Career Detail


Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), care for people who are sick, injured, convalescent, or disabled under the direction of physicians and registered nurses.
The Job
LPNs care for patients in many ways. Often, they provide basic bedside care. Many LPNs measure and record patients' vital signs such as height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration. They also prepare and give injections and enemas, monitor catheters, dress wounds, and give alcohol rubs and massages.
Work Environment
Most licensed practical nurses in hospitals and nursing care facilities work a 40-hour week, but because patients need round-the-clock care, some work nights, weekends, and holidays. They often stand
College Majors
Bachelor's degree
Minimum Qualifications
LPNs must be licensed to practice. Successful completion of a practical nurse program and passing an examination are required to become licensed.
Personality traits helpful for this career
LPNs should have a caring, sympathetic nature. They should be emotionally stable because working with the sick and injured can be stressful.
Quick Facts
  • Most training programs, lasting about 1 year, are offered by vocational or technical schools or community or junior colleges.
  • Overall job prospects are expected to be very good, but job outlook varies by industry.
  • Replacement needs will be a major source of job openings, as many workers leave the occupation permanently.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses were $39,030 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $33,360 and $46,710. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,260, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $53,580.
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