Starting a professional career as a licensed vocational nurse requires that a prospective student initially enroll and complete one of the LVN programs that has been accredited by the National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission(NLNAC). Enrolling in an LVN program not accredited by the NLNAC does not qualify for a licensure examination. Thus, it is recommended to check on the accreditation status of the program before deciding to enroll. All states in the country require that vocational nurses obtain a license to practice before they are employed in any health care facility. Because of this, choosing the right LVN program is one of the most important decisions to make in order to have a successful career in the nursing field.
Each nursing school in California has its specific prerequisites before students are accepted in their LVN program. In addition to a high school diploma or its equivalent, some general education requirements are necessary before starting an accredited program. To obtain a license in vocational nursing, the applicant must first complete a 12 to 18-month LVN course accredited by California’s Board of Vocational Nursing & Psychiatric Technicians.
Education and training in vocational nursing is offered by vocational and technical LVN schools, community colleges, hospitals, and medical centers. These programs consist of lecture classes and clinical trainings supervised by nurse instructors. Courses in anatomy & physiology, psychiatric and mental health nursing, obstetrics, medical-surgical nursing, pediatric nursing, medication calculation and administration, nutrition and dietetics, family health, community health and fundamentals in nursing techniques are included in the curriculum. Clinical rotations are done in various health care facilities to teach, develop and assess the technical and clinical skills of the students.
Getting Ready for the NCLEX-PN
Once these requirements are completed, the student is eligible to apply to their local boards of nursing for an eligibility to sit in the National Council Licensure Examination – vocational Nurse or NCLEX-PN. NCLEX-PN is a 5-hour computer-adaptive test that covers four major categories: physiological integrity, psychosocial integrity, health promotion and maintenance and safe and effective care environment. Topics included are the basics of vocational nursing, maternal and newborn nursing, pediatrics, gerontology, medical-surgical nursing, mental health and pharmacology. This examination is developed and administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nurses or NCSBN. Though the examinees made their applications in different states, the NCLEX-PN is a standardized examination, ensuring that the quality of health care is maintained.
Each state has its own licensure requirements for vocational nurses. For example, LVN programs in Texas must be approved by the TX Board of Nursing. California requires that the education standards are met and that the applicant has successfully passed the licensure examinations. After obtaining a license in vocational nursing, LVNs can be appointed as charge nurses after accumulating sufficient nursing experience and advanced training and LVN courses. LVNs who want attain better employment opportunities and career advancements can enter one of the LVN to RN programs that help in the transition toward a career in registered nursing. This transition is made with minimum amount of time and course content.
LVN Salary in California Increases in 2017
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we have found that the LVN salary has increased year over year between 2010 and 2016. The typical wages earned by vocational nurses in Califonia is now $52,670 annually! This is a HUGE increase from prior years. The highest pay for LVNs in California remains in industries such as corrections, research, and teaching. Nurses that work for the California Department of Corrections not only receive outstanding pay, but also get top-notch benefits, as well. The retirement package offered to LVNs working in corrections in California is second to none. California’s Department of Corrections also offers career advancement opportunities, as well as tuition reimbursement for those interested in advancing their education.