Licensed Practical Nurse Salary in the US

Nursing programs are becoming more and more popular in the US. Considering that most programs for Licensed Practical Nurses can be completed in a year or two, you must get your license. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, LPNs earn $48,500 on average, while non-degree salary is around $37,600. Salary difference is more than great motivation for anyone to get their license.

Moreover, you may attend classes part-time and significantly increase your salary, experience, and open doors to new promotions. If you want to advance in a career (and earn more money), having an LPN license is a great place to start. Never forget that many RNs (registered nurses) start as LPNs. Just for quick comparison, RNs earn around $60,000+ in the US

Introduction to LPNs

Medicine and health are areas of society (regardless of the community’s development, we all need medical care) that require constant investment to prolong the life expectancy of citizens, reduce the mortality of children and adults, and improve the quality of life.

Besides the doctors and other highly qualified staff, one part of the whole medical process, and many would agree, the most important belongs to nurses.LPN is one profession that, in the foreseeable future, will be needed. If you love to work with people, if you love to help them and are not overly sensitive, you should opt to become a Licensed Practical Nurse.

Licensed Practical Nurses (or in short LPNs) are part of the medical staff that complete a variety of necessary care jobs. They operate under physicians and registered nurses. This does not mean that they sit and wait for the doctors and nurses to tell them what to do. They are a critical part of the entire medical process, which is particularly seen when LPN works with older patients.

If you have any interest in doing such a job, you should know that you do not need a bachelor’s degree, but you must have some education and practice. Here you can find out what set of skills is required, what is an average income for LPN, and above all, what are the employment chances in the next five to ten years.

What is LPN?

For the beginning, let us get in a closer look at the profession itself – a licensed practical nurse (LPN) is working as an associate to registered nurses (RNs) and doctors. LPNs work area is a bit simpler than in RNs because they are in charge of primary nursing tasks in nursing homes, clinics, and facilities that provide long-term care. This type of care is for the elderly or very sick patients.

This profession is at times called LVN or licensed vocational nurse – their obligations can be different, as numerous employers demand other things from nurses. For example, in the USA, states like California and Texas called LPN licensed vocational nurses. In the other US states, they are called licensed practical nurses.


As we already said in the previous paragraph, LPN and LVN are fundamentally the same. There is no difference between those professions. If you live in California or Texas, you will be called LVN, while in all other states, you will be called LPN.

LPN meaning and degree

If you are interested in becoming one, you need to know that some of the required characteristics for an LPN’s position are being dedicated to caring for others. Also, LPN should be an individual with good conversation and listening abilities who display compassion towards all those in need, mostly older people. 

When it comes to the necessary academic degree, you should know that this job doesn’t demand a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. Preferably, it requires the fulfillment of an approved education curriculum. 

Education to become an LPN lasts around one year, and there are available programs that last up to two years or seven months.

Courses generally involve:

1. Introduction to nursing courses

2. Patient care

3. Geriatric nursing

4. Science courses

5. Nursing skills

6. Population and specialty courses

LPN training incorporates a wide variety of subjects so that you can move your education process with expertise and experiences in multiple sectors. 

Daily, LPNs are working with patients and are under the direct supervision of RNs and physicians. Their obligations include:

  • monitoring vital signs in a patient
  • assembling samples
  • giving prescribed medication
  • ensuring that patient have comfort
  • reporting the health situation of patients to the nurses

If you receive any certification in the LPN field, be sure that the salary will go up from there. The website states that you can specialize in areas such as:

  • Long-term care
  • Pharmacology
  • Developmental disabilities
  • IV therapy
  • Correctional health

*state agency or NAPNES, which stands for the National Association of Practical Nurse Education and Services, administers specialty certification plans for LPNs. 

Where does LPN work?

The health service requires health workers’ expertise, humanity, speed, accuracy, and proper response to treat injuries and diseases. Nurses and technicians work on health improvement, disease prevention, therapy, and recovery. They work on different jobs – from patronage to intensive care units – sometimes on their own, sometimes in a team. Because of all this, there are significant differences in the jobs of different nurses. But, we must say that all of them are necessary and extremely important in the process.

As the website, writes the most common place where LPN work is nursing homes – this is their primary workplace. Still, they can also find an excellent job in hospitals or doctors’ offices.

Statistics that The US Bureau of Labor Statistics brings looks like this:

  • somewhere around 6% of LPNs work in Government and military facilities
  • somewhere around 13%of LPNs work in Physicians’ offices
  • somewhere around 13%of LPNs work in-home healthcare services
  • somewhere around 15%of LPNs work in hospitals
  • and the majority, and that is around 38% of all LPN does their job in nursing homes and residential care facilities

Average LPN salary (top 5 cities and states)

When we talk about the average salaries for licensed practical nurses, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupation Employment shared an average salary of $48,500 annually.

The highest salaries are in nursing homes or home care providers and smaller in doctors’ offices and hospitals (depending on the state, city, and the company itself). But, if you are contemplating dealing with such work, you must know that these salaries are not rigorously confined. Wages can fluctuate considerably depending on specialization, or the state and city you work in, as well as years of experience in the field. Specialization, in particular, has its saying when it comes to the salary.

The website Payscale brings this information – on average, a Licensed Practical Nurse earns around $20.55 per hour. Bonuses come around $691, and the commission that comes with the salary is about $4,000. Profit-sharing, in the case of an LPN, can reach up to $979.

The Average LPN Nurse Salary by State

This list comes from the website
1. New York – $23.97 (hourly)- $49,854(annually)
2. Massachusetts $23.74(hourly)- $49,383(annually)
3. Washington – $23.58(hourly)- $49,038(annually)
4. New Hampshire – $23.11(hourly)- $48,061(annually)
5. Hawaii – $22.80(hourly)-$47,429(annually)

As you could see, New York is the highest paying state in the USA for licensed practical nurses; Massachusetts and Washington follows with a bit smaller salaries.

The Average LPN Nurse Salary by City

ZipRecruiter also brings a list of the highest paying cities in the US.

1. New York City, NY – $24.41(hourly)-$50,765 (annually) 
2. Seattle, WA – $24.16(hourly)- $50,244(annually)
3. Boston, MA – $24.04(hourly)-$49,998(annually)
4. Long Island, NY – $23.65(hourly)- $49,182(annually)
5. Newark, NJ – $23.03(hourly)- $47,904(annually) 

Payscale brings a similar list. It states that the highest paying cities for LPN professionals are New York, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Atlanta.

1. New York, New York
2. Chicago, Illinois
3. Indianapolis, Indiana
4. Atlanta, Georgia
5. Cleveland, Ohio

The website indeed writes that the highest paying cities and districts in the USA for LPNs are:

1. Rhode Island
2. Massachusetts
3. Alaska
4. Nevada
5. Connecticut

These are the actual paychecks in different cities, based on the USA’s website

1. Phoenix, AZ –$26.99
2. Indianapolis, IN-$26.37
3. Atlanta, GA – $23.75
4. Cincinnati, OH – $23.59
5. Columbus, OH – $22.85
6. Jacksonville, FL- $22.84
7. Memphis, TN – $22.7
8. Tampa, FL – $22.62

The ZipRecruiter brings information that the average salary for LPN is $45,451 per year. The salary range goes from $30,500 up to $63,500.

The same website states that:

Salary Range (Percentile) list made by ZipRecruiter

Annual Salary $37,500 (25 per cent); $45,451$(average); 51,000$ (75percent)
Monthly Salary 3,125$(25 per cent); 3,788$(average); 4,250$ (75percent)
Weekly Salary$721(25 percent); $874(average); $981(75percent)
Hourly Salary$18(25 percent); $22(average); $25(75percent).

Indeed shares this information about licensed practical nurse salary- the average base wage is around $26.21 hourly. 

Most common benefits

These are the most common benefits that, on average, a licensed practical nurse makes.

  • Referral program
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • License reimbursement
  • 401(k)
  • Paid time off
  • 401(k) matching
  • Flexible schedule
  • Health insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Relocation assistance

Similar professions

A licensed practical Nurse has fewer obligations than RN. At the same time, there is a vast range of occasion where you get to practice your social and caretaking abilities when taking care of the sufferers.

1. Certified nursing assistant (CNA)

A certified nursing assistant is the one that contributes to the primary care of the patients. This implies to tracking vital warnings, cleaning apartments, and assisting with daily actions such as feeding, getting prepared, and toilet. You can become one if you enter a simple program that lasts for over a month, around four weeks. After that, you pass the exam, and if you do it successfully, you are ready to work. Later on, as you become more experienced, you can enroll in a program and progress in a career, becoming LPN or CNA.

2. The licensed practical nurse (LPN)

LPN has similar work obligations as CNAs, but broader care is in question when it comes to the duties. As far as education comes, this position demands in a state-approved program. The program usually lasts from one year to year and a half. After you have finished the program, you are obligated to pass NXLEX or National Council Licensure Examination. It is provided by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

3. Registered nurse (RN)

A registered nurse is the one who is on the top; she or he takes care of all. If you receive a certificate for RN, you are overseeing both LPNs and CNAs. This position implies the most complex work – doing diagnostics analyses, interpreting results, managing treatment procedures, and teaching patients on wherewith to handle their disease or state they are in the current moment. When it comes to education, if you pursue a career in RN, you must have an associate’s degree in nursing. You can do it by finishing a two-year program or through four-year bachelor’s degrees. The NXLEX test is also mandatory.

Salary based on skills

This list brings information about salaries based on a particular skill – the highest paying skills are Geriatrics, Long Term Care, Wound Care, Elder Care, and Home Health/Home Care. Long Term Care, Geriatrics, Home Health/Home Care, Wound Care, Elder Care hourly pay is around an hourly wage is around $21.

LPNs and job trends

Hospitals, health centers, ambulances, nursing homes, various offices in the state, and the private sector are places where LPNs can find work. Their job is to observe the patients’ symptoms, relieve, and solve their problems during treatment.

They also participate in performing diagnostic procedures, and independently or as part of a team, conducts therapy and patient care. Licensed Practical Nurses can work with doctors in various surgeries to prepare patients and help with analyzes, and independently perform some medical procedures: they give injections, take samples for analyzes, bandage wounds, etc.

A small number of them do, in fact, work in emergency medical services and some outside health care, e.g., in nursing homes and kindergartens.
When it comes to the prognosis – will, in the future, be any demand for nursing professionals? The answer is clear, yes.”

As BLS predicts, jobs for licensed practical nurses will rise by about 9 percent in the next ten years. This statistic is made based on a presumption that the number of older people (65 and more) is going to double by the year 2029, and LPNs are those who will take care of their health.