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Level up with these exciting LPN career options

CareerBuilder | September 21, 2022

5 health care career paths for lpns

Despite undeniable challenges, most nurses love their jobs for many reasons. Here are 5 different healthcare career paths for licensed practical nurses.

Nursing is one of the most challenging and most rewarding job sectors. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) can work in a range of different nursing settings, each with its own challenges and rewards. Working in these job settings can help you develop and refine specialist skills that can help you further your career. With so many choices available, we've listed some of the best LPN career options to help you narrow down your shortlist.

Note: The information below was reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and is ordered by the percentage of the national LPN workforce as of 2020.

Nursing and residential care facilities (not exclusive to the elderly)

  • Example employers:
    • Residential treatment agencies, including group homes for the intellectually or physically disabled, mentally impaired, or chronically ill
    • Rehabilitative services
    • Hospice services
  • Common duties:
    • Assessing residents' health
    • Monitoring medication
    • Cleaning residents' rooms
    • Helping residents maintain good personal hygiene
    • Providing companionship for residents
    • Feeding residents with mobility issues
    • Monitoring the health of residents
  • Percentage of the national LPN workforce as of 2020: 38.1%
  • Projected job growth: 4.8% by 2030

General medical and surgical hospitals

  • Example employers: state, local, and private hospitals, especially surgery, maternity, pediatrics, emergency wards
  • Common duties:
    • Providing basic patient care
    • Monitoring patient vital signs
    • Changing bandages and dressing wounds
    • Helping patients with daily activities like eating and grooming
    • Assisting registered nurses and doctors with advanced medical practices
    • Supervising nursing assistants
    • Giving vaccinations
    • Inserting catheters and intravenous lines
  • Percentage of the national LPN workforce as of 2020: 14.3%
  • Projected job growth: 5.7% by 2030

Offices of physicians

  • Example employers:
    • General practitioner's offices
    • Health care clinics
    • Ambulatory surgical centers
    • Emergency medical centers
  • Common duties:
    • Preparing patients for examination
    • Giving routine injections
    • Administering medications
    • Assisting physicians with minor surgeries
    • Dressing incisions
  • Percentage of the national LPN workforce as of 2020: 13%
  • Projected job growth: 6.8% by 2030

Home healthcare services

  • Example employers: home health agencies
  • Common duties:
    • Following patient care plan developed by RN
    • Assisting patients with personal hygiene and cleaning their living quarters
    • Keeping patients company to improve their mental health
    • Assessing patient living conditions
    • Accompanying patients on outings
    • Teaching patients and loved ones about basic patient care and personalized care plans
    • Monitoring patient vital signs
    • Administering medications
    • Dressing wounds and changing dressings
    • Drawing blood for testing
    • Caring for urinary catheters
  • Percentage of the national LPN workforce as of 2020: 12.3%
  • Projected job growth: 21.3% by 2030
While roles for LPNs are plentiful, developing specialist skills with one of these LPN career options can help you focus on an area of nursing you're most passionate about.

Continuing care facilities for the elderly

  • Example employers:
    • Public or private nursing homes
    • Assisted living facilities
    • Retirement homes
    • Retirement communities
  • Common duties:
    • Keeping patients and their living quarters clean
    • Providing companionship
    • Initiating treatment plans
    • Assisting with physical therapy regimens
    • Assisting RNs, NPs, and physicians
  • Percentage of the national LPN workforce as of 2020: 7.7%
  • Projected job growth: 23.2% by 2030

Government services

  • Example employers:
    • Veterans Affairs health care facilities
    • Clinics on military bases
    • Personal services for government employees
    • Correctional facilities
  • Common duties:
    • Providing supervised medical care to patients, including soldiers wounded in battle or veterans rehabilitating from injuries
    • Monitoring patient conditions and reporting any changes to superiors
    • Administering medications
    • Providing emergency care
    • Treating patients with routine illnesses
  • Percentage of the national LPN workforce as of 2020: 6.8%
  • Projected job growth: 1.6% by 2030

Outpatient care centers

  • Example employers:
    • Mental health and substance abuse centers
    • Rehabilitation centers
    • Wellness clinics
    • Counseling services
    • Diagnostic laboratories
  • Common duties: providing care to people recovering from illness, injuries, or trauma, including:
    • Monitoring progress
    • Leading them through rehabilitation exercises
    • Administering pain medication
  • Percentage of the national LPN workforce as of 2020: 4.9%
  • Projected job growth: 20% by 2030

Educational services

  • Example employers:
    • Elementary schools
    • Junior schools
    • High schools
    • Universities
    • Colleges
  • Common duties:
    • Assisting school nurse or clinician in treating student patients
    • Dressing wounds
    • Calming distressed patients
    • Calling caregivers and telling them about ill or injured students' conditions
  • Percentage of the national LPN workforce as of 2020: 2.3%
  • Projected job growth: 7.8% by 2030

Insurance services

  • Example employers: Health insurance carriers
  • Common duties:
    • Reviewing claims from health insurance policyholders
    • Processing approved claims
  • Percentage of the national LPN workforce as of 2020: 0.3%
  • Projected job growth: 15.5% by 2030

Because an aging population due to medical advances is driving the health care sector, most career options for LPNs are on the rise. While roles for LPNs are plentiful, developing specialist skills with one of these LPN career options can help you focus on an area of nursing you're most passionate about. So what are you waiting for? Create a profile so employers can find you and offer you the LPN job of your dreams. With so many rewarding career options for LPNs, there's no better time to make your next career move.


More interesting articles for LPNs:

Need reminding why nursing is the best career choice? Check out this article listing reasons why you should work in the healthcare industry.

Don't apply for a new job without seeing this sample LPN cover letter.

Learn how extra study can take you from LPN to RN to NA.

Thought of becoming an RN? This article explains the fascinating work that registered nurses do.

Your soft skills help you be a great nurse. Learn more about these nursing superpowers.