LPN Salary Guide – What Potential Licensed Practical Nurses Should Know

A Licensed Practical Nurse’s salary range can vary somewhat significantly. The national average LPN salary is around $39,000, however, a number of factors will determine the exact salary range you fall into. These factors include geographic location, experience level, qualifications and the type of medical facility where an LPN is employed. So while there is not an exact figure that represents what the expectant salary for a Licensed Practical Nurse is, there are definitely ways you can determine what your expected salary will be, which we cover below.

The role of a Licensed Practical Nurse is fairly diverse. An LPN does many things in his/her role, some of which include, taking vital signs, administering anesthesia, taking blood, feeding patients, collecting labs and samples, applying bandages and keeping logs and records of each patient’s progress and status. Depending on the level of work done by an LPN, the average salary range will obviously grow.

How To Maximize Your LPN Salary

To make the most money as an LPN, assignment jobs are the way to go. Assignment jobs are those that require traveling. The jobs typically last from three months to one year and are in high demand, but are not often feasible for LPNs with families and children. However, traveling assignment jobs are the ones that pay the most and have the best benefits. Licensed Practical Nurses that work for employment agencies are the ones with the highest average salary, followed by LPNs employed by nursing homes or long term care facilities.

Licensed Practical Nurses employed by hospitals and/or private doctors offices receive the lowest average salaries. Additionally, LPNs that work overnight and weekend shifts are paid higher than those who work during the day in the middle of the week. Licensed Practical Nurses in smaller facilities are paid less than those in larger ones because larger facilities can afford to pay more than smaller offices, which is also something LPNs should keep in mind when applying for jobs.

Additionally, the education level of any given LPN plays a large part in determining the salary of the LPN. Statistically, only seven percent of LPNs have earned a degree despite the fact that more than 72 percent of LPNs went to college. Since Licensed Practical Nurses need only a trade degree, a college education is not required, which means those that do have a college education typically earn a little more than those that do not. The education level required to become an LPN takes approximately one year to complete. Those LPNs with the lowest amount of education and training are the ones that make the lowest average salary.

Statistics show that the LPN salary is offset for many because of the love of the job. Studies have shown that LPNs have such an intense workload that only the ones that truly love what they do stick it out and therefore feel they gain more from the job than just their annual salary rates. In addition, LPNs are the health care professionals that make more of a lasting difference with their patients in hospitals and Emergency Rooms – as well as outpatient facilities – than doctors or other nurses do, which is a reason why the salary for LPNs is fairly high.

Another factor that determines the average salary of a Licensed Practical Nurse is the experience on the job. This means that the longer one has been working as a licensed LPN the more he/she makes every year. LPNs with less than one year on the job have an LPN salary average between $28,000 and $39,000 and LPNs that have more than 20 years of experience have an average salary between $34,000 and $47,000. Broken down into an hourly rate, the highest paying LPNs make over $25 every hour, while the lowest paid LPNs make just over $14 per hour.

The States with the Highest Salary Ranges

The reason LPN salary averages are so much higher on the East Coast than anywhere else in the country is due in large part to the cost of living because the East Coast is highly industrialized in comparison to the rest of the country. Population density in East Coast cities is higher than anywhere else in the country and the number of upper middle class families is higher.

Cities such as New York and Washington D.C. are big cities with very high LPN salary rates but the cost of living is so high in those cities that LPNs with smaller annual salaries in smaller cities actually make more once all is said and done; even though on paper it looks like the LPNs in larger cities earn more. When broken down into percentages, Licensed Practical Nurses in the top ten percent of their profession earn approximately $52,000 annually. Those LPNs in the lowest ten percent of their profession earn approximately $29,000 per year.

The rest of the Licensed Practical Nurses in the country earn anywhere between $29,000 and $52,000 annually, with the biggest factor being geography. The average LPN salary in states such as New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Washington D.C. and Massachusetts is between $49,000 and $52,000 annually. LPN salary rates are highest of anywhere in the country in California; more specifically in the San Francisco area when compared to the cost of living. Licensed Practical Nurses in states such as Alabama and Missouri have the lowest annual salaries of anywhere else in the country.

However, you should not consider the difference in salary to mean that some LPNs in certain states are wealthier than others. The cost of living plays a large part in the base salary of LPNs in most states, which is why states with a higher cost of living pay more  – so they can afford to live. Overall, the highest paying state for LPNs is Connecticut, which pays an average salary of more than $52,000 per year to Licensed Practical Nurses. This is an in demand career right and hopefully this LPN salary information gives you some good insight into what you can expect should you choose this career path.