Are you thinking of starting your nursing career?
Do you want to pursue becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse or LPN?
Thankfully, Maryland is one of the states with projected growth in the demand for nurses in the next few years. So you’re on the right track to getting your license as early as now.
But the important question is – how do you become an LPN here in Maryland?
That brings with it many related questions, like:
- How much does it cost?
- What are the documents you have to submit?
- How many hours or months do you have to study?
Well, just stick around because those are exactly the kinds of questions that we are going to answer in this simple guide.
We’ll tell you how to become an LPN in Maryland in just 4 steps.
We’ll also answer other related FAQs, such as:
- How much is an LPN’s salary in Maryland?
- What are the differences between CNAs and LPNs?
- How do I renew my LPN license in Maryland?
Ready to become an LPN in Maryland?
Let’s start discussing how!
How to Become an LPN in Maryland in 4 Easy Steps
Here are the steps to get that LPN license:
- Complete Your LPN Program Admission Requirements
- Enroll in a State-Approved LPN Program
- Apply for Licensure in Maryland
- Get Your License and Start Your Job Search
Step #1: Complete Your LPN Program Admission Requirements
The first step to becoming an LPN is to enroll in an LPN training program.
It is one of the most important parts of the process, if not the most important. This is where you learn the basic knowledge and skills to become an LPN.
You can also assess if becoming an LPN is really the right path for you since, even in this stage, you will already be exposed to the real-life work of an LPN.
But there are certain requirements you need to comply with to be accepted into a program.
Here’s what you need to get into state-approved programs:
- At least 17 years of age
- Proof showing American citizenship
- Recent passport-size photograph
- A GED score or high school diploma
- Overall GPA of at least 2.0
- Competency in Math, English, Reading, and Comprehension
- Submission of TEAS test scores
These requirements might vary for some schools, but it’s best to have this on hand for a faster and smoother enrollment.
Step #2: Enroll in a State-Approved LPN Program
Many institutions offer LPN programs in Maryland.
You can find it in community colleges, vocational schools, and education centers of some hospitals.
The great thing about LPN programs is that you can finish them as quickly as 1 year, depending on the schedule and school you choose. This is definitely faster than getting a bachelor’s degree for RNs with 4 years of studying and training.
If you want to see a list of state-approved programs, you can head over to Maryland’s Board of Nursing site.
What will you study in LPN programs?
LPN programs in Maryland usually consist of the following courses and topics:
- Foundations of Practical Nursing Concepts
- Family-Centered Nursing and Lifespan Development
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Mental Health Practical Nursing Concepts
- Maternity and Pediatric Nursing
The program would consist of classroom instruction, laboratory activities, and clinical exposure in different healthcare institutions.
How much would tuition cost?
Tuition fees would heavily depend on the school you’ll be attending, but it would average around $2,500 in Maryland.
Registration rates, textbooks, uniforms, and supplies aren’t usually included in this rate. So if you are preparing to enroll, make sure you have additional money to cover these costs.
Step #3: Apply for Licensure in Maryland
Once your year-long program is done, you can now apply for state licensure from the Maryland Board of Nursing.
There are 2 ways to do this. The first is through passing the NCLEX-PN and the other is for endorsement (only if you are an LPN from another state).
Let’s discuss each one.
Applying for Licensure via NCLEX-PN
The NCLEX-PN stands for the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses.
It is conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).
All aspiring LPNs nationwide need to pass this exam to become licensed.
To be able to take the exam, you need to apply to the Board of Nursing first. They will assess if you qualify for it.
You need to submit:
- The Maryland Board of Nursing Licensure by Exam application form
- Criminal History Record Check
- Declaration of Primary State of Residence
- NCLEX Candidate Bulletin (Pearson Vue)
When you register for the NCLEX-PN through Pearson Vue, you need to pay a $200 examination fee.
If you qualify for the exam, then you will be sent an Authorization to Test (ATT) email.
You should then schedule and take your exam.
If you pass… CONGRATULATIONS! You will receive your LPN license.
If you fail, then you can retake the exam after 45 days. However, you will need to reapply and pay the examination fee.
What can you expect in the NCLEX-PN?
The NCLEX-PN is not your typical identification or fill-in-the-blank examination.
It uses situational and application questions for you to answer. In this exam, you’ll find a mix of questions about medical procedures, assessments, and the best options you should recommend and do for your patients.
The exam focuses on 4 main topics, namely
- Safe and Effective Care Environment
- Health Promotion and Maintenance
- Physiological Integrity
- Psychosocial Integrity
Physiological integrity takes up around 40-45% of the examination as it covers concepts about Pediatric Care, Adult and Medical Surgical Care, Gerontology, and Infectious diseases.
You can take the exam for up to 5 hours. This should be enough time for you to be able to answer and review all your answers.
Applying for Licensure by Endorsement
If you are an LPN in another state, you won’t have to take another LPN program and the NCLEX again.
These are what you need to apply for licensure by endorsement:
- Verify your nursing education to see if it is approved by the Maryland Board of Nursing.
- If it is not one of the approved programs, you have to request your program Dean/Director to complete an assessment tool.
- Have your complete transcripts from your nursing school sent directly to the Maryland Board of Nursing Endorsement Unit.
- Complete a Background Check/Fingerprinting
- Verify your current LPN license.
- You can use Nursys.com.
- If your state does not participate in Nursys, then you should request them to send a license verification directly to the Maryland Board of Nursing. (Only Michigan and Pennsylvania don’t participate in Nursys).
- Complete the LPN endorsement application form.
You can find more details about Maryland’s reciprocity guidelines and steps here.
Step #4: Get Your License and Start Your Job Search
After submitting your application, you’ll need to wait for 6 to 8 weeks to get feedback.
If you do pass the licensure application, then you are free to start job hunting!
Where can LPNs work?
LPNs can find employment in hospitals, assisted living and ambulatory care, school services, home health, and even campsites.
You can also work as a travel nurse, but employment is usually only for a few months since workplaces just need to fill short-staff needs.
There’s an abundance of choices where you can go! And since the health industry is booming in Maryland, then you shouldn’t be worried about finding a job.
While working, you can also consider specializing in a certain LPN field. There are certifications available for specialization.
In the long run, you can also consider becoming an RN. Some schools offer LPN to RN bridge programs which are usually shorter and more conducive for those who are working and studying at the same time.
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming an LPN in Maryland
We’ve completed the four steps to becoming an LPN in Maryland!
That wasn’t so complicated, was it?
But you may still have a few questions in mind. Let’s answer a few of them.
How much is an LPN’s salary in Maryland?
According to the BLS, the mean annual salary for LPNs in Maryland is $56,380.
This is slightly higher than the national average salary of $ 51,850, which is great news for LPNs in Maryland!
Depending on where you work, how much experience you have, and whether you are specialized or not, you can increase how much you earn.
What are the differences between CNAs and LPNs?
The first core difference between Certified Nursing Assistants, or CNAs, and LPNs is the rank.
CNAs are not licensed nurses. They only assist licensed nurses.
LPNs, on the other hand, are licensed nurses. For this reason, they are a step higher and have more responsibilities and technical tasks.
The scope of patient care between the two is different as well.
CNAs help their patients do daily living functions such as eating, breathing, and bathing.
As for LPNs, they are already allowed to take vital signs, administer medications, and update medical records.
Another significant difference is the educational requirement.
CNAs are required to pass a state board examination and finish coursework that can be accomplished as quickly as 4 weeks.
LPNs should pass a national examination (NCLEX-PN) and finish coursework for a minimum of 1 year.
How do I renew my LPN license in Maryland?
For Maryland LPNs, you need to renew every 2 years — specifically 90 days before and up to 30 days after the expiry date indicated on your license.
You can renew your license through the Maryland Board of Nursing’s site.
Details and proofs asked are pretty straightforward, such as current RN and LPN numbers, proof of practice, and education.
But if your licenses expire in May 2022, June 2022, June 2023, and July 2023, then you need to do a background check for renewal.
The processing time to renew your license is around 5 to 10 days. If you need to do a background check, add 10 more days to the processing time.
And there you have it! In 4 easy steps, you can become an LPN in Maryland!
Now that you have a roadmap, the journey will be smoother for you.
You can start collecting the necessary documents and making sure everything is in place.
We hope this guide helps you reach your dreams of becoming an LPN!