How to Become a Practical Nurse in 12 Months or Less

Posted On February 6,2016

Becoming a practical nurse requires completion of an accredited education program and passing the state issued NCLEX-PN test. In most cases, all of the required coursework and the test can be completed in less than twelve months, and sometimes can even be done in only six to seven months. Here are a few tips for becoming a practical nurse in less than a year.

  1. practical nursing in toledo ohioPrepare for Entrance Exams – Getting into a licensed practical nursing program is very competitive and requires that you are able to pass both basic math and english skill tests before you begin. Once you apply for school you will need to take a series of entrance exams to show that you have the basic ability to handle the materials that they will be teaching you. The higher you score on these tests, the more likely you are to be accepted to the program of your choice. 
  2. Plan Ahead – Becoming a practical nurse requires that you complete both classroom time and clinical hours at a local healthcare facility. Most LPN programs are split into two equally, but heavily laden, semesters that squeeze all of these requirements into a very small timeframe. This leaves very little room for people who don’t have flexible schedules or need extra time to work through more challenging subjects. Be prepared to devote the next twelve months of your life to hard study and lots of work hours so that you can get all of this knocked out at once.
  3. Study Hard – Once you are actually enrolled in school, the studying begins. You will be required to complete courses that cover a wide range of medical subjects as well as basic office procedures. This includes anatomy, physiology, biology and more. In addition, you will learn about medical law, patient relationships and ethics, and insurance policy. It is highly important that you complete all of your coursework on time and that you pass all of your tests along the way so that you don’t have to retake any coursework that will set you back in finishing the program in less than twelve months. 
  4. Clinical Rotations – After completing your basic coursework, you will have the opportunity to get hands on experience in a real healthcare facility through clinical hours. Most LPN schools have partnered with local hospitals to provide you opportunities in their emergency care, pediatric and other specialized units so that you can get a clear picture of the job in real life scenarios. 
  5. Take the NCLEX-PN – Once you have made it through all of the classroom work and your clinical rotations, you should have your NCLEX-PN scheduled. The test itself costs around $200 and is issued by a national board that tracks and publishes success rates. You are given five hours to complete the exam with questions ranging from basic medical principles to complex procedures.

Becoming a practical nurse in less than a year is a high intensity goal that requires focus and determination. Fortunately, LPN schools have packaged their programs into a format that fits easily into two semesters. The most important factor is being prepared for the amount of work and studying that will be involved in completing the program without delay, and being prepared to take your NCLEX-PN test immediately upon graduation. However, many people have already managed to reach this goal in under a year and moved into successful medical careers. 

Start Your Journey Now

To learn more about a career in nursing, and whether it’s the right fit for you, schedule an appointment with Athena Career Academy today. One meeting with our Admissions counselors could help put you on the path to a successful career in nursing that could change your life for the better. Call 419-329-4075 today.


Athena Career Academy is located at:
5203 Airport Highway
Toledo, Ohio 43615
Hours: Monday – Friday 7:30AM to 4:30PM
Phone: (419) 329-4075