Become a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)

A licensed vocational nurse or LVN as they are known in the health care industry, is a nurse who works in the great states of California and Texas. A LVN is an integral part of any health care facility team and has a lot of patient contact time in a wide variety of settings. Being a great LVN requires a genuine desire to help and care for people, having great communication skills and the ability to multitask.

What do LVNs Do?

A licensed vocational nurse will perform many of the same duties that other nurses perform like monitoring patient vital signs, giving shots, starting IV lines, reviewing charts, dispensing medications and collecting samples. They are in constant contact with doctors and other nurses regarding the status of their patient’s progress and depending on the setting, a LVN might also delegate jobs to nursing assistants and orderlies as well.

In Focus: Licensed Vocational Nursing Careers

How to Become a LVN

There are basically two ways to become a LVN, the short way and the long way. Many nursing and vocational schools offer a fast track to becoming a LVN, and with this training you can often be in the work force in just over one year. These programs will include both classroom training and hands on practice. You may also choose to go to a college or university and get a two to three year degree that allows you to work as an LVN. Both of these courses require that, once you complete them, you pass the state board exam. There is no advantage to taking either route to becoming a LVN. Although a licensed vocational nurse who starts working after a one-year vocational school will earn slightly less to start, by the time they have two to three years experience they will earn what an LVN at the same facility will earn when they start working after college. The decision is really just a personal choice and may depend on what is available in your area.

Once you have entered the work force there are many options for career advancement beyond the LVN such as becoming a registered nurse (RN) or finding a specialty that you like and becoming certified in it.

LVN Salaries

All salaries given here are averages and may be more or less depending on several factors like the state and facility in which you work and years of experience that you have. An LVN who has just entered the work force can expect to earn approximately $28,000 a year. The national median salary for an LVN is close to $39,000 annually and the top ten percent earn close to $54,000 a year.

Where Do Licensed Vocational Nurses Work?

You will find LVNs working in a wide range of practice settings, but the most popular places are rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. Licensed vocational nurses can also be found working in hospitals, clinics, long-term health care facilities, hospice, private offices or even home health care. Although LVNs do work under the supervision of a physician or RN they are responsible for performing most duties on their own unless help is needed.

Traveling Licensed Vocational Nurses

Traveling LVN jobs are quite popular and can be in high demand. A traveling LVN will work at a specific facility for a pre-determined short amount of time, usually less than one year, and will then transfer to a new facility. There are some great advantages to becoming a traveling nurse, one being that the compensation is extremely competitive due to the high demand to fill these positions. Also, you’ll gain invaluable experience by working in such a variety of environments as well as working with different medical equipment and learning new procedures. Travel nursing work isn’t ideal for everyone but it gives you great experience, adds many skills to your skill set and can be fun too.


Learn More: Hospice Nursing