LPN Salary

Licensed Practical Nurse’s Salary Information

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LPN Job Description
LPN Training and Education

Nursing students

Nursing students—jdlasica (Flickr.com)

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) provide basic nursing care in a wide range of health care facilities. Depending on the state where they work, they may instead by known as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs); however, the two names apply equally to the profession, and education requirements are the same. LPNs are generally employed under the supervision of doctors and/or registered nurses.

They are responsible for basic patient care, monitoring patients’ health, keeping records of patients’ health, and communicating with doctors and RNs regarding patient needs or changes. They will make sure their patients are as comfortable as possible, and will help to answer patients’ questions and concerns as needed.

The Skinny on Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, licensed practical nurses in the United States make an average annual salary of $40,380. Half of the employed LPNs in the country make more than that, with the top ten percent earning more than $56,000 annually. The lower 50 percent earn less than that, with the lowest level earning as little as $29,000 annually.

See also about the salaries of other types of nurses:

Registered Nurse
Nurse Practitioner

Determining Factors

One of the greatest determining factors in the equation seems to be experience. In general, the longer you stick with this line of work, the more you’re bound to make. Some LPNs choose to advance to a higher level of practice over time, and this will definitely ensure higher pay; however, those who stick with the profession do see an increase as well (though not nearly as drastic). For example, those just beginning to practice may earn a starting salary of $23k per year. As that LPN reaches 10-20 years of experience on the job, her salary may reach as high as $59k.

Another significant factor worth considering is the degree you choose to pursue. The degree you earn will directly impact how far you can advance in this career – and that can effectively put a cap your starting salary. An LPN who pursues an Associate of Science in Nursing may be offered a starting salary as low as $13,634, while one who chooses to earn a Bachelor’s Degree might start out at $29,110.

Along the same lines, earning multiple certifications can open up higher paying jobs – and getting certified in different fields will certainly make you more attractive to potential employers.



Industry Breakdown

LPNs are certified to work in a wide variety of healthcare industries. Average annual salaries don’t vary significantly from one industry to the next; however, some do have the potential for higher pay and better benefits. Overall though, the average salary difference between industries is almost negligible.

In addition, the factor that truly affects salary more than the overall industry is the individual healthcare facility. If the facility is located in a larger metropolitan area and serves a large number of patients, the LPN can typically expect a higher salary. In a smaller facility with fewer patients or in a rural area, the LPN can generally anticipate a lower salary.

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INDUSTRY

AVERAGE HOURLY

AVERAGE ANNUAL

Nursing Care Facilities

$20.72

$43,090

General Medical and Surgical Hospitals

$19.74

$41,060

Offices of Physicians

$18.48

$38,440

Home Health Care Services

$20.75

$43,160

Care Facilities for the Elderly

$20.66

$42,960

Psychiatric & Substance Abuse Hospitals

$19.81

$41,200

Geographic Breakdown

As in most professions, geographic location definitely comes into play in dictating salary. As noted above, a licensed practical nurse working in a bustling metropolitan center is almost always going to make more than her counterpart in a small rural clinic. Cost of living is a factor worth considering though, as salaries are often directly affected (and determined) by overall costs.

We can see a significant difference, however, between average state salaries for licensed practical nurses. LPNs in typically Connecticut make the highest salaries in the country, with annual mean wages of $53,010 (or $25.49 per hour). Salaries for LPNs in West Virginia tip the scales at the low end with annual mean salaries of $33,300 (or $16.01 per hour).

STATE

AVERAGE HOURLY

AVERAGE ANNUAL

Alabama

$16.56

$34,430

Alaska

$23.98

$49,870

Arizona

$24.25

$50,450

Arkansas

$16.79

$34,920

California

$24.58

$51,130

Colorado

$21.37

$44,460

Connecticut

$25.49

$53,010

Delaware

$22.78

$47,390

District of Columbia

$23.89

$49,690

Florida

$19.60

$40,770

Georgia

$17.56

$36,580

Hawaii

$21.25

$44,200

Idaho

$18.60

$38,690

Illinois

$20.05

$41,700

Indiana

$18.71

$38,910

Iowa

$17.70

$36,820

Kansas

$18.04

$37,520

Kentucky

$17.93

$37,300

Louisiana

$18.36

$38,180

Maine

$19.01

$39,540

Maryland

$24.14

$50,210

Massachusetts

$24.39

$50,740

Michigan

$20.34

$42,310

Minnesota

$19.09

$39,700

Mississippi

$16.62

$34,580

Missouri

$17.83

$37,100

Montana

$17.39

$36,160

Nebraska

$17.90

$37,240

Nevada

$25.13

$52,270

New Hampshire

$21.71

$45,160

New Jersey

$24.65

$51,270

New Mexico

$22.07

$45,910

New York

$21.07

$43,820

North Carolina

$19.65

$40,870

North Dakota

$17.71

$36,830

Ohio

$19.41

$40,370

Oklahoma

$17.06

$35,490

Oregon

$22.46

$46,720

Pennsylvania

$20.63

$42,920

Rhode Island

$24.95

$51,900

South Carolina

$18.73

$38,960

South Dakota

$16.57

$34,470

Tennessee

$17.38

$36,160

Texas

$20.32

$42,260

Utah

$18.95

$39,410

Vermont

$20.45

$42,540

Virginia

$18.88

$39,260

Washington

$22.19

$46,150

West Virginia

$16.01

$33,300

Wisconsin

$19.99

$41,580

Wyoming

$19.50

$40,560

 Related Resources:

US Dept. of Health and Human Resources LPN Report PDF

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2 Responses to LPN Salary

  1. Ramon Chianese on July 9, 2013 at 4:31 am

    Studying to be a LPN was probably the greatest things I ever did for my future.

    • Bob Rapp on April 21, 2014 at 11:40 pm

      Thank you for the feedback, Ramon. I deleted your Certified Nurse site link because it comes up 404. Best of luck in all that you do. Bob