By Diane Turner
An LPN or licensed practical nurse will provide basic medical care under the direction of registered nurses or doctors within the facility where they are employed. These individuals may be known as a vocational nurse depending on where they are employed, but the average LPN salary will not vary based on the title associated with the position.
The duties these nurses are expected to take on will vary based on the settings where they are employed. The LPN average salary will also vary based on the location where they are employed based on the type of responsibility they will take on. The average LPN will be expected to monitor the patient’s vital signs and overall health, administer basic care like inserting catheters or changing bandages, discussing the patient’s condition with them or their family members, listen to and address the patient’s concerns, provide basic comfort care for patients such as assisting them with bathing or dressing, reporting any changes in the patient’s condition to their attending doctors or nurses or managing the records of the patient’s health as necessary.
Those that are looking to enter into the field can become a licensed practical nurse simply by completing the proper training programs. Patients may enter a training program after earning a high school diploma. These training programs typically take as little as one year to complete. The training programs will combine classroom instruction with hands-on training to help ensure that these individuals are capable of taking on any tasks necessary when in the field.Most people working as an LPN will be employed in nursing homes or extended care facilities to help manage the day to day operations within these facilities. Some LPNs will also be employed in hospitals and physicians offices. Others will be hired to help those with poor help manage with their day to day needs in the privacy of their home.
A licensed practical nurse will also need to earn a certificate to work in the field. They will need to take an exam founded by the National Council Licensure Examination board. Unlike other nursing fields, licensed practical nurses are given a nation-wide exam, so those who enter this field can work anywhere in the country without having to take an additional exam. This helps maintain a consistent salary for an LPN because they know they will be trained consistently no matter where they received their education.
LPN Average Salary
The LPN average salaryis $40,380 but there are a number of factors that can alter what the average LPN will make while on the job. The state where the LPN works, the industry where the LPN is employed and the experience and licensing the nurse has before they enter the field can influence the salary they can expect to make.
LPN Salary Factors and Influences
One of the most important factors that has an impact on how much an LPN can expect to make is they type of facility where they are employed. The average LPN salary at a few specific locations is expected to be much higher than other industries in the field, as noted below.
Grant-making and Giving Services Average Salary: $47,930
Junior Colleges Average Salary: $47,560
Employment Services Average Salary: $45,670
Office Administrative Services Average Salary: $45,480
Activities Related to Real Estate Average Salary: $45,230
These industries tend to hire nurses with an occupational health background to help manage the day to day operations within their facility. Those that are trained to create safety plans for work environments or provide care such as flu shots will be more likely to earn employment in these types of facilities than those that have more generalized training. However, these positions are going to be much more competitive than those in more generalized medical environments. The salary of an LPN in the industries that have the highest employment levels for LPNs is still quite competitive.
Nursing Care Facilities Average Salary: $43,090
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals Average Salary: $41,060
Offices of Physicians Average Salary: $38,440
Home Health Care Services Average Salary: $43,160
Community Care Facilities for the Elderly Average Salary: $42,960
As you can see, these industries are those that will require LPNs to cover more basic day to day care for their patients. These individuals will not need very specialized training and can often be trained on the job to complete the tasks that these facilities require. While the average salary in these areas is less competitive, there is a great deal of room for growth within the industry if individuals are willing to remain loyal to a particular employer or earn more education throughout their career.
One of the other major influences on the average salary of an LPN is the location where they are employed. Several nonmetropolitan areas are known for offering competitive salaries for their LPNs.
St. Mary’s County, Maryland Average Salary: $54,400
Eastern Connecticut Average Salary: $53,500
Mother Lode Region California Average Salary: $52,860
Upper Eastern Shore Average Salary: $52,150
North Valley Region California Average Salary: $50,220
These areas have a higher demand for high quality medical care, driving up the salaries for those that are willing to relocate to these areas. By comparison, the LPN average salary for the top paying metropolitan areas is significantly more concentrated.
San Francisco, CA Average Salary: $61,230
Salinas, CA Average Salary: $59,240
Oakland/Fremont, CA Average Salary: $58,430
Santa Rosa/Petaluma, CA Average Salary: $57,530
San Jose/Sunnyvale, CA Average Salary: $57,010
Note that these areas are all located in the same area of the country. California is known for offering significantly more competitive salaries for those working in the medical industry. This is both due to the higher population in this area and the more advanced insurance offerings in these areas.
LPN Salary Compared To Related Fields
The salaries for LPNs are average for salaries that are trained to work in assistant positions within the medical industry.
Average Salary for an LPN:$40,380
Average Salary for Nursing Aids, Orderlies or Attendants: $24,010
Average Salary for Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aids: $47,490
Average Salary for Physician Assistants: $86,410
Average Salary for Registered Nurses: $64,690
In general, the salaries for positions that require only very basic training tend to be lower than those that are required to get years of training before entering the field. Those that are expected to take on a great deal of responsibility within the field without as much supervision also tend to earn more competitive salaries.
LPN Salary by State
The LPN salary by stateis one of the most competitive factors in determining the overall salary for an LPN. To begin this comparison, note the top paying states in the country and the salaries they offer.
LPN Salary in Connecticut: $53,010
LPN Salary in Nevada: $52,270
LPN Salary in Rhode Island:$51,900
LPN Salary in New Jersey: $51,270
LPN Salary in California: $51,130
These states tend to offer higher salaries due to the increased competition within the industry. Much of this is due to specific areas within the state driving up the salaries for the rest of the state. These areas are also more competitive, offering fewer positions and requiring more experience before entering the field. To compare, note the salary of an LPN working in the areas with the highest concentration of licensed practical nurses in the field.
Average Salary in Louisiana: $38,180
Average Salary in Arkansas: $34,920
Average Salary in Mississippi: $34,580
Average Salary in Oklahoma: $35,490
Average Salary in West Virginia: $33,300
As you can see, these salaries are well below the national average for this industry. These areas do not require as much technical training, which lowers the average salary for an LPNentering the field due to the decreased competition. These states tend to require larger staffs to help manage hospitals and nursing homes. These industries tend to have lower budgets to help manage their staff, which makes it difficult for these areas to offer a competitive salary for their employees.
LPN Types of Salaries
Licensed Practical Nurse: Average Salary: $41,904
Practical nurses will administer any necessary nursing care under the supervision of an attending registered nurse. This will include implementing and evaluating patient care to ensure the health, safety and comfort of their patients. Those who would like to work in this field will need to complete a high school diploma and complete their certification as a practical nurse.
Licensed Practical Nurse- Home Care: Average Salary: $45,684
Practical nurses working in a home care facility will administer nursing care in the homes of their patients under the supervision of a registered nurse. They will participate, implement and evaluate patient care as necessary to ensure the patient is comfortable and safe. Those working in this industry will need to earn a high school diploma and earn a certification as a licensed practical nurse.
Licensed Practical Nurse- Nursing Home: Average Salary: $43,020
Practical nurses working in nursing homes will perform similar duties to practical nurses administering care in a home setting. Much of this care will focus on ensuring the patient’s safety and health on a daily basis. These individuals will work under the supervision of other registered nurses on staff.
Licensed Practical Nurse- Outpatient Clinic: Average Salary: $38,773
Nurses in outpatient clinics will work under the supervision of registered nurses and supervisors for the facility. They will work to make sure that all patients within the facility are receiving the care necessary care to maintain their overall health and comfort, performing practices within the specific field where they have been trained.
Licensed Practical Nurse- Occupational Health: Average Salary: $44,321
Occupational health practical nurses will work with nurses to help patients prepare for their annual physical, flu vaccines, safety training programs and other basic health preparation. These individuals must earn a high school diploma and a license to work as a practical nurse. They will need to be trained and follow any necessary procedures implemented by the company where they are employed to ensure compliance with insurance coverers and necessary health codes within the facility.
Licensed Practical Nurse- Long Term Care: Average Salary: $43,868
Practical nurses working in a long term care facilities will work alongside registered nurses to help deliver and evaluate daily patient care. This will help to ensure safety and health standards set by the policy guidelines within the facility where they are employed. These individuals must earn their license to work as a practical nurse and are encouraged to complete at least a high school diploma before entering the field.
History of LPNs
The earliest training programs for licensed practical nurses appeared in the 1800s. The Women’s Christian Association in New York began offering training programs for women as early as 1892. These programs taught patients the necessary skills to care for the sick and how to perform basic homemaking skills they would need once they left the program as well. Formal training programs began after 1900, offering training that was standardized by the National League of Nursing Education, which is now known as the National League for Nursing.
In the 1920s and 1930s there was a severe shortage of LPNs, leading to an increase in training programs and recruiting once the United States entered into World War II. To help ensure that these individuals could manage the hardships associated with tours during the war, the National Association for Practical Nursing Education and Service began offering programs that offered professional coursed for these women. The same organization began offering board exams for nurses during the 1950s. Today, updated versions of these exams are used to determine that practical nurses have earned the proper training to enter the field.
LPN Salary Outlook – Conclusion
The health technologist and technician field is expected to grow by 26 percent in ten years, with licensed practical nurses seeing a 22 percent increase in employment.The average salary of anLPN is expected to see a raise during this time period due to the increased raise in demand for those in this profession. A great deal of licensed practical nurses are expected to retire in the upcoming years, opening many positions for those looking to enter the field.
Currently, hospitals, long-term healthcare facilities and physician’s offices are seeing more traffic than they can manage. To help treat this growth in patients over time, many other healthcare facilities are being planned to help increase the overcrowding. This will increase the demand for practical nurses and other staff that can help manage this patient load. The salary for an LPN is expected to grow to increase the demand created by this new influx of positions available in the field.