Licensed Practical Nurse or LPN Salary

What is a LPN

LPNs (also known as Licensed Practical Nurse, Pediatric Licensed Practical Nurse, LP Nurse, Licensed Vocational Nurse or LVN) are licensed health care professionals who are trained to handle bedside care of patients dealing with illnesses, injuries and disabilities under supervision of registered nurses, physicians and other health care professionals. They are an essential component of any healthcare team. In many cases, they are the first medical professional to interact with patients initially arriving at the hospital unit. Click here for more on how to become a LPN.

Work Environment

LPNs work in a variety of different health care settings including hospitals, continuing care facilities, physician clinics, community health centres, urgent care centres and in clients’ homes. However, you will find the biggest percentage of licensed practical nurses in nursing care facilities. Working as a nurse can be stressful and tiring considering they have to be on their feet all day, and they have to lift patients out of bed and assist them to walk.

Work Schedule

LPN Salary

Majority of LPNs or LVNs have to work full-time hours while the reminder worked part-time or on variable schedules. They are required to work evenings, weekends, and holiday hours as hospitals and nursing care facilities open all hours of the day. Nurses are commonly required to work 12 hour shifts, sometimes 2-4 days in a row, and then a few days to rest.

Mean Annual LPN Salary

The average annual licensed practical nurse salary is $42,910. The average salary is calculated by adding all the wages within the occupation and dividing that value by the total number of workers in this profession. The lowest 10% of  licensed practical nurse salaries are less than $31,300. The top 10% of licensed practical nurse salaries reach more than $58,020.

LPN Salary: Quick Summary

2013 Mean Salary$42,910 per year
$20.63 per hour
Top 10% Salary$58,020 per year
$27.90 per hour
Bottom 10% Salary$31,300 per year
$15.05 per hour
Number of Jobs, 2013705,200

LPN Job Outlook and Prospects

Like certified nursing assistants and other nursing professions, the demand for LPNs and LVNs is growing at a faster than average pace. In fact, from 2012 to 2022, the growth rate for new jobs is estimated at 25%. This would result in 182,900 new jobs over these 10 years, allowing these licensed professionals to work within the growing numbers of hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and other institutions throughout the country. Main factors driving this growth are an aging population, an increase in the number of LPNs retiring, and a rise in basic healthcare needs.

Because it takes only one year to become licensed as either a LPN or LVN, this is an appealing career for individuals wanting to work in the medical industry without having to proceed through a lengthy education. The degree is relatively simple to obtain, and after passing an exam for licensing purposes, individuals are already prepared to work. Consequently, this has led to the popularity of this profession that will eventually employ almost 1 million Americans.

What Affects The LPN Salary

LPNs and LVNs are essential to the care of patients in various healthcare settings, helping physicians perform their services more quickly and easily. The growing healthcare industry is encouraging for individuals seeking to enter this profession as well, provided that employment continues to increase at its projected rate throughout the coming years.

A quick look at the salary trend for licensed practical nurse reveals a consistent increase in wages year over year. In 2004, LPNs were only making $34,000 per year. The annual salary increased by about $1500 the next year and follows this pattern until 2009. The salary growth continues from there but at a slower rate than before. One major reason for this slow down in growth is contributed to the economic downturn of 2009, when the US economy as a whole took a major hit. However, the future of LPN remains bright as the demand outpaces the supply, hence we believe this growth will accelerate again once the economy fully recovers.

As jobs increase, salaries are likely to fluctuate as well. There are a number of factors that can impact the salary of licensed practical nurses, some of which include experience, education, industry expertise, and location.

Experience and Education

Experience often means the transition from nursing care facilities to more specialized facilities. This is especially true because there are no training programs beyond initial licensing for a LPN position. Obviously, this means that experience is the primary factor that can lead to higher earnings in this field of work.

Obtaining extra certifications is fairly common among LPNs nowadays. Certifications such as wound care, basic cardiac life support, basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support, neonatal resuscitation, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation are popular among those who wish to have better job opportunities and higher wages.


Top paying industries are those with the lowest concentration of LPNs. Once certified, many individuals begin work in nursing care facilities, hospitals, and physician’s offices. However, the average salary of these locations are generally lower. Professionals with more experience tend to secure positions in the highest earning industries including junior colleges, insurance carriers, and grantmaking and giving services, all of which include annual wages ranging from $47,490 to $49,320.


Coastal states with the highest levels of employment are also those that pay the highest annual wages to LPNs and LVNs. This is most likely because these areas have more hospitals or healthcare facilities due to higher population totals, increasing the demand for qualified, experienced LPNs and LVNs. Among the top paying states are Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

However, the top paying metropolitan areas for this profession are almost all exclusively found in California, another coastal state. Relatedly, nonmetropolitan areas with the highest paid LPNs and LVNs are found in states such as California and Alaska, suggesting that state locale is the leading influence on the mean annual wage of LPNs and LVNs.

Licensed Practical Nurse or LPN Salary: Top 5

Top Paying Metropolitan AreasTop Paying StatesTop Paying IndustriesStates with Highest Employment Level
San Francisco- Redwood City, CA: $60,550Connecticut: $53,560Junior Colleges: $49,320Texas: (75,780 jobs) $43,120
Oakland-Freemont-Hayward, CA: $59,540Nevada: $52,850Insurance Carriers: $48,450California: (61,950 jobs) $51,170
Salinas, CA: $58,950Alaska: $52,850Grantmaking and Giving Services: $47,490New York: (48,520 jobs) $44,250
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA: $57,850Massachusetts: $52,060Scientific Research and Development Services: $45,950Florida: (42,980 jobs) $41,050
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $57,820New Jersey: $51,350Lessors of Real Estate: $45,620Ohio: (40,400 jobs) $40,460

lpn salary state by state 2013

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