Becoming a licensed practical or vocational nurse is a great idea!
The job of an LPN is both meaningful and rewarding.
But the one question on your mind may be – how do you become one in the first place?
What are the requirements? Would there be any eligibility involved? What happens after you’ve got all the requirements ready to go?
The process may seem overwhelming, especially with an overload of information from different sources.
But it’s more straightforward than you may think.
It’s time to rest easy and read our article below.
Today, we’re simplifying the process of how to become an LPN in Delaware into four steps that you can follow.
We’ll also answer some FAQs, such as:
- How much does it cost to become an LPN?
- How long does it take to become an LPN?
- What is the difference between a CNA, LPN, and RN?
- Is Delaware a nursing compact state?
How to Become an LPN in Delaware in Four Steps
Here are the 4 steps to becoming an LPN in Delaware:
- Complete Your LPN Diploma
- Get Your LPN License
- Start Your LPN Career
- Renew and Keep Your LPN License Active
Step #1: Complete Your LPN Diploma
The first step to becoming an LPN is to finish a practical nursing program first.
Make sure the program you choose is state-approved and nationally accredited! Otherwise, your training program will not qualify you to become an LPN.
Aside from that, you want to receive the best training possible for your future career and patients.
In Delaware, there are several practical nursing programs to choose from — all of them ranging from 10 months to a year to complete.
For example, the Delaware Skills Center offers a Licensed Practical Nursing Program, which is accredited by Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). There’s also the Delaware Technical Community College’s Practical Nursing Studies, accredited by ACEN.
You can also check this link for state-approved practical nursing programs in Delaware.
Aside from approval, you can check the NCLEX-PN passing rate of the school to see whether its graduates perform well in the exam.
This will give you an idea of the quality of education the school provides.
You should also check the schedules, faculty, facilities, and cost of the programs before choosing which one you want to enroll in.
What’s the Program Like?
As we’ve mentioned above, practical nursing programs typically take up to a year to finish.
This timeline can extend depending on whether you’re studying part-time or full-time.
The requirements for each program include finishing theoretical and clinical courses.
Overall, you’ll be taking around 1,500 hours of courses.
To become an LPN, you need around 200 hours of supervised clinical experience.
What Are the Requirements?
The requirements for becoming a practical nursing student vary from school to school.
It’s best to check with your preferred programs first, but overall, the minimum requirements include your high school diploma or GED and a criminal background check.
You may also be required to take an entrance exam.
As soon as you finish your practical nursing program, you’re one step closer to becoming an LPN!
Step #2: Get Your LPN License
There are several ways you can get your LPN license in Delaware:
Take the Licensure Exam (or the NCLEX-PN)
The NCLEX-PN stands for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses.
This examination tests your nursing knowledge and abilities to determine whether you’re fit to practice as an LPN.
Every three years, the NCLEX-PN updates its test questions and coverage to keep up with the latest practices in the field. You may be more familiar with the NCLEX as “boards” — aptly named after the examination’s administrators, the State Boards of Nursing.
Before you take the exam, make sure you apply to the Delaware Board of Nursing. You also have to fulfill the following conditions and requirements:
- The application must be made within a year of graduation.
- All applicants must have an official transcript of records.
- All applicants must undergo a criminal background check.
To apply through the examination process, you should:
- Create a DELPROS user account.
- Fill up the application form and attach or acknowledge the required documents.
- Some forms you may be asked to attach or acknowledge include school transcripts, employment verifications, etc.
- Pay the $170 application fee for LPNs.
- Submit to a State of Delaware and Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background check (CBC).
- The form and the payment should be sent to the State Bureau of Identification (SBI), and not to the Board of Nursing.
- The SBI will be the one to send the results to the Board.
- Submit a copy of your driver’s license or official identification card from the Division of Motor Vehicles.
- Submit a copy of your CGFNS CES Report if you received your Nursing education outside the U.S. or in Puerto Rico.
- Submit your official transcript showing the degree you received and the date if you received your Nursing education in the U.S. or a U.S. territory other than Puerto Rico.
- Submit a Nursing School Reference Form sent directly from your school.
- Register for the NCLEX through Pearson VUE and pay the $200 examination fee.
The Board will review your application. If you qualify, the Board will inform Pearson VUE that you are eligible for the exam, and Pearson VUE will send you an authorization to test (ATT) form.
You can then schedule your NCLEX exam.
If you pass the NCLEX-PN, you can get a license! If you fail, you can try again forty-five days later.
Want to prepare for your exam? Check online resources for practice exams you can quiz yourself on.
If you want to read more about the licensing by examination process, you can check the official website.
Get Licensure by Endorsement
Another way to get your license is through endorsement.
You are eligible to apply for an LPN license through this route if:
- You are currently holding an active LPN license from another jurisdiction;
- If your license is not active, you need to reinstate your license in that jurisdiction before you can apply for licensure by endorsement in Delaware.
- You have never had an LPN license from Delaware.
Do you fit the bill?
You can now apply to the Delaware Professional Regulation Online Services website.
You can leave your information incomplete for six months, but you have to complete the form after the said period.
Once you’ve registered an account, you can attach the requirements needed for your license. It includes – but is not limited to – the following:
- High school diploma or GED
- Copy of driver’s license
- Certificate from an approved nursing program (Nursing School Reference Form)
- Criminal background and history
- Proof of active employment within the past two years (Nursing Employer Reference Form) or proof of completion of a nursing refresher course
- Proof of passing the standard national examination for nursing
- A Credentials Evaluation Service (CES) Professional Report if your nursing education was outside of the United States
You can read more about this process through the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation’s website.
It’s also important to note that Delaware is part of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC).
This means that LPNs in Delaware can upgrade their LPN licenses to multi-state licenses. This will allow them to practice as LPNs in any other NLC state without having to apply for individual licenses in those states.
Likewise, LPNs from other NLC states who hold multi-state licenses can work in Delaware without having to apply by endorsement.
To learn more about how to upgrade your LPN license to a multistate license, you can read this guide.
Get a Temporary License (Optional)
If you already have a job offer waiting and you want to start right away, you can choose to apply for a temporary permit.
However, you can only apply for a temporary permit if you have already applied for an LPN license either via examination or endorsement.
Plus, the job offer must be located in Delaware. It’s also a requirement for your start work date to be before either the examination or endorsement process is complete.
To apply, you must also register an account with the Delaware Professional Regulation Online Services website. You need to have the following ready:
- A copy of your criminal background from the State of Delaware and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
- A Nursing Employer Reference Form
- A copy of the job offer
Again, you can learn more about the process through the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation’s website.
Step #3: Start Your LPN Career
After your application has been approved, it’s time for some celebration!
You’re now an LPN in Delaware!
You can work anywhere from surgical hospitals to doctor’s offices.
According to the BLS, however, the industries with the highest level of employment for LPNs are:
- Nursing care facilities
- Home health care services
- Offices of physicians
- General medical-surgical hospitals
- Continuing care retirement communities or assisted living facilities for the elderly
You can start there or you find less conventional jobs.
The good thing is that health services are needed almost anywhere!
While working, you can also pursue further education.
You can gain certifications or become specialized in a certain field.
Or you can also consider moving from an LPN career to an RN career.
Being an LPN is a great starting point for any other healthcare profession you might be interested in.
Step #4: Renew and Keep Your LPN License Active
Before you get too caught up in work, let’s talk about keeping your license active first.
Your license expires and needs to be renewed on February 28 of even years (or every two years). For example, your license will expire in 2020 and 2022.
To renew your license, you need to prove the following:
- That you have finished at least 24 hours of the continuing education requirement
- The Delaware Division of Professional Regulation’s website makes this easy by having a CE Tracker. There, you’re required to list each individual course you’ve finished.
- That you have at least 1,000 hours of nursing practice in the past 5 years or 400 hours in the past two years
If you are not able to renew your license and it becomes inactive, you can choose to resume your practice and reactivate your license. If you don’t reactivate your license, you run the risk of having it terminated.
To reactivate your license, you must earn 12 contact hours, with three of them being in the area of substance abuse. You can earn these hours through the following:
- Completing academic studies related to nursing
- Authoring an article, book chapter, or related study in relevant fields
- Receiving certification
- Holding a conference, independent study, research project, or symposium
- Conducting a workshop
Remember that you cannot practice as an LPN without an active license. So, to avoid problems and a lot of hassle, it’s best to renew your license in a timely way.
FAQs About Becoming an LPN in Delaware
Now that we’ve completed the four steps to becoming an LPN in Delaware, let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
How Much Does It Cost to Become an LPN?
Tuition fees vary from program to program, but overall, the average cost is around $13,000.
But you also have to pay for textbooks, uniforms, and other miscellaneous fees.
Some schools or organizations have student assistance programs, however. There may also be some healthcare facilities that are willing to finance your education.
How Long Does It Take to Become an LPN?
Due to the amount of coursework, clinical hours, application time, and examinations, you can expect to become an LPN within two years.
What’s the Difference Between a CNA, LPN, and RN?
It’s common to be confused by the different terms and categories in the nursing field. To make it easier for you, we’ve outlined their distinctions:
- CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) – assists nurses with basic nursing services. It typically takes around 12 weeks to complete a CNA program and usually involves a state exam.
- LPN/LVN (Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse) – assists RNs or Registered Nurses with both basic and complex services. It takes about 1 year to complete an LPN program. Passing the NCLEX-PN is required.
- RN (Registered Nurse) – Creates patient care plans and provides specialized nursing services. It usually takes 2-4 years to complete an RN program. Passing the NCLEX-RN is required.
Is Delaware a Nursing Compact State?
Yes! Delaware is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact.
This allows LPNs from Delaware to practice in another NLC state without having to apply for a separate license from that state.
LPNs from other NLC states can also practice in Delaware.
That’s a wrap!
I hope our guide will keep you on track with your goal of becoming an LPN.
And that the answers to the FAQs will give you a better grasp of how much it costs and how long it takes to become an LPN. You should also be able to differentiate CNAs, LPNs, and RNs by now.
And if you are an LPN in Delaware, you can apply for a multistate license which will open up even more opportunities for you!
Leave comments and inquiries in our messages. I hope to hear from you soon!