How to Get Your LPN License Online

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If you are planning on obtaining your LPN license online, you must face some realities. The requirements for the LPN license cannot be fully completed online. Hands-on, practical training (a part of any accredited nursing program) and a licensing exam must be completed in person. What many online schools do not tell potential students is this: state nursing boards in the U.S. choose which educational programs can be used to receive an LPN license. Just because an online LPN program exists does not mean it is approved by your state.

  • Search for the state board of nursing website for the state of your primary residence by visiting the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The NCSBN provides a link to each state's board of nursing. Once on your state's board of nursing website, look for the page listing approved nursing programs. For example, New Mexico lists its approved programs under the heading of Nursing Education.

  • Search for an approved nursing program that offers online courses. Check with each state-approved program to discover whether if offers online LPN classes. The NCSBN makes recommendations to state nursing boards about distance nursing education programs, but the state board is not required to offer an online alternative.

  • Enroll in and complete an approved nursing program. Part of the licensing application process is obtaining a transcript proving the successful completion of an approved program. Applying before you complete an approved program may delay or complicate your application.

  • Apply for licensing through the state nursing board of your primary residence and pay a licensing fee. Visit your state board of nursing website for an application and instructions. New Mexico provides an online application, instructions and a checklist for an applicant to use to successfully complete the licensing process. New Mexico charges a fee of $110 for a PN license.

  • Provide all required paperwork, additional items and fees as requested in the application information. In addition to a completed application form and school transcripts, applicants may also be required to submit to a background check and finger printing at an additional cost to the applicant. New Mexico charges an additional $44 for a background check and fingerprint card.

  • Apply for and take the National Council Licensure Exam -- Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN). In addition to paying for a state license, the applicant must also pay a fee for taking a licensing exam. All NCLEX-PN testing is managed through Pearson/Vue as of 2011. All tests are taken in person at one of the many Pearson/Vue testing locations in the U.S. The current cost for the NCLEX-PN exam as of 2011 is $200.

Tips & Warnings

  • Your primary residence would be the state in which you hold a state identification card or a driver's license.
  • School transcripts must be received from the educational institution and not the student. Schools may require a transcript fee before releasing a transcript for a student. Check with your school registrar for further information about transcripts.
  • Study materials and review courses can be found at local bookstores and through continuing education programs. Check with your school to see if they offer a study program for the NCLEX-PN exam.

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