Are you looking forward to having a career in nursing?
Well, that isn’t a bad idea!
After all, there is a high demand for nurses, including licensed practical nurses (LPNs).
But the question always goes back to this… How do I become one?
Before taking the first step in a journey, we all want to know what the process is, how long it’s going to take, and what to expect, right?
Well, don’t worry! In this article, we’ll give you a simple guide on how to become an LPN in Idaho.
We’ve broken it down into four simple steps.
We’ll also answer questions, such as:
- What differentiates a CNA, LPN, and RN?
- What is the average salary of an LPN in Idaho?
- What skills are needed to become an LPN?
We have much ground to cover!
So, if you’re ready, let’s begin!
How to Become an LPN in Idaho – A Simple 4-Step Guide
The process of becoming an LPN is very straightforward. Here are the steps:
- Get into an Accredited LPN Program
- Register for an Idaho LPN License
- Find a Job as an LPN or Pursue Higher Studies
- Renew Your LPN License
Step #1: Get into an Accredited LPN Program
First things first, you have to enroll in an LPN training program recognized by the Idaho Board of Nursing.
They can direct you to approved LPN programs.
Aside from the Idaho Board of Nursing, two organizations also recognize LPN programs in the state一The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
Getting into an approved or accredited program is very important because becoming an LPN is not a joke.
You will be dealing with the lives and health of people with various conditions. An approved program ensures that you are being taught all the essentials to be an LPN.
Aside from that, a program that is not approved by the Board will not qualify you for a license.
It will just be a waste of time and money.
Requirements for Admission
The exact requirements for admission will depend on the school you are interested in.
However, here are some general requirements that you may be asked to submit:
- Minimum 2.5 GPA
- High school diploma or GED
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification (if applicable)
- Completion of any prerequisite courses
- Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) results
- Background check/drug test
LPN Program Length and Duration
LPN programs in Idaho are available in technical or vocational schools, community colleges, and more.
The program usually takes about 1 to 2 years to complete. However, this varies depending on whether you enroll part-time or full-time.
Most Idaho schools include these courses in their LPN curriculum:
- Medication Administration for Practical Nursing
- Family Nursing for the Practical Nurse
- Medical-Surgical Nursing
- Basic Foundations of Nursing Lab
- Clinical Foundations of Nursing
- Human health
- Home health
- Mental health management
- Nutrition management
- Human development
- Nursing care
- Vital signs collection
- Documentation management
- Infection control
- General nursing skills
Like any other nursing education program, the tuition fee depends on the school you’re choosing… Not to mention the different costs of the course materials and mandatory college fees. If you’re planning to get a dorm, this would also add to your expenses.
To give you an idea of the tuition fees, The North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene costs approximately $6,500 for students within the state, while out-of-state students will have to pay $14,000. The price doesn’t include textbooks and supplies.
Step #2: Register for an Idaho LPN License
After graduating and completing your nursing education program, you’re ready to apply for an LPN license.
It isn’t a complicated process. But you do need to submit documents and requirements.
Application by Examination
All aspiring LPNs nationwide need to take and pass the NCLEX for LPNs.
The National Council Licensure Examination for Practice Nurses (NCLEX-PN) is an exam that tests the candidates’ skills and checks their readiness to work in the nursing field.
To be able to take the exam, you need to apply with the Idaho Board of Nursing. They will see if you qualify for the exam.
You will need to submit the following along with the application for licensure:
- A nurse portal application.
- Payment of the application fee ($103.25)
- Official Transcript or Affidavit of Graduation from your state-approved LPN program
- Fingerprint-based criminal background check
- Registration for the applicable NCLEX exam with Pearson Vue and payment of the examination fee
If there are no questions about your application documents, you will be considered eligible to test and will be given an Authority to Test (ATT) acknowledgment form.
You should schedule and take your exam within the allowed dates specified in the ATT email.
But before taking the exam, you should review and take practice tests that are available to familiarize yourself with the NCLEX-PN.
You need to take and pass the NCLEX-PN within two years of your registration.
If you pass the exam… Congratulations! This will grant you your LPN license.
If you fail the exam, however, you can still retake it but you will need to file a Retest Application.
In Idaho, there is no limit to how many times you can retake the exam, as long as you wait at least 45 days between each examination.
Application by Endorsement
If you are already an LPN in another state or U.S. territory and you want to work in Idaho, you can apply by endorsement.
To qualify for licensure by endorsement, you must have:
- Graduated from a state-approved/accredited nursing program that is substantially equivalent to Idaho’s board-approved nursing programs.
- Successfully passed the applicable NCLEX-PN® exam.
- Instead of the requirements of #1 and #2, have qualifications that are substantially equivalent to Idaho’s minimum requirements.
- Actively practice nursing for at least 80 hours within the preceding 3 years.
- A license in good standing from another nursing jurisdiction.
- Your license is not considered “in good standing” if it is subject to official investigation or disciplinary proceedings.
To apply, you should submit the following requirements:
- A nurse portal application
- Payment of the application fee ($138.25)
- Fingerprint-based criminal background check
- State license verification
- This can be done through NURSYS or you can ask your original state to send the Verification of Nurse Licensure form to the Idaho Board of Nursing.
- Employment verification form
If your application is accepted, then you can get an Idaho LPN license and start working in Idaho.
Idaho is part of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC).
This means that if Idaho is your primary state of residence, then you will be issued a multistate LPN license.
This allows you to practice as an LPN in other compact states without holding individual licenses in those states.
On the other hand, if you are an LPN with a multistate license from another compact state, you can practice as an LPN in Idaho without having to apply by endorsement.
Step #3: Find a Job as an LPN or Pursue Higher Studies
Once you’ve earned your LPN license in Idaho, you’re all set to work!
Idaho has had shortages of nurses. In 2018, there was an average of 9.3 registered nurses per 1,000 of the state’s population. This is below the national average.
With this in mind, healthcare state employers offer benefits and perks to LPN graduates, which means you can get student loan reimbursement, paid time off, and sign-on bonuses.
It’s safe to say becoming an LPN in Idaho has a lot of perks.
However, according to Projections Central, from 2018 to 2028, there will be a sizable increase of 20.4% in employment.
You will surely find a lot of opportunities once you’ve earned your LPN license.
On the other hand, you can also choose to pursue higher education by going back to nursing school or specializing in certain LPN fields.
As an LPN, you can transition to becoming a registered nurse (RN) in a shorter amount of time through bridge programs. You will still be required to take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam though.
Employment Locations for LPNs
Now, finding the best facility to work in is also important.
You can take into consideration the average hourly salary you are paid.
According to Vivian, the highest-paying employers for LPNs in Idaho are St. Luke’s Health System with $30/hour, which is 26% higher than the usual pay for this nursing role in the state.
Coming in second is Portneuf Medical Center with an average hourly salary of $18/hour.
Step #4: Renew Your LPN License
LPN licenses in Idaho expire on August 31 of even-numbered years. You can start the renewal application by June 1.
If you fail to renew your license by August 31 of the year of renewal, it will automatically become inactive. A reinstatement application with a finger-based background check will be required to reactivate your license.
Effective as of 2019, to renew your LPN license in Idaho, you need to complete at least two of the following learning activities:
- For Practice
- 100 hours of practice or simulation practice
- Current nursing specialty certification
- For Education, Continuing Education, E-learning, and In-service
- 15 contact hours of continuing education
- One semester credit hour of post-licensure academic education
- Completion of a Board-recognized refresher course
- Participation/presentation in a workshop, seminar, or conference
- For Professional Engagement
- Acknowledged contributor to a published nursing-related article
- Teaching or developing a nursing-related course
- Participation in related professional activities
You should keep the documentation of your learning activities for the duration of the 2-year renewal period because the Idaho Board of Nursing may randomly select you for the CE audit.
If you are selected for CE audit, then you must submit the documentation within 30 days.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Becoming an LPN in Idaho
After going through the steps, you may still have a few questions in mind about becoming an LPN in Idaho.
What differentiates a CNA, LPN, and RN?
The terminology used in the nursing industry is extremely diverse and might be difficult to understand.
So, here is a simple breakdown of the terms CNA, LPN, and RN.
|Type of Nurse||Training Program Duration||Required Examination||Tasks|
|CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant/ Certified Nursing Aide)||4 to 12 weeks||State’s nursing assistant competency exam||Basic nursing care such as bathing, grooming, feeding, transferring, etc.|
|LPN/LVN(Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse)||12 to 18 months||National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN)||Assist RNs with complex tasks such as changing bandages and administering medications|
|RN (Registered Nurse)||2 years Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)|
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
|National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN)||ADN|
Take patients’ medical histories and record symptoms
Consult with physicians and the healthcare team
Assist with diagnostic tests
All tasks done by an ADN nurse
Review medical records
Administer direct care to ill, disabled, or injured patients
Monitor patients’ health statuses
Educate patients about medical treatment
What is the average salary of an LPN in Idaho?
According to the BLS, Idaho nurses earn an average of $23.77 per hour or roughly $49, 440 annually.
According to LPN.com, entry-level LPNs earn an average of $43,904, while experienced LPNs for over ten years earn around $50,143. LPNs in Idaho also earn an average overtime salary of $7,750.
The highest-paying cities for LPNs in Idaho are listed below:
What skills are needed to become an LPN?
Aside from having the knowledge you’ve gained from nursing school, LPNs need to know how to deal with different people and unexpected circumstances.
You need to have compassion. This is very important when you’re dealing with patients with various health conditions, taking care of them, and having a bond and connection with them over time.
Good communication skills in the workplace will keep you on track when interacting with doctors, fellow nurses, patients, and their families.
You also need to have stamina as you need to always be active, alert, and on the go. This goes hand in hand with handling pressure, as you need to be quick and precise with your actions and decisions.
And that wraps up our simple guide on how to become an LPN in Idaho!
We made sure to make the step-by-step process as straightforward as possible to guide you in your LPN nursing journey.
The great thing about the nursing field is you have a lot of opportunities! There are many places or facilities you can choose to work in. You could even pursue higher education since being an LPN is a great starting point for any healthcare career!
There is no right or wrong answer. It all depends on whichever suits you the best.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below!