What is an LPN?

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are the unsung heroes of healthcare, tirelessly delivering essential patient care alongside registered nurses (RNs) and physicians.

The demand for LPNs has been steadily increasing due to several factors such as:

  • Aging population
  • Advancements in medical technology
  • Expansion of healthcare services

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of LPNs is projected to grow 6 percent from 2021 to 2031, opening doors to about 58.8K new job opportunities.

LPNs ensure the well-being of patients through vigilant health monitoring, precise medication administration, expert wound dressing, and indispensable support with daily activities.

Let us understand in detail the field’s pay potential along with the benefits and perks that come with it.

LPN Salary Overview

How much does an LPN earn across the USA?

The national average salary for LPNs in the United States is around $59,490 per year and $33.14 per hour, according to the BLS. However, it's important to note that salaries can vary significantly depending on various factors.

  • Location: LPN salaries can vary greatly based on geographic location. Urban areas and states with higher costs of living tend to offer higher salaries. For example, LPN salaries in California and Massachusetts are typically higher compared to those in rural areas.

  • Experience and Education: LPNs with more experience and advanced education, such as additional certifications or an associate degree, generally have higher earning potential. For example, jobs requiring an RRT certification have increased by 11.07% since 2018. LPN salary for candidates with this certification is 32.39% more than the average base salary.

  • Industry and Work Setting: LPNs work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and home healthcare. Salaries may differ depending on the industry and work setting. For instance, LPNs working in hospitals tend to earn higher wages compared to those in long-term care facilities.

Also read: What are the duties and responsibilities of LPNs?

LPN Salary Range by State

We are aware of the factors at play regarding an LPN salary, now let’s take a look at the highest and lowest paying US states for LPNs:

What State Does LPN Get Paid the Most?

Here are the top 5 highest paying states for LPNs in descending order:

State Salary
California $65,140
Alaska $63,650
Washington $63,250
Massachusetts $61,820
Nevada $60,490

California is not only the highest-paying state for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) but also registered nurses (RNs) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).

Also read: What are the responsibilities of a CNA?

What State Pays LPN the Least?

Here are 5 US states providing the lowest LPN salaries, placed in ascending order:

State Salary
West Virginia $37,790
South Dakota $38,480
Mississippi $38, 610
Arkansas $45,180
Tennessee $45,970

As the data reveals, the lowest-paying state for LPNs based on average pay is West Virginia, followed by South Dakota and Mississippi.

Given below is the pictorial representation of the average LPN salary in 2023 by state:


Source: World Population Review

Hiration pro tip:
A higher salary in one state may not necessarily provide a higher standard of living due to variations in housing, transportation, and other expenses. Before making decisions based solely on salary figures, we recommend you research and compare the cost of living in different areas.

Also read: How to format your LPN resume correctly?

LPN Salary Growth Potential

LPNs have opportunities for career advancement, which can lead to increased earning potential. The top 2 advancement options include:

  1. Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN): LPNs can pursue further education and training to become RNs, which typically results in higher salaries and expanded job responsibilities.

  2. Specializing in a Specific Area: LPNs can choose to specialize in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or critical care. Specialized LPNs often earn higher salaries due to their advanced knowledge and skills.

Also read: What are the top nursing skills to put in an RN resume?

LPNs can enhance their earning potential by obtaining additional certifications and specialized training. Some certifications and training programs that can lead to higher salaries include:

  • Intravenous (IV) Therapy Certification: LPNs with IV therapy certification can administer IV medications, increasing their value and potential for higher salaries.

  • Wound Care Certification: LPNs with specialized wound care training can provide advanced wound care, leading to higher-paying positions in wound clinics or hospitals.

  • Medication Administration Certification: LPNs with advanced medication administration skills may qualify for positions with higher responsibilities and increased salaries.

Also read: What is the highest paying remote nursing job?

Benefits and Perks on Top of LPN Salary

Alongside salaries, LPNs often receive a range of benefits that contribute to their overall compensation package. Some common benefits include:

  • Health Insurance: Many employers offer health insurance plans that cover medical, dental, and vision expenses for LPNs and their families.

  • Retirement Plans: LPNs may have access to retirement plans such as 401(k) or pension plans, allowing them to save for their future.

  • Paid Time Off: LPNs often receive paid vacation days, holidays, and sick leave, enabling them to maintain a work-life balance.

LPNs may have opportunities to earn additional income through overtime pay and bonuses. Depending on the employer and work setting, LPNs may receive overtime compensation for working beyond their scheduled hours.

Bonuses can be awarded for exceptional performance or meeting certain goals, providing a financial incentive for LPNs to excel in their roles.

Also read: What points to keep in mind while crafting a new grad nurse resume?

FAQs on LPN Salary

For individuals considering a career as an LPN, it's important to evaluate the potential for personal and professional growth, as well as the financial rewards.

LPNs are in demand and can enjoy rewarding careers with opportunities for advancement and competitive salaries. Here are some frequently asked questions you may come across in this field:

Q. What is an LPN in nursing?

A. A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is a healthcare professional who provides basic nursing care under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) and doctors. They perform tasks such as taking vital signs, administering medication, dressing wounds, and assisting with daily activities for patients in various healthcare settings.

Q. Why LPN instead of RN?

A. Some individuals may choose to become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) instead of Registered Nurses (RNs) due to the shorter duration of LPN programs, which typically last around one year compared to the longer duration of RN programs. Additionally, LPNs may prefer the specific scope of practice and responsibilities associated with their role, which can vary from state to state.

Q. What is the salary of an LPN?

A. An LPN salary can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and the specific healthcare setting. However, the median annual salary for LPNs in the United States is around $50,000.

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