A Guide on How to Become an LPN in Wisconsin

A Guide on How to Become an LPN in Wisconsin

Looking to become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Wisconsin?

Well, that’s fantastic! 

The career is exciting, well-paying, and full of growth opportunities.

However, choosing to become an LPN is not the hard part.

The hard part is how to become one!

The process seems long and complicated. Aside from that, different states have different requirements. So, which ones apply to Wisconsin?

Well, don’t worry! In this article, we are giving you a simple, easy, and interesting guide on how to become an LPN in Wisconsin in just 3 steps! 

We’ll also answer relevant FAQs, such as:

  • How much does an LPN in Wisconsin make?
  • Where do LPNs usually work?
  • Is Wisconsin an NLC state?
  • How hard is the NCLEX-PN exam? 

To achieve a goal, you first have to have a plan and direction.

Let’s get into the details of this article so that you can start fulfilling your dreams.

How to Become an LPN in Wisconsin – 3 Simple Steps

Down below are the 4 simple steps to becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in Wisconsin, 

Step #1: Enroll in a State-Approved LPN Program

Step #2: Register for Your LPN License In Wisconsin

Step #3: Keep Your License Active

Let’s have a look at each one.

Step #1: Enroll in a State-Approved LPN Program

Your LPN journey begins with an LPN education program. 

And this makes a lot of sense, right?

How can you expect to handle life-and-death situations and the care of patients with various conditions of health if you don’t have any training at all?

Nursing requires specialized knowledge and skill sets. 

But don’t worry! 

LPN programs are not as long and as tedious as RN programs. 

They usually last around 12-18 months, rather than the 2-4 years required for RN training.


But how do you choose the best LPN program for you?

The first thing you need to look out for is state-approval. 

Your LPN program MUST BE approved by Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services for you to qualify to become an LPN. 

You can find a list of state-approved LPN programs here

Aside from state approval, you should look at the NCLEX passing rates of the schools to see which ones prepare their graduates well for the national exams. 

You should also consider the location, schedule, cost, faculty, and facilities of the school. 

Program Cost

Program costs are an important factor when deciding which nursing school to join, so it’s important to know all the costs associated with this education path. 

It’s best to ask the school ahead of time what is included in the cost since they will each have a unique set of fees. Other expenses that may or may not be included in the tuition fee are supplies, uniforms, textbooks, etc. 

Just to give one example, the Lakeshore Technical College, situated in Wisconsin, charges around $10,000 for its nursing course

Program Content

The exact curriculum of each school will differ, but they will cover all fundamental nursing topics you’ll need to know for becoming an LPN. 

Some subjects you can expect are:

  • Pediatrics
  • Maternal and Newborn Care
  • Adult Health
  • Psychiatric and Mental Health
  • Community Health
  • Medical and Surgical Nursing
  • Long-term Care and Geriatrics

You can also expect clinical exposure in different healthcare settings. 

This is a very important part of your nursing education because it allows you to practice and apply the skills necessary for LPNs under the supervision of your preceptor. 

It is also an opportunity for you to get a feel of what the job of an LPN entails and what field or setting appeals to you the most. 

Admission Requirements

To enroll in an LPN program, you have to submit some requirements.

Although requirements differ per school, you may need to submit the following:

  • A certificate from a high school or a similar credential, like the GED
  • Personal interview
  • ACT or SAT scores
  • A transcript from the college courses you attended (if applicable) 
  • Complete vaccination and immunization records
  • Thorough background investigations

Step #2: Register for Your LPN License in Wisconsin

Getting the best nursing education is fundamental. However, you need to keep going.

The next major step is acquiring your LPN license. 

An LPN License means you are a recognized nurse and can start working. 

But how can you acquire it? 

There are two methods:

  1. Examination
  2. Endorsement


The only official way to become a Licensed Practical Nurse is by passing the NCLEX-PN examination. 

All aspiring LPNs nationwide must take and pass this national exam upon graduating from an accredited LPN program.  

However, you must first submit the following documents to the Wisconsin State Department of Safety and Professional Services to register for the NCLEX:

  • A completed application form and payment of the application fee
  • Statement of Graduation or Completion (DSPS Form #259) sent directly from your school
  • Official transcripts from the state-approved nursing program you finished in (applicable for those who studied outside of Wisconsin but still in the US or its territories) 
  • A fingerprint card and authorization for the release of FBI information 
  • NCLEX registration and payment of the $200 exam fee through Pearson Vue

Once your initial application is approved, you will receive an email with an Authorization to Test (ATT) form. 

You can use the instructions in the form to schedule and take the exam. 

The exam is definitely on the harder side of things, so make sure to prepare well!

If you pass… CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve accomplished a lot, and we know it wasn’t easy.

But if you don’t pass right away, don’t worry too much. You still have a chance to retake the exam. 

Don’t be complacent though, because you will need to pay the fees for application and registration again. 


The endorsement process is specific for LPNs who are seeking to work in Wisconsin but are from non-NLC states. 

What is an NLC state?

NLC stands for Nurse Licensure Compact States which allows nurses licensed in one of the Nursing Compact state jurisdictions to practice in any of the other compact state jurisdictions without having to get extra nursing licenses. 

Wisconsin is an NLC member, and if you are applying from an NLC state, you can practice here hassle-free. 

Check out this link for a list of all the NLC states.

However, if your state is not part of the NLC, then you’ll need to submit an application for endorsement, pay an application fee, and give the following information:

  • Verification of Licensure
    • You need to have your original license (from the state where you first became an LPN) verified. If your initial exam state license is still active, only that state’s license verification is required.
    • If your original license is no longer active, you also need to verify a current LPN license from any state where you have an active LPN license. 
  • A  fingerprint card and authorization for the release of FBI information

Note: For more details on the examination and endorsement process, you can look here.

Step #3: Keep Your License Active 

After getting your LPN license, you can start looking for a job. 

Sometimes, you won’t land your dream job automatically. You may need some time to gain experience and improve your credentials before landing the job you want. 

That’s still part of the learning process, so enjoy it! 

But why do we still have another step in the process? 

You may be thinking: I’ve finished my studies, I’ve acquired my license, and I’ve got a job – but I’m still not finished?

Well, kind of. To understand how licensure works, you need to know about its expiration. 

Although you already have your license, it will expire on April 30th of every odd-numbered year. 

If your license remains expired, you can risk completely losing your license, so you need to renew it.


Thankfully, license renewal in Wisconsin is very simple! 

Unlike other states, you are not required to complete continuing education hours or practice hours. 

All you have to do is complete an online form, pay a renewal fee, submit a Report State of Primary Residency, and take the Nursing Workforce Survey. 

You can renew online or request a paper renewal form.

But just because you aren’t required to have continuing education doesn’t mean you should stop learning.

If you want to improve your credentials and advance your career, you can consider becoming specialized in a certain LPN field.

You can also consider becoming an RN or an APRN later on. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming an LPN in Wisconsin

We’ve covered the different steps to becoming an LPN in Wisconsin, but there are still other important things to consider. 

Let’s tackle a few of them here. 

How much does an LPN make in Wisconsin?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an LPN in Wisconsin has an average salary of $52,610 per year.

This is higher than the national average. 

But it’s important to note that your hourly and annual salary will greatly vary based on the area you reside in. Moreover, factors such as institutional policies, your work experience, your position, and whether or not you have specializations will also affect your salary. 

Where do LPNs usually work?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industries with the highest levels of employment of LPNs are:

  • Nursing Care Facilities
  • Home Healthcare Services
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
  • Offices of Physicians
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly

Is Wisconsin an NLC state? 

Yes! Wisconsin is part of the Nursing Licensure Compact.

This allows LPNs from Wisconsin to apply for multistate licenses, which will allow them to practice in other NLC states without having to go through the endorsement process in those states. 

This is advantageous for LPNs in Wisconsin because they have more job opportunities available to them – and it’s hassle-free! 

How difficult is the NCLEX exam?

The NCLEX exam is the official exam that will determine if you can become an LPN or not, so you can expect it will be challenging. But that doesn’t mean it is not doable! 

If you come from a good LPN school, they would have done their best to prepare you for the NCLEX even before you graduate. 

And there are a lot of ways to prepare yourself for the exam afterward. 

We recommend you take a practice test here and get a feel of what you can expect. 

The exam is mostly an MCQ-style exam with 85-205 questions. 

If in the practice test, you are getting more than 50-70 questions wrong, you’ll need more practice, but if you are getting no more than 30 wrong, you’ll be fine. 

Regardless of the result, make sure to study hard.

Wrapping it up

Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse has its challenges, but no dream worth pursuing comes easily. 

While all endeavors in life require hard work, including becoming an LPN, following a systematic plan will make things smoother for you.  

Stick to the plan, work hard, and remain dedicated!

We hope this helps you in your journey to becoming an LPN. 

We wish you all the best! 

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