You used to think being a nurse was a straightforward career goal—but then you started researching career options and discovered it was more complicated than you originally thought. There are many different paths and levels of education that can lead you to a nursing career.
You’ve heard of registered nurses (RNs), but there’s another nursing role you should know about: LPN, or licensed practical nurse. Why become an LPN? There are plenty of good reasons to consider this option. But like with any career path, there are potential trade-offs to be aware of too.
Don’t take any chances with your future nursing career! We’re walking through the LPN pros and cons you need to know about so you can make the best decision for your unique situation. With this information in hand, you’ll be better prepared to make a confident decision.
The advantages of becoming an LPN
There are many advantages to choosing an LPN Diploma over other nursing education options. Here are the positive factors that might sway your decision.
1. You can start your nursing career faster
The most obvious advantage to an LPN track is that the time to completion can be significantly faster than other options. The Practical Nursing program at Rasmussen College allows students to complete their courses in as few as 12 months.1 Compared to the minimum 18 months it takes to achieve an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or the three-plus years it can take to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), it’s easy to see why an LPN Diploma is an appealing choice.1
If you’re looking to quickly get yourself on more stable footing in your career, the comparatively short runway to becoming an LPN may be especially appealing.
2. There is still solid earning potential
Your future salary is always a consideration when weighing your career options. You’ll be pleased to hear that the median annual salary for LPNs in 2019 was $47,480, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).2 This puts LPNs solidly ahead of median annual wage for all workers, which was $39,810 in May 2019.3 While entry-level salaries are likely to be lower than the median annual salary figure referenced here, the earning potential of an LPN remains solid. This nursing career option provides an excellent pathway to potential economic stability—and that’s not something to take for granted.
3. The job growth outlook for LPNs remains strong
LPNs can earn a decent salary, but what if there are no jobs available for you after you earn your Diploma and license to practice? Thankfully, demand for LPNs appears to be on solid ground, with the BLS projecting employment of LPNs to grow by 9 percent between 2019 and 2029.2
This job growth is considered much faster than the national average, with an addition of 65,700 new jobs projected in that timeframe by the BLS.2 Much of this growth projection is attributed to the aging Baby Boomer generation, which will continue needing increased medical care in the coming years.
4. There are fewer barriers to entry
Becoming a nurse can seem like an intimidating feat—and before you can even begin, you need to get into nursing school. What if your high school GPA isn’t where you’d like it to be, or you’re not sure about your TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) results? Not to mention any prerequisite classes you may need under your belt.
Getting into nursing school is less of a hurdle for those pursuing the LPN career track. If you’re not feeling as confident about your academic abilities, this option can make a nursing career attainable—especially with the help of dedicated instructors and staff who want to see you succeed.
5. You can still advance to RN down the road
Are you worried about starting your LPN career then later wishing you could become a registered nurse? No problem! Many nurses begin their careers as an LPN to gain experience in the field and earn a steady income. You can always advance to a higher nursing degree to become an RN later down the road once you’re more established.
At Rasmussen College, LPNs have the opportunity to enroll in the Professional Nursing program via an LPN to RN Bridge offering. This allows you to build on your existing knowledge, further your education and be ready to take the NCLEX-RN exam in as few as 12 to 18 months.1