Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs)

1. What is a licensed vocational nurse (LVN)?

An entry-level health care provider who is responsible for rendering basic nursing care.

A vocational nurse practices under the direction of a physician or registered nurse.

The licensee is not an independent practitioner.

2. What are the curricular requirements for an LVN?

1,530 Total Hours: Theory - *576 Hours; Clinical - 954 Hours
*Includes Pharmacology - 54 Hours

Program Length:

  • Full-Time 12-14 Months of Training
  • Part-Time 18-20 Months of Training

3. What is the course content for a VN program?

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology
  • Normal Growth and Development
  • Nursing Fundamentals
  • Communication
  • Patient Education
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical–Surgical Nursing
  • Communicable Diseases
  • Gerontological Nursing
  • Rehabilitation Nursing
  • Maternity Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Leadership
  • Supervision
  • Ethics and Unethical Conduct
  • Critical Thinking
  • Culturally Congruent Care
  • End–of–Life Care

4. Where are Vocational Nursing Programs located?

Community Colleges 48 (32.0%)
Adult Education includes High Schools 16 (11.0%)
Private Schools 80 (54.0%)
Regional Occupational Centers 4 (3.0%)
TOTAL 148  

5. Where are LVNs employed?

  • Acute Medical/Surgical Hospitals
  • Convalescent Hospitals (Long Term Care, Skilled Nursing)
  • Home Care Agencies
  • Outpatient Clinics
  • Doctor's Offices
  • Ambulatory Surgery Centers
  • Dialysis Centers
  • Blood Banks
  • Psychiatric Hospitals
  • Correctional Facilities
  • Vocational Nursing Programs

6. What is the typical salary range of an LVN?

$14 - $24 Per Hour
$26,880 - $46,080 Per Year

Methods of Entry-level Access as a Vocational Nurse

Requirements for vocational nurse licensure are specified in the Vocational Nursing Practice Act. There are five (5) methods by which one may qualify for the licensure examination. Each method is designed to provide an individual access into the job market as an entry-level practitioner.

Method #1: Graduation from a California "approved" Vocational Nursing Program.

Method #2: Graduation from an Out-of-State "approved" Practical/Vocational Nursing Program.

Method #3: Completion of equivalent education and experience.

  • Pharmacology - 54 Hours
  • Paid Bedside Nursing Experience - 51 Months
  • Verification of Skill Proficiency.

Method #4: Completion of education and experience as a corpsman in the United States military.

  • Twelve (12) months active duty rendering direct bedside patient care.
  • Completion of the basic course in nursing in a branch of the armed forces.
  • Honorable discharge or general discharge under honorable conditions from the military

Method #5: Completion of equivalent experience.