical Nursing (PN) program at an accredited college.

PN programs in Pennsylvania take one year to complete. Once you have completed a program from one of the state’s 53 colleges with accredited nursing programs, you will need to apply for the NCLEX-PN exam. To take the test, you have to submit an application and pay a $35 fee. Once that step has been completed, you will need to register with Pearson Vue, the only company in the state that conducts NCLEX-PN testing.

Colleges Offering LPN Programs

Technical, community and vocational colleges offer LPN programs in Pennsylvania. Some of the programs available are:

  • Crawford County Career and Technical Center. The PN program at Crawford starts every August and lasts for one year. Students are scheduled for 28 hours of classroom and clinical instruction each week. Clinical instruction takes place at nursing healthcare facilities, doctors’ offices and hospitals. A simulation lab at the school is also used. The job placement rate for this program has been 100 percent since 2015.
  • Community College of Beaver County. The Practical Nursing program at CCBC is one of the highest rated in the state. The program takes three semesters to complete. Students are given experience in hospitals, dental offices and nursing homes so that they can gain real-world experience. The NCLEX-PN pass rate is 97.3 percent.
  • Penna Institute of Health and Technology. PIHT is one of the few schools in the state that offers direct admittance to their program. This means you don’t have to take any classes before being officially accepted into their PN program. Over 12 months, students will learn a variety of skills needed by LPNs including phlebotomy, IV therapy and collection of medical specimens. Seventy-eight percent of students complete the program within 12 months.
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Career and Salary Statistics

LPNs in Pennsylvania make an average of $44,570 a year. This average is thrown off a little because there is a pretty big difference between what an LPN at a nursing home makes compared to what an LPN in a primary care office or specialty hospital earns per year. Many things can contribute to this pay difference such as location and responsibilities.

Obtaining a PN degree in Pennsylvania is a bit more costly than other states. A one year PN course will run anywhere from $10,000 to $35,000. Even though the education might be a bit expensive, the demand for LPNs continues to grow, which means it is a worthy investment. According to data collected by the Projections Managing Partnership, 38,740 LPNs were working in Pennsylvania in 2016. PMP predicts that by 2026 that number will rise to 43,320.

Employment Outlook

The LPN field in Pennsylvania is strong, and the need for qualified individuals continues to grow. It is predicted that LPNs will be in demand even more so than Registered Nurses or CNAs. Hospitals and nursing homes understand that they are competing for the best people in the field, which means they are offering fantastic incentives to attract and retain the best LPNs.

The highest paying cities in Pennsylvania for LPNs to seek work are Doylestown, Levittown, Philadelphia and Stroudsburg. The lowest paying cities are Wilkes Barre, Scranton, Erie and Johnstown.

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

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses in the state of Pennsylvania made an average of $49,200 per year in 2019. Entry-level licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earned around $36,140 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $62,610.

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