Trends in Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse Education and Licensure Examinations, 1998 to 2013


Janet M. Coffman, Krista Chan, Tim Bates

September 22, 2015

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), referred to as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) in some states, are the second largest health care occupation that requires postsecondary education. Demand for LPNs is projected to grow substantially over the coming decades, particularly among long-term care providers, due to the aging of the US population. One third of LPNs are over age 50, prompting questions about whether the supply of newly licensed LPNs will be adequate to meet demand. This report updates previous studies of trends in LPN education and licensure by presenting the newest available national data. The report describes trends in numbers and types of LPN education programs, numbers of persons completing LPN education and their characteristics, and numbers of persons taking and passing the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nurse (NCLEX-PN). It complements our recent report on trends in LPN employment and demographic characteristics.