Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Wisconsin

Are you interested in entry-level nursing jobs? You might consider entering the field of Practical Nursing, which is growing across the country.

Hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing homes and in-home care settings all need Licensed Practical Nurses, who help care for patients under the direction of Registered Nurses (RNs).

LPNs assist some patients with washing and dressing, and aid in taking vital signs and watching for patient symptoms. They must communicate well and care about the patients they will be serving.

The Route to Your LPN Career

In order to become an LPN, you must first graduate high school or earn your GED. It’s helpful to focus your high school studies on math, biology and chemistry. When in high school, a strong grade-point-average (GPA) is important, because many LPN schools seek GPAs of at least 2.0.

After high school, you’ll need to enroll in a one-year program approved by Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS), which will prepare you to take the NCLEX-PN exam. This exam is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).

Educational Opportunities for Practical Nursing

One step on your path to becoming an LPN is completing a Certificate or Diploma in Practical Nursing. Some high-rated Wisconsin LPN schools include:

  • Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, WI, is approved by the Wisconsin DSPS Board as a school that offers quality training in Practical Nursing to students, preparing them to take the next step, the NCLEX-PN exam.
  • Herzing University is a school with multiple locations, including Akron, Birmingham, Brookfield and Kenosha. The prerequisites for admission include a 2.5 high school GPA or equivalent GED progress, a pre-entrance test and the completion of a semester of math, biology or chemistry with a passing ‘C’ grade.
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State Licensure and Permits for Practical Nurses

After successfully completing a year of required school, you might be ready to jump into working, even if you haven’t yet taken the NCLEX-PN exam. You’ve scheduled the date for your test, but it seems forever in the future.

Luckily, the Wisconsin DSPS provides a temporary Practical Nurse permit. This can be issued when all other DSPS-required prerequisites have been satisfied, but the student hasn’t yet taken the exam. It’s expected that this student will eventually take and pass the NCLEX, otherwise the temporary license will be revoked.

It’s a Promising Career Field

There were 8,550 Licensed Practical Nurses employed in Wisconsin in 2016, according to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP). With only a 0.1 percent predicted increase in LPN employment levels by the year 2026, there may not be much growth overall in the field.

However, on average, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there are 600 job openings per year. Even if the LPN job market doesn’t grow in the near future, at least Wisconsin is home to a high-functioning LPN job market, complete with healthy employment levels.

Working as an LPN in Wisconsin and Across the U.S.

Working LPNs in Wisconsin made an average income of $21.21 in 2017, according to the BLS. That income was right on track with the national estimates of $21.65 per hour for LPN mean income across the country.

In 2016, the PMP estimated that 724,500 LPNs worked throughout the U.S. Those employment levels are expected to grow 12.3 percent by the year 2026.

There are 62,700 average openings per year for LPNs across the country, with 600 openings in Wisconsin alone, showing a promising career path for future LPN employment in this state.

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

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses in the state of Wisconsin made an average of $46,550 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 $59,100.

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