Licensed Practical Nurse

What does a Licensed Practical Nurse do?

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) provide routine nursing care for patients. They work under the direction of registered nurses or physicians.

What might a Licensed Practical Nurse do in a workday?

Licensed practical nurses:

  • take and record patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature.
  • perform some diagnostic tests and treatments.
  • assist patients with daily activities, such as feeding, bathing and exercising, which may involve lifting and turning patients.
  • observe patients and report any reactions to treatments or medications.
  • care for patients ranging from newborns to adults, from labor and delivery to postmortem.

Develop a Career as a Licensed Practical Nurse

LPNs may work in hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, private homes, nursing homes and other medical institutions.

How much salary do Licensed Practical Nurses make?

Annual Mean Wage

How do I become a Licensed Practical Nurse?

Students intending to pursue a career as a licensed practical nurse should prepare by taking high school courses in science, math and English. To become a licensed practical nurse, students must complete an approved practical nursing program and pass the NCLEX-PN, a national licensure exam.

Where else can I learn about becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse?

Professional Associations:

National Association of Licensed Practical Nurses 
3801 Lake Boone Trail 
Suite 190
Raleigh, NC 27607
(919) 779-0046

National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service
2071 N Bechtle Avenue
PMB 307
Springfield, OH 45504-1583
(703) 933-1003

Virginia License Practical Nurse Association 
3205 Fendall Avenue
Richmond, VA 23222
(804) 321-8060

State Licensure Requirements for Licensed Practical Nurses

A license is required to practice as a licensed practical nurse in the state of Virginia. For more information on licensure, applications and forms, visit

Virginia Board of Nursing
Perimeter Center
9960 Mayland Drive
Suite 300
Henrico, VA 23233
Phone: (804) 367-4515

Find Local Support

Blue Ridge Region AHEC – Shenandoah Valley

Capital Region AHEC – Richmond Metro and surrounding areas

Eastern Virginia Region AHEC – Southeast Virginia and Peninsula

Northern Virginia Region AHEC – Northern Virginia

Rappahannock Region AHEC – Northern Neck, Fredericksburg, and Middle Peninsula

South Central Region AHEC – Lynchburg, Danville, and surrounding area

Southside Region AHEC – South of Richmond

Southwest Virginia Region AHEC – Roanoke Valley and West