Career Snapshot: Licensed Vocational Nursing
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Training lasting about 1 year is available in about 1,200 State-approved programs, mostly in vocational or technical schools.
- Applicants for jobs in hospitals may face competition as the number of hospital jobs for licensed vocational nurses declines; however, rapid employment growth is projected in other health care industries, with the best job opportunities occurring in nursing care facilities and in home health care services.
- Replacement needs will be a major source of job openings, as many workers leave the occupation permanently.
About the Profession
Vocational nursing is the entry level into the nursing profession. The licensed vocational nurse practices under the supervision of a registered nurse, advanced practice nurse, physician's assistant, physician, podiatrist, or dentist. The licensed vocational nurse practices in structured health care settings with clients with predictable healthcare needs.
Texas and California use the title Licensed Vocational Nurse; all other states use the title Licensed Practical Nurse; graduates of both programs take the same licensure exam.
In addition to providing bedside care, LVNs in nursing care facilities such as long-term care and assisted-living facilities help to evaluate residents’ needs, assist in the development and modification of ongoing plans of care, and supervise the care provided by nursing aides. LVNs may also be employed in different clinics, private and group homes and similar institutions.
Licensed practical nurses held about 696,000 jobs in 2014. About 31 percent of LVNs worked in nurseing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities), 12 percent in general medical and surgical hospitals, and another 13 percent in offices of physicians(1). Others worked for home health care services; employment services; community care facilities for the elderly; public and private educational services; outpatient care centers; and Federal, State, and local government agencies.
Employment of LPNs is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations through 2022 in response to the long-term care needs of an increasing elderly population and the general growth of health care services. Replacement needs will be a major source of job openings, as many workers leave the occupation permanently. Applicants for jobs in hospitals may face competition as the number of hospital employment opportunities for LVNs declines; however, rapid employment growth is projected in other health care industries, with the best job opportunities occurring in nursing care facilities and in home health care services.