Once you have an LPN license you are unfortunately not finished with the requirements for being an LPN. You also, in addition, need to engage in LPN license renewal on a regular basis. Licensure renewal rules tend to differ from state to state so you need to look into the specific procedures and standards that your state (which is the state in which you are licensed to work as an LPN) has for renewal.
Requirements For LPN Licensure Renewal
There are a number of requirements involved in LPN license renewal and you will be responsible for determining what the specific requirements for your state are and how far apart the license renewal periods tend to be. If you are uncertain on this count you could simply refer to your state board of nursing website for further information. In addition you will usually be sent a reminder letter that you LPN license requires renewal to the address that the board has listed as your current one (which is a good reason to keep your personal details updated). Although there are state by state differences there are also a number of requirements that are fairly consistent across states:
Continuing Competency Requirements
The first thing that you may have to do in order to renew your LPN license in your state is to show continuing competency. This is different to continuing education and requires proof that you are still competent in your role as an LPN. There are state-based differences in this regard. Let’s look at Mississippi as an example. In this state you can prove continuing competency in one of three ways:
- You can complete a nursing board-approved orientation program and provide a copy of that certification to the state licensing board.
- You can complete 20 hours of contact educational work in nursing, accredited by an approved agency, within two years.
- You can take continuing education classes that amount to a minimum of three semester hours within the two-year nursing license period.
Continuing Education Requirements
Continuing education involves attending additional training programs in specific topics that count as continuing education credits in order to stay up to date in terms of developments in nursing and in order to ensure that the profession as a whole continues to function at a high level. The number of hours of continuing education credits required differs from state to state. IN Florida 24 hours are required. In some other states, there are no continuing education credits required for relicensing at all. Although continuing education is generally compulsory, many nurses choose to do more than necessary simply because they enjoy expanding their knowledge and their employment opportunities.
Criminal Background Check
Being an LPN requires that you have no criminal background as this may be a bad reflection on your moral character and therefore on your ability to successfully perform a job such as this. There are two things to keep in mind:
- All states require that you do a criminal background check before becoming an LPN> this will include a fingerprint check which you will usually have to pay for out of your own pocket.
- In addition several states require that you undergo a background check of this nature every time that you seek to renew your LPN license. Again you will usually be expected to pay for this yourself every time you renew your license.
Steps For LPN Licensure Renewal
The process of receiving LPN license renewal is a fairly simple one, although in most cases it will require a certain amount of hard work, especially in terms of the required continuing education hours. However there is a certain logic to the process and consequently it can be divided into some fairly basic st3eps that can be followed in order to achieve license renewal. Again, because of the differences that can be observed between states, the following steps may not be directly applicable to you. Specific information about the process in your state is required in order for you to become recertified and relicensed there. In addition you will need to consider licensing laws if you ever elect to move to a different state.
The first step should be obvious based on the preceding discussion: the first thing that you need to do is to contact your state board of nursing and determine what the LPN license renewal requirements are for your state. Remember to find out what the procedures are regarding the following:
- Time frames: this refers to the points in time at which you are expected to renew your license. The most common time frame for LPN license renewal is one every two years.
- Fees: There are fees involved in renewing your license and these will differ from state to state. They are also required for license renewal.
- Continuing education credits and/or contact hours
Once you have determined when and how you should renew your license, you will have t then submit proof to your state board of nursing that you have in fact completed the continuing education required by that state. These tend to differ as well, but the most common number of hours that you will usually need to provide proof of is 24 hours within a two period. 30 hours within a two year period is also often a requirement. Some states determine this based on the number of credits you earn rather than on the number of hours spent learning the work, so this is another thing that you will need to find out from your state board of nursing.
Although most states allow you to complete continuing education credits or hours in any subject related to nursing that takes your fancy, some states require you to complete your continuing education in very specific areas. Here are two examples:
- In Ohio at least one contact hour submitted from LPN license renewal applicants must be related to Chapters 4723, 1-23 of the Ohio Nurse Practice Code and Rules.
- In New York State the Board of Nursing requires LPN renewal applicants to complete three contact hours every four years in the subject of infection control.
This is substantially more limiting than being allowed to study what you would prefer, but even in these states you will be able to choose the topics for the rest of your credits yourself.
In some states there is a requirement that you have to submit proof of active practice as an LPN when renewing your license. In some cases this will serve as a substitute for actual continuing education, while in other situations you may be required to present proof of both active practice and continuing education. Once again there are differences from state to state that need to be taken into account. For example:
- In North Carolina you need to have proof of 640 hours in active practice within the two years prior to renewal.
- In Wyoming you need to have proof of 1600 hours of nursing practice within the five years prior to renewal.
The next step is to adhere to any criminal background checks that are required by your state. It is important to remember that, although you complete a criminal background check in order to receive your initial licensure, you also required in several states to undergo this process every single time you renew your license. This can make it an expensive ordeal as you generally have to pay for the criminal background check yourself. Add this to the license renewal fee and you will start to worry about the costs. However you will have to do what it takes to become relicensed because you will not longer be able to work as an LPN if you do not.
The last step involves paying your renewal fee which, like everything else, can vary from state to state. Once you have completed all of the above and paid your fee you need to ensure that you submit all of your documentation in a timely fashion. To make sure that no one is left behind the state boards of nursing generally send notices to all LPNs who are due for renewal at least a month or two before the renewal deadline in order to make sure that everyone has enough time to submit all of their paperwork. It is suggested that you renew your license as early as possible.
License renewal is a fairly simple thing to do, although it does cost a fee. However it is not worth running into trouble in your nursing career by not renewing your license when the time arose. License renewal standards are very strict. If you work as an LPN on an expired license you will considered to be practicing illegally. Your state board of nursing will most probably inform you of when you license needs renewal, but it is also your responsibility to ensure that you meet the LPN license renewal requirements.