How Much Do Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN) Earn?

How Much Do Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN) Earn?

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), also known as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), are beginner-level nurses who provide basic nursing care in various settings like nursing homes, outpatient facilities, and patients’ homes. They receive education that quickly leads them into nursing and grants them the autonomy to obtain certifications, specialize, and earn a decent income. Nurse taking patient's blood pressure while in hospital bedDiscover the earnings of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and the factors affecting their salaries. Find out the LPN salary and how factors like experience, location, and specialization impact their pay. The Average Salary for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN)

On average, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) earn around $51,850 per year or approximately $24.93 per hour, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) Program Overview

LPN salaries vary depending on experience, skills, certifications, location, and specialization. The lowest-paid LPNs make less than $37,150, according to BLS data from March 2022, while the highest-paid LPNs earn over $63,790.

Average Annual Salary
Source: BLS, March 2022

Average Hourly Wage
Source: BLS, March 2023

Licensed Practical Nurse Salaries by Specialization

LPN salaries differ based on their chosen specialization. Here are some common LPN specialties and their median salaries according to the 2020 Nursing Workforce Survey:

LPN Salaries by Specialization
LPN Specialization Median Salary
Pediatrics $40,000
Home Health $42,000
Geriatric/gerontology $47,000
Rehabilitation $50,000
Adult Health $45,000
Family Health $38,000
Palliative Care $47,500

Source: 2020 Nursing Workforce Survey

The Highest-Paying States for Licensed Practical Nurses

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) can earn more in states with higher living costs and quality healthcare settings. The top-paying states for LPNs have a higher cost of living, as of 2022. California and Massachusetts also offer some of the best hospitals for nurses. The states with the highest annual pay for LPNs are:

Highest-Paying States for LPNs
State Average Salary
California $65,140
Alaska $63,650
Washington $63,250
Massachusetts $61,820
Nevada $60,490

Source: BLS

The Highest-Paying Cities for Licensed Practical Nurses

The cities that pay LPNs the most are all in California, which has the fourth highest cost of living in the U.S., according to the 2022 cost-of-living index. Depending on where you reside in California, you can earn $5,000 to $10,000 more annually than LPNs in other parts of the state. The highest-paying cities for LPNs are:

Highest-Paying Cities for LPNs
State Average Salary
Napa, CA $76,890
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $75,880
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $75,410
Santa Rosa, CA $71,180
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $70,720

Source: BLS

How Do Licensed Practical Nurse Salaries Compare to Other Nurses?

When comparing LPN salaries to other nursing roles, LPNs generally earn less than most other nurses. This is because certified registered nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses have more education and a broader scope of practice.

What Kind of Salary Growth Can Licensed Practical Nurses Expect?

LPNs can increase their earnings with more experience. According to data from Payscale in February 2023, LPNs with over 10-20 years of experience tend to earn higher salaries than average. Additionally, their pay can vary based on certifications, educational level, specialization, and work environment.

Ways to Increase Pay as a Licensed Practical Nurse

There are several ways for LPNs to increase their income:

1. Consider pursuing certifications:

Certification programs offer specialized training in areas like gerontology, hospice, or intravenous therapy, depending on the state. LPNs with specialization certifications possess advanced knowledge and skills, making them eligible for higher-paying roles.

2. Increase your education level:

LPNs can boost their salary by obtaining an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing. Although practical certificates or nursing diplomas take less time to complete, degree-holders enjoy higher salaries and more professional opportunities.

3. Gain more experience:

According to the 2020 Nursing Workforce Survey, LPNs with over five years of experience can earn higher pay. LPNs with more than 10 years of experience may also earn above-average salaries, as indicated by Payscale data from February 2023.

4. Change your practice setting:

LPNs can increase their income by working in different healthcare settings. Skilled nursing facilities, outpatient care centers, and home health services typically pay higher average salaries, according to BLS data from March 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions About Licensed Practical Nurse Salaries

– Who makes more: LPNs or RNs?

On average, registered nurses (RNs) earn higher annual salaries than LPNs. RNs undergo more extensive education and training, allowing them to perform tasks that LPNs cannot. According to BLS data from February 2023, RNs have an average annual salary of around $82,750, while LPNs make approximately $51,850 yearly.

– Does an LPN hold a degree or a certificate?

Prospective LPNs can hold either a vocational/practical certification or an associate or bachelor’s degree. According to the 2020 Nursing Workforce Survey, an increasing number of LPNs hold undergraduate degrees, while fewer individuals have only a vocational/practical certificate.

– Can LPNs make good money?

LPNs can earn a decent living, particularly if they are willing to pursue further education and gain specialization certifications. Many high-earning LPNs also prioritize finding jobs in specific work settings, specialties, states, or regions that offer higher salaries.

– Is it worth it to become an LPN?

LPN salary figures have consistently increased in recent years, rising from $38,000 in 2015 to $51,850 in 2022, slightly lower than the salary growth of RNs during the same period, according to the 2020 Nursing Workforce Survey. This data suggests a continued demand for LPNs. The entry-level LPN role also allows nurses to pursue additional certifications or education, providing numerous opportunities for continued professional growth. Both aspects indicate that becoming an LPN is financially and professionally advantageous.

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