How to Become a Licensed Vocational Nurse in Texas
They are called Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) in all other states, but in California and Texas they are referred to as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs). But both terms mean the same thing: an entry-level nurse who has received an education in practical nursing.
What duties an LVN can and cannot perform are determined by the Board of Nursing in the state where they are employed. General duties that LVNs usually perform include administering medications both orally and intravenously, checking patients’ vital signs, communicating patient care to patients and reporting symptoms and changes to a Registered Nurse (RN) or doctor.
LVN Requirements in Texas
To become an LVN in Texas, the first step is to have graduated from high school or earn a GED. If you have one of these, you can then complete a vocational nursing program that has been approved by the Texas Board of Nursing. Once you have completed a program, you must be fingerprinted and pass a background check. You will then need to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). An exam fee is required to take the NCLEX. NCLEX testing centers in Texas are located in Abilene, Amarillo, Arlington, Austin, Bryan, Carrollton, Dallas, Hurst, Lubbock, Midland, San Antonio, Shavano Park and Waco. Once you have passed the NCLEX, you can apply for licensure through the Board of Nursing.
Your nursing license will need to be renewed biannually. You must pay a renewal fee and show proof of having taken 20 hours of continued education prior to renewal. If you have a practical nursing license that was issued by another state, you can apply for Texas licensure by endorsement. You must provide proof of having graduated from an approved nursing program and that you have taken the NCLEX or worked as an LVN in the past four years.
Vocational Nursing Schools in Texas
You will need to complete a nursing program that is approved by the Texas Board of Nursing to get your nursing license. Texas has over 75 approved nursing programs. Here are a few of the many available:
- Howard College. Both the Big Spring and San Angelo campuses of Howard College offer a certificate program in vocational nursing that can be completed in 12 months. Students who complete this program are prepared to take the NCLEX for licensure. This program is approved by both the Texas Board of Nursing and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).
- Alvin Community College. Located in Alvin, this community college offers an intensive one-year vocational nursing certificate program that consists of 44 credit hours. Students will take classes in a classroom setting and then learn hands-on in labs and clinical practice. Students who complete this program have a 100 prevent pass rate when taking the NCLEX the first time.
- South Plains College. At South Plains College, a vocational nursing program is available at the Levelland campus, SPC Reese Center and the Plainview Extension Center. This is a 12-month program, and students will receive a certificate of proficiency upon completion. This program is approved by the THECB and the Texas Board of Nursing.
Career Outlook and Salary Information for Texas LVNs
Texas is the top state in the U.S. for the employment of LVNs. In 2016, the state employed 71,430 LVNs according to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP). That number is expected to increase by an impressive 19 percent to approximately 85,030 LVNs working in the state by 2026. The national growth rate for this job field is 12.3 percent.
Texas LVNs make a decent salary as well. In 2017, their hourly average wage was $22.10, and the annual average was $45,980, which is slightly higher than the national average salary of $45,030. LVNs with more experience can earn as much as $60,310 yearly.
Working as an LVN in Texas
Nurses are caretakers, especially LVNs. LVNs typically work with chronically ill patients who need long-term treatment. They are most often employed in nursing homes or work in home health settings. To work as an LVN, you must be physically able to move patients, as you may be helping bathe and dress them. You may also spend many hours on your feet. You must be compassionate and have a heart for helping people to work in this field.
With so many educational and employment opportunities in the state, LVNs should have no problem finding nursing work in Texas. The highest concentration of jobs can be found in the cities of Sherman-Denison, Wichita Falls and Victoria. Dallas, Houston, Irving, Laredo, Plano, Sugarland and The Woodlands are the highest paying cities in the state. Other places to consider working as an LVN in the state are Amarillo, Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth, Lubbock, McKinney, San Antonio and Tyler. With many employment opportunities, great pay and a steady growth rate, becoming an LVN in Texas is a wise career choice.