So, you want to start a career in practical nursing — that’s awesome!
LPNs are an integral part of our healthcare system. And being one ensures you a stable job for years to come — the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that employment for LPNs will increase by 9% from 2020 to 2030.
However, starting can be scary, especially when unsure about the process. Each state has a different system leading to an LPN license, and Alaska is no different.
That’s why we put this guide together — to ensure you’ll have help.
We’ve outlined five steps on how to become an LPN in Alaska, and we’ll delve deeper into each.
We’ll also cover some questions you might have, such as:
- How much do LPNs earn in Alaska?
- Besides nursing homes, where else do LPNs typically work?
- Are there specific things LPNs can’t do?
Seems like a lot? We get that, but it isn’t complicated.
Are you ready to begin? Let’s go!
How to Become an LPN in Alaska in 5 Steps
We wanted to keep things straightforward, so we’ve narrowed down the process to five steps:
- Complete your nursing education
- Earn your license
- Find your first nursing job
- Strengthen your career
- Maintain your license
Let’s find out more about each step!
Step #1: Complete Your Nursing Education
Okay, this might sound a little strange, but there aren’t any accredited LPN programs in Alaska.
Alaska Pacific University’s LPN program has been a candidate for initial approval from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing since September 2021.
Don’t panic! You can still become an LPN in Alaska. However, you must complete your nursing program from an out-of-state provider.
Here are some things to watch out for when selecting a school:
- Accreditation: Choose an ACEN-accredited program. An uncredited course may give you the knowledge you need, but it won’t allow you to sit for the NCLEX-PN.
- Tuition and Other Expenses: Schools offering LPN programs have varying rates, so it’s best to compare before deciding on one. However, remember that the tuition isn’t your only cost — you’ll need books, supplies, and uniforms. Taking an out-of-state program also means you must consider housing and transportation expenses.
- Availability of Student Support Programs: If you can find a school that offers financial aid, it might ease your financial burden. Those with strong connections with healthcare facilities may also help you with future employment prospects.
- A Comprehensive Curriculum: An LPN program typically tackles different subjects, such as Foundations of Nursing, Pharmacology, Anatomy, and Physiology. More than this, ensure your curriculum gives ample time for practical, hands-on experience and labs.
- Learning Options: Programs that offer hybrid options are usually better for out-of-state schools. Although you must attend the clinical portion of the program in person, at least you have the choice of completing the classroom instruction from your home.
- NCLEX Pass Rates: Besides giving you adequate knowledge to perform your nursing duties, the objective of a school is to prepare you for the NCLEX-PN exam. A provider with a higher pass rate indicates their graduates handle the exam better.
Step #2: Earn Your License
We’ve arrived at the exciting part — getting your license!
There are two possible routes to getting your LPN license in Alaska. Those who recently completed schooling go through the examination process. LPNs from other states who want to work in Alaska can earn their license through endorsement.
Let’s see the steps involved in each of these.
Going Through the Examination Process
Only applicants who have never had an LPN license in Alaska can apply through examination. Here are the things you need to do:
NOTE: You still need to submit the original notarized signature page to Alaska’s Board of Nursing even if you completed an online application.
- Pay the necessary fees:
- $100 nonrefundable application fee
- $200 license fee
- $75 fingerprint processing fee
NOTE: You may only pay using a credit or debit card if applying online.
- Submit your fingerprint and background reports.
- Your school must comply with the following:
- Submit verification confirming that you completed their LPN program (the Board sends it to them directly)
- Send your official transcript directly to Alaska’s Board of Nursing (they can send electronic copies to email@example.com)
- NOTE: All documents not in English must come with certified English translations
- Foreign graduates must also submit reports to show English proficiency. These can be from IELTS, CGFNS, or TOEFL. You can also send an ICHP certificate indicating you completed the VisaScreen: Visa Credential Assessment Service.
- Register with Pearson VUE and pay the $200 testing Fee.
- Call Pearson VUE once you receive your Authorization to Test notice and schedule an exam.
- Take and pass the NCLEX-PN.
NOTE: The Board of Nursing will email you your results within 14 days. You’ll also receive your license if you pass.
Applicants who don’t pass the NCLEX-PN on their first try will receive a CPR (Candidate Performance Report), which you can use to prepare for retaking the test. However, you will need to re-register with Pearson VUE, pay another $200, and wait for a new ATT. You can only retake the NCLEX-PN after 45 days.
Congratulations! Now you have your license!
Going Through the Endorsement Process
Alaska isn’t part of the Nursing Licensure Compact, which means any LPN with an active license who wants to work in Alaska must apply for one.
Don’t worry — you won’t need to retake the NCLEX-PN. Instead, you’ll go through the endorsement process. You can complete an online application or do everything on paper.
The process begins similarly to the examination process — you’ll submit an application form, pay the fees, and submit fingerprint and background reports. You must also send the original notarized signature page if you apply online.
Applicants who completed their education outside the U.S. must also submit documents proving their English proficiency.
Once you comply with those, these are the remaining steps:
- Verify your license through Nursys. If your state isn’t in its database, you must call your Board and have them send the verification directly to the Board of Alaska.
NOTE: Once you complete this step, you can get a temporary license at no additional cost.
- Submit a filled-out Verification of Employment form. Endorsement applicants must have worked at least 320 hours as an LPN within the last five years.
NOTE: If you don’t have enough hours, you can still fulfill this requirement by completing Alaska’s continuing competency prerequisites for LPNs. Your last resort is to undergo a board-approved refresher course.
Step #3: Find Your First Nursing Job
Having your license (temporary or permanent) allows you to start working as an LPN in Alaska. Entering the workforce can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re looking for your first job.
Don’t worry — we’ve got you. Here are some tips to help you land your first LPN post.
- Understand your preferences. It’s always wise to begin with the end in mind. Where do you see yourself working? Do you prefer a hospital setting or a physician’s office? Knowing this is an excellent jump-off point in your job search.
- Do your research. There are two things to consider here — where in Alaska you want to work and what facilities have openings. Remember that rates may vary depending on location. Once you’ve identified which cities you want to work in, see which facilities are currently hiring.
- Take a personalized approach. When your list is shorter, you can zero in on what different facilities require. Although sending your CV, take the time to customize it based on what you’ve gathered. Highlight some experiences or traits to position you better as a good fit for the role.
- Gain experience. Job hunting can be as short as a couple of days to several weeks. While waiting for a positive response, make the most of your time. You can do internships or job-shadow programs. Temporary on-call positions are another option — you may even find the opportunity to work in a specialty that genuinely interests you.
Step #4: Maintain Your License
LPNs in Alaska need to renew their licenses biennially because it expires every September 30 of even-numbered years.
To qualify for renewal, you need to fulfill at least two of the three requirements of the Alaska Board of Nursing within the last 24 months:
- 30 CE hours
- 320 practice hours
- 60 hours of volunteer work
However, you need to pay more attention to your first renewal because when you first receive your license may impact your renewal date and requirements.
|If you received your license on…||You need to renew by…||Your renewal requirements are…|
|On or after October 1 of an odd-numbered year(ex. November 2019)||September 30 of the next year (ex. September 30, 2020)||None|
|More than 90 days before September 30 on an even-numbered year(ex. February 2020)||September 30 of the same year(ex. September 30, 2020)||None|
|Less than 90 days before September 30 on an even-numbered year(ex. July 2020)||September 30 of the next biennium(ex. September 30, 2022)||None|
How to Become an LPN in Alaska Step #5: Nurture Your Career
Once you’ve started working, it’s easy to get lost in your daily routine — take advantage of this because it makes you better at your job.
However, don’t forget that part of a successful nursing career is deliberately investing time in your continuous development.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should dive back into your studies and take an LPN to RN bridge program (although that’s also possible). You can explore getting certified in specialized areas without losing your LPN status.
Here are some certifications LPNs pursue:
- IV Therapy Certification
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support
- Gerontology or Long-Term Care
- Research (either to be a Certified Clinical Research Associate or a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator)
Certification increases your market value and makes you more attractive to employers, so it’s a good use of your time and money.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming an LPN in Alaska
We’ve covered the steps on how to become an LPN in Alaska, but I’m sure you still have some questions.
Let’s answer a few of them!
How much do LPNs earn in Alaska?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alaska is the second-highest-paying state in the U.S. As of May 2021, LPNs earn an average of $63,650 annually.
That’s around 22% higher than the average compensation of LPNs in the country ($51,850).
Besides nursing homes, where else do LPNs typically work?
Although nursing homes are the most popular place of employment for LPNs, you can also explore other options.
These include hospitals (14%), doctors’ offices (13%), home healthcare services (12%), and government offices (7%).
Are there specific things LPNs can’t do?
Yes, the Board of Alaska does not allow LPNs to perform several tasks. Here are some of them:
- Mixing IV solutions
- Administering blood products
- Changing a central or PICC line
- Conducting complete physicals
- Conducting triage for patients
- Taking X-rays
Some Final Words
There you have it — all the information to help you navigate your career as an LPN!
It’s a lengthy read, but we assure you that it’s worth it.
Remember, anytime you feel you don’t know what to do next, just return to this page.