LPN Jobs & Career Outlook

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When you are training to become a Licensed Practical Nurse, you may wonder where you can find job openings for LPNs.  The simple answer is that anywhere there are patients, there is a need for Licensed Practical Nurses.  The facilities where Licensed Practical Nurses work are varied- hospitals, private doctor’s offices, clinics, nursing homes, long term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, and in-home care services are among the most common employers of LPNs.  The different facilities where Licensed Practical Nurses work vary from state to state, and even within the communities where Licensed Practical Nurses live and work, however, there are positions available for LPNs in nearly every community.

The National Labor Bureau estimated that of the roughly 749,000 Licensed Practical Nurses working in 2015, roughly one fourth of them worked in hospital settings.  Licensed Practical Nurses employed by hospitals work in almost every part of the facility including emergency rooms, medical units, surgical centers, labor and delivery, orthopedics, pediatric wards, and geriatric departments.

The same study found that in 2015, roughly one fourth of Licensed Practical Nurses worked in nursing care facilities where they provide a majority of the hands on care for patients in those facilities.  This ranges from taking vital signs and recording information in charts to self care activities, feeding, and other daily care activities.  Licensed Practical Nurses in nursing facilities also serve in administrative and supervisory capacities.  Nursing facility care is one of the fastest growing segments of the medical field.

The 2015 survey found that twelve percent of Licensed Practical Nurses working in doctors offices where they provide basic care for patients.  In private offices, LPNs often help with tasks such as measuring and weighing patients, taking vital signs, drawing blood and taking samples, giving medication, and serving as educators for patients and their families.

Home healthcare agencies made up a portion of the remaining number, with Licensed Practical Nurses visiting patients and providing care that ranges from medicine administration to basic care such as bathing and even preparing food.  Some Licensed Practical Nurses choose to work for employment agencies where they provide fill-in care to medical facilities on an as-needed basis.  Residential care facilities and community care facilities also hire Licensed Practical Nurses to assist with providing care for patients.  Outpatient clinics, and government agencies (such as local Health Departments) hire Licensed Practical Nurses to provide care and counseling for patients.  Jobs for Licensed Practical Nurses also exist in the military, industrial and occupational health settings, schools, mental health facilities, and hospices.  Dialysis centers, blood banks, and correctional facilities also employ LPNs.

The positions available to Licensed Practical Nurses vary depending on geographic location; however, there are jobs in every state.  Those Licensed Practical Nurses who choose to work in residential nursing facilities are often among the highest paid, and find that they have more opportunities for career advancement.  Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse is also a gateway to further education in the medical field, and many find that working as a Licensed Practical Nurse is a good way to find out if they want to stay in the health care profession and even continue their education to become a Registered Nurse.  No matter where you decide to work, you will find rewarding job as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

Career Outlook for LPNs

Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse is a very rewarding career choice- not just personally, but also financially.  The career outlook for Licensed Practical Nurses is brighter than ever, thanks to improvements in medical technology, an increased focus on preventive medicine, and the aging population of the United States.  The entire health care industry is experiencing unprecedented growth, and now is the time to join the medical community as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

The United States Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks trends in all fields, and then uses that data to predict the growth in that field.  The BLS says that job prospects for Licensed Practical Nurses are great as positions in long term and skilled nursing facilities are rapidly outpacing even hospital position growth.  Licensed Practical Nurses often provide a majority of the day to day care for patients in nursing facilities, and as Americans continue to live longer, the demand for Licensed Practical Nurses to help care for them will continue to grow.  In addition, many hospitals are moving toward releasing patients earlier than ever, creating a demand for Licensed Practical Nurses to provide in-home care, intermediary care facilities, and extended care facilities.  The BLS says that in 2015, there were roughly 749,000 Licensed Practical Nurses in the United States.  They predict that by 2018, that number will be more than 854,000.  The number of jobs available varies by region, but there are positions for Licensed Practical Nurses in every state in the country.

As Licensed Practical Nurses leave the profession to become Registered Nurses, move on to different careers, or retire, the demand for LPNs increases again.  In many hospitals, there is a trend toward helping LPNs complete their education to become Registered Nurses- a process which is often paid for in full by the hospital itself.  These programs have attracted many new nurses to the field, as they are able to begin working, and then continue their education as they earn a paycheck.  Licensed Practical Nurses have also become in demand in new areas- schools, daycares, large factories, medical equipment companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and correctional facilities all hire Licensed Practical Nurses.  The demand for nurses has grown so much that many post secondary schools look to hire nurses to help teach the next generation of Licensed Practical Nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, and Medical Assistants.  These positions often offer steady hours and are among the highest paid in the field.

With the introduction of the NCLEX-PN, Licensed Practical Nurses are finding that their skills have suddenly become more valuable because they can be transferred easily to virtually any state in the country.  This means that if your family moves, you won’t have to worry about completing extra training in order to keep your license.  This flexibility has contributed to the demand for nurses in new areas, making your position as a Licensed Practical Nurse even more promising.  Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse is a good way to enter a rewarding and challenging field with many job opportunities.  As the demand for nurses continues to grow, you will find that working as an LPN is one of the most rewarding careers in medicine.