LPN Careers in Florida: 3 Popular Questions
Did you know that Florida has one of the nation's highest levels of LPN employment? In 2015, the state ranked fourth in the U.S. for the number of people employed as licensed practical nurses. About 43,540 LPNs worked in the state.* And that number will likely grow for many years to come.
So now is an excellent time to learn more about this essential and meaningful health care vocation, especially if you want to work in a sunny state with expanding potential. Explore the answers to these frequently asked questions:
What Is the Average LPN Salary in Florida?
In 2015, the median hourly wage of the state's licensed practical nurses was $20.18.** Basically, that means half of LPNs in the state earned more than that amount and half of them earned less. Of course, not everyone with this occupation is paid by the hour. That's why it is good to have an idea of the typical LPN salary. Florida is, after all, a place where a lot of licensed practical nurses work full-time and receive regular payments of a fixed amount.
So how much does an LPN make in Florida on a yearly salary basis? For that answer, it might make sense to look at the average amount. In 2015, the average annual salary of licensed practical nurses in this state was $42,320.* What you might earn will depend on factors such as your level of experience, the city or town that you work in, and the type of employer that you work for.
Here's another thing to consider if you're thinking of becoming a Florida LPN: Salary earnings won't be taxed as much as in other places since this state does not impose its own personal income tax. You'll get to retain a little more of the money that you've earned.
How Do I Become an LPN in Florida?
If you're looking to begin your career in practical nursing, then you'll need to go through the Florida Board of Nursing's process for licensure by examination. The main steps involve:
- Graduating from an accredited or Board-approved program in practical nursing
- Getting electronic fingerprints and sending them to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
- Submitting your application to the Board of Nursing, which will initiate a review of your education and any criminal history that you might have
- Taking and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses (NCLEX-PN)
After passing the exam, you'll most likely receive your initial license to practice as an LPN within seven to 10 days.*** Most people who take the NCLEX-PN pass on their first try. For instance, in 2013, the pass rate in Florida was about 75 percent.****
Don't worry too much if you don't pass the exam on your first try. You can always retake it. Applicants are allowed to fail up to three times. After that, you'll be asked to complete a Board-approved remedial training program before re-applying.
Also, don't get too worried if you have a criminal record. Depending on the specific infractions on your record, you still might get approved to take the licensure exam. The Board of Nursing reviews each application on its own individual merits. However, a conviction for health care fraud could disqualify you right away.
Once you are officially an LPN, you'll need to renew your license every two years. And that requires obtaining a certain number of continuing education credits through in-class or at-home study. The short courses will be related to subjects such as medical errors, domestic violence, workplace impairment, HIV and AIDS, and Florida's laws and rules.
The Board of Nursing also offers a process for becoming licensed in Florida if you have already passed the NCLEX-PN or obtained a valid practical nursing license in another U.S. state or territory.
Do LPNs in Florida Enjoy a Positive Job Outlook?
Yes. As a matter of fact, the employment of Florida LPNs is expected to grow by more than 23 percent between 2015 and 2023. The result is that nearly 19,160 job openings might become available for qualified practical nurses over that period.**
It's easy to see why. For one thing, Florida's population is projected to expand by almost 32 percent from 2015 to 2040.† Most of that growth is likely to happen because of people moving to the state. The region is especially popular as a retirement destination. So that means an increase in older people who tend to need more medical and nursing care.
Between 2010 and 2040, the number of Floridians above the age of 75 is expected to more than double.† You simply won't find many other states with that level of growth among one of the practical nursing field's main patient demographics.
Mobilize Your Ambitions
Getting started is as simple as finding LPN programs in Florida that offer the right kind of training. And that's easy. Simply put your zip code into the program finder below to quickly discover nearby schools!
* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last visited on May 20, 2016.
** Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, website last visited on February 24, 2016.
*** Florida Board of Nursing, website last visited on February 24, 2016.
**** The Florida Legislature Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, website last visited on February 24, 2016.
† The Florida Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research, website last visited on February 24, 2016.