Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are trained to provide basic medical services, both diagnosis and treatment, under the supervision of a registered nurse or medical doctor. An LPN must be trained through coursework that usually lasts one year and then pass a state-based exam to become licensed to practice. Candidates for LPN programs must pass a background check and have a high school diploma, and most schools also require some basic college courses as prerequisites to admission into the LPN program.

Basic Math

Nurses are required to think analytically and to perform various basic calculations. Therefore, an entry level basic college math class is one of the general requirements for students hoping to enter an LPN program. The coursework will show that the potential nursing student has the ability to learn basic math functions and think through problem-solving situations.

Entry Level Anatomy and Physiology

An understanding of the parts of the human body and how it works are obvious requirements for a practicing nurse. In order to eliminate the learning curve in these areas once students become involved with learning to treat patients, most LPN programs require students to learn the bones and muscles as well as the systems and functions of the body by taking anatomy and physiology and showing their ability to master a basic understanding of the human body.

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Basic English

Oral and written communication are required of medical practitioners at all levels. In order to be successful as a practicing LPN and also during the educational process, students must be versed in English composition and good grammatical principles. Therefore, an entry-level basic college English class is a solid preparatory step for those preparing to study for a career as an LPN. Typically, this is a requirement before the student begins the LPN official program.


Microbiology is another area that is critical to success both in the work force and in the classroom. Before a student begins to study diagnosis and treatment, he or she must learn how life works. A basic college-level microbiology course will prepare the prospective nurse with the knowledge required to study illnesses and find solutions and it is usually a prerequisite to entering an LPN program. Students will learn how viruses develop and spread and also how the immune system works.

About the Author

Kurt Johnson began writing in 1995. He has a passion for sports and has spent more than 15 years as a coach. He is a sportswriter who has been published at Front Page Sports and in the "Sacramento Union." Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Brigham Young University.