Licensed Practical Nursing Careers in Virginia
If you live in Virginia and you’re interested in healthcare, a career as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) could be an ideal choice. This career is on the rise across the country and especially within Virginia. LPNs perform a variety of supportive tasks under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RNs) and doctors.
Practical Nurse duties may include communicating with patients about care, cleaning wounds and taking patient records for nurses and doctors. Most LPNs work in nursing homes, but many also work in hospitals, doctors’ offices and clinics.
Becoming an LPN
After graduating high school or earning their GED equivalent, potential LPNs should enroll in a school offering Practical Nursing training and approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing. In order to apply for your LPN, you must submit the following requirements:
- Proof of completion of accredited LPN program
- Proof of passing the NCLEX-PN exam
- Fingerprint-based background check required of all applicants, regardless of method
- Drug test
A physical exam may also be required by training schools.
Virginia Education for Practical Nurses
Sometimes, you can start taking LPN classes while you are still completing high school. Here are a few schools approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing that will prepare you for the NCLEX-PN exam and state licensure:
- Virginia Beach School of Practical Nursing. This school offers an 18-month Practical Nursing Certificate, which can be started by high school seniors and adults. This training also includes certification to be a Certified Nurse’s Aide (CNA).
- Henrico County — St. Mary’s Hospital, School of Practical Nursing. This LPN program is another with an 18-month time commitment, which is also open to high school students. The first part of the program, Practical Nursing I, is on a part-time schedule to accommodate for high school seniors and lasts nine months. The second part, Practical Nursing II, is also nine months, but full-time.
Licensure in Virginia and Practicing Out-of-State
Virginia is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which is regulated by the National Council on State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). This law allows LPNs in Virginia to gain licensure that allows them to practice in other NLC-cooperative states. Surrounding NLC states where Virginia LPNs might practice include Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware.
If you’ve taken the NCLEX-PN exam, you should apply for your Virginia Practical Nursing License through the exam method of entry, while those with Licensed Vocational Nurse certification or LPN licensure through another state, who have not taken the exam, should apply using the endorsement method of licensure.
Practical Nurse Salaries and Employment Projections
In the year 2016, the Projections Management Partnership reported that 21,670 Licensed Practical Nurses were employed in the state of Virginia. With an average of 2,030 job openings per year, employment levels are predicted to grow rapidly in the state, with a 17.5 percent increase predicted by the year 2026.
In 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that Virginia LPN salaries were a mean of $20.46 per hour, or $42,550 annually.
Geography of Virginia Practical Nurses
The highest number of LPNs in Virginia worked in the Richmond and Virginia Beach areas in the year 2017. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also reports that the highest paid LPNs in Virginia, on average, that year worked in Charlottesville. The area of Virginia with the highest rate of LPN employment per 1,000 jobs was reported to be the Southside Virginia nonmetropolitan area.
LPNs can get starting in healthcare jobs with minimal schooling time, but they can always return to school to pursue their Registered Nursing (RN) or other advanced nursing degrees. Healthcare will be on the rise for a long time, so now is a great time to enter the field as a Practical Nurse.
How much do licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earn in the state of Virginia?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses in the state of Virginia made an average of $46,070 per year in 2019. Entry-level licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earned around $33,710 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $58,580.