Licensed Vocational Nursing: What Can I Expect From This Profession?

If you’re looking for a career to break into the booming healthcare industry, becoming a licensed vocational nurse (LVN Program) could be the right choice for you. LVNs are important members of medical staffs across the country. Their role is very similar to that of a medical assistant, but with more responsibility and eligibility to perform more advanced tasks.

But what does the career path of an LVN look like? For one thing, it’s a shorter length of time from beginning your education to licensure and starting work in the field compared to other nursing professions. We’ll dive more into that later, but for now, let’s get started with what you can expect from pursuing a career as an LVN.

What LVNs do?

According to the California Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians (BVNPT), a licensed vocational nurse is “an entry-level health care provider who is responsible for rendering basic nursing care.”

Licensed vocational nurses, also known as licensed practical nurses (LPNs), work with doctors and registered nurses in medical facilities to provide patient care. They perform a variety of tasks, including taking blood pressure, inserting catheters, maintaining patients’ health records and addressing patient concerns.

An LVN’s responsibilities can vary depending on the state and the medical facility. For example, some states may prevent LVNs from doing physical exams, whereas others may allow it. In many ways, they are the next level up on the medical totem pole from medical assistants.

Work environment

There are a variety of settings where licensed vocational nurses can work. LVNs can be found working anywhere from rehabilitation facilities to, hospitals, physician’s offices, and nursing homes. Wherever there are doctors and registered nurses, there are also likely to be LVNs.

Insurance companies also employ many licensed vocational nurses. In such work settings, LVNs conduct examinations of individuals to protect employers against fraudulent workers’ compensation cases.


Like other professions in the healthcare industry, becoming an LVN requires postsecondary education. The best way to qualify to become an LVN is to enroll in an LVN program at a vocational school near you.

In an LVN program, you can expect the curriculum to cover a variety of healthcare-related topics, from pharmacology and anatomy to patient education and leadership. LVN programs typically feature a combination of theoretical and clinical components of the trade.

As far as how long it takes to become a licensed vocational nurse, most LVN/LPN programs take between one and two years to finish, depending on the program and whether you’re attending class part-time or full-time. The next step after education is licensure.


At the end of your education, you will have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The exam, which is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), tests you on the knowledge you’ll need to perform the role of LVN safely and effectively.

The exam covers four Client Need categories:
• Safe and Effective Care Environment
• Health Promotion and Maintenance
• Psychosocial Integrity

If you pay attention and study hard during your LVN program, it will likely be much easier to pass the certification exam. NCSBN also offers a variety of helpful test prep resources, such as in its test plan.

Job outlook

As a licensed vocational nurse, you can likely expect a bright job outlook for the foreseeable future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of LVN jobs is projected to increase by 12 percent through 2026.

This is largely due to an increasing portion of the U.S. population that is reaching retirement age. Older Americans experience higher rates of chronic disease, with approximately 68 percent having at least two, according to the National Council on Aging.

Additionally, LVNs may have even better luck if they seek employment in “rural and medically underserved areas,” the BLS suggests. It’s also worth noting that the increase in LVN/LPN jobs varies by state. California, for example, is projected to see a higher rate of job growth than the nation as a whole; 17 percent, according to the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

Experience the Summit LVN difference

Summit College’s Licensed Vocational Nursing program is one of the largest LVN programs in California and can help you stand out from other LVNs.

In our program, which is accredited by the California Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians, you’ll get the well-rounded nursing education you need in order to provide patients excellent care.

LVN at Summit College

To help fit your education into your busy schedule, we offer both full-time and part-time enrollment in our LVN program at our San Bernardino campus. You can finish the program in 12 months going full-time, or 18 months attending evening and weekend part-time classes.

Summit College offers plentiful resources to licensed vocational nursing students like you to help them prepare for the NCLEX. These include full-time NCLEX tutors and NCLEX review classes, which are offered for free as part of enrollment in the program. You may also be eligible for financial assistance for first-time application costs and other costs associated with the licensure process.

At Summit College, we’re committed to your success, which is why we offer students career assistance beyond acquiring their vocational nursing license, including resume help, mock interviews, and externships.

Licensed vocational nurses start making a difference and saving lives sooner than other nurses. Discover the benefits of a nursing career today. Contact us by logging onto or calling (855) 970-4151.

We can’t wait to hear from you!