IV Therapy Certification for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)

Learn about the prerequisites and courses needed for LPNs to earn IV therapy certification. Find out about career opportunities and salary potential for LPNs, as well as continuing education to become a registered nurse (RN) and IV infusion specialist.

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Essential Information

IV therapy is the administration of fluids, blood and medicine directly into a vein through a needle, and it's a common practice across the nursing profession. Each state has its own regulations regarding the authorization of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to conduct IV therapy. Some states require a special training course leading to certification.

Certification courses prepare students who did not receive specialized IV therapy training during their nursing education. Most programs require a pre-study curriculum in conjunction with classroom training, which is usually developed to meet individual state nursing standards. Such standards may regulate what types of IV therapy LPNs may provide, as well as in what setting. For example, some states allow LPNs to provide IV therapy in hospitals, but not in home care settings. Certification courses generally last 1-2 days.

Education Prerequisites

Entrants to IV therapy certification courses generally must be LPNs, registered nurses or emergency medical technicians. Most applicants are currently employed in the nursing field. Employers may offer these courses or sponsor the individual. Attendees must usually complete a course of self-study, which may include an examination prior to the course.

Program Coursework

IV therapy certification programs are comprised of pre-study coursework, hands-on training utilizing mannequins and didactic sessions on the following topics:

  • Medication administration
  • Infection control
  • Central line use
  • Patient assessment
  • TPN therapy
  • Electrolytes
  • Blood and plasma

Career Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), licensed practical and licensed vocational nurse employment were expected to grow at a rate of 25% between the years of 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). A large part of this growth is due to the aging population in the United States. Salaries vary widely depending upon the state; the mean wage for a LPN in West Virginia was $33,660, while a LPN in California could expect to earn $51,170. Overall, the median annual salary for LPNs was $41,540, according to May 2012 data.

Continuing Education

LPNs may pursue a career as an RN with additional education. Such programs generally require enrollment in an associate degree program and may take up to two years to complete. RN programs are available in the classroom and online. A RN may obtain further training in IV therapy and become an infusion specialist.

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