How to Become a Licenced Practical Nurse in Washington

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are essential in keeping healthcare teams running smoothly. As a Practical Nurse, you report to a Registered Nurse (RN) or doctor in settings such as hospitals, doctors’ offices and long-term care facilities. The medical care you provide may include inserting catheters and IVs, changing bandages and administering approved medication; you will also maintain your patients’ health records and can be the most important and accessible support for your patients and their families.

What You Need to Become an LPN in Washington

Admission requirements for LPN programs vary among schools, but all applicants must have their high school diploma or equivalent. You may also be asked to sit for an entrance exam, go through a personal interview and submit ACT or TEAS-V scores. When you have completed an accredited program, you can take the NCLEX-PN practical nursing exam. If you pass, you are then eligible to apply for your Practical Nursing license.

Practical Nursing Education Programs

LPN programs are readily accessible in larger metropolitan areas. For out-of-town students, some colleges offer on-campus housing.

  • Green River College. The Practical Nursing program at Green River College begins in the fall and runs for four quarters. Based on available faculty, at this time the program is capped at 40 students per admission cycle. Washington resident tuition is currently $5,369.00 and does not include books, supplies and fees.
  • Olympic College. Offered at Olympic College’s main campus in Bremerton, this Practical Nursing program takes one year to complete. Applicants must meet program-specific admission requirements as well as standard college requirements. At this time, the program costs $5,155.00 for Washington residents, plus books and applicable fees.
  • Edmonds Community College. This college in Lynnwood has a 21-month, 72-credit Practical Nursing program. Classes are both online and hybrid, plus a clinic practicum portion. The current estimated tuition is $7,572.24 for Washington residents. Costs such as prerequisite course tuition, books and fees are not included.
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State-Required LPN Certification

There are two options for obtaining your Practical Nursing license in Washington. For graduates of Washington LPN programs, after passing the NCLEX-PN exam, you can apply directly to the state for your license. If you have graduated from an out-of-state program, you can request that your license be endorsed by the state of Washington. Once you have your license, you need to renew it yearly and meet continuing education requirements every three years. Full information on the application and renewal processes can be found on the Washington State Department of Health website.

Job Outlook for LPNs in Washington

Washington offers its Practical Nurses a competitive wage: as of 2017, half of LPNs in the state were making at least $25.57 per hour or $53,180.00 annually. Industry growth is also strong at a projected 12.2 percent increase between 2016 and 2026, which means 660 openings per year. The largest number of these new and existing opportunities are in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area. However, many more positions can be found in other regions.

Working as a Licenced Practical Nurse in Washington

Earning a patient’s trust is invaluable during their treatment, because LPNs often do more than just provide medical care. LPNs listen, reassure, educate and communicate. You need to be compassionate and sensitive to others’ needs to do this. You also need to be passionate about your work, especially if you’re considering going farther in the healthcare field. If caring for people is something that you love to do, consider a career as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

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

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses in the state of Washington made an average of $57,940 per year in 2019. Entry-level licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earned around $44,630 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $73,850.