Are you interested in working for the healthcare sector? Then a good place to start is by applying for an LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) program.
LVNs look after patients by taking care of their basic health needs, generally under the supervision of a registered nurse. Their duties may include, for example, dressing wounds, giving injections, feeding, bathing as well as checking vital signs. Thus, as an LVN, you may find work in various settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, private practices, etc.
You may get an LVN certificate or diploma from a community college, nursing school or a university after high school. But if you’re confused about which state to get your LVN education from, a good place to consider may be California. Read the following to learn more.
LVN Admission Requirements
The admission requirements into an LVN program may vary depending on which college or school you apply to, but generally they are as follows:
Age: You must submit your birth certificate to prove you are at least 17 years old.
Education: You must have graduated from high school or have a GED certificate.
Exam: You might have to clear an entrance examination, e.g., TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills).
Health: You may have to give a physical to prove you are mentally and physically sound.
You may be required to take some prerequisite courses, such as mathematics, English and biology. There are even some schools in California which follow the "ladder concept", meaning you may have to complete a CAN (Certified Nursing Assistant) program first before applying.
LVN Programs Duration
In comparison to becoming an RN (registered nurse), which may take two to four years, an LVN program usually takes about one year to complete.
However, it depends on where you apply and what type of program you choose—part-time, full-time or accelerated. You may even choose to go for an online program to make it more flexible.
A general LVN curriculum combines classroom learning with supervised clinical experience. As for the subjects, coursework may cover basic nursing areas such as:
LVN Outlook in California
Patient Care (infants/children/adults/elderly)
Psychology and physiology
Nutrition and First Aid
To estimate what the career outlook in California is like for LVNs, let’s first see what the national average estimates as per 2012 are:
The annual median pay is $41,540, meaning $19.97 earned per hour.
The projected growth rate for the decade 2012-2022 is estimated to be 25%, which is a much faster growth rate than other occupations. (BJS)
It is important to note that the above figures may vary depending on skills, level of experience and location.
California’s outlook for LVNs, on the other hand, is even more encouraging:
It is considered the second best state for LVNs, employing around 61,050 professionals.
The annual median pay of $51,800 ($24.91 earned every hour) - BJS
Most LVNs could even get an annual starting salary of about $55,000.
Another bonus to working as an LVN in California is that you may only need to train for 12-18 months.
Before you can get employed, you must pass the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensing Examination for Practical and Vocational Nursing) in order to get licensed. This exam usually includes a practical portion and a writing portion.
There may be further requirements for getting a license in California that you may need to look into. You could refer to the California Board of Nursing for more information.