While almost no one becomes a Licensed Practical Nurse for the money alone, it is important to feel like you are being paid what you are worth; understanding the factors that impact your LPN salary can help you make the most of your LPN career. As with any career, there are many variables at play in determining your salary, and it is no different for LPNs or Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs). Salary is most impacted by place of work, location within the country, and experience.
LPN Salary Overview
According to PayScale, the average LPN/LVN earns $18.00 per hour, with hourly wages ranging from $14.97 to $24.61. Average yearly salary ranges from $31,070 to $52,483.
These figures are averages; there are certain states where LPNs/LVNs may earn exponentially more than LPNs/LVNs in other states.
Average LPN Salary by State
State Employment Hourly Wage Annual Wage
Alabama 14,200 $17.36 $36,100
Alaska 520 $26.16 $54,400
Arizona 5,500 $24.03 $49,970
Arkansas 11,650 $17.49 $36,370
California 65,250 $24.94 $51,870
Colorado 5,330 $22.85 $47,530
Connecticut 8,630 $26.74 $55,630
Delaware 1,820 $23.75 $49,410
District of Columbia 1,610 $25.53 $53,100
Florida 43,540 $20.35 $42,320
Georgia 25,360 $18.66 $38,820
Guam 90 $17.42 $36,230
Hawaii 1,180 $22.51 $46,820
Idaho 2,560 $19.17 $39,870
Illinois 20,300 $22.69 $47,190
Indiana 16,890 $19.58 $40,730
Iowa 6,750 $19.10 $39,730
Kansas 7,090 $19.25 $40,040
Kentucky 10,850 $18.84 $39,180
Louisiana 21,750 $18.25 $37,960
Maine 1,300 $20.39 $42,410
Maryland 11,640 $24.59 $51,140
Massachusetts 16,190 $26.04 $54,160
Michigan 14,490 $21.89 $45,530
Minnesota 17,730 $20.40 $42,440
Mississippi 8,830 $17.66 $36,730
Missouri 15,920 $18.45 $38,380
Montana 2,510 $18.98 $39,490
Nebraska 5,300 $19.09 $39,710
Nevada 2,340 $25.31 $52,630
New Hampshire 2,160 $22.98 $47,800
New Jersey 15,310 $25.62 $53,300
New Mexico 2,150 $22.48 $46,760
New York 47,380 $22.36 $46,500
North Carolina 16,330 $20.16 $41,940
North Dakota 2,920 $19.83 $41,250
Ohio 40,160 $19.74 $41,060
Oklahoma 11,610 $18.55 $38,590
Oregon 2,910 $23.63 $49,160
Pennsylvania 37,470 $21.43 $44,570
Puerto Rico 4,850 $10.84 $22,540
Rhode Island 1,030 $26.55 $55,230
South Carolina 9,090 $18.95 $39,410
South Dakota 1,850 $17.44 $36,270
Tennessee 22,490 $17.92 $37,270
Texas 69,220 $21.70 $45,130
Utah 1,980 $20.73 $43,110
Vermont 1,450 $22.03 $45,830
Virgin Islands 90 $20.48 $42,600
Virginia 21,410 $19.80 $41,190
Washington 7,490 $24.03 $49,980
West Virginia 6,570 $17.16 $35,680
Wisconsin 8,480 $20.74 $43,140
Wyoming 770 $21.19 $44,080
Typically, new nurses begin their careers in an entry-level position. While the entry-level position on a Med/Surg unit is not as glamorous as performing chest compressions in an ICU, assisting with childbirth on a mother/baby unit, or hooking up chemotherapy to elaborate central lines for an oncology patient, a nursing job on a Med/Surg unit offers plenty of experience. The entry-level position will allow the new nurse to not only sharpen skills, but also develop a niche, because the Med/Surg unit sees ALL types of patients. For example, through my years on a general floor, I noticed the many patients with type 2 diabetes and the complications it causes and eventually, I earned my certification as a diabetes educator after becoming an RN.
Keep in mind that in many facilities, working “off shifts” such as afternoons, midnights and weekends, may net a larger salary due to a shift differential. This means that the nurse earns the same base salary as a nurse on a day shift, plus an additional amount per hour or shift.
So – when that call comes in offering a midnight shift position on a Med/Surg unit, don’t turn it down. The experience gained may be necessary when applying for a specialized position in the future.
LPN vs RN Employment Difference
|State||LPN Employment||RN Employment||% Difference|
|District of Columbia||1,500||11,030||86%|
Source: http://www.dol.gov/, 2015 Data
LPN Salary by Workplace
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the types of employers that employ the greatest number of LPNs are Nursing Care Facilities, General and Surgical Hospitals, doctor’s offices and clinics, home healthcare services, and retirement homes. While the general duties are similar in each setting, the specific responsibilities and roles can vary, leading to a variance in LPN salary.
Nursing care facilities are the largest employer of LPNs, with nearly 253,000 employed as of May 2016. Of the largest five employers of LPNS, nursing homes have the highest average salary. The average LPN salary at a nursing home is $44,000 annually.
In fact, 29% of the LPN/LVN workforce works in a skilled nursing facility – that’s more than a quarter of all practicing LPNs/LVNs. By the year 2020, the need for LPNs/LVNs in these facilities is expected to grow 11.7%, presumably due to the aging of “baby boomers.”
Since Nursing homes often only employ a few RNs, LPNs often have more responsibilities than in other settings. In addition to the standard care of patients, LPNs typically supervise nurses aids, and can even advance to charge nurses over other LPNs.
While there are only 64,000 LPNs employed by home health care services, this industry pays nearly as much as nursing care facilities. LPNs in this setting travel to patient’s homes and help them with everything from medication management, to personal hygiene, mobility, and meals. The average annual salary in the home healthcare industry is $43,404.
While home health nurses account for only 9% of the LPN/LVN workforce, the growth rate is expected at 72.1% by 2020 – a gigantic increase from right now! With insurance changes, people spend less time in the hospital recuperating, requiring more nursing care in the home – meaning an increased need of nurses in this setting.
LPNs in retirement communities perform similar duties to those in nursing care facilities; however, since patients in retirement homes tend to be more able-bodied, the average LPN salary in this industry is slightly less, at $43,000. This industry employs just over 39,000 LPNs as of May 2009. These LPNs/LVNs account for 5.4% of the LPN/LVN workforce and the growth rate is projected at 49.4% by the year 2020!
Hospitals are the second largest employer of LPNs and provide the most traditional setting. In hospitals, LPNs provide basic bedside care, and work directly under RNs to monitor patients and assist with personal hygiene and mobility. Hospitals employ about 159,000 LPNs, and the average LPN salary is $39,980.
Finally, doctors’ offices and clinic have the lowest annual LPN salary, at $36,770. LPNs in this setting typically bring patients into exam rooms, take blood pressure and weight, and get a general idea of patient concerns. Their responsibilities are fairly limited, which likely accounts for the lower salary. This industry employs about 89,000 LPNs.
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