LPN Programs in Wisconsin

August 26, 2021 • 6 Min Read

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According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, Wisconsin should experience a surplus of licensed practical nurses by 2025. This, however, shouldn’t discourage aspiring LPNs from seeking employment in Wisconsin. Individuals who want to join the state’s nursing workforce can get a leg up on the competition by obtaining quality education and training, which is offered at many community colleges and technical schools throughout the state. This comprehensive guide provides helpful information for prospective practical nursing students, from licensure requirements to salary data to a list of top LPN programs in Wisconsin.

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Top LPN Programs in Wisconsin

Methodology Lpn Programs

The top LPN programs listed in this state's ranking were determined by comparison of three primary, equally-weighted criteria including

  • Student-to-faculty ratio
  • In-state tuition
  • Graduation rate

Additional details for each school were included:

  • Count of programs available
  • Public and not-for-profit schools
  • Normalized on a 100 percent curve

The methodology used for tie-break is as follows...

  • Ties are broken based on lowest average net price for full-time, first-time undergraduates paying in-state tuition (average cost of tuition and expenses after grants and scholarships).
  • If necessary, the lowest in-state tuition rate is used as a second tie-break
  1. Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

    Fennimore, WI

  2. Lakeshore Technical College

    Cleveland, WI

  3. Chippewa Valley Technical College

    Eau Claire, WI

  4. Wisconsin indianhead Technical College

    Shell Lake, WI

  5. Mid-State Technical College

    Wisconsin Rapids, WI

  6. Fox Valley Technical College

    Appleton, WI

  7. Madison Area Technical College

    Madison, WI

  8. Nicolet Area Technical College

    Rhinelander, WI

  9. Gateway Technical College

    Kenosha, WI

  10. Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

    Green Bay, WI

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How to Become Licensed as an LPN in Wisconsin

No matter which state you live in, the state nursing board requires practical nurses to hold an LPN license in order to practice. Most states have similar standards, but it’s up to each individual state to set its licensure process. The next section explores the licensure and renewal process in Wisconsin.

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Basic Eligibility

  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Must complete 2 years of high school or the equivalent
  • Graduate from an accredited LPN school in Wisconsin

Requirements for Education & Training

Applicants for LPN licensure must have completed a state-approved nursing program and hold the applicable degree, diploma, or certificate.

Wisconsin is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact, which allows nurses to work in 25 states under one license. Nurses who hold a license from a non-participating state must apply for a license by endorsement. According to WI Act 146, nurses with credentials from another state can practice in Wisconsin for 72 consecutive hours a year without holding a Wisconsin LPN license.

Licensure candidate may submit an application for a Temporary Permit in addition to the regular license application. A temporary permit is valid for three months or until they receive their results from the NCLEX-PN exam. The permit holder automatically becomes a Graduate Practical Nurse (GPN) and can practice under the direct supervision of an RN.

Applicants without a current nursing education and who have not been employed in a position requiring a nursing license within the past five years may apply for a limited license. After completing a nursing refresher course, temporary permit-holders may petition the Board for full licensure.

Additional Licensure Requirements

  • Complete Statement of Graduation or Completion from a Wisconsin Board-Approved program and forward to the nursing school. They will return it directly to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services after graduation.
  • Arrange for nursing school to send official transcript to the Wisconsin Board of Nursing
  • Submit a Practical Nurse Licensure Application form with a fee of $90 ($75.00 Initial Credential fee plus $15 Contract Exam fee).
  • Register for NCLEX-PN exam online at Pearson Vue, and pay a nonrefundable fee of $200.
  • Pass the National Council Licensing Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX).

*Note: Time from application to receipt of a license varies. The Board suggests allowing 8-12 weeks for the process if possible.

Renewing a Wisconsin LPN License

LPN licenses should be renewed on 4/30 of each odd year. The fee for renewal is $86.00 or $111.00 if late. All renewal applicants must complete the Nursing Workforce Survey online or on paper. According to the State Board, the data is used to produce accurate information about the current supply, demand, and skill level of LPNs in Wisconsin.

Applicants may renew online or request a paper renewal form at 888-506-4239 or 608-261-4460 (Madison area)

The Wisconsin Act 2010, effective June 2012, extends the LPN license of a service member if it expires during active duty from 90 days to 180 days. The Act repeals a prior provision that requires a service member to meet all of the requirements for license extension or renewal.

LPN Salaries in Wisconsin

Although there are many employment opportunities for LPNs in Wisconsin, some geographical areas will experience more growth and better salaries than others. The table below indicates the areas of Wisconsin with the highest salaries.

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Annual Wage (25th percentile)$37,330$35,780
Annual Wage (Median)$42,650$42,490
Annual Wage (75th percentile)$47,660$49,450

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas


YearAnnual Wage (25th percentile)Annual Wage (Median)Annual Wage (75th percentile)
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis$41,210$46,360$52,930
Eastern Wisconsin nonmetropolitan area$37,050$41,940$46,300

Employment Trends for Wisconsin LPNs

According to Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development, the state expects a steady growth rate of 1.15 annually in the employment of LPNS. Over the ten year period from 2012 to 2022, this equates to over 3700 new jobs. Larger areas, such as Milwaukee and Dane Counties, will experience higher employment growth in comparison to smaller counties such as Menominee and Florence.

Top Areas for LPN Jobs

AreaTotal Employment (2014)
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis2,720
Green Bay790
Eastern Wisconsin nonmetropolitan area650
West Central Wisconsin nonmetropolitan area650
AreaTotal Employment (2014)
South Central Wisconsin nonmetropolitan area640
Eau Claire380
Fond du Lac280

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 Employment of LPNs in Wisconsin 10,130 11,360 Average Annual Openings 370

Source: Projections Central

Resources for Wisconsin LPNs

Approved In-State Nursing Schools

Prospective LPNs can access this list of Wisconsin nursing schools approved by the State Board.

Board-Approved Refresher Courses

Visitors will find a list approved LPN refresher courses Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Nurse Licensure Compact

This page publishes information about the Nurse Licensure Compact, which covers LPNs in 25 states.

State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Summary of the 2015 LPN Surveys

Visitors to this site will find comprehensive results of the 2015 Workforce Development Survey.

Wisconsin 2015 LPN Nurse Survey Brochure

This brochure outlines the results of the Wisconsin Licensed Practical Workforce Survey.

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center

This site provides detailed information about health careers in Wisconsin such as LPNs.

Wisconsin Association of Licensed Practical Nurses

The mission of the Wisconsin Association of Licensed Practical Nurses is to provide an extended branch of the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses to LPNs in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Center for Nursing

The Wisconsin Center for Nursing works collaboratively with both nurse and healthcare organizations, as well as private and public agencies, to advocate for RNs and LPNs in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Department of Safety & Services-LPNs

Forms and direction for LPN licensure and renewal are posted on this page from the Wisconsin Department of Safety & Services.

Wisconsin Hospital Association

This section of the Wisconsin Hospital Association website outlines the current state of hospitals in the state and provides workforce-related resources for professionals such as LPNs.

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