Becoming an LPN in Wisconsin
The state of Wisconsin provides ample opportunity for aspiring licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to complete their education and find employment after graduation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an annual average wage for LPNs in Wisconsin of $44,120. In addition, the Bloomington, Wisconsin metropolitan area is one of the top 10 metropolitan areas in the country with the highest employment levels of LPNs, according to the BLS. An aging population has led to an increase in jobs across the country, and in Wisconsin has led to aspiring nurses to seek state-approved schools for licensure.
There are more than 8 community colleges, vocational programs, and private schools across the state of Wisconsin that offer LPN programs.
Details on Wisconsin LPN Schools & Classes
With more than 8 practical nursing programs around the state to choose from, nursing students in Wisconsin have several options to consider. Many practical nursing programs can be completed in one to two years depending on whether a student attends classes on a full- or part-time basis.
A typical course load for an LPN program in Wisconsin includes classroom and clinical learning experiences. Coursework may include the following:
- Introduction to Clinical Care Practice
- General Anatomy & Physiology
- Nursing Fundamentals
- Nursing Skills
- Nursing Pharmacology
- Clinical Care Across the Lifespan
- Developmental Psychology
One of the most important criteria when choosing a practical nursing program should be program accreditation. A program’s accreditation signifies its high quality and is held to high standards through agencies such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Nursing students in Wisconsin can check with the Wisconsin Board of Nursing for a listing of state-approved practical nursing programs.
Before applying to any LPN program, it is critical to make sure you meet or exceed all entrance requirements. While specific entrance requirements may fluctuate slightly from school to school, they often include:
- Completion of high school or GED program (including transcripts)
- Cumulative GPA of 2.5 in all relevant coursework including prerequisite courses
- Completion of all prerequisite courses, such as college-level Math, English I and Basic Physiology & Human Anatomy
- Standardized Test Scores, such as the ACT or TEAS V exam
- Personal interview
- Background check, drug screen and proof of required immunizations
- Submission of completed application and associated fees
Tuition and Costs
Cost can be an important factor to consider when choosing a practical nursing program. All schools will have their own unique set of fees, so it is important to understand the full range of costs associated with your education before you apply. In general, costs for a practical nursing program include tuition, mandatory college and course fees and supplies (including textbooks). In addition, students should factor in the costs of housing and/or commuting to classes into the total price tag. Financial aid, loans, and scholarships are options for those who need assistance covering the costs of their LPN program.
To provide an example, the tuition cost for the 2-year Associate Degree Nursing program at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College is estimated at $10,430. This does not include additional materials costs, which are estimated anywhere from $250 - $2,500 per semester depending on coursework.
Wisconsin LPN Licensing Requirements
To become an LPN in Wisconsin, individuals must be complete a state-approved nursing program. Once that is complete, he or she must sit and pass the NCLEX-PN exam—the required state-test to show proficiency.
In order to receive state licensure, the applicant must submit an application to the state of Wisconsin, including:
- Official transcript from state-approved nursing program
- Proof of passing score of the NCLEX exam
- Fingerprints submitted digitally to the state
- Authorization for release of FBI information form to check criminal history
Wisconsin LPN licenses expire April 30th of every odd-numbered year and require nurses to complete a Nursing Workforce Survey and Report State of Primary Residency form with the state in order to renew.
NCLEX Exam Information
Before a practical nursing program graduate can receive licensure, they must first sit for and pass the NCLEX-PN examination. LPN program coursework should adequately prepare students for this important exam. To read more about the NCLEX-PN exam, please visit our overview page here. In addition, the NCLEX-PN practice test is available to help students prepare and study.
LPN Reciprocity and eNLC
Wisconsin is a member of the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), which allows nurses to work in multiple states that are in the compact area without additional licensing. The LPN does, however, have to register Wisconsin as a primary state of residency. LPNs can apply for licensure by endorsement by submitting proof of current licensure and having passed the NCLEX.
In addition, applicants must also submit:
- Fingerprints submitted digitally to the state
- Authorization for release of FBI information for criminal background check
Wisconsin allows foreign applicants with LPN equivalent background to apply for licensure in the state, but he or she must first submit approval from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) following a completed course-by-course transcript review and English proficiency testing results. The applicant must also sit for and pass the NCLEX exam if he or she hasn’t already.
The table below lists career information retrieved from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for licensed practical nurses in Wisconsin. The table is sorted by total employment, with the largest metropolitan areas listed first.
|Area||Total Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Milwaukee, Waukesha, West Allis||2,180||$22.18||$46,140|
|Fond du Lac||280||$20.22||$42,050|
|La Crosse, Onalaska||180||$20.13||$41,870|
For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our Wisconsin LPN to RN/BSN programs page.
2733 S. Ridge Road, Green Bay, WI 54304
1825 N. Bluemound Drive, Appleton, WI 54912
3520 30th Ave, Kenosha, WI 53144
555 South Executive Drive, Brookfield, WI 53005
1290 North Ave, Cleveland, WI 53015
500 32nd St N, Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494
700 Gould St, Beaver Dam, WI 53916
2740 W Mason St, Green Bay, WI 54307
400 7th St N, La Crosse, WI 54601
Additional WI Nursing Resources
- Department of Safety and Professional Services - Board of Nursing
1400 E. Washington Avenue, RM 112
Madison, WI 53708
Phone: (608) 266-0145
- Wisconsin Nurses Association
2820 Walton Commons
Madison, WI 53718
Phone: (608) 221-0383
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