In order to practice as a licensed practical nurse (LPN), you must obtain your LPN license that is granted by a national licensing organization. All LPN training programs and LPN degree programs prepare students to get their LPN license and sit for the LPN licensing exam. You can also take LPN licensing courses independently if you are weak in certain areas or subjects. Most LPN training programs that are just a year in length will adequately prepare you for the licensing exam, but you may wish to complete a two-year associate's degree or a four-year degree in order to advance in your career.

How to Get Your LPN License

You will need at least a high school diploma or GED for admission to an LPN training program. Training for entry-level positions as a licensed practical nurse usually includes subjects in the field of physiology, anatomy, first aid, nutrition and medical nursing. You will also need to complete a clinical component at an area hospital to meet all of the state and national LPN licensing requirements. Once you have completed your LPN training, either at a school or online, you will need to sit for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing's National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for LPNs.

Preparing for the LPN Licensing Exam

In order to prepare for the LPN licensing exam, you must complete all of your LPN courses and make time in your schedule to study for the exam. The exam itself can be fairly challenging and is administered through computers through Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT). You can take practice tests online or consult exam preparation books so that you have a good idea of the types of questions that will be asked on the exam, and to learn some important test-taking skills.

You can review NCLEX-RN test plans created by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to see a breakdown of the core subjects and topics that will be covered in the LPN licensing exam. You'll see information on the distribution of content section that includes percentages of types of questions in each category or subcategory. This can be very helpful when studying key concepts for your LPN license and will help you map out a study schedule that prepares you adequately for the LPN licensing exam.

Before you can take the NCLEX, you will need to obtain an Authorization to Test (ATT). To get your ATT, you will need to apply to your board of nursing independently and then register with Pearson VUE. Take a good look at the NCLEX Candidate Bulletin to learn about the test format, wait for your eligibility letter from Pearson VUE, then schedule your exam at a test center in your area.

Taking the LPN Licensing Exam

You will need to arrive at least 30 minutes before the test time in order to site for your LPN licensing exam. You will need to present your Authorization to Test (ATT) letter and a valid form of identification. You'll also need to have your biometrics taken, which consists of a signature, palm vein scan and fingerprints. You will have up to five hours to complete the LPN licensing exam, and up to six hours to complete the RN examination. This time includes a short tutorial, two optional breaks and any unscheduled breaks. Keep in mind that all breaks count against your testing time.