LPN/LVN – Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse

LPN Career Guide - Education, Salary, Job Outlook and Reviews

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A good entry point into the nursing profession highlighted by a great job outlook and marred by a relatively low salary.
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A good entry point into the nursing profession highlighted by a great job outlook and marred by a relatively low salary.

  • Salary
  • Job Climate
  • Job Outlook
  • Work Life Balance
LPN and LVN is the exact same role in the nursing profession. The only difference is that Texas and California use the name Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN) and all other states use Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN.)

LPN/LVN is an attractive way to enter nursing due to lower educational requirements compared to RN; however, the salary is significantly lower.

The job outlook is very impressive and the ability to move up to RN using bridge courses makes this career one of the better ways to get your foot in the door.


The average annual wage for LPNs is $43,200. The bottom ten percent made less than $32,000 and highest ten percent earned over $59,500. Earning potential varies depending on industry and location.

LPN Salaries by Industry

Government
$44,600
Nursing Homes
$44,300
Home Health Services
$44,100
Hospitals
$42,000
Physician Office
$39,000

LPN Salaries by State

LPN Salary
LPN salaries are the highest on the West Coast and in the Northeast.

Highest Salary States for LPNs

Connecticut
$55,600 annually or $26.70 hourly
Rhode Island
$55,200 annually or $26.60 hourly
Alaska
$54,400 annually or $26.20 hourly
Massachusetts
$54,200 annually or $26.00 hourly
New Jersey
$53,300 annually or $25.60 hourly

Job openings are common due to the emotional and physical demands that this profession requires. Rural areas are more favorable for employment than major cities. There are around 720,000 employed LPNs and LVNs in the United States.

Medical conditions such as diabetes and obesity are becoming more common and LPNs are often needed to care for these patients. Outpatient medical centers have taken on caring for these patients, which used to traditionally be done only in hospitals. This has helped increase the need for LVNs nationwide.

As an entry point into nursing, many LPNs move up to higher positions such as Registered Nursing (RN) in order to advance their careers. These moves up open positions for new nurses to begin their careers as LPNs or LVNs.

Only one out of five LPNs work part time. Licensed Practical Nurses work holidays, weekends and nights since medical care is needed around the clock. Shifts can also be longer than eight hours.

Compared to RNs, the stress levels are lower as LPNs are not expected to taken on as much responsibility. Patience is critical as dealing with ill patients on a daily basis can be stressful.


In order to become and LPN, nurses must complete a state approved program. These programs typically take one year to complete and are commonly offered in vocational schools and community colleges.

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