Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Utah
Choosing a career path can be a hard decision to make. This is especially true if your chosen field has many different options. A perfect example of this is nursing. People who consider nursing as a career must decide between becoming a Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse or Certified Nurse’s Assistant. While all of these careers allow someone the ability to help people, they each require different skills and training. The primary differences among these three options are the length of education necessary to become licensed and the salaries that each position provides. RNs typically make the most money, but they also have to attend school for the longest amount of time. A CNA can obtain certification in 4-12 weeks, but they make the lowest wage out of all the nursing positions. Because of this, many people choose to become an LPN. This degree can be earned in about a year, has a good pay rate and can be a stepping stone for those who think they might want to be an RA one day.
Obtaining Your License
To become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Utah, you must first obtain your high school diploma or GED. The school where you receive your LPN program has to be accredited by the COA, ACEN or CCNE. After you complete the program, you will need to request that your school send an official transcript to the Utah Board of Nursing.
Completing the NCLEX-PN is the next step in obtaining your certification. There is a fee of $200 that must be paid before taking the exam. Two sets of fingerprints must also be submitted for a background check. Once you have your license, it has to be renewed every two years. To receive this renewal, you have to meet one of the following qualifications:
- 30 hours of continuing education
- 400 of practice
- A combination of 200 hours of practice and 15 hours of education
LPN Education Programs in Utah
All LPN programs in Utah take approximately one year to complete if you are attending full-time. LPN programs in Utah are offered by technical, community and vocational colleges. Some of the programs available in Utah are:
- Bridgerland Applied Technology College. The Practical Nursing program takes 10.5 months to complete at Bridgerland. Theory and skills are taught and utilized in a simulated lab and then in facilities. They are accredited through the ECEN. Immunizations and drug screens are both requirements for this program.
- Davis Applied Technology College. The PN program at Davis prepares students to work in a variety of healthcare settings as well as to move on to an associate’s degree in nursing. They have a program completion rate and licensure exam pass rate of 98 percent.
- Uintah Basin Applied Technology College. This college offers a Practical Nursing program that prepares students to work under the supervision of a physician, RN or primary health care provider. The course has an 88 percent completion rate with 100 percent of the students passing the NCLEX-PN on their first attempt. They also have a 100 percent job placement rate.
Salary and Career Expectations as an LPN
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, LPNs in Utah make an average of $43,110 a year. This salary can change drastically depending on where you are employed. LPNs working in a metropolitan area earn more than someone working in a non-metropolitan part of Utah. For example, an LPN in Salt Lake City makes an average of $47,400 a year, while an LPN in Logan only makes $35,610. Obtaining an LPN certificate can cost anywhere from approximately $4,000 to $16,000.
The Projections Managing Partnership reports that LPN positions are expected to grow 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 a variety of career paths they can choose from. Regardless of which path you choose, Utah has a great job outlook for Licensed Practical Nurses. According to the Utah Nurses Association, there is currently a vacancy of almost 50 percent in nursing positions. The ratio in Utah is 593 nurses for every 100,000 people. That is 200 nurses less than the average for the United States. Because of this shortage, doctors’ offices, hospitals and residential care facilities are offering many incentives to recruit and retain nurses. Some of these incentives include student loan reimbursement, sign-on bonuses, free education and flexible schedules.