LPN Education Requirements

Pursuing the education of the licensed practical nurse (LPN) will allow you to help people in need. The path made of your choices is leading you to provide health care services. You are on this page because becoming an LPN meets your emotional needs. The complete research into the process from the beginning is a way to safely complete the journey from admission into an accredited program to landing up a job in a hospital, physician's office, or nursing homes. One of your concerns may be about what educational requirements you need to meet in order to begin the program that offers either degree or diploma/certificate. Read the article to clear your all doubts regarding educational requirements for becoming an LPN.

Educational Requirements for Becoming an LPN:

Basically, you need a high school diploma or general educational development (GED) score as the basic requirement. The prerequisite courses, certified nurse assistant (CNA) certification, entrance test, enrollment in either degree or diploma/certificate program as well as a will to help people in need is required. Navigate through the rest of article to get informed about these requirements in detail.

High School Diploma or GED:

Having a high school diploma is one of the basic gateways to enter in an accredited LPN program. The students of United States who somehow couldn't complete the high school or don't satisfy the requirements have an alternative to getting GED score. A GED is a test for evaluating proficiency in the subjects namely mathematics, science, writing, reading and social studies. Generally, the institutes seeking admissions have to satisfy the criteria of minimum GPA (Grade Point Average). The minimum requirement of GPA may vary from one institute to another.

Prerequisite Courses:

For entering the LPN program you are bound to take some courses that provide you with knowledge of biology and other relevant subjects. One of the subjects of the coursework is English to enhance your language skills required in the college. The aim of these courses is to give you training about basic concepts you should be familiar with. Fulfilling this educational requirement will not only help you to understand the courses in the curriculum of LPN program but also impart practical skills much needed in the workplace. Some of the courses that you may need to complete according to the program requirements are microbiology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, developmental psychology, medical-surgical nursing et cetera. The other prerequisite subjects such as English composition and elementary statistics are not related to science field.

Some institutes accept the fulfillment of the minimum requirement of getting a C grade in the prerequisite courses in order to consider for enrollment. The subject matter of the prerequisite courses may vary according to the program. You will come to know what it is when you contact the provider of that program. Generally, there is the requirement of completing a fixed number of credit hours for each course.

Also, there is the limit in years before which you must apply for entrance into the LPN program. For example, in some programs, the time limit may be 7 years for prerequisite courses related to science and 10 years for courses not related to science. To fulfill the prerequisite course requirements the Institute you finalize provide the classes.

CNA Certification:

To meet the requirement of some LPN programs it is even necessary for you to earn a CNA certification. It takes approx 6 months to complete the Nurse Aide program either on the basis of full time or part time. As the program approaches the end, you need to sit for an exam to get the certificate.

In the course of the certificate program, you will get practical experience to learn the skills you need in helping patients and health-care teams.

It is a great opportunity to update yourself with the latest trend in medical science. The employers surely consider the plenty of work experience that highly experienced instructors provide. You will learn a great deal of knowledge about taking care of a patient because a CNA spends time with them more than anyone else in the health-care team.

Entrance Exam for LPN Programs:

Some LPN programs are competitive and come up with criteria to decide whether you are eligible to pursue the course or not. The entrance exam is known as the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) which judges your academic skills on the basis of your score. It is a belief that a student with the high score in this entrance exam does well in the nursing program.

The TEAS test consists of the four sections for which you get a fixed amount of time for each. During the course of the exam, you need to face total 170 questions of multiple choice with the certainty of one of them being right. The grade doesn't declare whether you have passed or failed the test. You get a score for every section on the basis of your performance in each. Every institute declares the minimum score for entering in the course. If you are unable to get a good score in the first attempt, you get one more chance to improve your score.

You should keep reading for developing an understanding of what these four sections are all about.

Reading: This part of the test aims at evaluating your comprehension abilities. The pattern of this section includes a paragraph from which you need to draw conclusions. To score well you need to be fast as well as accurate in a time limit of 50 minutes to answer 40 questions.

Mathematics: This portion of the test evaluates the student's ability to solve problems without calculators. The duration entitled to solve 45 questions in this section is of 56 minutes. The best way to crack this section is to solve the problems in the head. The questions revolve around the concepts of fractions, basic algebra, percentiles et cetera.

Science: This section covers 38 questions in 30 minutes. The questions are based on the topics that are related to the nursing profession. For instance, scientific reasoning, earth science, life science, physical science et cetera are some of the topics in the science domain. The purpose of this section is to judge your understanding of the science which applies to the human body.

English and the Implication of Language: This section covers total 55 questions about grammar, spelling, and punctuation within 65 minutes. If you understand the basic principles in the English language then you can easily score well.

You can prepare for the test in the best way when you solve practice test papers and read the guidelines, tips and other important points about the NCLEX-PN. Learning from mistakes will help you to improve your specific skills.

To become an LPN you will need to enroll in an accredited program that usually completes within 1 or 2 years depending on the type of program and institution. Before undertaking one of the programs you need to decide what your goals are for the future. Keep reading to know how an aspiring LPN student decides which course to undertake.

Difference Between Degree and Diploma/Certificate:

An aspiring LPN student either selects a program that offers either a degree or diploma/certificate. The selection of one of the two paths depends on whether you would like to continue your education in future to become a registered nurse (RN). There is a preference for associate degree in nursing over a diploma or certificate when it comes to considering the credits. Most of the LPN to RN programs don't consider the credit you get with diploma or certificate. While in all cases, an associate degree in nursing can take you further. One more thing that differentiates both of the paths is the duration of the course. Usually, it takes more time to complete the associate degree than a diploma or certificate in practical nursing. So it is clear that education you get while pursuing an associate degree in nursing is broad with lots of clinical experience also.

Although duration and education level is different if we compare both of the programs, licensure examination is known as the National Council Licensure Examination- Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN) for candidates of both of the courses remain same. You can check about the test sections, facts, passing rates et cetera to get to know what NCLEX-PN is all about.

If you enter a degree program it may take around 18-24 months to complete the course. Go ahead with this option if you are sure that you can be committed for this long and want to become an RN in future too. If you just want to get a job early and don't consider becoming an RN in the future then pursuing a diploma or certificate is the right option for you. In this way, you will spend only 12 months studying and practicing to get educated in both theory and practice. It is obvious that the longer duration of the course will demand cost more than the lesser one in duration.

The decision of career path depends on the individual. Do what seems right for you.


It is beneficial to research about the path before beginning the journey. The sum of various educational requirements is a kit of tools you need to enroll in one of the campus or online LPN programs. You should look forward to making your start better so that you can feel confident during the entire span of the course.