University of Wisconsin–Madison

Licensed Practical Nurse(LPNs)/ Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs)

Work Activities/Work Locations

  • Nursing is a dynamic interpersonal goal-directed process that seeks to promote optimal health within the context of individuals, family, community, and society.
  • Licensed Practical Nurses or LPNs, MUST work under the direction of a Physician or a Registered Nurse (RN).
  • They are trained to administer prescribed medications, draw blood and other fluids, and care for injuries or surgical incisions under the supervision of either a Physician or RN.
  • Their responsibilities can include developing care plans and providing personal care such as dressing, bathing or feeding patients.
  • LPNs may work in a variety of settings, including, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, private homes, or institutions.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • LPNs say that helping people is an important aspect of their job.
  • Some LPNs say that they are asked to do work that should be done by Registered Nurses.

Getting Started

  • High School Courses
    • Students should take a college preparatory curriculum.
    • Most Nursing programs have admission prerequisites of 1 year of high school chemistry or 1 semester of college chemistry; most require a certain grade or better.
    • Also recommended are algebra, biology, and anatomy & physiology.
  • Education and Training
    • Individuals must complete a state-approved practical nursing program that is usually offered through a vocational/technical school or community college.
    • Training programs usually last one year and includes coursework in anatomy and physiology, Nursing skills, pharmacology, oral/interpersonal communication, and supervised instruction in a clinical setting.
    • Northcentral Technical College (NTC) has a one-year program, LPN Bridge to Associate Degree (LPN Bridge). They have prerequisite admission requirements including proof of a year of high school chemistry with B or better or a semester of college chemistry with a C or better and proof of college anatomy & physiology with C or better (C- is not sufficient).
    • Mid-State Technical College (MSTC) Nursing program has similar prerequisites for admission and students are eligible to take the National Licensing Exam for LPN after the first year (32 credits). Students are eligible to take the licensing exam for Registered Nurse (RN) after completion of all 70 credits in the Nursing program.

    Educational Institutions

    Bryant-Stratton College – Bayshore
    Chippewa Valley Technical College
    College of the Menominee Nation – Green Bay
    College of the Menominee Nation – Keshena
    Concordia University
    Fox Valley Technical College
    Gateway Technical College
    Herzing University – Brookfield
    Lakeshore Technical College
    Madison Area Technical College
    Mid-State Technical College
    Milwaukee Area Technical College
    Moraine Park Technical College – Beaver Dam
    Moraine Park Technical College – Fond du Lac
    Moraine Park Technical College – West Bend
    Nicolet Area Technical College
    Northcentral Technical College
    Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
    Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
    Waukesha County Technical College 
    Western Technical College

  • Method of Entry
    • All states and the District of Columbia require anyone wishing to earn designation of Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) must pass a licensing examination after completing a state-approved Practical Nursing program.
    • It is now a requirement that one must first qualify as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) before entering a nursing program.
    • Graduates must either have a license or must be eligible to be licensed by the state in which they wish to work.
    • Many technical colleges offer Practical Nursing programs.
    • At most technical colleges LPNs only complete the first year of an Associate Degree (ADN) program.
    • At NTC one must attend a Pathways to Health Career Workshop. This workshop is offered online or in a classroom format. www.ntc.edu
  • Professional Organizations

    American Assisted Living Nurses Association
    P.O. Box 10469
    Napa, CA, 94581
    707/622-5628
    www.alnursing.org/

    American Association of Colleges of Nursing
    One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 530
    Washington, DC, 20036
    202/463-6930
    www.aacn.nche.edu

    American Health Care Association
    1201 L Street NW
    Washington, DC, 20005
    202/842-4444
    www.ahca.org

    American Hospital Association (AHA)
    155 N. Wacker Dr.
    Chicago, IL, 60606
    312/422-3000 or 800/424-4301
    www.aha.org/

    American Nurses Association (ANA)
    8515 Georgia Avenue, Suite 400
    Silver Spring, MD, 20910
    301/628-5000 or 800/274-4ANA (4262)
    www.ana.org

    American Psychiatric Nurses Association
    3141 Fairview Park Drive, Suite 625
    Falls Church, VA, 22042
    571/533-1919 or 855/863-APNA (2762)
    www.apna.org/

    Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
    2000 L Street, NW, Suite 740
    Washington, DC, 20036
    202/261-2400 or 800/673-8499
    www.awhonn.org/awhonn/

    Coalition of Geriatric Nursing Organizations
    Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing and New York University College of Nursing
    433 First Avenue, 5th Floor
    New York, NY, 10010
    212/992 – 9416
    hartfordign.org/advocacy/cgno/

    Dermatology Nurses’ Association
    435 N. Bennett St.
    Southern Pines, NC, 28387
    800/454-4362
    www.dnanurse.org/

    Emergency Nurses Association (ENA)
    915 Lee St.
    Des Plaines, IL, 60016-6569
    800/900-9659 or 800/243-8362
    www.ena.org

    Independent Nursing Services
    25689 Kelly Road
    Roseville, MI, 48066
    586/771-4097 or 888/741-9878
    www.independentnursing.com/

    Leading Age Wisconsin
    204 South Hamilton Street
    Madison, WI, 53703
    608/255-7060
    www.wahsa.org

    National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service, Inc.
    2071 N. Bechtle Avenue PMB 307
    Springfield, OH, 45504-1583
    703/933-1003
    www.napnes.org

    National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
    5 Hanover Square, Suite 1401
    New York, NY, 10004
    917/746-8300
    www.napnap.org

    National Association of School Nurses
    1100 Wayne Ave., #925
    Silver Spring, MD, 20910
    240/821-1130
    www.nasn.org/

    National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses (NFLPN)
    3801 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 190
    Raleigh, NC, 27607
    919/779-0046 or 800/948-2511
    www.nflpn.org

    National League for Nursing
    2600 Virginia Ave. NW, Eighth Floor
    Washington, DC, 20037
    800/669-1656
    www.nln.org

    National Student Nurses’ Association
    45 Main Street, Suite 606
    Brooklyn , NY, 11201
    718/210-0705
    www.nsna.org

    Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association
    613 Williamson Street, Suite 200
    Madison, WI, 53703
    608/250-2440
    www.pcna.net/

    Visiting Nurse Associations of America
    2121 Crystal Dr., Suite 750
    Arlington, VA, 22202
    571/527-1520 or 888/866-8773
    vnaa.org

    Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing
    1400 E. Washington Ave., Room 112
    Madison, WI, 53703
    608/266-2112 or 877/617-1565
    dsps.wi.gov/Home

    Wisconsin League for Nursing
    PO Box 320892
    Franklin, WI, 53132-6151
    800/669-1656
    www.wisconsinwln.org/

    Wisconsin Nurses Association
    6117 Monona Drive #1
    Madison, WI, 53716
    608/221-0383 or 800/362-3959
    www.wisconsinnurses.org/

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2012 (Wisconsin): 9,650
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 719,900
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 837,200
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 16%
Expected Annual Openings: 32,220
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $42,649

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.

  • LPNs usually work 40 hours a week.
  • They may work shifts (days, pm’s or nights).
  • They may also work weekends and holidays.
  • There are limited chances for advancement as Licensed Practical Nurses
  • LPNs can choose to become Registered Nurses through numerous LPN-to-RN training programs.
  • Some train for specialized areas such as surgery.
  • Others take in-service training programs to become IV Certified.