LPN/LVN Salary and Job Growth

LPN and LVN salaries don’t top the scale to start, but there are several ways to improve your earnings.

Median Annual Salary

Although licensed practical and licensed vocational nurse jobs (LPNs/LVNs) don’t pay as much as other nursing roles, the job can be incredibly rewarding and there’s always room to grow with further education.

According to The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) current Occupational Outlook Handbook the median expected annual salary for LPNs/LVNs is $44,090. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

What’s my earning potential?

Like other nursing jobs, an LPN/LVN’s salary is often based on where exactly they work. According to the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses, large city hospitals will usually pay a higher salary than a nursing home.

And like most professions, salary is often commensurate with experience meaning the more you have, the chance for better pay. Keep in mind that if you find you’re not happy with an LPN/LVN salary, you can always get the training and degree to become a registered nurse.

Learn how an LPN-to-RN program can help boost your salary.

How do LPN-LVN salaries compare?

Nursing CareerMedian Annual Salary*
Nursing Assistants$26,590
Medical Assistants$31,540
Physical Therapist Assistants$56,610
Registered Nurses$68,450

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook; Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants;Registered NursesMedical AssistantsPhysical Therapist Assistants and Aides.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Is there demand for this career?

Without a doubt. Not only is the U.S. struggling with a nursing shortage, but as the population ages, LPNs are needed in nursing care facilities. Additionally, technological advances have allowed many people to avoid long hospital stays and instead recover at home making home health care LPN/LVN jobs very necessary.

The BLS predicts a “large number” of LPN/LVNs will retire in the next 10 years opening up plenty of job opportunities for those in LPN/LVN training.

What is the job growth for the field?

The BLS anticipates LPN/LVN employment will grow 12 percent through 2026, which is much faster than average. Be aware that national long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions.

While there will always be a need for LPN/LVNs in hospitals, the amount of those jobs may lessen over time as more outpatient procedures occur or treatment is done in a doctor’s office. On the other hand, home health care service is a large growth area for LPN jobs.

How much competition will I face for a job?

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses looking for jobs in physician offices and outpatient care centers may find they face some competition because these facilities usually offer regular, week-day hours and a more comfortable workplace environment.

Hospitals and other around-the-clock facilities need LPNs/LVNs on nights, weekends and holidays, which may not be as appealing to some job seekers making competition less fierce.

What kinds of institutions hire LPNs/LVNs nurses?

Aspiring LPNs/LVNs have a range of options when it comes to their work location. The BLS reports the following industries employ the largest number of LPNs/LVNs:

  • Nursing care facilities
  • Home health care services
  • Continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for elderly

How do I advance in my licensed practical nurse career?

In most fields, furthering your education can help propel you to the next phase of your career. It’s no different for LPNs/LVNs. Earning a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) can sometimes translate into more job responsibility and higher pay.

Another gateway to career advancement is working in a hospital. According to the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses, hospitals often give LPNs/LVNs advanced nursing duties, such as working in a critical care setting or acting as a special procedure nurse.

Licensed Practical Nurse Career and Degree Guide


Search LPN to RN Programs

LPNs earn your ADN or BSN degree online in up to 1/2 the time and cost of traditional programs. All applicants must be either an LPN or LVN to apply.

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